MXA TEAM TESTED: 3DP MOTO YZ450F/YZ250F INTAKE SCOOP
WHAT IS IT? The current Yamaha airbox design has been wrong since the forward-mount airbox was first introduced in 2010. We didn’t like it from day one, as proven by this quote from our 2010 Yamaha YZ450F test. We said, “Let’s get this straight: Yamaha‘s engineers built the most creative motocross bike of the last decade, but they couldn’t figure out how to get air to the air filter? The 2010 Yamaha YZ450F’s airbox is designed 180 degrees opposite of how it should be.”
It wasn’t until 2014 that Yamaha updated the YZ450F airbox, but only to make access easier. In 2015, they switched to three Dzus fasteners (that fell out). In 2017, Yamaha recessed the Dzus fasteners on the tank cover so that they would stop falling out. In 2018, Yamaha rethought its airbox design by increasing its volume by 29 percent and using only one Dzus fastener instead of three. In 2019, Yamaha switched from a dome-shaped air filter to a flat piece of foam that sat on the backfire screen and vibrated like a three-legged Maytag.
By 2020 the MXA test riders had tired of the slow roll of Yamaha’s airbox development and decided to prove to Yamaha that they were leaving power on the table. We cobbled together a Twin Power Flow intake kit with a Rube Goldberg humpback airbox cover that doubled the YZ450F’s airbox volume. There were no engine mods on our bone-stock, 30-hour, 2020 YZ450F. The changes were limited to a Twin Air Pro Flow air filter kit and an ugly, jerry-rigged airbox cover. How did it perform? Peak horsepower on our 2020 YZ450F jumped to 60.31 horsepower compared to 58.56 with the stock airbox cover.
We felt we had proven our point and hoped that Yamaha would take the idea and run with it. They didn’t, at least not right away, but the aftermarket did. Today, Nihilo, CRM, Lightspeed, VHM, Slater and 3DP Moto are all offering airbox covers that increase YZ250F/YZ450F airbox volume. Six months ago, we tested the $80 Slater Skins High-Flow YZ-F airbox cover, because it was the most affordable of the offerings (most of its competition’s carbon fiber airbox covers were in the $350 price range). Which leads us to the newest contender to throw its hat in the ring—3DP Moto’s $75 YZ-F intake scoop.
WHAT’S IT COST? $75.00.
CONTACT? www.3dpmoto.com (comes mounted on a new YZ-F airbox cover).
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the 3DP Moto YZ-F airbox scoop.
(1) Concept. It is a common fallacy to think that YZ450F airbox scoops, both the stock winglets and the aftermarket designs, offer some sort of “ram air” effect. Nothing could be further from the truth. Forced air induction does not happen at the typical speeds of a motocross bike. It is not the ability to scoop air that matters, it is the increased volume of stable air that improves engine performance, which is why MXA’s over-size humpback airbox cover performed so well. Bigger, when it comes to airboxes, is better.
(2) Track test. The 3DP Moto’s 3D-printed airbox scoop did improve throttle response by adding airbox volume. It was noticeable, but on the dyno, the horsepower gains were slightly less than with the Slater Skins scoop—and nowhere near MXA’s humpbacked numbers.
(3) Options. For an additional fee, you can have your name and number CNC-machined on the scoop.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Two quibbles. (1) We wish 3DP Moto had gone larger on the air volume, but they are a young company, and since they 3D-print their air scoops, it is just a matter of writing a new CAD program to make the next generation. (2) The grid-like air vents at the front of the scoop look restrictive but can be cut out. We left them alone.
MXA RATING: The quality of 3D-printed plastic parts makes 3DP Moto’s air scoop uniquely different. Now, it is 3DP Moto’s job to make it uniquely better.