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February 13, 2008

Hondo’s Guinness World Record

‘I been runnin, and runnin and runnin’ … Forest Gump

It’s been crazy busy in the office this week in the wake of the Nytro XTX announcement. I believe I had the most comments ever to a blog post with ‘Bye and Bye Lord Bye and Bye’ and I’d like to thank everyone for their input. You had a lot of questions for me and I plan to address as many as I can. … But not today.

I had a very interesting chat with one of our customers this morning and what I heard and understand from our conversation left quite an impression on me, so I thought I’d share it with you. Bob Davis (aka: hondo); is a US Marine helicopter and post maintenance test pilot, retired. More importantly to this story, he is a ‘sled head‘ worthy of our aspirations. He purchased an 05 RS Venture fresh off the line (one of those mystical, ‘to be avoided at all costs’- ‘first year’ sleds) and has proceeded to rack up nearly 50,000 km on it. In the process his military background and discipline has been exemplified in the extraordinary detail in which he has documented his experience, maintenance history and relationship with his Yamaha.

I first heard of Bob through a certain ‘Mr. Sled’ who some of you may recognize from Totallyamaha. His thoughts were directed to a growing thread in a remote corner of his web-site– one which he felt may be of interest to me and the rest of us here at Yamaha. Well Tom… ‘darn tootin’ we’re interested (RIP). It seems Bob has set his sites this year on breaking the Guiness world record for the number of miles put on a snowmobile in 60 days, a better than average season for most of us. He started riding late (January 11) but is on track to not just break the record but shatter it.

So why am I telling you all this? Well for one thing we have been talking about the durability and extended duty cycle of our 4-stroke snowmobile engines since we launched the RX-1 but frankly we don’t get to see that many with the big miles on them. Especially one with so much supporting information, so well recorded. When Bob busts the Guinness record (and I for one-believe he will), we will have a pretty sweet segue into a topic often mimicked but seldom matched by certain of our competitors. So far Bob’s engine has not been apart for anything aside from routine maintenance. More importantly, I intend to relay Bob’s info to our service and engineering people for study.

What impressed me the most about this story is the man himself. He is as much concerned that someone will take his information and use it to help improve future products as he is focused on the 200 miles per day he is attempting to average over a three month period. To the latter, I must admit I harbor some envy. I don’t know too many guys that get to ride that much and can only hope I have ‘the salt’ when I finally get the time (not to mention an extremely understanding family).

I have written a couple of previous posts about whether we listen and react to our customers ‘on-line’ conversations. I have even gone as far as to suggest, good information presented with proper back-up, in language that is honest and not too aggressive gives guys like me some serious ammo with which to input our engineers. Check out what Bob is doing over on Totallyamaha. My hats off to you sir! And if any of you have any words of encouragement towards his efforts or record breaking attempt please feel free to drop him a comment either here on the blog or over on his TY thread. I’ll be sure to let you all know how he makes out (fingers crossed!).

BTW. I have booked a ‘mental health day’ tomorrow and me, myself and I are are heading out to get as many miles on our freshly covered trails as I can in one day, in honor of hondo’s mission, it’s the least I can do! 😉 cheers cr

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17 Responses to “Hondo’s Guinness World Record”

  1. Jerry Darvell says:

    I’m a 47 year old and i have really bad shoulder it would be nice if yamaha would take in to thought about people like me to give us some adjustments with the handle bars. I have been riding yamaha since 1969 and have never own anything but Yamaha.thats why i have not made the jump to a 4stroker because of i can not get the bars back to help take the pain away thanks for this blog i read it all the time also i have a very large hat collection that going to need a new home someday.right know its 40years old cheers and happy trails Jerry

    Geez Jerry, I was out on a good long ride today and about 300km in my shoulder started to hurt, Now I have lots of aches and other reminders of my racing days but this was a new one… anyway I get home hit the shower and check SledTalk for comments just to get your suggestion. Do you have one of those weird little dolls you stick pins in to ‘get’ people??
    Great idea, I’m all over more adjust ability, we keep asking for it but there is some kind of wall. One size fits all shouldn’t apply to sleds… cheers cr

  2. Carl says:

    No worries Jerry, Yamaha has to put their EPS system (electric power steering) on a trail sled some day. It just came out on their 07 Grizzly ATV so we just have to let them time to adjust it for sledding. My guess is Chris isn’t mentioning it for liability reasons. But if he response to my post with a smile we know something is up… 😉

    I’m pleading ‘the 5th’ cr

  3. Carl says:

    Chris, Anyone who can do 300km+ of sledding on Valentine’s day I would say is already blessed with a “understanding family”. Read, wife. ha ha ha I’m jealous.

    Chocolate and the promise of future considerations… 😉 cr

  4. brian says:

    I have to ask.. What is yamaha’s target age group? I must ask because my friends always make crap out of me because every yamaha rider we see is atleast 45-60 years old.. In fact i dont think ive seen more than a handfull of people who are younger or the same age as i am..

