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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…

… ours but am having some difficulty sifting the data to get total world production figures . Here I can tell you what we sold in Canada:

Model Year

Model

CDN Volume

Longtrack

CDN Volume

1992

VX750S

804

0

0

1993

VX750T

500

0

0

1994

VX750U

295

VX750STU

99

1995

VX800V

351

VX800STV

99

1996

VX800W

226

VX800STW

75

1997

VX8A

52

bye-bye

0

This article was original printed in Car Styling Magazine (Japan) in March 1992. I had to break it into two documents to upload. I had forgotten about the wind tunnel testing using scale models and a lot of the design parameters, (wanna guess who the good looking poster boy pulling the trigger is?) nostalgia buffs enjoy.

bmaxa.pdf

bmaxb.pdf

Another request I am working on is an interview with Jimmy ‘Blaze’ Fejes who, for those of you who don’t know, is on topymc-blaze2.JPG ymc-blaze.JPGof his game in freestyle sledding, weapon of choice, a supercharged Phazer 4-stroke. Jimmy holds the world record for the longest back-flip He is currently in Australia and I’ll be tracking him down to see what this years program is going to offer. Maybe a double back-flip?? Blaze was invited to our factory where he met with many of our key people. He has quite a global following with a jim1.jpglarge fan base in Japan. The first pic shows Blaze with Kojima, Noto andjim2.jpg ‘Ace’ Oyama, (Jim is the one in the flashy ‘capris’). Must’ve been a heck of briefing as I understand the new Phazer now runs exceptionally well on the rev limiter, while upside down for prolonged periods of flight. πŸ˜‰

Finally I was asked about my reference to QDR in the posts, ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ and ‘You can only have two’. Its a term YMC uses to describe a very important production goal and is our Yamaha mantra: Quality / Durability / Reliability. It is what ultimately distinguishes us from all others.

I find it quite interesting how the latest crop of sleds have evolved into very distinct segments and the marketing behind them. It’s a fair bet that any one of the new sleds from any manufacturer is completely worthy of ownership. Once it’s properly dialed in for your personal application it’s fair to say you could be happy with any of them (in a perfect world where nothing breaks or fails to deliver). Each OE has certain strengths, for Yamaha we are an engine builder first and foremost and we do it very well. We have hung our hats on our QDR in harmony with performance. No compromise to the QDR when the chips are down.

I see the current battle lines drawn with Doo promoting light-weight sizzle as the ‘holy-grail’… smart move on their part in the face of the 4-stroke competition. I’m the first to admit the four-stroke engine will always weigh more than an equivalent 2-stroke, thats the main advantage the 2-stroke has aside from being easier to design and cheaper to manufacture. Polaris has recently made a concerted ‘shift’ back to the days when Hall Wendall was driving the bus and Polaris maintained the best price-point / value line, probably a wise place to live for them considering the technical advances made by both BRP and Yamaha. Arctic is a little harder to read but I think their line is trying to offer everything to everyone but without a clear lead or statement in any particular category. This makes it more difficult to turn heads and distinguish their brand. And then there is Yamaha committed completely to 4-stroke and the promise of superior QDR.

I realize these are very broad statements but one thing I firmly believe; with todays better informed consumer and higher retail costs, QDR is becoming a much higher priority than in years past. Practically every ‘new’ Yamaha customer coming over from another brand cites QDR (4-stroke promise) as their primary motivator… but this should be no surprise to the rest of us ‘Yamaha faithful’… we figured that out a long time ago πŸ˜‰

Cheers

cr

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13 Responses to “OK Mom, Spare Me No Mercy!”

  1. snowmobile nitrous says:

    Great blog!! go yammie!

  2. Dustin says:

    Chris, I have a few questions, and I couldn’t find an email so I figured this was the next best place to post it.

    Why the lack of white trim accents? We have a white skid plate (which I’ve ordered) but no white ski loops or a-arm protectors? (Oh and I’m from the USA.)

    Any help would be great!

    And sorry if this is the wrong place to post it.

    Yo Dustin, I welcome all constructive comments. I have passed yours on to the P&A development guys for both Canada and USA (they work very closely together). They appreciate what you have asked and are looking into the possibilities. They must weigh the potential sales volume against the cost of production amortized with any future models (additional volume) that could benefit from the same parts, but hey, at least you got ’em thinking!! cheers cr

  3. Ike says:

    Ahh…

    Again, thank you for the info. But dig deeper if you can about the vmax-4 world production numbers. Thumbs up for the info sofar!

    Glad to hear that your friend Tim Chelli saw the light and salvaged of theese awesome sleds.

