All-Japan National factory Yamaha rider Yu Hirata has been racing the 2018 Yamaha YZ450FM all season. 

You can be sure the push button electric start will be will come on the production 2018 YZ450F model. How do we know, the next picture will give it away. 

Not only does Yu Hirata’s YZ450FM not have a kickstarter, it doesn’t even have a plug where the kickstarter should be. The new cases have been made without the kickstarter assembly. That is a lot of work, time and money not to be put into production for 2018.
 The 2018 factory Yamaha YZ450FM up close. Note that the current double-wall radiator shrouds have been replaced by conventional, Cycra-style, radiator wings.

Without looking at the 2017 model you wouldn’t think much has changed with the 2018 factory YZ450FM model. Yamaha didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. They kept a similar look and its reverse-style engine. When comparing the 2017 YZ450F below, you can notice that the 2018 frame is much straighter and thicker coming up to the head tube. The head stsys have moved much farther down on the frame. The engine also looks as if it has been tilted forward as well.

The 2017 Yamaha YZ450F for comparison. 

The gas tank has a more compact look to it.

 There are airbox vents so the engine can get more air, which also make the noise much louder when riding. 

An up-close look to the left side of the engine. The engine looks like it has to be shoehorned in to fit in the new frame.   

Photos by Daryl Ecklund

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