Japan Spy Photos | 2017 Kawasaki KX250/450F
Presented by O'Neal
Round one of the 2016 All Japan National Championships kicked off last weekend in Kumamoto, Japan, and as always, TransWorld Motocross was on hand to check out the racing and machinery. More often than not, the bikes of the Japanese series are a very good indicator of what's to come the following year in production. In the past, we've seen several all-new models in action on the Japanese race tracks, as far as two years before they hit the showroom floors in America.
While the Suzukis we featured most recently revealed that no major changes are in store for 2017, the factory Yamaha YZ450Fs piloted by team riders Yu Hirata and Takuya Mihara indicate that some fairly significant changes are in store for the big blue 450 next year. Though the chassis used on both works bikes appeared to be standard (as evidenced by the non-utilized engine mounts) all-new powerplants appear to be nestled within the chassis cradles. The YZ450F cylinder is obviously different in outward appearance, and the new engine mounts now attach to the rear of the cylinder head. “New position,” is all team personnel would say about the engine’s placement in the frame, but to the naked eye it looks to have an even more aggressive rearward slant. Both bikes were outfitted with factory KYB suspension and Akrapovic exhaust systems. Yusuke Watanabe’s YZ250F, meanwhile, appeared to be production based, with assorted factory components.