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November 11, 2009

The Blue Blog Sled Challenge

Huggy Bear is  our PR guy, often referred to as a creative guru or resident rodent (you decide). He came up with the following idea a few months ago. I had completely Huggy Bear forgotten about his scatter-brained scheme (50 plus years of breathing exhaust fumes). After looking at it again, I’m thinking it could be kinda entertaining and even has a modicum of practicality.

Huggy controls our fleet of demo sleds which he signs out to magazine and TV types as well as other ‘expert’ evaluators. Some of those who grease him up with offers of ‘great product exposure’ get to ride the wheels off our sleds, (free of charge ) often returning them, dirty,  abused and out of fuel. Trying to find a thumb-nail image of the sled somewhere in print or a few kind words, often proves futile. Trust me when I say, at times we really question why we do it.

Well one of those is sitting out in our barn with 18,000 hard km on it. It started lifblue blog slede as a long term test sled for the well known Quebec online rag Sledmagazine after that it fell into our general loan pool where it’s life became miserable. The once sweet blue Vector LTX pre-pro is now dirty, lonely and in need of some good lovin’. Did I mentions this sled already has 18, count’em, 18 thousand clicks on it. We didn’t want to see it end there, so you’re going to see just how many we can get out of it!… here’s the deal:

Instead of writing it off, we’re going to run it through our service shop for a complete massage and spa treatment. ed. we will not be touching the engine except for an oil change and filter. After it’s revitalization we are going to rack up as many more miles as possible during the coming season.

I’m going to have some of our new accessories bolted on, like the TRIC scratchers, Snow Trackers, maybe an Ice Ripper track (you get the idea) the only problem is Mr Yamaha doesn’t think it would be a good idea to turn me, Jon (and certainly not Huggy) loose to ride all season in the quest of high mileage. Something about our productivity and ROI.

Instead, we are going to insure and permit the unit for operation on OFSC trails and offer it up to anyone to ride, provided they are responsible (explains why Huggy will be holding down his desk), take care of it and ride lots (oh yeah, you’ll have to sign the waiver). In essence it is a free loaner sled for the season.

Now having said that you are probably thinking OK whats the catch; I already have an Apex / Nytro… whatever. No problem, I figure you probably know someone who doesn’t! Perhaps someone who is still rockin’ the old school on a ticking stinker. Maybe your stubborn, brand blind bud who’s sled has a history of gripping pistons during you’re seasonal, week long epic tour up north, oops wait a minute, that would be my buddy, anyway… We’re open to any wimpy sob story as to who and why someone might wanna have a free sled for part of the season.

I’m still getting my head around how we can manage this deal and get some decent feedback from the test riders but here’s what I’m thinking: We don’t want to incur a lot of shipping costs so we’ll keep it in Ontario for starters. If someone is planning a trip to say, Quebec and wants to drag the blue blog sled along with them, cool, just bring it back in one piece with lots of miles on it. We can also enlist our dealers to help for example; you could drop it off in New Liskeard with the excellent folks at Ag’Nor where someone up there could grab it and keep the crank spinning.

I’m hoping we get a few experienced riders writing in and we’ll put it to a vote as to who should get the blue blog sled next. So what’s in it for us? We’ll require the pilots to test pilotssubmit an honest report of what they thought of the sled, the bolt-on accessories and let us know about the trail conditions with any local knowledge gained. Of course any amusing tales of what happens during the ride  will be welcomed and shared amongst the crew, heck I might even post it here on Sled Talk if it doesn’t land me up in the dog house. We have several options open for sharing the adventure including our Twitter account, the Yamaha ‘in-your-facebook’ page and Sled Talk.

There you have it, time for all those who hang out here but never comment to weigh-in. Do you know somebody that wants to ride the blue blog sled? Spin us a good reason why we should give it up to them. Is it you? Remember, we want lots of miles on this sled. How about it? Got any thoughts or suggestions? Got any snow in Hornepayne yet? The blue blog sled beckons…

cheers cr

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30 Responses to “The Blue Blog Sled Challenge”

  1. Ike says:

    Great idea!

    Looking forward to seeing how Blue Blog sled goes trough th upcoming season.

