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January 2, 2008

Which Yamaha Is Best

…Love the One You’re With!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year in this first post of 2008.

For those that don’t know, I choose to ride an Apex when on my own time. I truly enjoy the handling and all-around character of the sled given most of my riding is done in central Ontario and Quebec. I had the opportunity to ‘store’ one of our Nytro RTX press sleds over the holidays and sadly my Apex sat, largely ignored for the past two weeks. The first outings on the Nytro were from my back yard, which entails some ditch banging and off-trail poking to get on the OFSC trails. When my pal JF (also on a Nytro) and I first set out, our local clubs groomer had not been in action yet and the trails were downright nasty. My opinion of the Nytro rose steadily with every whooped-out kilometer…

We were having a blast, standing up and ‘blipping’ the throttle at everything we came upon. This was really driven home when we came across a couple of Skidoo riders, having a smoke by the side of a rail-trail, who asked us for some directions. Lets just say they were not very impressed with the trail conditions with one fellow cussing and pleading with his buddy to turn around upon discovering their proximity to civilization. Did I mention we were having a blast? hmmmmm!

Fast forward, after several warm days, disheartening rainfalls and a whole lot of Christmas stuff, some fresh snow fell and I finally had a chance to head back out onto the same trails again with the Nytro. The groomer had made its presence known somewhere along the line and the trail was now wider and reduced to miles of rippled ‘stutter bumps’. After a hundred mile ride which included a cross country side-trip in search of an open gas station I found myself wanting to be back on board my Apex…

I am thinking back to my post titled Twin Peaks and comments I received from John and Chris who essentially asked: ‘Whats wrong with one sled platform that does it all?’. Well, really nothing at all, except for the fact I don’t believe anyone has built it yet. I would love to have a snowmobile that could eat a big sharp edged crater or suck up a gee bump as well the Nytro and still maintain the ‘make the bumps go away’ ride comfort of the monoshock Apex. A sled that will instantly respond to the slightest throttle blip, loft the skis and dance through the moguls; then carve out a corner at speed, with telepathic predictability requiring minimal effort. A sled delivering ergonomics that make standing effortless while maintaining a low seated, stable CG with great wind protection…

So! I have left the Nytro parked directly behind my Apex with a large blanket covering the two. Hopefully in a few months I may have a little Nypex to nurture and call my own. Until then I will continue to enjoy my Apex and think fondly of the Nytro when the trails degrade.

Cheers cr

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13 Responses to “Which Yamaha Is Best”

  1. Kent.D ( LOW SLUNG) says:

    Its very hard for any company to build a do it all machine(there is no quad that can jump with a YZF450, then go through mud like a GRIZZLY or a motorcycle that can keep with a R-1 around laguna seca then follow a YZ250 around a sand dune).Thats why we have so many different variety of sleds,bikes,cars,etc.In a way its good because it gives us choice(i can remember when all sleds had the same basic shape) and forces the competition to try harder but the downside is we can only afford one machine and that machine has to meet all of our needs,needs that depends on riding conditions.The snowmobile world should be very proud,most of our production chassis can run snowcross,cross-country, and ovals with a few changes,the automobile world has yet to mass produce a car that can run the indy 500,baja 1000,and the monaco grand prix,and run on 87 octane.

    Interesting perspective Kent… thanks for that. cheers cr

  2. DoktorC says:

    I’ve always found it amazing how fickle we (snowmobilers) can be. Cutting edge in December is old news in January. I was discussing “new” sleds with a gentleman we met on the trail. His “old” ’04 viper wasn’t up to snuff anymore and was looking to 4-stroke for the added comfort (and all the other pluses). We started reminiscing about all of the Yamaha’s we’ve had…and I started thinking. I put 4500kms on my SRV the first year I had it, thinking it was the GREATEST sled ever, then my ’94 Vmax was the GREATEST sled ever, then my ’98 XTC revolutionized snowmobiling for me…now my RX…you guessed it…the GREATEST sled ever built. Obviously the new sleds are lightyears ahead of that old SRV but…I can’t help but think…was it really THAT bad (yes it was)?? If we were able to put that many miles on the old stuff we should be THANKFUL that the manufactures are pushing technology to the levels we have today…not complaining that there is no one sled to do everything perfectly. Sometimes it’s important to look back to see how far we’ve come in a very short time…just to see how good we really do have it.

    BTW the mono-shock rules :).

