Yamaha’s new YZ450F is taking tuning to the next level.
Along with all the other stuff a new motocross bike always gets – updated suspension, revised engine, new radiators, re-designed transmission, improved frame, etc. – the YZ450F comes with a tuning app. It’s the first production MX bike with a tuning app, and as far as we know, the first factory bike from the Big Four to come so equipped.
The Yamaha Power Tuner app is available for either iOS or Android devices. The press release says:
“The new Yamaha Power Tuner App can make fuel and ignition mapping changes – uploaded wirelessly to the bike via the onboard Wi-Fi system – for the ultimate in track-side tuning. A “Log” function allows you to make notes about your riding location, conditions, bike settings and more, giving you a baseline for future rides. The app can also monitor a range of information such as RPM, throttle position, engine coolant temperature and more. There is also a maintenance function with customizable trip meters to monitor run times for items you decide.
The new Yamaha Power Tuner App released with the 2018 YZ450F makes it possible to modify engine mapping in even greater detail than before. It also allows users to share settings among their team or with friends (along with other information) thus evolving the system into a tool that helps facilitate communication.”
That’s a lot of really interesting capability built into the new bike and its interface app. But for now, it’s only for dirt bikes.
Street-legal motorcycles have to pass much more stringent emissions tests, which make gadgets like this a lot harder to include as a built-in factory feature—look at last summer’s showdown between Harley-Davidson and the EPA for an example of what happens when regulatory agencies decide a manufacturer has offered tuning devices that circumnavigate legal emissions testing. Including a built-in app that allows the same capability could also be deemed an extremely cheeky maneuver, and land a manufacturer in trouble.
Having said that, we’re sure the manufacturers have already had skunk works departments working on technologies like this for years; it’s just a matter of figuring out how to package the technology into a street bike in a way that minimizes risk to both the rider and the manufacturer.