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Archive for October, 2007

October 30, 2007

Yamaha Snowmobiles, Don’t Phaze Me!

The OMP project, part two.

continued from “A Proto-type Yamaha and Nytro Stuff”

In 1992 we released the Vmax4 which largely overshadowed another significant new model, the Enticer II. The newest ET replaced the original long track, leaf spring version with a progressive TSS chassis and 408cc f/c engine. The sled did a lot of things well but the price gap between the Bravo 250 and ET-II increased, leaving quite a hole in our line.

We needed a work sled to sell for under six grand Canuck (in the mid to late 90’s)

The OMP concept went back to using a high tensile steel chassis (instead of more expensive aluminum). It incorporated asled-engine-low.jpg simple leading arm from suspension and our existing long travel Pro-Action skid. The 408cc engine in the ETII had morphed from the noisey 400 which was punched out of the original 340. And it had become a little pricey with its ‘finicky’ Tei-Kei carburetor, as first seen on the Ovation.

We planned to use the original ET340 motor with it’s Mikuni carb, breathing through an air-box which doubled as the steering gate. The idea of designing a single part to perform multiple functions was a key focus to reduce cost…

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Posted @ 2:58 pm in Yamaha Insights   

October 26, 2007

A Prototype Yamaha and More Nytro Stuff

An ‘Enticing’ Sled That Never Was…

Scott reminded me in a comment that I had promised to post about some proto machines and development from the past. Well- I was sifting through my desk and stumbled across a project that holds fond memories for me and some frustration. But before I get into that heres a couple of things hot off the press.

The snowmobile accessories guys have finished developing the new ‘Ultra Plates’ for the Nytro MTX. And looking at the pics, it is easy to understand the impact this will have on the sleds flotation in the deep stuff not too mention the added protection in the event of ‘contact’. The Ultra Plate works in conjunction with a new front grab-bar to offer maximum coverage. The boys are working up the pricing and dealer info as I write this. We’ll have more info up on the YMCA and YMUS web-sites in the near future.

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Speaking of the MTX. The western guys always get first kick at the snow and this year’s no different. Here is a post of some first impressions and pictures from Turbo-Tim and his Nytro MTX over on SnoWest. Now I know, he’s just started his honeymoon with the virgin Nytro which may explain some of the ‘ride impressions’ but hey its nice to hear from someone who’s getting a little…time in the saddle.

The prototype I am going to tell you about came around ten years ago. I was very close to this one and was actually assigned as a ‘gaikokujin’ project leader …

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Posted @ 9:22 am in Yamaha Insights   

October 23, 2007

It’s Snowing

…But I’m Not Going.

In the comments on my post Yamaha Prototypes in Show I mentioned we had an old sled in need of a good home. Well Dave T stepped up from the Antique and Classicrick-i.jpg Snowmobile Club with a posting to the membership at large. I was quite pleased to hand over the old girl to Rick I. He has approximately 40 old sleds in various states of repair (apparently with room for one more). He felt our old SL would be a perfect candidate for restoration. We were both surprised when she fired up on the second pull especially considering it hasn’t run for at least two years. Heres a pic of Rick just prior to loading it into the back of his truck (under its own steam).

The sled was originally owned by Ian Mead and spent its whole life on Crane Lake near Parry Sound ON. It served Ian well as he passed it down to his daughters to use before giving it back to Yamaha after over 30 years of service, thanks Ian what a great ending for your trusty old sled!

I received an email this morning from one of my old pals at YMUS. Tom Moats has been with Yamaha forever and is one of the nicest fellows you’ll ever meet. He works side by side with YMC engineering field staff, co ordinating much of our testing duties with the rest of the team from the MTC.

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Posted @ 2:51 pm in Yamaha Insights   

October 18, 2007

Yamaha Snowmobile Updates and Information

 

…And The Big Wheels Keep On Turning

In my post ‘Careful What You Ask For’ I promised to give you some update info on the 07 sleds including the Phazer’s. This has taken some time to ‘green light’, as service issues often do.

What we refer to internally as ‘counter-measures’ come about through a series of events. In a nut-shell, we rely heavily on market-reports generated by our regional service people working with our dealers. The ‘litmus test’ is found in the warranty claims history of the various models. Our factory service people monitor all the data and work closely with engineering to first analyze the information for cause and result then take action. Seems simple enough but there are many factors involved complicating the procedure and taking up time. (more on this in another post)

We have learned over the years– rushing forward with a knee jerk solution can create bigger liabilities long term. I am thinking about the 87 Exciter and the conversion to round slide carburetors as one example (some of you might remember that one).

Counter measures generally fall into a couple of categories…

Factory Recalls: which are serious, often safety related, ‘must-do’ modifications or updates that apply to all or a specific serial number range and are filed with the federal government to whom we must show a very high percentage of completion.

Update modifications: where all units may be affected but the modification doesn’t involve safety or reliability. The decision becomes your choice whether you would like to have it performed. or not.

