The Yamaha YFZ450 is back for 2012 and will be shipping to dealers across North America this month. While most of the popular sport ATV’s features remain the same for the 2012 model year, the single largest difference is the price. Accounting for the effects of the current recession on the power sports industry, for 2012, Yamaha has gone where no ATV manufacturer has gone before by dramatically rolling back the price of the YFZ450 to a U.S. MSRP of $6799.00. The last time we saw the original YFZ450 was 2009 with a MSRP of $7499.00, a difference of $700, not taking into account inflation. The new MSRP is in fact approximately $200 less than it was when the YFZ450 debuted in 2004. At the end of the 2009 model year, Yamaha made the decision to discontinue to the original YFZ450, in favor of the higher priced and lighter framed YFZ450X and YFX450R. This left a large void in Yamaha’s lineup and forced some to look elsewhere rather than try to afford the $8599.00 price tag.

The first question that comes to mind is what was stripped off in order to allow such a dramatic reduction. Surprisingly, the answer is very little. A change to the front suspension is the largest difference, with the front piggyback shock being replaced by KYB shocks offering 9.1 inches of travel. A new cam profile and timing changes have led to increased low to mid range power combined with a larger carburetor with throttle position sensor to maintain top end performance. And a welcome change to the stock thumb throttle which has been modified to greatly reduce hand fatigue while on the trails.

The YFZ450 features the same exhilarating 449cc liquid-cooled,double overhead cam (DOHC) four stroke engine that made the ATV a legend in its class. Its five valve engine featuring 95mm bore and 63.4mm stroke is now combined with a larger 42mm Mikuni® BSR carburetor with throttle position sensor for increased top end performance.

The light weight, compact steel frame with aluminum sub frame provides proven handling characteristics, along with its rigid cast aluminum rear swing arm and aluminum upper front A-arms help reduce weight without sacrificing performance. The aluminum wheels are also lighter and more rigid than previous models. The new KYB front shocks offer 9.1 inches of suspension travel while the rear maintains the Showa piggyback shock with 10.6 inches of travel. Traction is provided with new Dunlop® tires, specifically designed for the YFZ450 (21x7R-10 in front and 20x10R-9 in back) and front and rear disc brakes featuring 127mm twin hydraulic front disc brakes and a hydraulic 173mm dual piston rear disc brake provide plenty of stopping power.

The engine is mated to the five speed ratchet type manual transmission with heavy duty clutch,which adds additional comfort on long rides.

The 2012 YFZ450 comes in either black metallic or all white colors. The white model comes with a choice of 11 available free custom graphics kits from One Industries.

$6,799 (Black Metallic) Available from September 2011
$6,799 (White w/Custom Graphic) Available from September 2011

Type: 449cc liquid-cooled w/fan, 4-stroke; DOHC, 5 valves
Bore x Stroke: 95.0mm x 63.4mm
Compression Ratio:11.4:1
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni® 42mm BSR
Ignition: DC - CDI
Starting System: Electric
Transmission: 5-speed; wet multiplate clutch
Drive Train: 2WD; sealed O-ring chain, eccentric adjustment

Suspension / Front: Independent double wishbone, threaded preload adjustment, 9.1-in travel
Suspension / Rear: Cast aluminum swing arm, threaded preload adjustment, 10.6-in travel
Brakes / Front: 127mm Dual hydraulic disc
Brakes / Rear: 173mm Hydraulic disc
Tires / Front: Dunlop® AT21 x 7-10
Tires / Rear: Dunlop® AT20 x 10R9

L x W x H: 72.4 x 46.1 x 42.9 in
Seat Height: 31.9 in
Wheelbase: 50.4 in
Ground Clearance: 4.5 in
Fuel Capacity: 2.6 gal
Wet Weight: 381 lb

Lighting: Dual 30W Krypton multireflector headlights & 3.9/0.5W LED brakelight
Warranty: 6 Month (Limited Factory Warranty)