First Impression: 2005 Yamaha YZF450

Fans of Yamaha’s popular YZF450 have plenty of reason to celebrate the 2005 model release, because just about every significant problem that has plagued the thumper over the past few years has been addressed, improved and updated in ’05.

TWMX took delivery of our 2005 test unit at the world famous Cahuilla Creek MX track in Anza, California, on a surprisingly cool summer day in So Cal (it was only just above 90 degrees). With the track in tip-top shape and a bike full of impressive changes, TWMX spent the entire day putting the new YZF through its paces on the sandy uphills of Cahuilla Creek in order to see just how much better it is than its predecessor.

At first glance, the 2005 YZF appears almost completely unchanged (save for the Renthal handlebars and titanium footpegs). The major refinements took place inside the beast, and let us be the first to tell you that in a word the ’05 YZ450F is better.

The biggest complaint about past YZF efforts lied in the power. Not that there hasn’t been enough; in fact, it was just the opposite. An abrupt, arm-jerking powerband has hampered the rideability of the big blue thumper for the past few years. To put it simply, the power delivery was just too much for most riders to handle.

In order to combat the pipey, almost rude power Yamaha made changes to the cylinder head, carburetion, airbox/intake tract and ignition mapping when redesigning the YZF. Don’t get the wrong idea though; the idea wasn’t to actually slow the bike down, just to make its girthy power more easily and effectively put to the ground.

We’ll get right down to it; Yamaha hit their bull’s-eye in ’05! Every test rider that threw a leg over the 2005 YZF was immediately impressed with the new, easier-to-ride powerband. The bike is far from slow, it’s just that the power is much more pleasant and easier to use than in 2004. The new Yamy delivers its tremendous torque and heavy horsepower with a smooth, transitioned curve that always has plenty on tap when you need it. The YZF sang up the long and sandy Cahuilla hills with ease.

In the suspension department, Yamaha’s all-new 48mm Kayaba features special valving that completely separates the air from the oil. Overall, the new fork is much improved from last year’s version and offered great performance, although at times we experienced some harshness in the handlebars, especially in downhill braking situations

Boasting a smoother power delivery, slick titanium footpegs and major fork and shock improvements, the YZF is indeed improved in 2005. Although it still suffers slightly from a steel frame and the inherent handling issues that come along with it, Yamaha really did do their homework and answer the call of consumers who demanded a more rideable bike.

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