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2004 Yamaha YFZ450 - Off-Road Alternatives

Exterior View
David Hamilton | Writer
Posted June 1, 2004
Photographers: Courtesy of Yamaha Motors

Definitely Worth The Wait

It's finally here: Yamaha's much anticipated YFZ450. It's been a long time coming, but Yamaha is the first ATV manufacturer to release a truly race-worthy, high-performance quad to the world. Track or trail, this quad is going to put the hurt on the competition.

The high-tech motor is from Yamaha's tried-and-tested two-wheeled brother, the YZ450F. It's a double overhead cam, five-valve, liquid-cooled four-stroke powerhouse. But, in order for it to meet the ATVA (All Terrain Vehicle Association) Competition Racing requirements, Yamaha reduced the displacement from 450 cc to 439 cc. Now, all you have to do is pay your race entrance fees at your local track and start your trophy collection.

We pitted the YFZ with the original race-bred ATV of the late '80s, the Honda Fourtrax TRX250R. Head-to-head comparisons between the '88 250R and the YFZ450 were similar in many ways, but very different in others. The near-stock Honda two-stroker had minor headwork and an aftermarket pipe, so it ran rather well. The fully stock YFZ, however, just walked away from the 250R in the motor and suspension department. The faster you ride the YFZ450, the better it feels.

This motor wasn't meant to putt around on the trail. In the higher rpms, the YFZ450 had the feel of a two-stroke racer. This can be attributed to the nearly 11,000-rpm limit. The tremendous low-end torque propelled the 450 from First to Fifth gear in record time, and there's no lack of power in any range throughout the entire powerband.

The all-new frame incorporates high-tensile strength steel with a detachable aluminum subframe. Compared with its big brother, the Yamaha Raptor, the YFZ's seat height and track width are low and sleek; the YFZ is 3 inches lower and 3 inches wider than the Raptor

The long-travel front A-arms, rear aluminum swing arm, and reservoir shocks (front and rear) give the YFZ450 optimal handling characteristics on any terrain. This quad likes to slide, but is very predictable. Up front, the YFZ comes with dual-rate piggyback reservoir shocks, which have pre-load, compression, and rebound adjustments, with 9.1 inches of travel. The rear shock is also a dual-rate, piggyback-style reservoir with the same adjustments as the front, but offers 10.1 inches of travel.

With the lowered seat height and widened track width, this quad has the perfect feel on the track, on the trail, or in the air. The dry weight is only 350 pounds - that's nearly 25 pounds less than its closest competitor - making it one of the lightest high-performance quads available today. And did we mention that the bike is electric start?

Two different color schemes are available on the new YFZ450. The first is the Team Yamaha signature blue/white with a silver frame. The second color is white/red with a metallic-red finished frame. The dual-mounted headlights are very Raptor-like. After a few double-takes while approaching other YFZs in the dunes, what first appeared as Raptors were actually new YFZ450s. No, we weren't the only ones riding the YFZ450; we just wish these were ours.

'04 Yamaha YFZ450SpecificationsMsrp:$6,899

Engine439 Cc / Four-Stroke / Liquid-Cooled With Fan / Titanium Five-Valve Head

Bore X Stroke95 Mm X 62 Mm

Compression Ratio11.9:1

CarburetionKeihin 39mm Fcr With Throttle Position Sensor

IgnitionDc/Cdi

Starting SystemElectric

TransmissionFive-Speed Manual Clutch Drivetrain / 2wd / Sealed O-Ring Chain

ChassisSuspensionFront: Independent Double Wishbone / 9.1 Inches With Rebound / Compression And Threaded Preload Adjustment; Rear: Aluminum Swing Arm / 10.1 Inches With Rebound / Compressions And Threaded Preload Adjustment

BrakesFront: Dual-Hydraulic Disc / Twin Piston;Rear: Hydraulic Disc

TiresFront: At21x7r10; Rear: At20x10r9

Dimensions(L X W X H) 72.4 X 46.1 X 42.9

Seat Height31.5 Inches

Wheelbase50.4 Inches

Ground Clearance4.4 Inches

Fuel Capacity2.6 Gallons

Dry Weight350 Pounds

OtherLightingDual 30-Watt Krypton Multi-Reflector Headlights / 21/5 Watt Brake Light

ColorsTeam Yamaha Blue/White, White/Red

WarrantySix Months (Limited Factory Warranty)

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