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Archive for May, 2007

May 23, 2007

What meets the Eye

Man, it is hard to believe we’re coming into June. Another three months and I’ll be writing about sled prep, snow predictions and reacting to the double page advertising spreads that will surly be forthcoming from our ‘weight-focused’ competitors.

I must admit I find it frustrating when they don’t speak to their product strengths without throwing tongue-in-cheek jabs, belittling us. I remember my first reaction last fall when I saw the picture of of buddy piling on the dumb-bell weights to the front of his sled sitting right beside a new Apex RTX … ‘Play Fair’ it read… yeah right, let me write some cutesy ad copy, two can play that game… then I took a big breath. Hey we obviously got somebodies attention, now didn’t we? Why else would they invest hundreds of thousands of $$ to smear what they insist is a poor, heavy under performing 4-stroke unless they were uh, hmmmmm …. OK, lets wait and see how the people react to the bashing. Ahh, they didn’t buy it neither, lots of chuckles but not many ‘converts’, at least our sales continued to grow. (Thanks, I feel better now!)

The competitive spirit in me resides like a little devil on my shoulder shouting in my ear… “Bring Pistons and Rings”, fight fire with fire, hit’em where it hurts!! but alas, no. We won’t go there, not cool… must play nice... Rats!

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Posted @ 2:17 pm in Yamaha Insights   

May 15, 2007

Run Hard and Put Away Wet

I have often referred to myself in the context of the above title, 40 years of motorsports will do that to a fellow but when it comes to my sled this is not how it should be done. There are many different things you can do to ensure youbearing.jpgr snowmobile emerges from storage in the fall, fires up at a glance and delivers continued reliability year after year (providing of course, you have a Yamaha to begin with 😉 ). There are several things to keep in mind when you prepare for summer storage. Considering the basics, moisture is our most common enemy followed by residual contaminants, critters including insects and the elements.

I’ll start with moisture: condensation occurs in the fuel tank when the gas comes in contact with air (which contains water) and temperature change. You have two options, get rid of the fuel or minimize air contact by filling the tank. I prefer the latter with the caveat of understanding and planning for the possibility of fuel evaporation and the resulting fire potentials. You need to ensure some ventilation and protect from spark or flame. Moisture is present in the chassis. Be sure to grease all the pivot points liberally until the nasty ‘spooge’ is purged and you see fresh clean grease coming out of the ends, (wipe off the excess). Chances are your seat has absorbed a couple pounds of water which will slowly ferment over the summer months. I suggest you remove it and put it away somewhere warm and dry. Good old WD40 (water displacing) makes for a great chaser, I hose down the whole sled with the stuff, avoiding the drive belt and purty parts. Depending where you elect to store the unit and ambient conditions it will be exposed to, the choice of cover is quite important. I have seen sleds shrink-wrapped in plastic like a boat… bad idea. This seals the moisture in as well as out, a good cover needs to breathe while repelling the worst of the elements. If you must use a plastic tarp try to leave some air-space around the machine.

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Posted @ 10:46 am in Yamaha Insights   

May 8, 2007

Nytro Fuel Injection basics

Upon logging onto my email this morning I discovered some tragic news. An old friend, CJ Ramstad and his son JJ were killed in a head-on auto crash this past Sunday in Minneapo0lis. You probably know CJ most recently from his ramblings in Supertrax (Tailights) and ATV magazines or perhaps his amazing collection of vintage snowmobile photography accumulated throughout his long career in photojournalism. CJ has been a true supporter and activist for all things snowmobile for many years. Our deepest condolences from all of us here at Yamaha go out to his wife Karla and family.

On a lighter note, I have received a couple of inquiries regarding the fuel injection system and chain case on the new FX Nytro. Here’s some details on the FI layout, I’ll get some additional explanation on how it all comes together when next I have a chance to speak with our engineers.

picture1.jpgThe FI system is from Mikuni. It is described as a ‘return-less’ fuel system and features six sensors. They are: intake temperature, intake pressure, coolant temperature, throttle position, crankshaft position, oil pressure. The fuel pump is enclosed within the gas tank.

The information from these sensors is sent to the ECU where the running condition is compared to the pre-programmed ‘mapping’ contained in the ECU chip-set. The mapping program consists of predetermined ‘instructions’ for every possible combination of operation. The ECU then adjusts ignition timing, fuel meter and air flow to optimize power.
picture2.jpg The chain case is redesigned for lighter weight and increased rigidity surrounding the main shaft. A bearing is added to the end of the main shaft (in the cover) to optimize the shaft support. The attached diagram shows the standard chain case (left) and rpicture3.jpgeverse gear type (right) with the new bearing seen in the lower right hand side of the cover.

To help keep the weight down, the cover is cast from magnesium alloy.

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Posted @ 12:48 pm in Yamaha Insights   

May 2, 2007

…And All thats to Come…

I’ll offer you a little Bob Dylan tune to hum while you read todays post …

And the first one now, Will later be last. For the times they are a-changin’.

There was a time when Yamaha, like most other companies could go about our business in a nice methodical fashion. We would produce and market our wares, then our service people would follow along quietly gathering and communicating information about the products performance to the mother ship. All of this unbeknown to you for the most part, until months later when a specification change would trickle down and on the following years model it would show up as standard. Something has happened that is changing all of this and you area big part of it.

The internet and what is being called the new web 2.0 experience, where people are not just downloading information, they are participating, uploading their thoughts and comments, taking part in a much larger ‘conversation’, one never before possible. We are part of a global community with a common interest in snowmobiles. The community by and large lives on self moderated ‘public forums‘ where many thoughts, ideas and questions are kicked around. The blogosphere is another important element in the new web and one which you are most likely now in the process of discovering but I digress…

What I really want to say is; I believe that companies like Yamaha, no longer have the luxury of time. Time to methodically digest and react to market information as we used to. Our customers voices have become too many and too strong not to acknowledge them in short order. But in reality our business model is like that of a huge ship in motion; it is not easily or quickly turned and once it starts to change direction there’s no turning back.

I received a comment from Turbocat over the weekend who took the time to carefully review his thoughts on our fuel capacity and market voice on the new sleds making specific reference to a Totallyamaha ‘poll’. I would like to address Tcats comment within this post.

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Posted @ 2:39 pm in Yamaha Insights