Okay; so when did Yamaha first start seriously developing 4-stroke snowmobiles?
It all started in the late 70’s when Toshi Yasui mounted a ‘peaky’ 400cc motorcycle engine (to better mirror a 2-stroke) in an Enticer but we didn’t get too serious until 1991. Kenny Takada (best known as project leader of the Vmax4) working closely with R&D Minnesota (now defunct) under Greg Marier’s management modified a 400cc 4-cylinder motorcycle engine to mount into a Venture XL chassis prepared by Greg’s group. This project evolved the following year when Kenny developed a 600cc 4-stroke with the addition of a gear reduction system to deal with the high RPM crankshaft mated with a YXR centrifugal drive. This was dropped into an Exciter II , TSS chassis.
I thought I would venture into the land of new technology and try to explain how some of our new 4-stroke features work then sprinkle in a previously unannounced specification or two. This week I’ll start with one I found intriguing. What we have referred to as the EBRS or engine brake reduction system. I did a little research and discovered a little more than meets the eye. The engine braking control is actually only part of a new system called ISC (Idle Speed Control). The heart of which is an electronically controlled air-valve in the intake tract, which has the ability to override the throttle setting to control idle speed as determined and executed by the ECU (digital ignition /engine control module).
I had the opportunity to proof read the next issue of Horizons magazine today which will be going to print shortly. Our editor, ‘Huggy B’, is doing a great job of late with the content. I actually found myself getting absorbed in the articles forgetting to pay attention to the grammar, spelling and accuracy, which was the purpose of me reading it in the first place.
I was happy to see he found some space for one submission from this blog, (see post: 40th Swag for Your Tale). There were several good submissions which we narrowed down to these two which as far as I am concerned are both winners but we only had space to print one, so here they are. Be prepared to get ‘BOUNTYSIZED‘ 😉
The chosen entry:
What a great story and a great site, nice to see that the powers above live and breath “YAMAHA” like some of us consumers. (ed: flattery will get you everywhere!!! 😉 )
Growing up as a kid I lived for snowmobiling all year long, When I saw my 1st Yamaha Snowmobile in 1969 I was hooked. After absolutely hounding my parents for this sled they finally gave in and we were the proud owners of a SL351 from Northwest Cycle, that was the beginning of a long term, love relationship with Yamaha snowmobiles. I remember driving it with my dad supervising me; man, how I wanted to gun it and let it rip, all 24hp. I believe I’ll never forget pulling in to gas up and everyone else was waiting their turn to use the single steel gas can so they could mix their fuel. My dad just popped open the gas cap and filled it up,. I was so proud as the on-lookers just seemed to be amazed by this ‘just add fuel’ process.
Yamaha has led the rest with many many firsts and I’ve been on board the whole time, I’m still as proud today of Yamaha as I was back some 38 Years ago.
Thank you Yamaha for bringing the FUN FACTOR into my Winters.
…Larry D Lagergren
…and the runner up from Glenn…
My first encounter with a Yamaha snowmobile (any snowmobile for that matter) came when my dad bought a brand new El 433B. I was only a little kid but I remember riding along as a passenger, in front, clinging to the cowling for dear life while two-stroke smoke and the snow zipped by. Being too small to see anything but a close-up view of the intake system, I learned from the sound of the engine when I had to hold on tight and when I could relax to enjoy the ride. When it was time to go, I always got to press the electric start.
Its been a couple of decades between then and now but I still get the same feelings when I turn the key of my Nytro as I did back then. Excitement, adventure, freedom, the only difference is now I get to see where I’m going and of course, I get to drive.
Glenn Deveraux |
...Thanks ever so much for the smiles guys, I’ll be in touch to get your shipping address for some well deserved swag… cheers cr
The OFSC hosted, stakeholder meetings turned out to be quite interesting and invoked a lot of thought for me. I won’t get into the actual brainstorming topics and facilitation. Instead I’ll cut to the chase.
Snowmobile demographics (you and I) are getting older every year as we near the end of the boomer generation and there are very few new people choosing to enter in. There are many sports and activities competing for consumer time and money and frankly we (the snowmobile industry) have done a very poor job in describing for them, the benefits and enjoyment associated with snowmobiling.
Snowmobile sales have been in a slow state of decline over the last decade. Meanwhile our sleds are becoming more powerful and expensive every year. We’ve watched as the market center has moved from 80hp to 110hp to130hp machine average. As an industry in a quest for more sales, we have inadvertently positioned snowmobiling as being all about high performance and speak largely to a pure ‘motor-head’ audience. A ‘mine is better than yours’ mentality generally measured by 5 mph at the end of a lake prevails.