    …amen brother πŸ˜›

  3. Yellowknife says:

    Hmmmm…few months…..Nypex….hint hint?

    Off topic, I’d like to thank Chris at Tour Buddy, Chris Reid at Yamaha Canada and Doug Witty at Force One Yellowknife for the Tour Buddy I received just before the holidays. If you are interested in some installation pictures and how the evaluation of the unit is going, you can visit http://www.ty4stroke.com/viewtopic.php?t=47908&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30 and do some light reading/viewing.


  4. Rick from WI says:

    Do you find it difficult to ride one sled then get on a different sled? My buddies and I always find that it takes time to get use to a new sled and how it handles, while some you feel like you’ve always ridden. Might sound crazy but I say you have to learn the sleds personality before you can really ride it to your full potential, if you don’t it could turn on you and you’ll find yourself feet up in a snowbank.

    Interesting observation Rick. I have had the fortune to attend many factory ‘test-sessions’ over the years where we will often jet in to a foreign site and in short order, head out on the trail, normally following a ‘lead’ who is often one of the field testing engineers, intimate with the equipment and trail, setting a hot pace. We generally rotate from one sled to the next in the pre-set ‘order of evaluation’; comparisons sled(s) versus subject unit. We are then challenged with filling out evaluation forms based on a 1 to 5 scale with ‘three’ being held by the comparison unit for each category. It’s sometimes really tough to do (and often surprising how some of the other evaluations differ from my own). What I have learned is: You get a very distinct ‘first impression of a new sled within the first few minutes of riding. After that it takes a full ride to really get to understand it, by that I mean at least a couple of hours, better yet two or three outings.
    I refuse to push a new ride as hard as I once would. I’m not sure if I’m getting wiser with age or just more chicken… πŸ˜‰ cr

  5. dnr says:

    Your column here says everything.
    Keep up the good work.
    All the best in ’08.

  6. Yellowknife says:

    I was thinking about the creation of sled reviews myself, where some people spend anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours on a machine and consider that enough to say what’s good and bad about that unit.

    I think it takes thousands of miles to truly evaluate a sled’s capabilities in all area’s. To be able to put it through a variety of conditions and challenges is as important as giving the rider time to get used to the unit and fine tune anything on it that can be adjusted to the rider, like suspension.

    I spent 5 minutes on a Summit XP, and of coarse it felt weird and uncomfortable, i’ve been on a Nytro for 2 months, anything is going to feel like that. You really have to take the time to get on and off a sled over a period of several rides to be able to truly evaluate it. Anything short of that is guess-work.

    I know that kind of testing isn’t very realistic for the majority of the magazines, but you can only get so detailed in your articles without spitting out a bunch of assumptions if your seat time is just a few hours.

    I hear it all the time with my reviews online, people like them because they’re detailed and honest – they’re detailed because they include thousands of miles of testing with a variety of conditions. They’re honest because I’m not relying on manufacturer A or B to provide me with the equipment. There’s no pressure from above – unlike the mags.

    It’s the same story when you have someone purchasing a new sled, most people don’t even get a chance to ride it first. How many people buy a car like that? The best solution is to find someone with the sled that appeals to you, and convince them to let you take it out a few times, before making a $15,000+ purchase. You just gotta have good friends πŸ˜‰

  7. Stephen Kelly says:

    Interesting read..Mr Reid…at our dealership our customers are just looking for the Phex (Phazer w/Apex motor)that would be sweet,we can hear the skidoo guys crying already…it weights how much and has 150hp…and it is electric start and reverse….damn.

  8. Scott says:

    You need to keep pushing them to offer a mini or 3/4 size sled. In a few years my daughter will be needing to move up from her Polaris 120 and both myself and her Uncle will have a good time ripping around the yard on her new sled. While I really like my Yamaha dealer, unfortunately, he has nothing to offer in this segment.

    One other thing, will Yamaha be offering a big tank for the Nytro next season? They really need to because after cutting my teeth on my Vector, my Nytro is routinely getting less than 100 miles per tank. That sucks! We’re talking same riding area, conditions and style. Let me test a prototype tank for you guys in my upcoming XC races! You’ll even get dealer input out of the deal!

    I hear you… We’ll keep the home fires burning… cheers cr

  9. Brian W. says:

    Actually i dont know why yamaha cant build a sled that does it all.. I DID!!! and actually ive ridin several stock sleds that were great at just about everything (ZR800 Cross country, Poloris Edge X)

    This is what it takes to make an 2006 apex gt do it all..

