Sport ATV of the Year: Awards

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
When it comes to Sport ATVs, the Yamaha YFZ450R reigns supreme

When we began looking into the sport market for a viable candidate to carry the torch of Sport ATV of the year for, it was not a difficult search. The sport class at 450cc or above has all but been abandoned by every ATV manufacturer except one. Generally, when we consider a best of the best machine, it means that there could be competition of which this model and displacement category has none.

Our 2020 choice for Sport ATV of the year is the Yamaha YFZ450R. This championship-winning ATV has stood in the forefront of a segment and blends the swift, agile handling with a stout engine platform to rule those treelined trails or wide-open dunes. The YFZ450R, assembled in Newnan Ga., brought many into the sport of racing and to this day, still dominates that racing lifestyle. The 449cc liquid cooled four stroke revs quick and the five titanium valves riding Yamaha’s Dual Overhead Cam set up in that big single help this heavy hitter to get there.

2020 Yamaha YFZ450R Engine

Building power throughout the rpm range, this 450 is known for that high-end rumble and stout acceleration both on and off the track. Dumping the multi-plate slipper clutch sends the engine into orbit through one of the five gears available. Putting the power to the ground requires traction and this is where Yamaha’s partnership with Maxxis tires has sealed the deal for many years.

When you speak of the YFZ450R in terms of suspension its heritage of professional track dominance gives you evidence that even right out of the box, this machine really handles well. The predictability of the chassis is why championship-winning teams have relied on it for many years for straight line whoop penetration to hard level cornering capability. Looking at the Kashima coated piggyback shocks, many may not realize that these are not just another “factory” shock. The shock spring preload adjustments and tuning capability of this dampening system include high, low compression adjustability as well as rebound adjustments. Getting the Yamaha YFZ450R tweaked to your riding style is just a matter of trial and error on the rider’s part using these incredibly advanced shocks.

2020 Yamaha YFZ450R Action

When you look at the styling of the Yamaha YFZ450R, you find sleek lines and sharp edgy designs to help every rider feel as if the competition is going to be shredded when they pull onto the track. The color combinations and special edition packages give riders a sense of separation from the pack both on and off the track. That confidence inspiration is what Yamaha has done well and continues to provide for its consumers from coast to coast and around the world!

Overall, the fact that the Yamaha YFZ450R is still the top all around Sport ATV, as well as a proven champion, gives us a substantial lean into its camp. However, the fact that Yamaha is keeping the higher displacement category of the Sport ATV segment alive is a testament to Yamaha’s devotion to you the quad rider and that should be appreciated by all of us.

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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