Guess what? New snowmobilers don’t see sledding the same way most of us do! What they see is a ‘winter activity’ not a sport. The focus of this activity is on being outside enjoying winter (nature) with family and friends. The snowmobile itself is the vehicle that will provide the access but it is not the entire essence of the attraction. (Bummer eh!)
I think you should check out the latest article on the Supertrax website. The link is below. You’ll be very impressed with the response Mark had about the new 2008 Yamaha line up. I know I’m sold, and you can be sure our 2008 press sleds will have even more miles racked up at the end of the season, and possibly a few extra air miles on the FX Nytro!
… Too late AJ, I was on the Supertrax site yesterday reading the Yamaha review, also noticed one of the guys posted a link on Totalyamaha and there is a good thread growing from there. We really appreciate the positive coverage, especially coming from the Supertrax crew as you guys aren’t afraid to call ‘em as you see ‘em. I’ll make sure Jon reserves a Nytro RTX with your name on it, (btw, we have an awesome frequent flyer program ) … cheers cr
Back in the office and man sometimes I think, as they say, it really ‘doesn’t pay to go away’.
The 2006 final industry numbers are in and Canada overall is up over last year. This fact overlaid with recent survey data I collected, where over 200 snowmobiler’s told me they intend to ride the same amount or more in the future (not one indicating they were quitting the sport), bodes very well for the health of the industry here in Canada. There is so much doom and gloom with regards to global warming; it’s really hard not wearing the long face and thinking about replacing my sled with a WaveRunner.
I received a little clip of Jimmy Blaze on the ‘rev limiter’ out in Revelstoke courtesy of Brent Viedeman of Far West Films. The story as I heard it, he under-rotated on his first attempt and landed on the lid. He took a look at the instant replay on Veedy’s vid-cam then went right back out and ‘stuck’ several in a row. This was not performed on a ramp. The boys shoveled a little snow to set up the launch and the rest is natural. Please ‘don’t try this at home kids’. Jimmy is one-of-a-kind and not to be replicated by any mortal. He also voids all warranty 🙂
I had to smile because the transition (landing area) as I recall it ran off down the side of the mountain, don’t know where the Phazer ended up but it appears to be ghost riding home!
This was Jimmy’s first trip to Revelstoke for our annual Yamafest and he says he’s coming back with his ‘posse’ from Alaska for a little fun and free-styling next winter. If you like this action check out ‘Boost’ the movie… Thanks Brent
I was trying to muster some creative thoughts for the blog this morning, through a fog of jet-lag when I received a motivational email from David Stepaniak reporting on his weekends ride in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
You may have read a little of David’s story in an earlier post comment. He was in a terrible motorcycle accident a couple of years ago which left him with a Ti rod in one leg and an amputation of the other. His courage and love for sledding has put him back in the saddle this season and as you can see by the pics he’s still going hard. David you are truly an inspiration for all of us and we’re proud to have you on board!
Check out his ride report and pictures. If you have any additional words of encouragement for David please feel free to leave a comment…
We have had an interesting trip to Japan so far and even more interesting product planning meetings. The past season of late / low snow has left the industry with swollen inventories. This is having a major impact on our strategy. Sales in the USA have taken a bigger hit than any of the other reporting countries. The only real growth and a big eye opener, happening in Russia. Victor Soloviev our Russian Product Manager brought some interesting data to the table (along with some very dangerous vodka!).
Russia reminds me a lot of how it was in Canada in the early 70’s. There are no dedicated trails, no regulations and no infrastructure, which is all about to change as more and more sleds are being sold. Their market is also evolving from utility based towards more performance with a preference for mountain models. For perspective; in 2003 total sales in Russia were just over 2000 units and this year they approached 15,000. There are two domestic manufacturers added to the big 4 you are familiar with plus Lynx meaning there are seven brands competing there.
Snowmobile for Yamaha Russia, is their biggest product group outselling motorcycles and ATV’s. Again, it wasn’t that long ago when Yamaha Canada could say the same thing.
Listening to Victor’s accounts it sounds like ‘Wild Wild West meets the Sopranos’ in Siberia.In the northern areas there are few roads and no trails, local sledders pack their weapons with camping gear then set-off cross country. I am hoping I get the chance to visit Victor some day to experience his market and culture.
Our engineers have been running 130% and prepared some very nice prototypes for us to test, leading us out as far as 2011.(more…)