    I just tell them, its only the older guys who can afford a yami.. LOL

    P.S. im 32

    I prefer to look at it as: ‘with age comes wisdom’, Brian apparently you are wise beyond your years! 😉

  5. Mike W. (Tork) says:

    hondo (Bob Davis) is one of my very favorite posters on TY. Great blend of intelligent, classy and witty. Excellent choice of topic. So Guinness is doing some sort of record book now? I know the beer is quite good LOL

    Oh yeah, I cant wait for Electronic Power Steering (EPS) on an Apex type sled : )

  6. Darren says:

    I too love to tour, we just came off a 2 day ride and we logged just over 400 each day….(880km total)

    The Attak is also great at towing broken down Cats out of the bush…lol

    My question is why did Yamaha make the Apex tank 3 liters smaller to just over 35L??? On my last ride 2 of my fill up (2007 Attak) with the 38L tank took 34L to fill….if I was on an 08 I may have ran out of gas!!! Why the change?

    We had to change all our fuel tanks to meet new EPA regulations, the plastic properties and thickness had to be modified to reduce fuel vapor escaping through the plastic… we lost some capacity in the process.

    cheers cr

  7. Erik says:

    Chris

    There has been some threads regarding the belt life of the FXnytros. They just don’t seem to hold up as good as in the vector/Apex.

    Now I was going through my sled last night before our trip this weekend and as usual there were oil on the front of the engine and in the belly-pan. I have never flipped my sled over but i ride hard and big bumps with it and it presses oil out in the airbox and down on the engine. Are you doing something about this because the sled looks like crap after every ride. Just an evac outside the sled would be nice… My dealer knows of it because I specifically told them when I had the sled in at first service…

    Now to why I originally wrote this. Could it be the oil from the airbox that is killing the belts prematurely? My first belt was showing a lot of cord after only 700km with might not be that low but I rode my vector 2600km on 2 belts and changed the first one only because I felt like it…:-) second belt is looking a little worn and it has only 300km on it as of now…

    Another thing that made me a little p’d off. I bent/broke one of the brackets to the handguards and those things are expensive and weak! I mean they are just e bent peace of square aluminum rod with some holes in them.. And very thin with bad finish.. One bracket cost almost half of what I would have to pay for a set of powermads with brackets… Now I don’t care if a thing is expensive but then it should be a good quality product worthy of putting on a Yamaha…. I bet there are going to be alot of broken brackets this year and maybe you could pull some strings to BEEF them up a little…?

    Not sure about the oil residue, I have heard complaints of oil leaking when the sled is run on its side or upside down. I’ll forward your info and try to follow up in a future post. On the clutch / belt issue… IF there was a small amount of oil getting on the belt, it could cause some slipping and create additional heat and wear any greater amount of oil would be readily apparent with nasty residue and noticeable slipping. The same thing can happen with powder snow causing some slip. The clutch and 8DN belts are both well proven components and I would not think they have anything to do with premature wear. I have actually seen more shieve damage due to prolonged belt slip than belt wear (look for grooves being cut into the alloy). I’m thinking your belt is getting a bit too hot due to
    load or calibration. The Nytro is set to hit hard and has more grunt than the Vector. I’ll see what I can find out on the oil. cheers cr

  8. Mark says:

    Hi Chris,

    FYI, I am having a belt issue too. First one lasted 700km and showed a lot of cord. 2nd belt (OEM as well), lasted 1000km completely delaminated. My clutches are 100% in line. It is building too much heat perhaps in that area, or should I say, not getting rid of the heat quick enough.

    FYI, Both belts were broken in for 10km at low to med throttle before being driven hard in order to break them in. Also, my sheaths are like new.

    Mark

    I’m just starting to hear a little bit of belt complaints Mark, I’ll pass along your comment to service and see if they know anything. I fall back to the fact our clutches and 8DN belts have proven practically bullet proof on other applications including turbo-charged mountain sleds. There’s no way an 8DN belt should last only 700km if everything else is in order, apparently somethings going on with your sled but I don’t know what at this time. keep me posted cr

  9. dnr says:

    Invited to ride the hottest Turbo Nytro here in “God’s Country”….had a blast.
    Check out the video on youtube DNRLBL. We use turbo power less often and focus on finesse but would not ever ride without it.
    Did not blow a belt but found a bit of dust on the tunnel and floor board. I’m sure it is a quick fix.

  10. Erik says:

    Hi chris!

    Have you heard anything regarding the hesitation on the Nytro? Mine does it ALOT, on slower speeds and when hitting it from enginebraking… My dealer has tried adjusting the CO but did not help. Adjusting the TPS helps but then it get to much gas all the time and more than 2liters/10km is not acceptable imo.

