Convenient tunability is a big plus, given that the basic engine package is a good one—and the new 449cc powerplant for 2018 looks to be very good indeed. The distinctive Yamaha single with its rearward-slanted cylinder design features an all-new, lighter cylinder head with improved air flow, and the cylinder slant is more upright to work with the bike’s updated frame for optimized weight distribution. More aggressive camshaft profiles, a new crankshaft, a stronger, high-compression “box bridge” piston design with a DLC-coated (Diamond-Like Carbon) piston pin, and new 44mm Mikuni throttle body are some of the major highlights. Upgrades were also made to the gearbox and clutch and now there’s also a compact starter motor located right behind the cylinder for convenient push-button starting—no kickstarter assembly! The starter’s powered by a high-capacity ultra-lightweight lithium-ion battery for minimal weight.