So here’s my caveat, most of the following information is currently being finalized before being distributed to our dealer network, not all dealers may have received bulletins yet so please don’t blind side them with pointed inquiries. We just wanted you to know some of what’s coming down the pipe.

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Posted @ 2:42 pm in Yamaha Insights   

October 15, 2007

Snowmobile Accessories

Don’t Leave Home Without It…

I have had a some inquiries to update our new accessories. Terry wanted to know about the fuel caddy / soft luggage from the ‘Getting Tanked With a Buddy’ post.

Heres’ the pic’s I was given this morning. Evidently you don’t need to drill holes as they have used some existing ones to fasten the bracket.

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I like the option of carrying fuel and / or gear. The bracket will add strength and rigidity to the bag. I can see one pail of gas, two pairs of socks, spare ‘gitch, toothbrush and a handful of trail maps… gid’y’up.

A couple of other last minute items are also available. New tank bags for Nytro and Apex:

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And some sport luggage:

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These should all be up on our Yamaha Motor Canada web-site with more details and pricing in the next few days. I also spoke with Chris at Tour Buddy and he should have his first production roto-molded tank for the Nytro this week. I’ll get some pics of that for you as well.

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Posted @ 10:46 am in Yamaha Insights   

October 11, 2007

Snowmobile Suspension Shocks

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

There is an interesting debate that has been going on inside of our planning circle for some time. The basis surrounds the different snowmobile riding conditions in each country. For example in the mid west and northeastern USA, there are lots of people riding on fewer trails than in Ontario and Quebec, where in Europe the trails seldom if ever get groomed.

The Americans tend to push for tight ‘bump sleds’ with stiff suspensions because their trails are generally rough and beaten out where the Canadians lean towards more comfort in the bumps with superior high speed handling prowess. Then the European’s take whatever we make and ramp up the springs and damping if not swapping out the shocks entirely for something stiffer again… What we see happening more and more are snowmobiles calibrated differently for each market application. Europe has had premium Ohlins on select models going right back to the Exciter days. You might recall my post on Yamaha snowmobile design ‘Twin Peaks’.

I received an interesting photo yesterday of an old acquaintance of mine who is one of the top snowmobile suspension experts at Ohlins in Sweden. He is seen here holding some of the latest technology to come out of this world leader in shock absorber technology.

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Posted @ 8:58 am in Yamaha Insights   

October 9, 2007

Yamaha Prototypes in Show

We Canadians just celebrated our Thanksgiving weekend. I spent mine with my family at the cottage, boating and ATV’ing during breaks from the turkey table. All my cottage pals have the same top of mind awareness this time of year… you guessed it… snowmobiling.

We just completed the first of a trilogy of new video ads which focus on Yamaha products within the current season. This first one covers some wheels and props (but no tracks). I posted it on YouTube to share on SledTalk. An interesting suggestion arose from same. ‘Huggy B’ is thinking we should select some customers for our next shoot and show them with their own sled, bike etc. What do you think? We would probably have to limit candidates to those within a reasonable distance from our office in Toronto but then again we could consider a ‘contest’ and cover the travel expenses in for the shoot. Here’s a look at the first clip:

Anybody want to be in a Yamaha commercial? For the record, it pays in Tim-Bits and swag only! An interesting Yamaha concept vehicle has hit the net with a press release regarding the upcoming Tokyo auto show. (more…)

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Posted @ 12:55 pm in Yamaha Insights   

October 4, 2007

OK Mom, Spare Me No Mercy!

I think I’ll start this weeks post off with a little ‘feel good’ quote from a recent ISMA press release:

“The 2007-2008 weather outlook for North America, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, is for a colder than normal winter for much of North America with snowier than normal conditions expected. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Mother Nature is going to keep many of us on our toes. The Almanac promises a change from last year. The Almanac goes on to report that Mother Nature will be showing little mercy and the temperatures should begin to drop soon, with snow to follow.”

On that happy note I want to get caught up on some issues previously brought forth here on SledTalk . A little fall cleaning, so-to-speak.

I first became aware of the need for a Nytro tow hitch when ‘Yellowknife’ made clear his disappointment of no hitch being available both here and over on Totalyamaha. Upyamaha-nytro-tow-bumper-reinforcing-plate.jpg dsc00738.JPGwhere he rides, he has no option but to pull a sleigh at times and it became obvious others had the same need. We now have a prototype design ready for testing which looks pretty good to me with a tunnel reinforcement plate and sturdy looking hitch all made out of aluminum (except the hinge-tab)

I was kind of surprised how many people reacted to the post on the Vmax4 development story. I had several folks wanting to get an idea of how many we produced. This made sense to me from a collectors POV as it’s kind of nice to know if you own something of a rarity. Funny side-bar to the post, Tim Chelli a senior manager here, had worked closely on the OMU project with me. He got the bug from the blog and went out last week and bartered with a neighbor… he is now the new owner of a Vmax4 slightly in need of some TLC. Tim also dug up a very cool article printed in Japan by a popular Road and Track style car mag. They go into great detail on the development which you can read in the attached documents. As far as the production numbers go I have included…

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Posted @ 8:48 am in Yamaha Insights