Web Impression: 2009 Yamaha YZ450F - Dirt Rider Magazine

Yamaha fired first, giving us our initial 2009 motocross test bike for the new year, just halfway through 2008. Since the bike only has slight revisions, it makes sense to get this one out early. Dirt Rider met up with the Yamaha guys at Milestone Ranch MX Park to get in a solid day of riding, and here is our first impression.If you are looking for us to tell you all about how the swingarm makes all the difference in the world and the turning is now stellar, we can't go there just yet. In fact, none of our test riders could pinpoint the traits of the new swingarm, even in back-to-back comparison with our 2008 bike, but we didn't feel the track was all that great today for determining such intricate chassis setup. It was doing something different, but it is going to take a few more tracks and days on the bike to form a solid opinion. Yamaha must have felt it was a lot better-the blue engineers didn't just put it on the bike because it looks pretty; maybe Glen Helen will reveal more tomorrow.What did really stand out as an improvement was the shifting. If you are used to the older bike, you typically make deliberate shifts and don't notice the missed shifts much. Hop off another bike and act delicate with the shift lever, and you'll miss, often second to third, until you teach yourself not to pussyfoot the shifter. The 2009 bike seems to have fixed this with the additional length shift fork pins. I never missed a shift on the new bike and I missed two on our 2008, just today.After three scorching motos it was easy to appreciate the super-plush suspension on the YZ. In staying the same, the suspension is still great. Heavier riders, like me at 185 pounds, found the bike to be right where in needed to be and didn't have to fiddle much with the clickers. Lighter riders, in the 160-pound range, liked a slower rebound setting and less compression all around. And as has been our experience in the past, the bike is very sensitive to the ride height. If it isn't turning, try switching up the setting by as little as one turn of the shock spring (typically between 2-3mm of ride height.) We've found a happy place for most of our riders in the 102-105mm range. Yes, you who complained about the turning, check your sag and we'd bet you're not in the correct range!And onto one of the best features of the YZ: its quiet, yet funny-sounding muffler. This is good for the sport, and you'd better get use to it because this is the way we are going in the future to ride at a lot of the tracks with impending sound regulations. We commend Yamaha for putting this on the bike and still packing the YZ450 with plenty of performance. Once you get over what you think you are feeling, confusing the sound with power, and actually feel the bike pulling, you understand the bike is fast. It may not have the snap of an open muffler, but if you need more gusto out of the powerplant, try twisting the throttle farther before you toss the muffler. Even our fast pro riders were amazed at how the bike pulled, even a gear high, without sounding fast. It just moved quickly and sounded slow.Overall, just like last year, I'm pretty stoked on the new YZ. I would be very happy with this bike, and with a lot of switching up this year to fuel injection, some of you carburetor purists might want to jump on technology that uses brass instead of silicone. And to keep the information flowing, check back soon for a video riding impression and shortly after that the full test on the 2009 YZ450F right here on Dirt Rider.com.

We've always been able to make our 2008 YZF turn just fine. It comes down to proper ride height (sag) setting. The 2009 is no different.
Yes it still has Yamaha's quiet yet short and funky sounding muffler. It is easily faster than it sounds.
We put over five hours of run time on our YZ450 at Milestone Raceway today. Tomorrow it's time for Glen Helen.
Even though it has only minor changes this year, for any 2006 or before YZ owner it's a major re-do, and may be your last chance at a carbureted motocross 450.