    13mm swaybar, 5.7 pilot skis with 6 inch carbides (this is like adding power stearing with plenty of turning bite) add a 5.5kg rear spring to the shock and have the shock revalved to match and have it relaved for better rebound dampening (something the stock shock was not setup for)

    This is how the apex should have come from the factory, even 170lb riders would find it comfortable and very tunable, of coarse if you weighted more than 225lbs you would need to go to an even more aggressive rear spring 6.0-7.0kg..

    Yes it rides rougher than the stock apex GT but still eats the studders and can take the bigger mogals without bottoming hard or having the horrible kick back..

    P.S. the front shocks are perfect right out of the box..

    Im riding this sled till it wont run any longer.. (currently 5520 miles)

  10. Matt says:

    Just wondering what is happening with Yamafest out here in the west. Is it happening this year?

    Hey Matt, The answer is YES, we’ll be out in Revvy Saturday March 29th for Yamafest. After-all, where else can a fella get a world famous Boulder Burger by Herbie at 6000 feet!


  11. Rick Schroeder says:

    Wasn’t sure where to post these questions:

    1) Why doesn’t Yamaha put a grease fitting on the bearing on the track drive axle below/behind the driven clutch similar to what the other sled manufacturers do? Would be a well-received addition by many.

    2) Is Yamaha looking at addressing the exhaust pipe connection-gasket design for a longer replacement interval?

    3) Will fuel injection see it’s way onto the RS Vector/Venture sleds soon?

    Thank you

    Not sure about the grease fitting, but it is a quality, sealed bearing and should last a long time. I’ll pass along your suggestion. There have been changes made to the exhaust the latest being a rubber mounted bracket to help brace the header and connection, I believe its only available on the 08’s. The FI is a safe bet to say we will have on everything eventually but I can’t confirm when. We will introduce our new model line around March 13. Also there is a special announcement coming very soon, but that’s a secret. cheers cr

  12. Ron Demofsky says:

    I have not ridden a sled for the past 20 years, and just purchased a 2008 yamaha apex ltx. I am a mature ass in the seat rider, and am really enjoying the sled. We don’t have a lot of snow in our area, so a fair bit of ditch banging is involved in all rides. This machine handles the bumps very well, and I find it easy to handle.
    The guys at Schrader Motors in Yorkton, Sask did an excellent job of getting me into this sled, and I am very happy.


    Thanks for checking in Ron, hopefully you’ll get some more snow soon and get that Apex broken in. You’ve hooked up with an excellent dealership say hello to Rick and his crew for me. cheers cr

  13. kevin gartner says:

    I just purchased two 2008 Yamaha Phazer Gt’s and so far I have not witnessed this super amazing handling. The 4 stroke engine is awesome, I certainly had to move my riding postition way way forward but it is a real pig and pushes bad on the sidehills and is rather tippy on a flat surface. The bump eating ability is amazing, but I am not confident in agressive riding on sidehill, or even turning at speed on a flat surface.
    Traction is really an issue as well likely due to the narrow short track and weight not on the track!
    I love the motor, wish I would have bought an apex as they at least have some weight on the skis, however the phazer was agressivley marketed as a great handling sled. I feel mislead about this sled, Internet searchs has confirmed my experience with the handling.

    Again an awesome engine, and a great rough trail, follow someone elses track sled. However, I do not find the handling is even at par with my 99 XC. I am real guarded when I ride. I also am interested in what your thoughts on enclosing the tunnel as the ice buildup is still a major issue on these sleds.

    Hey Kevin, sorry to hear we didn’t knock your boots off. I actually took a Phazer RTX and GT out yesterday for a good run around Minocqua with a friend, we traded off a couple of times, I thought the GT cornered fairly good in our conditions. It’s definitely a hi CG sled with long legs and part of the reason it handles the bumps so well is the tallness in both rider position and long travel skid. Don’t be afraid to mess around with the suspension settings to dial in the cornering, just be aware there is always some compromise and you may loose a little bump capability. You can make them sidehill pretty good but you have to use some ‘english’. Regarding the enclosed tunnel, there are lots of guys who have done it and had no problems. That said, I cannot endorse the modification from an official Yamaha POV. The hole is there to provide additional cooling for the muffler. I suggest you ask the guys over on TY for their opinions and experience on both set-up and the tunnel block-off. I personally think our best handling (cornering) sled to date is the new Vector but thats just me πŸ˜‰ .. cheers cr

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