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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 …

I’ve said this before- Unlike the USA, Canada has a very diversified sled market. At one time nearly half our sled sales were classified as utility or ‘work’ machines. Yamaha, largely due to our build quality (and our dealerships), has maintained a great reputation in this market area where the top customer priority is ‘reliability’. During the early 90’s, we were watching our sales decrease in utility as we invested all our efforts into trail and performance. The gap between the 250 Bravo and Viking models widened every year as the Enticer T(trapper) slowly died.

We finally convinced YMC to develop a new mid-sized utility sled aimed directly at the Canadian market with some promise for Europe and Alaska. What we wanted was a simple, fan-cooled, fully suspended long track sled, that was inexpensive and bullet-proof. My presentation request focused largely on the fact that once built this machine could run ten years or more with no change or updates required. Think about any of the high-end trail sleds built in the last twenty years. On average they require serious investment every two years to keep selling.

We base all new model development on a two year amortization for tooling and design. Basically we must take the total cost of development minus the projected sales volume with landed cost price applied to break even.

Well our project didn’t make much sense if you looked only at the above formula with out projected sales volume over two years… but over ten years it became very feasible. I then added some model variations based on the new chassis and athumbs-up.jpg couple of engines to increase volumes and market applications. Things started to look pretty encouraging for the new sled code named OMP.

I racked up a lot of frequent-flier points in those first couple of years of development. Heres a photo of what almost came to be. I’ll give you some more explanations and photos if you like in my next post, just let me know if you’re interested.

cheers cr

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18 Responses to “A Prototype Yamaha and More Nytro Stuff”

  1. Bob Hogg says:

    Yes – more info please.

    For some of us it, would be hard to relate to your model as we only see sleds “on the trail”. Our perception of what looks good is cruising down the trail consumer orientated.

    We have no idea of what other markets would be available. Look at the cross section of ATV’s from fun, sport and hard work?

    As you mention your prototype would be more acceptable in Canada due to our northern rugged terrain, industry and government entities. In addition – it would work as a play vehicle if required.

    Cheers Bob … cr

  2. Carl says:

    Please tell us more. Always interesting to know what makes a bullet proof sled.

    Where is the prototype now? I would buy it. 😉

  3. Dustin says:

    How much difference is with these verses the one I’ve already had on order from YamahaUSA? And how much longer (roughly) until these are available? Might change my order to this one, if its worth it.

    Dustin, if you are referring to the MTX plates, I believe this could be what you have on order with YMUS,I’ll try to get an ETA, better check with your dealer in a few days on pricing etc.

  4. Don Southern says:

    Your Sled Talk is always an interesting read. When you post it is the first email that I open to see what else you want to share with all of the readers. It is great to have an insight of the developments that happen in a major company like Yamaha Canada. Your position to create such a blog was very bold but it only helps the people that stand on the other side of the fence to see a part of the amount of time involved in developing these projects. Please continue to share with this latest story and any others that would be allowed in your position at Yamaha.

    Thanks for your words of support Don. There is no question, we are breaking some new ground here on SLedTalk. It is a gamble (mostly that I don’t put my foot in ‘it’) on no problems for the company arising from my ramblings. I am fortunate to have the trust of some forward thinking management. Statements like yours go a long way in substantiating the risks. Honest and open communciation is a good thing. We are getting some good information back from many of you and I hope the ‘lurkers ‘are finding some useful info and perhaps a little entertainment to boot. So far / so good … cheers cr

  5. David says:

    Hey Chris,

    Great post on prototypes, I found it very interesting ! Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to see more of what could have been, and what is coming in the future. Now, on the topic of Ultraplates, any chance us flatlanders can get a peek of one installed on an RTX ? We’re patiently awaiting their arrival, but it never hurts to look, right ? And Thanks for the updates too, it’s very informative and very much appreciated !


    Thanks Dave, I’ll ask the P&A boys for pics

  6. Scott says:

    I think you had a great concept. Nothing can putt down a trail at slow speeds better than a simple, fan cooled sled. Over the years I’ve always had a late 80’s/early 90’s Polaris Trail Indy around just to use for chores, breaking trail around my property, and for giving the kids rides. The sleds are simple, durable, easy to repair, used parts are readily available and are compatible over many model years. I think a great concept for a new generation, lighter weight work sled would be a carbureted, air/oil or fan cooled 4-stroke in a basic, light weight chassis with a 16″ wide track. I wonder if the Ultramatic transmission out of a Grizzly would work in a sled? The constant belt tension and wet clutch should provide terrific belt life. I’m think with an automatic decompression system, dry sump oil pick-up and a huge recoil fitted to a smaller displacement 4-stroke, the motor could be started by hand. E-start could be an option. Pricing should be reasonable at $5,000-$6,000 and keep the sled the same for 10 years or so. I’d be in the market for that type of machine and I don’t think I’d be alone, at least here in AK.

