When it comes to toys for big girls and boys, nothing tops the sheer thrill of full-bore dirt biking. From hitting mud puddles to blazing new off-road trails and professional dirt bike tracks, it’s everything an all-terrain vehicle can offer but amped up and much more personal.
Surprisingly, they are even safer; a Johns Hopkins Medical School study found that riders in ATV crashes were 50% more likely to be killed compared to similar accidents on a 2-wheeler. Part of the reason is less helmet use and motorcycle apparel on 4-wheelers, but even accounting for that they were far more dangerous – probably because of a combination of factors, including the weight of the vehicle and better maneuverability by the dirt bike.
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Yet there are ways to increase not only safety, but performance, comfort, and aesthetics, without sacrificing the quality of the ride – or your wallet. Dirt bike enthusiasts usually mod their bikes to match the riding conditions as well as their personalities, and there are many ways you can turn your stock rig into a dirt-eating machine with genuine Yamaha YZ450 parts. Here are the top 3 mods for Yamaha YZ450 dirt bikes that won’t cost you your arm, leg or any other assorted body parts.
3. Power Up That Exhaust
The stock YZ450 muffler isn’t that bad, really, but it definitely can sound better, and a high-performance exhaust system will add noticeable horsepower. The original muffler is designed more for quiet operation than buffing your torque, yet in critical moments getting a 10% power boost can be the difference between winning the race and coming in whatever comes after first (does it matter?).
2. Top-Quality Sprockets and Chains Are Worth Every Penny
Sprockets are often the last thing dirt bike riders think about, but it matters, especially for heavy use. Lightweight sprockets eat up engine torque less than steel ones, but their teeth grind down much faster. The simplest solution is to buy a hybrid sprocket that uses steel or an alloy for the teeth, while the inner portion is aluminum to shed unnecessary weight.
Another issue is that a standard chain can become useless – even smoked – within 8 hours of demanding use. O-ring chains last longer, but a high-quality “gold” chain sets the standard for racing and getting the full braaap.
1. Hand Guards Are Your Best Friend
Most riders have a fond attachment to their fingers (at least one of them), and studies show that keeping all 10 can have advantages in life. If you haven’t occasionally laid down your bike, you’re not riding it right, and that’s a fantastic time to have handguards. They not only look sweet and prevent losing a hand, but they also help maintain control by protecting against a debris strike and keep roost from knocking your grip loose. Backcountry riding is also susceptible to low-hanging branches ripping at your hands, and the guards are designed to take all the beating, so you don’t have to.
With the right combination of aftermarket tweaks and genuine Yamaha parts, you can create a souped-up, mud-munching dirt bike – and look good doing it. When you’re ready to get serious about playing around – and build a ride that expresses your individuality and spirit of adventure – check out these and other beefy mods for your bike.
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