Tearing down a bike is rarely a good thing – it usually means something went terribly wrong and now you are going to spend a lot of money fixing it. However, in this case, it’s completely different. Our 2010 Yamaha YZ450F was running perfectly, showing no signs of weakness and now finds itself in a bunch of pieces… in a box. So, how does something like this happen? Well, to get to the bottom of all this and really find out why, we needed an exclusive interview with one of the biggest stars of our sport: The YZ450F Long Haul bike. This old Yamaha has been around the block a time or two and was easy to track down in its box in the Dirt Rider shop. The old blue steed was more than willing to talk to us and gave us all the time we wanted, without any sass.
Dirt Rider: So, how long have you been doing this motocross thing?2010 YZ450F: Oh, about a year and a half, but, I’d say that’s about 30 in motorcycle years.
DR: Wow, so you’ve been doing this for a while, I’m guessing you consider yourself a bit of a veteran.YZ450F: Well, my family has been doing this for a long time; I grew up around this sort of thing so of course it’s what I plan to do… it’s what I know. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a vet; I have put in a lot of time on the motocross track. Just over 106 hours now, I still feel strong though, you know, ready to take on the world.DR: Did you have any idea of what Dirt Rider had planned for you?
YZ450F: Well at first not really, it was all just a whirlwind of events, I was trying new exhausts, different mapping, getting new aftermarket swag and graphics. It’s like everyone wanted to give me something! It was awesome! That’s when Jimmy took me under his wing. I felt a real connection with him; he fixed me up and gave me everything I wanted. Then I started hearing some rumors… They never said anything directly to me, but I kind of figured out what was coming.DR: So what happened?
YZ450F: By that point I had tested out most of the DR riders, all the while getting closer to that 100 hour goal. There was a cheer when we hit 100 hours and then I had the most thorough cleaning of my life. I felt refreshed and looked better than ever. I knew I was going to be showcased somewhere; I was hoping maybe Supercross, but I kind of knew in the back of my mind what was in store when I rolled into the Dirt Rider office. I saw some familiar faces; my boy Jonathan Belding from Yamaha, good ol’ Jimmy Lewis and DR Tester Chris Barrett were there. I remember Jimmy had that look in his eye though and that’s when I knew he meant business. The boxes slid over, the tools came out, and everyone rolled up their sleeves. It was time, I was a little worried and didn’t quite understand why this had to be done, but Jonathan reassured me that I would be put back together, so that took away most of my worries.DR: Why did this need to be done?
YZ450F: Well, I knew everything inside of me was fine and I did my best to tell everyone. I never coughed or hiccupped, I always sang at the top of my lungs. I even showed them how strong I was, I still felt great. I was constantly getting compliments on my strength and endurance. But, they needed to see for themselves. And they wanted to show everyone how well I did. It’s not everyday you get to see all the insides of a great running motorcycle that has logged over a hundred hours. After looking at it like that, I feel good about this; I feel that I have sacrificed myself for the greater good of Yamahas everywhere. It’s a real honor, but it’s not like I’m gone forever, I’ll be back.DR: So how was the actual tear down process? How’d those guys treat you?
YZ450F: It went surprisingly well. I mean of course it’s always easier to take something apart than put it back together. The whole process really didn’t take that long; I would say maybe two to three hours and that’s with those guys cracking jokes and taking the time to compliment me on my piston and valves and other major organs. Those guys didn’t seem to have any trouble taking me apart, they were calling out tools they needed and passing them around. I’d say their biggest struggle was trying to clean all the oil off of my internals. Can you believe nobody thought to bring a stack of clean rags? I hope they all learned something from that. They treated me pretty good though, Jimmy got a little emotional – I saw him fighting back some tears – probably cause he’s going to miss me. Then again, now that I think about it that may have just been from a little contact cleaner deflection to the eye. Either way, I know he’ll miss me.DR: Do you have any advice for people doing this in the future?
YZ450F: Yeah, make sure you have clean rags and plenty of contact cleaner. It will make everything go a lot smoother. Also, a battery powered impact made the bolt removal quick and painless… for all of us.
DR: Well, thank you for those pearls. Where can we catch you next?YZ450F: You can catch me in a future issue of Dirt Rider Magazine for the full Long Haul wrap-up. It will have all kinds of info and pictures, so it should be cool. Be sure to check it out, I’m sure all of you will be impressed.