    I like the protection and flotation the new Nytro skid plate offers but it looks like it is going to act like a snow scoop. Not the case?

    Thanks Scott, your concept idea makes way too much sense, probably why we haven’t built one 😉 I hear you on the ‘snow scoop’ that baby sits well out in front. I guess it’ll need a turbo to keep the front end angle up a bit. Seriously, I’ll have to see one to decide if the snow is going to pack in there or fly out. cheers cr

  7. Tom M says:

    HI I have an Enticer II it was and still is a very good machine. I perchased new in 94 and haven’t had to change a part yet.I have since whent to a Phazer MP and can only hope that it will last as long without any repairs, Thanks for keeping utility sleds in your line up. Tom

    I worked closely on that ET II project, with Tad Ishibashi the project leader, those were some good times, would you believe we actually used a swimming pool to develop the belly pan shape! (don’t ask 😉 )

  8. Yellowknife says:

    The new ultra plate is interesting. One thing I like about it is the width. Most, if not all skid plates only cover the belly pan, or about 2/3rd’s of underneath the motor. I like how this one extends under the cluching and battery/chaincase area. That’s how a skid plate should be! I wasn’t going to bother with one, but now I’m interested.

  9. Jim Manning says:

    Hello Chris,

    Could you comment on Yamaha Canada’s process for giving aftermarket vendors access to new models ahead of the general public? We (Brothers Performance) build gauge pods, hood scoops and inspection plates for all of the current Yammie chassis (except the Nytro – we’re working on that right now). the problem is that by the time the new stuff hits the dealers, we’re so busy with engine and turbo builds, that it is hard to find the time to do our R&D. Everyone wants there work done ‘right now’ (understandable – the season is short) and it would be nice to have the time to do new product development in our slow season as opposed to the very busiest time of year. I’d love to be able to hit Haydays one year with new product as opposed to a stack of business cards and the promise that we’ll have stuff in time for the season.

    We’re not by any means the biggest vendor out there with an aftermarket product. We offer a niche product, strive to exceed customer expectation, and really try to give back to the TY/Yamaha snowmobile community.

    Any suggestions or assistance you might be able to offer would be most welcome.

    Regards, Jim

    Jim Manning
    Brothers Performance Enterprises Ltd.

    Jim this is a fairly common request… couple of things, most advanced accessory development is performed using pre-production or prototype equipment.
    2 problems: first there is a chance some parts will change by the time they reach production, second pre-pros are few and far between. What we try to do in Canada is schedule availability to select vendors based on priority and product. We consider products that will enhance our overall marketing and customer satisfaction, for example we loaned an MTX to several turbo developers over the summer and loaned Tour-buddy a pre-pro knowing the stock fuel tank was a bit small for ‘core’ trail riders etc…
    In your case I suggest you open a dialog with our product manager and follow-up in February when new models are announced to see if you can book access to a pre-pro for a set period of time to help develop your products. Andrew Fulkerson in the USA Jon Blaicher in Canada… cheers cr

  10. Jim Manning says:

    Thanks Chris.

    Is there a way to engage Jon through your blog site?


    Only if your name is ‘Bunny’ 😛 … but I know where to find him!! cheers

  11. James says:

    So is this prototype to become a reality. The bravo trapper last forever, an updated affordable utility model would be great.


    alas… it was cut up and scrapped, not to say we won’t develop something in the class someday,as for the poor Bravo tictictic all good things must pass… cheers cr

  12. Bill Sparrow says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Scott. I just traded off my 07 Phazer on a Grizzly 550. Worst sled I ever owned. Give us single cylinder 4 stroke Kodiak 450 or Grizzly 550/700, 16 by 136 (or 154) track, removable back seat, pull (or kick) and electric start, reverse, motor and service parts easy access under one cowling, not numerous panels that break and are murder to access on the trail, permanently lubed suspension instead of having to thaw out the ice to find the grease nipples, Heat vents for the feet and upper body, gas tank for 160 Km range, larger wrap around windshield, hitch, decent travel for rough riding, rider forward seat, wider foot platform with non-slip surface, strut front end, hydralic suspension instead of gas shocks that collapse in extreme cold conditions, block heater . I am restoring my 89 Ovation 340 rather than buy any of the new high tech, can’t service sleds that it seems every manufacturer is moving towards or has already done so in the case of Yamaha. How about a redesigned Bravo to the above specs? I’ve been a Yamaha guy for a long time, but the new sleds just aren’t appealing to me.

