Yamaha Motocross YZ450F

The term Motocross comes directly from the European origin of the sport “cross country motorcycle racing”. It’s a brutally demanding sport that tests the capabilities of riders as well as machines. During a race riders and machines can leap 20 feet in the air returning to earth with suspension crushing landings, ride within inches of each other, and maneuver over tough terrain all while at high speeds.

Motocross bikes have become masterpieces of balance; handling, power, durability, lightness, and cost, and all are carefully considered in the design of each part of a motocross bike. To create a significant design advancement the total balance of the machine must be considered.


Design of the YZ450F always considers function first, however the look and feel of the machine also has to appeal to the customer, as well as provide pride for the manufacturer. The main concept for the design is “Charging Movement”. This concept is aggressive to match the nature of such a machine. To express the “Charging Movement” concept in form, the design uses an arching gesture in the body-lines, which recalls the expanding energy a coiled spring exhibits when released. The tension in the shapes moves the eye forward creating motion in the mind of the viewer. Using areas of compact mass and open space to create contrast creates further interest, this contrast emphasizes the graceful balance of the machine.



At the heart of the YZ 450F is a unique engine layout featuring a reverse cylinder design which folds the engine into a compact space providing many technical advantages, including centering the mass for a neutral handling feel, as well as a reversal intake and exhausts systems which place these volumes in more advantageous positions. A lightweight airbox, which feeds filtered air to the engine, occupies a space up high and forward to take advantage of cool air away from the engine as well as improve the balance of weight.

The exhaust system now flows from the rear of the engine keeping heat away from the rider as well as creating a thinner shape to straddle. The engine of the YZ450F is a key example of the creative engineering on this bike, but an abundance of other sophisticated components such as computer controlled ignition and fuel injection systems, adjustable suspension, and others all combine to provide the YZ450F with its extreme performance.


Aesthetic design for motorcycles is perhaps different from any other product, in that complex mechanical parts are important design elements. When these mechanical components are combined with body parts such as fuel tank, seat, and fenders, a total design balance should be felt. Motocross bikes are especially lean, exposing frames, engines, and suspension. The minimalist philosophy used in the design of the YZ450F does not allow cosmetic covers, or any part, which would add unnecessary weight or bulk to the product.