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Smartphone-based engine tuning app | NEWS

Fancy taking your 2018 YZ450F to your Yamaha dealer to get it tuned? No need – there’s an app for that

When Yamaha whipped the covers off its new-for-2018 YZ450F ’crosser last month, it unveiled the world’s first production motocross bike to feature a smartphone-based engine tuning app.

A tuning app doesn’t particularly break new ground in motorcycle circles – the performance of the Zero line-up of electric bikes can be tweaked via an app, for example, in a bid to maximise their range.

However, this is the first time, certainly on a competition off-road machine, that tuning capabilities have been put in the hands (and pockets) of the rider via their phone.

Yamaha’s Power Tuner smartphone app is a completely wireless set-up that talks to the bike’s ECU via an on-board wi-fi system, and it’s far more sophisticated than the simple three-way map selector we’ve become accustomed to on Yamaha’s roadbike range.

The new system is based on the company’s GYTR Power Tuner, a handheld device that plugs into the ECU and gives the user the ability to tune the bike’s performance depending on factors such as track conditions and the rider’s experience.

This is the same GYTR Power Tuner that, for bikes built between 2014 and 2017, would set you back a bit over $420 as a genuine part from Yamaha. But for 2018, owners of the YZ450F get it built in as standard fitment, and a world of changeable parameters can now be accessed quite simply through a free app.

Welcome to the future.


The most significant offering of the app is the ability to minutely adjust the fuelling and ignition timing. You have two grids of 16 squares that all start on the base setting of zero. With throttle position represented on the vertical axis and rpm on the horizontal, the bottom-left corner represents low throttle opening (5%) and low engine speed (2000rpm) and the top-right square a larger throttle opening (75%) and a high engine speed (10,000rpm). Each box can be adjusted in up to 15 steps.


The app features a Log screen, which allows you to record information that is useful for improving your tuning capabilities in the future – or just for bragging rights. It’s here you can log the event you raced in, the condition of the track, the air temperature, the atmospheric pressure and where you finished. There’s a maintenance screen, too, which includes multiple trip meters to keep track of how many running hours the bike has on it, and boasts engine diagnostic capabilities.


Yamaha’s Power Tuner smartphone app can display all sorts of information from the motorcycle in real time. This means that your mechanic (or your mum) can be sitting in the pits and watching live technical readouts of what’s happening underneath you during a race. Information including engine speed (rpm), intake temperature, throttle position, coolant temperature and more can all be watched and monitored remotely.


By Kel Buckley