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February 6, 2008

Minocqua Test Center Visit

Oh the joys of winter air travel. I started out this morning with a ‘mechanical’ flight cancellation, now having made it to Minneapolis, my next flight is delayed indefinitely due to weather at home. I’m ecstatic that it’s snowing but singing the ‘You’re not going home today blues’ at the same time.

Richard and I flew down here to our Wisconsin test center for some meetings to discussfeb08-015.jpg future accessories development after which we wanted to squeeze in a ride. I had mentioned a couple of posts ago that Jon had returned from Minocqua with some interesting results after testing the 09 models. One in particular had failed to hit all its targets and red flags were going up. As it turns out, our engineers scrambled to make some changes and I was asked to re-evaluate the sled (but not offered any explanation of what had been done). We set out with a baseline ‘comparison’ sled and the updated test mule. I was quite happy to report at the end of the session, the new machine is now acceptable in terms of comparison in the areas of concern and does several things much better than the current model… mission accomplished.

You have probably read about the unveiling of a new 2009 this Friday and I can confirm much of what is being said. We will be introducing one new model from the 09 line-up and I’ll set up a blog post to launch at the same time with an explanation of the model and how it relates to what many have requested. I’ll also give you some ride impressions and a bit of the background on the unit. I have not had a chance to review what is going to be posted on the corporate web-sites and what the media are planning to say. (note: all the key players including one very special webmaster 😉 have had a chance to pull the trigger on the sled) If you are interested check back on Friday 02/08 and I’ll see if I can give you some personal insight on the sled.

I also sat down with Masa Saito to spit-ball the SRX development story which I promised Carl. We definitely stirred up some ghosts, had a few laughs and I have a full page of notes to start my tale. Unfortunately, we didn’t swap lies over a bottle of sake as I first thought would be the case but at least I got some ideas and my head doesn’t hurt so bad.


I recall one comment on Totallyamaha regarding Yuji’s recent snocross win at Eagle River, where they said it was a good thing he won because the ‘Yamaha Brass’ was there. I discovered his win was something far more significant and one worthy of a Sled Talk post. What really happened was my good friend Jimmy Kedinger had planned a special party around the Eagle River event. He had attempted this on two previous occasions but this year it finally came together. There was a lot more than Yamaha ‘brass’ in attendance.

I think Yamaha ‘gold’ would be more appropriate. Jim’s Eagle River party was a reunion of Yamaha snowmobile development people. But not just anybody, the VIP list covered all the founders of Yamaha snowmobile division and the key people who were involved in establishing the products and brand from our early beginnings in the 60’s right through the 70’s and 80’s, including the racers, testers, product managers and yes the brass who traveled all the way from Japan just for the occasion. They were all at Eagle River to reminisce and celebrate their time together with Yamaha. I am going to get some of the photos and vid clips to post here along with a few of the memories. The very cool thing to me is that Yuji was able to put his Yamaha in the winners circle in front of all this reunited royalty from our glory days. I can only imagine the buzz that went through that VIP box.. These are the same guys that were cheering on Trapp and his factory racer at the same track over 30 years ago, oh! did I mention he was also at the party? Very cool ‘cowboy’!! Stay tuned… cheers cr

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9 Responses to “Minocqua Test Center Visit”

  1. Dustin says:

    Can’t wait!

  2. Northener says:

    Oh, come on, stop teasing us… LOL We won’t tell anyone… 🙂

    It is really great to have some background info on the new model right away after it’s released. I will definately keep an eye on this site come friday. It’s a great concept this blog of yours, Chris!

    And now to the most important thing; how is the serviceability on the new sled? LOL 🙂

  3. Justin says:

    Is wisconsin really that bad? 😉

    Can’t wait for the unveiling of the new models. Not trying to get more information out of you, but can you expand on the “acceptable” part of the riding? Usually, when you see these posts, they talk about how its now “excellent” and “great”, yours was simply “acceptable”. Can you define what you were judging, what was good and bad without giving away details about the new sled? I know its only 2 days away and I should wait, but I’d like any information you can give.