    Also, kudos for the hitch prototype for the Nytro FX. ItΒ΄s also needed here in Finland (on the MTX) where distances between gas stations are sometimes quite long…

    Ike

  4. YamahaPowerAllTheWay! says:

    That is some awesome info on the Vmax-4, it is one sled that I have and will never sell!

    Keep up the good work!!

  5. Mark the Shark says:

    Thank You for more Vmax-4 information. The magazine article and pictures were awesome! Any more info or pictures that you can post would be great.

    Shark

  6. DoktorC says:

    More fantastic info! I can see that in 15 years we’ll be reading about the development of the RX. Both sleds seem to have lead very similar lives lol. The 4 cylinders (in all iterations) seem to instill passion from their respective owners.

    well now Doc… I just hope I will still be part of the process πŸ˜‰ cheers cr

  7. dnr says:

    Good Show cr,
    Will say that QDR is the main stay for Yamaha, Toyota (etc.) and “My humble little 22 year old product”.
    Have you ever gone fishing and made a cathch of them all?

    The trophy is not in numbers here….
    I believe it’s in being satisfied.
    Sense of accomplishment.
    Smiling at the end of each product season.
    And 1 mile stone at a time.
    Being true in what we do.
    I sleep well at night, Thank you.
    Yamaha will easily be a part of my Grand- kids options.
    Hope I’m not too profound.

    I know where you’re going my friend,,,you construct a very high quality product. The Japanese call it ‘Kando’, I bet your old ET 250 still runs like top and is patiently waiting to make your grand kid(s) smile… cheers cr

  8. Tom M says:

    Hi, I enjoy sled talk but I was wondering why there is no mention of the Phazer (Venture) Multi-Purpose in any of the snowmobile mags.The MP is an impressive sled seeing how it can work,play and tour. Thanks Tom

    Good question Tom, the Venture MP isn’t even sold in the USA, and in Canada the mags all like to focus on the performance trail sleds primarily, (the more sizzle the better) it’s what they know best, what they ride and what sells ads and rags… The Venture MP was positioned to replace our old Venture TF (track flip-up) models which ran a 151 inch belt and was very popular in the east (Labrador / NF) and far north. This makes it kind of a ‘niche’ model and for the most part has yet to be discovered by the main-stream market. I concur, it is a very impressive and versatile sled (and one of our best kept secrets). You never know, maybe one of the editors will read your comment here and ask to borrow one this season for a test run.
    For the record, the MP differs from the Venture Lite with a 16×144 inch wide track, VK type wide skis, belly-pan plate and sturdy front bumper with a single seat and optional padded storage box / passenger seat. The front end is lowered a bit and stiffer calibration on the skid makes for better towing and load capability. If ever snowmobiling had a mid-size pick-up, comparison, the Venture MP would be it! Thx cr

  9. Yellowknife says:

    Really awesome news on the hitch Chris. Couldn’t been more impressed. This level of communication between the manufacturer and the consumer is excellent. Congrats on making it fly! -YK

    should be shipping a sample up to you this week for your test impressions… thanks for the ‘push’!… cheers

  10. Yellowknife says:

    The snow is falling, and the ice is thickening. Pending any warm spells, I should be riding and testing both the MTX and the hitch soon. My unit is expected this week. Doug says the hitch has arrived. You guys are awesome for doing this!

    Excellent, the only ice around here is in my glass of Cap’n Morgans!… keep us posted… cheers cr

  11. Hal Turner says:

    Chris,

    Are there any plans for hitches for phazers?

    By the way I love the blog. I have gone back and read every entry and I really enjoy them. It is really nice to have such open communication with a manufacturer.

    Have a great Christmas.

  12. Bruce Buhr says:

    I too am wondering about a hitch for my Phazer FX. I use this machine for many different purposes and winter camping and towing a sled are a lot of fun and I would love to be able to use my Phazer to do this.

  13. Luc Mayer says:

    I have a Venture (Phazer)Multi-purpose.Like the name says , I was looking for a sled that would be versatile.That it is. It has an very smooth ride , great torque , good floatation and traction , and supered fuel economy.The only complaint I have with the sled is the tremendous ice buildup in the tunnel and muffler area.I carry a rubber mallet in my emergency pack to knock ice out . From -10 Celcius, the ice accumulates proggessively worst as the temp. decreases.The dealer suggested I spray Pam in the tunnel.This is a snow machine , not a frying pan.Has anyone found a solution ? Is there a product out there to resolve this issue? Is Yamaha Canada aware of the problem?

    Luc, we are aware of ice buildup especially in colder temps, we have no solution from factory as yet for Venture, some dealers have installed exhaust pipe extensions to locate the tail-pipe outside of the tunnel, I have heard this works pretty well for tunnel icing. We’re watching this closely… thanks for the input cheers cr


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