Febvres Weapon – MotoHead

The guys over at motohead magazine might just be onto something very cool. Unlike mxlarge or some other websites, they are directing most of their energy into the bikes that are ridden by many of the readers. A really exciting new site, with some really cool ideas. Check out Dave Willet’s look at the fire breathing Yamaha YZF450 of Romain Febvre.

What a difference a season makes in motocross. Last year, Frenchman Romain Febvre burst into the MXGP class and wiped the floor with the opposition. Only moving up to MXGP from MX2 as his 23rd birthday fell on New Year’s Eve, Febvre started off well, improved hugely and ended up being dominant. A rookie world champ in the premier class doesn’t happen very often.

Well, history proves that in 2016, history did repeat itself. This time is was MX2 world champ Tim Gajser who moved up despite only being 19 years old, and he took the class apart. He won right from the start and broke new records as he won – a lot.

While Febvre took the challenge to the Slovenian at some of the rounds, he was far from the force he’d been a year earlier. Poor starts, crashes due to trying too hard and niggling injuries meant he wasn’t a match for the Honda rider at most tracks. Right until the end of the year, that is. Suddenly Febvre has a new drive, more confidence and pure speed again. That was proved at the Motocross of Nations where he helped France win for a third consecutive year. Febvre’s back, and looking good.

And after a test ride on his Nations-winning factory Yamaha YZF450 at Maggiora just two days after the historic win, it’s easy to see why. His bike is just incredible, as it was when we tested it last year. But Febvre reveals it’s a very different animal than it was just a few months ago. And that it’s taken a whole season of trial and error to get it back to being a potent race-winning and confidence-inspiring package again.

Download the MotoHead magazine below.

Apple App store:

Google Play store::

Amazon App store::


Romain Febvre and Jeremy Van Horebeek might be team-mates with access to identical bikes, but both machines are very different. While Febvre’s is neutral, smooth and not too stiff, Belgian Van Horebeek’s is set for his more aggressive riding style.

The suspension setup is firmer but is still actually really well balanced. In fact, I actually enjoyed riding this bike more! I think it’s because I’m heavier these days and I just felt comfortable on the bike due to the stiffer feel. The front forks instantly felt harder – very apparent before I even hit the track. It wasn’t an uncomfortably hard setup though.

I found the suspension and power complemented each other. Jeremy’s engine felt more punchy and even more torquey and with the suspension firmer, the two worked really well together. When you grab a handful of throttle and the bike wanted to fire you out the turn, the rear gripped and the suspension held up in the stroke. The bike has so much instant power that if the bike was set any softer, trust me you’d blow through the stroke. I found leaving the bike in third gear made it easier to ride. When I shifted down to second before a turn, the bike was pulling so hard out the turn I had to roll off the throttle or short shift up.

Stiff suspension means hard landing are no problem

It’s a bike that’s made for someone who rides with an incredibly aggressive style, and who has the skills and fitness to hold onto it. But that massive burst of power does make it fun to ride for mere mortals, too. And if you ride it in a gear higher, then use the torque and it’s fast and not too mad either. In fact, both Febvre’s and Van Horebeek’s bikes are effective race weapons that are just set up differently for different rider’s styles. And it’s this tailored, individual setup that is the real benefit of a factory bike.

Get on the power and the bike rips. Photos by Massimo Zanzani/ Yamaha