    Ike

    Thanks Ike, at least you know you have a free ride if you decide to visit Canada this winter 😉 cr

  2. DoktorC says:

    I’ve got THE guy!! 15,000kms on a Viper with the EXTRA stiff skid. He’s the only one in our group of 8 to still ride a smoker (at least it’s blue)…he says “I don’t think I could get used to it (4 stroke)” We lend one of our sleds during a ride but it’s not long enough (because none of use can stand riding his piece of plywood for more then 15 minutes) for him to get the feel. He…well we NEED him to participate in the 4 stroke revolution…at least for a weekend or our week up north.

    Oh the adventures that await that lil’ Vector. I’ll take care of the logistics and make sure it comes home clean :).

    Please YSB save my freind!!!

  3. shawn gibson says:

    id like to give my name for the snowmobile!!
    im 15 going on 16 in january.I Live in quebec(about 30 minutes near Ottawa),and with all the snow that we’ve been having it’s been a long time that ive wanted to buy a snowmobile,but ive never had the chance to buy one.I have been racing motocross for a couple of years now in the junior class,and this summer when I had finaly had enough money to buy one,I decided to sell my 06 yz250f and bought jsr’s 09 yz250f,so now with my money spent I dont have enough to buy a snowmobile and I cant do motocross in the winter exept arenacross,but it will have to wait because I have to re-build my motor and spend more money!!!,so these are the reasons I want to give my name for the snowmobile.If I get it you are sure to know about my very honest reports of what I thought of the sled, the bolt-on accessories the trail conditions in my area and other areas I will be going and maybe a little bit of snowcross tracks, also any local knowledge gained.I do have somme experience with snowmobiles,but im not the one who has the most!!.I thank you very much for reading this and I hope you vote for me!!!

  4. Joe Honkaheimo says:

    I’ve always wanted to get into snowmobiling cause a lot of my riding motorcycle friends are into it.

    I know as I put a lot of miles on a bike I couldn’t see the reason why i wouldn’t put a lot on this sled and enjoy it.

  5. pat the rat says:

    wow,what an idea,too bad i own one just like it cuz i’d be putting my name on the list, you talked about agnor,that’s my dealer,maybe denis could ride the heck out of it,he’s been slacking off the last few seasons,just what he needs,great idea,i’ll try to think of someone
    pat

  6. Sean Heimes says:

    Hi Chris,
    Although I am currently without a ride, kids, job and the fact I would have to buy 2 it isn’t in the cards at the moment, but I’d like to nominate our friend Mark. Mark rides a 1996 Formula III. Mark still to this day loves this sled – still can’t figure out why. A ride out to the bay requires a few stops to change plugs. Mark needs to experience what it would be like to ride a Real sled….the rest of his family is converted and all ride Yamaha. Now if I could find a sled for an long weekend, we could head up past Sudbury and have a great ride.

    Thanks
    Sean

  7. parepadarappa says:

    It’s funny that even with Soo Ontario within sight of my house, I have never once crossed the ditch to ride over there. I hear the trails are awesome, so maybe this is my opportunity to try them out. Where do I have to pick the sled up?
    -Ben

  8. TNT says:

    Hi Chris & Jon

    I would like to nominate my father. I owe my success in snowmobiling to my father as he got me started. I remember being 5 years old riding in front of him on our 89 Yamaha Phazer. Now many years later and thousands of kilometers of riding I spend almost 100% of my time dedicated to snowmobiling. I have been trying to convince my father to buy some new iron, his old 96 formula S 380 with 10 000km just does not cut it anymore. It would be nice to complete the RAN and RAP tour this winter with him, as our cottage is in Sundridge, and of course a few rides through District 14 and 15 as Dad lives in Timmins.

    I know that if he could spend one season and or a couple thousand KM on that Vector LTX I would not have to convince him to buy a newer sled, in fact he would probably want to keep the Vector.

    Great Idea! Look forward to hearing from you soon. tnt

  9. Yellowknife says:

    This is a fantastic idea! As long as someone doesn’t write it off into a tree.

    Well, you know what I could do with that thing in January Chris but I think there’s some very deserving and less fortunate riders out there who deserve an opportunity like this!

    That being said, if you don’t have enough bites to rack the miles on, I certainly wouldn’t say no to the offer. Be sure to post the ‘schedule’ for the ‘Blue Blog’

    Cheers,
    YK

  10. dnr says:

    Cool idea! Probably some summer enthusiast long range miles on a touring bike. There would be a family tree to find the roots on.
    Oh and thank you, for all the years of your support in my interests,cr.