    Thanks Bill, I have used basically the same ‘Grizzly engine in a simple, functional chassis’ in several presentations… we would have to learn how to make it outside of the current ‘box’ to keep the cost in line… for now its a dream. cheers cr

  13. rxwhopper says:

    thanks to him it is great to have a v max 4. I recently just purchased a red 96 v max 4 mountain max. Fortunatly a owner which never jad a clue owned it and took the bearing out behind the primary and bust the case so i got it cheap. I am so proud of having a max 4 again i dont even care to drive my s.c. attak. Funny but excited to get the old 4 together and take it for a ride. i tell peaple i bought it just so i can start it up and listen to it. Some of my buddys think i am nuts buying it but they have no passion for the old sled. Esspecially the buddy who helped me load it on my truck. Oh just a thought. Why do parts for that old of sled have to be so expensive? the cases are 1400.00 canadian and the sled is only worth maybe 2500 to 3000 to the right guy. Wouldnt yamaha rather sell there parts then eventually throw them away? thanks

  14. Bill Sparrow says:

    I didn’t know if Yamaha (Canada) read these blogs or not, but I just received a great ball cap in the mail for my comments about a redesigned Bravo. Glad to hear that Yamaha still isn’t too big and arrogant to listen to us(riders). Thanks Yamaha ! You just reinforced my reason for being a loyal fan. By the way, it would be nice if future Grizzly models came with a back-up pull start. A dead battery in a sled can be a “death sentence” here in Manitoba’s -40 winters; a dead battery in an ATV can still leave you stranded miles from a road. I would gladly pay an extra fee to have back-up manual start with decompression as an option.

  15. Bill Sparrow says:

    Had to replace the pistons on the Ovation; oil injector stopped working and I burned them out. Went for a ride today. The old ’89 Ovation performed like it just came off the showroom floor. What a great machine!!!! Bring back an updated version with 450 Kodiak engine, inch or two wider track for greater stability, rear rack, reverse; all servicable parts under one cowling. Make it a fun, entry level sled for about $8,000.00. Yamaha can save money on a new utility sled by revamping the VK540 with a Grizzly 700 engine, in the $10,000.00 range. We sometimes ride on glare ice in the North, something to scrape up ice/snow for lubrication while moving and more bogeys to relieve pressure on the sliders would be great. There are times when my sliders smell like burning tires.

    Bill I want to wrap you up in a Hudson’s Bay blanket and ship you first class to Iwata… cheers cr

  16. Sean Michael says:

    Just found your site/blog and the awesome shots of the above hybrid sled. I also recently bought my first snow machines: “90 Phazer II and ’90 VK540.

    Any chance you can point me toward the best sites for finding a community of knowledge users of these older Yam’s? I am trying to improve the off piste capabilities of the VK in particular (eg, what max depth track can I put on?)?



    Hey Sean, I recommend Totallyamaha as the best Yamaha owners forum, there is a VK section and some very enthusiastic owners… cheers cr

  17. Bill Sparrow says:

    I’ve been searching the sleds that Yamaha, Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat and Polaris are putting out. ALL are expensive and require dealer servicing. . . . an industry plot to generate more money for the dealers ????

    Is there not enought money in low cost, low maintenance sleds anymore, sleds like the 340 Yammies, 280 Tundras, 340 Polaris Colts, Arctic Cat 340, was it a Lynx ??? or Puma???

    That’s all many of us want. Otherwise, we will gravitate to buying tracks for our Quads and screw the cost of sleds, insurance, maintenance, depreciation. Canadians continue to get screwed with prices 40% higher than U.S. list, even though our money is pretty much at parity.

    Wake up manufacturers/dealers. We’re not stupid. It is getting easier to buy in the U.S. and we will either do that or continue to rebuild the old sleds/ATV’s until we remind you of a vacation in Cuba !!!!

  18. Bill Sparrow says:

    Just saw a preview of the 2013 sleds; disappointed that Yamaha, now last place in sales, didn’t bring out a Grizzly utility Sled or two. Imagine a 700 with shaft drive replacing the belt, backup kick start, bogey suspension like my Tatou 4S ATV tracks; doesn’t need lubrication, a sled you can service at home, a sled with no competitors that need not change for years; a Russian T34 instead of a German Tiger.

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