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Archive for June, 2007

June 21, 2007

Small Dog / Big Cat

Well today is the first day of summer; the summer solstice after which the days start getting shorter. This is about as a far away from winter as it gets!

I attended a meeting yesterday with representatives from the other OE’s and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. The OFSC has adopted the ‘Go Snowmobiling’ campaign which will focus on expanding their membership by engaging people who are open to trying snowmobiling and those that may have or still own an old sled but are not actively pursuing the winter recreational opportunities afforded by organized snowmobiling. They are planning a new fall trade show (with the full backing of all four manufacturers) in the GTA which will focus on giving lots of information and support to existing sledders as well as those interested in learning first hand what modern snowmobiling has to offer. Go Snowmobiling has also been employed in Quebec and is being considered by federations and associations all over North America. I look at this as positive in every respect. Obviously its good for business but more importantly we need to strengthen our numbers and our voice in order to survive and grow into the future.

There are many changes required to the infrastructure and business in order to meet the expectations of both existing, returning and new snowmobiler’s. From what I heard yesterday, the ‘Go Snowmobiling’ direction being taken by the OFSC is very much on track to achieving this. I’ll update you as we start to get wheels on this thing and grab some traction.

There does seem to be lots of other little things going on in the industry and I’m not all that sure what it means. Our friends over at Skidoo just announced the production of their flagship performance model, the 1000cc Mach Z will be discontinued recommending their top performance customers purchase an 800, hmmmmmmm.

On the other hand Arctic Cat just pulled the sheets off a 1000cc ATV in what I’m told was a four wheeled smoke show at their recent dealer meeting. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

If this keeps up I could see a complete reversal in power trends where we’ll all be riding 250 cc sleds and 2 liter ATV’s, this really is a crazy business sometimes! For those of you who know me, I believe I have shown great restraint against my character by not making any further comments on either of the above topics, (I do have a small trickle of blood coming from my tongue)

Last week I posted some information on the Nytro MTX with the MC Xpress turbo. Randy shot me a link to a video clip showing some of the testing they are doing in Sweden. Now I’ve attended quite a few factory test sessions and I’m not so sure this clip is all that representative of what they were really trying to accomplish but it sure looks like fun. Check it out:

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Posted @ 10:16 am in Yamaha Insights   

June 13, 2007

Got Boost?

I was sent an update on the MC Xpress turbo development project for the new Nytro and I must saycomplete.jpg it’s looking really good. But before I give you the details I want to take a moment to tell you about my experiences last week with some other new Yamaha technology …

Every spring we bring all our district sales managers and technical service managers together at a quaint resort facility near Algonquin Park. The agenda annually fluctuates between meetings, networking and my fave; demo riding! We had a fleet of ATV’s to try out including the new Raptor 250 sport bike. The Big Blue Power Ride rig was there full of motorcycles and for the prop heads we had two new sport boats, the new minimalist F9.9 outboard and last but not least the new 350hp V8 four stroke outboard (more on this in a minute).

The ATV comparison which I found most interesting was riding two Grizzly 700’s back to back one with EPS power steering and one without. I am convinced that EPS is worth every nickel but the non EPS version got’er done as well. The simple assurance of being isolated from sudden kick-back from the handle bars (a common ATV trait) is a very worthy consideration. It was fun to jump across our motorcycle cruiser line starting with a V Star 11, then the 1300, to a Road Star finishing on my favorite, the XV 1900 Stratoliner. Johnny B our motorcycle product manger spotted me on the 19 and pointed to the new R1. ‘Hey Reid try an Apex on two wheels’, holy cow, that bike just keeps getting better, the EXUP throws down even quicker throttle response, my mind wanders to snowmobile… To cap it all I rode the MT01 home, what a cool ‘chunk’ that baby is (imagine strapping a small block Chev to an EZ boy recliner ;-)

Out on the water, I started on the squirt guns awaiting my turn in the big kahuna ‘Grady White off-shore boat rigged with the V8. The technology in this thing is stunning. Variable valve timing, exhaust surge chambers and an Ion sensor that sends information back to the ignition computer directly through the spark plug! Again I found myself thinking about sleds and muscle cars, and the beautiful music resonating from the double quad banks. Here is a technology that takes the ‘detonation sensor’ to a whole new level. Instead of ‘feeling the vibration‘ in the engine cylinder testing.jpgblock caused by detonation, we can now measure each cylinders running condition right a the point of ignition. This could conceivably allow the engine designers to push performance to a whole new level. What a great device to apply to turbo charging which brings me back to the Nytro. In Sweden, MC Xpress turbos have been hard a t work building up an FX Nytro MTX for testing prior to manufacturing their next generation turbo kits. There is a PDF document originating from Erik, floating around on the net which was sent to me and I thought I would share a few pics and comments with you

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Posted @ 1:34 pm in Yamaha Insights   

June 4, 2007

Waiting For Winter

Well here we are, first week of June, entering on the heals of several sweltering May-days in southern Ontario, record-breaking temps in towns like Sudbury and ‘don’t breath the air’ smog warnings from Environment Canada. Screw it… Today I am going to fill my water bottles from the tap and ride my bicycle 55km over the rolling back-roads to my home. It’s not much different than the sno-mo game where we load up and go regardless of the weather man. It’s better to ride and suffer some adverse conditions than not ride at all.

lake.JPGLike many who live and work in proximity to Toronto, my family awaits the weekend escape to our small cottage ‘up north’. The air is breathable, the water is clean and the bugs are… lets just say, abundant. I will be burning up my holidays, by working short weeks at the office and stretching the long weekends into full weeks off. I plan to maintain the blog with weekly posts but if I miss an entry, not to worry it only means I was delayed, massaging a cold one on the end of my dock, listening to the loons and thinking about where I plan to ride next winter…

I want to acknowledge those of you who are regular visitors to this blog and thank you for your words of support and encouragement. It is your comments that have held my interest and fueled my desire to remain active in the Blogosphere without your input and response I may as well be talking to a rock, which I would not be willing to do for long. (I get bored very easily!).

I was reviewing the blog comments and realized there are a few which have been left hanging so I’ll make it a point to address them over the next few posts. I think the timing is ripe to talk a bit about racing. Glenn D asked me for some details on Tozawa-sans sled and as many of you have heard, Robbie Malinowski under the Boss umbrella has left Team Yamaha.

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Posted @ 9:51 am in Yamaha Insights