A Life with Yamaha

Riding in Nature is Pure Fun

Mr. Yuta Shinohara (Shizuoka Prefecture)

Since he became fascinated by the joy of off-road motorcycles 12 to 13 years ago, Mr. Shinohara has replaced his motorcycle five times, starting with the WR250F and moving through the YZ250F, finally to the YZ450F. As soon as the 2018 model of the YZ450F was released last year, he placed an order. He is now enjoying the performance of the world’s best off-road motorcycle.

The Most Difficult Motorcycles to Control I have Ever Met

Since I got my motorcycle license immediately after graduating from high school, I enjoyed riding big over-1000cc motorcycles. Shortly after I turned 30, when asked to try an off-road motorcycle, I bought the WR250F. As I had been riding large motorcycles and this off-road motorcycle had a much smaller engine, I had confidence that I could handle it quite easily. However, once I started riding my WR250F on a motocross course, it was completely out of control. I was soon caught up by my friends and even fell off the motorcycle. Feeling extremely frustrated and wanting to be faster, I became deeply involved in off-road track riding.

I used to go on overnight trips, for example, to a motocross course in Fukushima Prefecture, where I would ride 30 to 40 laps a day for two days in a row until I became exhausted. Meanwhile, I gradually upgraded my machine from the 2007 and 2009 models of the YZ250F to the 2010 and 2014 models of the YZ450F, which is the world’s best off-road motorcycle. Immediately after the latest 2018 model was released, I placed an order and finally got it in October last year.

Pleasure to Ride on the World’s Best Motorcycle

In motocross races, riders usually use commercial-based machines. In other words, even top riders competing in the highest classes of the Motocross World Championship and the AMA Supercross, a very popular motocross race in the U.S., are riding motorcycles based on the YZ450F, the same model as mine. This gives me the joy of riding the world’s best motorcycle. I once considered trying motocross racing such as in a local championship, but I had a job to do, so I decided to enjoy riding a competition model just for fun.

It may be difficult to take up motocross, even if you are interested, because most motocross courses are in the mountains, and you need a trailer to carry your motorcycle. But riding an off-road motorcycle in nature is genuinely refreshing and you can feel your motorcycle under control. You can also enjoy local food and hot springs near motocross courses. I would like to pass on such pleasure and rules and manners for safe off-road riding to as many people who are interested as possible. I hope such enjoyable environments will increasingly become available in the future so that people of all ages can have a good time together riding off-road motorcycles.

Amazing! Light! Easy Handling!

My first impression of the 2018 YZ450F was that not just the chassis, but also the engine was excellent. The engine shows a very quick response when you open the throttle. The chassis is so compact that you can handle this motorcycle very easily. Although I changed my motorcycle from a kick start model to an electric start one, I felt the electric start model was lighter.

It is good to have an electric starter equipped because it is very hard to restart an engine with a kick starter especially when you fall on a muddy track. I still have an old habit of searching for the kick starter with my foot as soon as I sit on my current electric start model.

With this year’s racing season approaching its climax, I want to see the YZ450F, the same model as my machine, lead the races and dominate the world championships.


The 2018 YZ450F
The top end model of the YZ series, Yamaha’s motocross competition model, is the YZ450F with a maximum engine displacement of 449cc. The latest 2018 model has a new spec engine and a newly designed frame. While an electric starter is also equipped for easy restarting during a race, efforts of weight reduction eventually contributed to improving power, controllability, and cornering and running performances.

A Message from a Yamaha Staff Member
Overwhelming Power and Quick Steering

Mr. Taisuke Sakurai
Motor Sports Development Division

Overwhelming engine power and easy handling for utilizing the power were realized by the redesign for the 2018 model, where more than 90% of the components were refurbished. The newly adopted electric starter significantly improved the engine’s restartability during a race. We adopted a lithium-ion battery for the first time in our commercial models to reduce the vehicle weight. We also put in extra efforts to design the shape and position of large components that may adversely affect the steering performance. In frame designing, shock-absorbing and bump-running performance was especially enhanced. This motorcycle’s power and brisk mobility, which were realized by the combination of engine and chassis characteristics, have already won great popularity among top riders.