Yamaha launches new YZ450F, updates YZ250X and YZ125X

Yamaha is strengthening its off-road lineup with an all-new YZ450F for 2023, and updated versions of its YZ250X and YZ125X cross-country bikes. So what’s up with these new machines?

Yamaha YZ450F

The big four-fifty gets a new engine that revs 500 rpm higher; Yamaha says that it “maintains the YZ450F’s exceptional pulling power and renowned ease-of-use,” with more high-end muscle. It doesn’t give us a horsepower rating, though. Along with the change in power delivery and characteristics, Yamaha also put some effort into making the engine lighter and physically smaller. It’s not just a new top end, but the engine also comes with a revised five-speed transmission and a new clutch, too. The Power Tuner app is also revised, to work with the new engine, with easy “Simple Tuning” function all the way to traction control and launch control tuning functions.

The new 450 is a complete re-design for 2023. Photo: Yamaha

Yamaha gave the 450 a new frame, too, saying the “completely redesigned aluminum bilateral beam frame provides just the right amount of strength and flex for the perfect balance of stability and cornering performance.” The proof of this claim will come on the racetrack, of course, but it’s good to see Yamaha putting the effort into matching a chassis to its new powerplant.

Elsewhere, the YZ450F gets a new front brake, tighter/more compact bodywork and plenty of other updates to make this machine all-around better for 2023. Asking price starts with a $11,999 MSRP; more details at Yamaha’s website.

Yamaha’s quarter-litre two-stroke doesn’t get the same amount of changes as the big 450 four-stroke, but it is retuned for its role in cross-country competition, with a few new parts added. Photo: Yamaha

Yamaha YZ250X

This two-stroke machine is aimed at cross-country competition, and gets updates aimed specifically at that style of racing. The single-cylinder engine gets a CDI and Yamaha Power Valve System tuned for cross-country, and this 250 also gets some other engine internals overhauled with an eye towards woods riding, away from the fast-shooting action of motocross, the original arena the YZ250 was designed for.

Yamaha also gave this bike new brakes and new bodywork for 2023; the suspension is re-worked, and there’s even a new seat. MSRP is $9,499. Find out more at Yamaha’s website.

Yamaha YZ125X

There’s a stereotype that 125s are small-bore machines for kids, but the YZ125 series has been working against that stereotype for many years. This X-series model is aimed at cross-country competition, and comes with quite a bit of modification to get to that point. The engine is overhauled for more mid-range and top-end power. Yamaha says “Every functional part of the engine is new, including the cylinder, cylinder head, piston, piston pin, connecting rod, crankcase and expansion chamber all adding up to increased power.”

The YZ125X returns for its first-ever model overhaul, with more significant updates than its 250 big brother. Photo: Yamaha

There’s a new carb, re-tuned power valve and CDI system, and revised intake. The rest of the bike sees similar improvements; new brakes, new rims, new suspension, new plastics. Yamaha appears to be quite invested in bringing this model forward; it’s the first full model update for the YZ125X, and they tweaked just about every system on the bike. Maybe there’s more of a market for a lightweight Japanese woods bike than the suits initially realized? The X-series machines aren’t true enduro bikes, but they’re closer than the MX lineup. Given the amount of YZ125-to-woods-bike conversions done over the years, it should be no surprise that people want to buy these.

MSRP for the YZ125X is $8,399; see it Yamaha’s Canadian website.

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