    Sorry Eric, I haven’t heard of this being a common issue,has your dealer been in contact with our tech service department? If not they should make the call and see what they can offer. cr

  11. Kent says:

    I just watched your videos of the new 144 Nytro on your website. You compare 120hp 600 sleds to a 138hp sled? It looked to me like the XP 600 did well in the drags considering the power difference not to mention the price difference. The sledhead 24 guy must be on your payroll, he didn’t have anything constructive to say. The tipped rails is nothing new, Polaris did it for years and dropped it for 2008.

    So what you are saying is the Nytro has more power than other sleds in its class and the XP didn’t get beaten too badly, the Sled-head guy is a new employee with qualifications and Polaris turned their back on a good thing….marketing… it’s all in the interpretation I guess 😉 cr

  12. Erik says:

    Erik says:

    Hi chris!

    Have you heard anything regarding the hesitation on the Nytro? Mine does it ALOT, on slower speeds and when hitting it from enginebraking… My dealer has tried adjusting the CO but did not help. Adjusting the TPS helps but then it get to much gas all the time and more than 2liters/10km is not acceptable imo.

    Sorry Eric, I haven’t heard of this being a common issue,has your dealer been in contact with our tech service department? If not they should make the call and see what they can offer. cr

    They have contacted yamaha earlier and registrated the problem and I have asked alot but they havent heard anything more about it.., there are not just my sled that has this bog/hesitation… Almost everyone that I and my dealer have talked to has the same issue but it looks like mine has it the most…

    I’ll be back in the office next week and will ask if anyone has any info on this, hang in there (what altitude do you ride at mostly?)… cr

  13. Erik says:

    I mostly ride at sealevel or alittle higher. Was in tha mountains last weekend at app 700meters and there was the same hesitation. It is like in some weathercondition there are more of it.

    OK thanks, I’ll see if anyone has a suggestion…

  14. Yellowknife says:

    Re: the belt slippage…

    I find my MTX to be the best sled on belts, along with my Phazer that I have ever seen. Last week I was powder riding hard for a few minutes, wide open throttle for most of it. I took the panel off right away just to put my handon the clutch and it was cool to the touch. I couldn’t believe it. I would have burned my hand on my Rev.

    When my belt was new I measured its thickness. After 3000 km’s it hadn’t even lost 1mm. Even with all the heavy towing I do. Simply awesome. Sea level clutching but stock high altitude gearing.

  15. Sasquatch says:

    Chris, My question is to do with the Venture. I have wanted a RX Venture since the first RX came out. To me its the ideal touring sled. In 05 I bought a Warrior, not quite what I wanted but with the addition of a seat jack it was a poor replacement.

    Now we have a Venture in an Apex chassis but still no Apex motor. With the number of people wanting a Apex powered Venture, why is Yamaha resisting what just seems so natural? Its a bolt together sled from the parts bin.

    6 years of waiting for Yamaha and now Arctic Cat is building a performance touring sled again (last was the 2004 800 Pantera I think) but not Yamaha.

    I can’t tell you how much this disappoints me and I know I’m not alone. Yamaha would sell quite a few I’m sure. The 3 banger model is a nice sled (its what I want from a touring aspect) but until they put a 150 into it I won’t purchase one.

    So is there any hope that a Apex powered Venture will be released on 2010? Or ever for that matter? How about a spring order only model (none in stock unless ordered)? Is it an durability thing that keeps them from building it? If your going to put on big miles, the Venture is the one to do it on.

    Why Chris? Why?

    This is not a new product request for us, I remember the same for a Vmax4 touring, then an SRX touring and RX-1 touring and now an Apex 150 touring. Personally I get it.
    The hurdle that has held this back over the years is price and volume. The market for a super powered touring sled is somewhat limited with the shining star being Quebec. We will continue to request and you never know what will happen. That said I would be remiss not to point out the new Nytro engine based Venture. That 1050 mill has different cams and tuning to deliver more torque and power than the Nytro up to 7000 rpm with better fuel economy and offers the best reliability in the business… Thanks for the input. cr

  16. LabMan says:

    I am looking for more information on the upgrades for the 05 RS Venture wheels and tracks.
    I saw somewhere that Yamaha has a fix for this slide eater but I can’t believe that the addition of two additional wheels solves everything. What size Polaris wheels did Bob Davis switch out the Yamaha wheels for?

    Hey Labman, as I was reading your comment, I was thinking ‘this guy should be talking to Bob Davis’ only to find you refer to him in closing. I would suggest you read his log which is posted on TY by HONDO (if you haven’t already) and maybe send Bob a private message. I have found him to be very willing to share his experience with others and trust his information. cheers

    cr

  17. LabMan says:

    Thanks I have read some of the log. But unless I’m missing it I don’t see a referal to location and size of the wheels. He just said he used Plaris wheels and changes out 6.
    How do I contact Bob. I also disn’t see an e-mail and when I google him I get lots of stuff but not contact.

    you can send him a ‘private email’ through Totallyamaha but I believe you have to be a member of the site which is quite easy, you’ll find the link at the top of the TY landing page… cheers cr


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