    Thanks as always for any and all information we can pry out of you. 😉

    Hey if you want a perfect world full of excellence and greatness you’ll have to subscribe to your favorite sno-mo magazine skip all the editorial and read only the ads in all their glory, maybe drink a little Kool-aid and lick a toad while you’re at it, if that doesn’t do it I can send you a brochure, pick your color, yellow, red, blue, green, they’re all the same really … 😉
    In the limited time I had riding in fairly limited conditions the best I could say affirmatively was; the sled is ‘acceptable’ within the specified key areas of concern. In other areas it did excel. We were primarily focused on the level of ‘anti-bottoming’ versus small bump compliance under certain specific conditions. It was not long ago where this sled was very good at one and not so on another… In this case ‘acceptable’ could mean excellent to one rider and just OK to another and maybe, just maybe someone is going to complain (trust me someone always does)… BTW the sled I was testing is not the one you will see this Friday. That one I would have to say my friend is great, in fact it’s absolutely excellent! cheers cr


    Thanks for the update can’t wait till Friday need a new sled!Hurry back and Gods speed.

  5. big50viper says:

    Since i see you were discussing future accessories, could you find out why they can’t make a decent mirror kit for the Apex.Current kit #w2628-02-00 are a total joke. Thanks

    I’ll pass along your comment, but I don’t know how helpful it will be, they are working on something to bar mount…

  6. Jesster says:

    The new XTX is really nothing shocking to me. I am a little disappointed after all the hype. But I know this is just the beginning and the rest of the lineup will be more impressive.

    Something that would blow people away would be variable valve timing. If Honda can do it in a car, Yamaha can do it in a sled. I think that it could give Yamaha the edge for horsepower. I doubt it’s gonna happen soon, but we’ll see what the rest of the lineup brings.

    Interesting, I’m not sure how well the VVT would work on a sled, I understood it’s main advantage was for fuel mileage in a car. We have the variable intakes on the R1 for more power and response, personally I wish we would just bolt on a ‘hair-dryer’ and wave goodbye 😉

  7. Darren says:

    Were can I find Canadian pricing on the new 2009 Nytro XTX???

    And will there be anywhere in Ontario where on could test ride the sled (I’m currently on an Attak)

    Hey Darren, we are releasing all the pricing in March with the launch of the rest of the 09 model line. At this time I can’t promise any demo ride opportunities. We have not received our pre-production units yet and do not plan to build any ‘mock-ups’ out of parts, in fact we are still doing some testing and development. Stay tuned, if the snow continues we may have a chance in March.. cheers cr

  8. Dustin says:

    Hey Chris any chance I could talk to the people that do the riding pictures for the websites and brochures? I’d love to do some amazing shots for the Yamaha team! I know they’ve done filming in Cooke City, MT and I’m not fare away!

    BTW Great job on the XTX, it’ll fit a lot of the gap that people wanted in a sled. Not for me, as I’m a mountain guy.

    Thanks Dustin, you need to speak with our marketing team in the USA on this one, get your portfolio in order and I’ll pass along your request… cheers cr

  9. Larry D Lagergren says:

    Hi Mr.C.R

    Did I read this right, an SRX Come Back IN POSSIBLY A 4 STROKE ?…..That would Be Awesome!!, Or did I drink too much when reading this …LOL LOL

    Those Glory days started back in 1972 with the Sno Pro Series, I remember watching Lynn Trap, Mike Trap & Ed Shubitski[sorry for the spelling] Roar to Victories in the 340, 440 & 650 Classes I believe they might have run in the 800 Class as well with the 650 sleds. Those days were truly great to watch & race in all the way to 1979 as YAMAHA was winning a lot of races back then. Man I still love talking about those days, sorry to carry on.

    BTW….I always enjoy reading your articles, as they get me fired up….GO YAMAHA!

    …Larry D Lagergren

    Hey Larry, I just watched some awesome footage on these just today (Jim came through large) I’ll edit up some content for You-Tube and link from Sled Talk for you… this stuff is great! cheers cr

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