  11. vector one says:

    Hey Chris

    Hi chris

    My 08 Vec LTX GT has about 13k fantastic km on it. So I don’t need a ride just yet but the new Vec sure looks good. However I’ve been trying to convince a buddy with one of those 2 smokers riding an old…starts with a P to trade up to something he can enjoy. So far no luck but perhaps a free ride on a reliable sled that is still reliable and fun to ride with 18k on it, will push the right button.

  12. Bob Hogg says:

    Well…its perfect..we had new sleds in 99 and 00 – promotion you ask….we wrote an article in Hot Sled magazine about them and got our Yamaha on the front cover of USI’s 2000 brochure. The only flaw was a false image in 99.

    Next..we just moved to Port Carling 12 days ago…struggling …but we are here..I wish our house had sold in June not Nov..this is tough getting going. I have a new garage to keep the sled in. House reno starts next spring.

    Ride time..ha…in the 70’s we lived on a Yamaha sled…some very very fast ones to boot…but, you see…we have been sled starved for almost 2.5 decades..living in the banana belt.

    Today… … I live right beside the C114 on a small lake crossing…I have a lot of riding to make up …..a lot of riding…every day…the desire still burns deep.

    I was going to take another approach..but this would be good…besides..I’m riding a 99 Phazer..

  13. pistol says:

    I ride an Arctic Cat. Please Help!!!!!! 🙂

  14. Terry Churchill says:

    As an experienced rider (and former demo sled (08 Apex LTX-GT)owner, I was hit fairly hard with the economic downturn. I was forced to sell after injecting only 500kms onto that mean and clean buggy. Riding in Ontario and Quebec, I ran/run with a dedicated group who regularly put down 900+kms(Fri-Sun /03 RX-1) usually on a loop(Temis/Val’dor/Rouyn). I am a passionate Yamaha enthusiast with all the desire (and associated gear),ready willing, and able!.As someone with a marketing back-round I’d be very well equipped in providing detailed and extensive feedback on the Vector and its accessories. Trailoring usually from Muskoka, or with the ability to p/u in New Liskeard as mentioned is easily accomplished. I would be privileged and honored to be involved, regards… Terry. P.S I/we met Bob Davis In Quebec during his historic ride on the bulletproof Venture, what a guy, what a rider!!!

  15. Paul Auger says:

    I’d like to nominate my brother, Phil.
    He’s a golf course Superintendant in the Ottawa area, so there’s not a lot to do in the winter – he’s got time to put some miles on. He’s also a former English major, so he should be able to come up with a legible report for you. He’s been called to golf course equipment demos for his input.
    We’re avid Yamaha fans from the day our Dad brought home a 1979 ET340.
    Phil’s current fleet consists of a ’86 Phazer, a ’91 Exciter, and an ’97 VMax600 XT.
    My fleet of Yamahas is one smaller this year as I sold my ’84 Phazer just last year. Maybe I can help him put a few miles on, all I’m left with is an ’83 Maxim 650 and a ’95 Taurus SHO.

    Great idea. Thanks for the opportunity!
    Paul

  16. Dennis Lendrum says:

    Bring it up to Rainbow Country Snowmobile Association and we can put some mileage on it through the LaCloche Mountains, then out on the north shore of Lake Huron, between Killarney, Manitoulin Island and Spanish. We will also be participating in the Ride with Respect Event (Espanola and Area Safety Coalition) educating high school students. Lots of media coverage with this event.

  17. Chris Gaylor says:

    Hi Chris, keep me in mind for a few spins as my sled needs attention and due to financials, won’t be plating again this year.

    Cheers.

  18. Martin Dakers says:

    I think I am the ideal person to ride the Blue Sled for the winter or however long am allowed. Here are my reasons.

    I’m retired and go out for a 50 – 200 KM ride each day when possible, from mid November to April or May.

    The OFSC trail runs through my property, allowing them is my condtribution to Snowmobiling. I even do the signage for it.

    Two years ago I bought an Artic Cat T660 four stroke in late January and put over 6,000 KM on it. Got rid of it as had many problems with it and now rely on my old 96 Skidoo 500 Fan model.

    Had the motor re-built last winter but it is showing wear and tear after 5,000 km on it last winter. I bought a new MXZ Skidoo 550X in February but only put a couple of thousand KM on it with the early spring last year.

    My wife likes the old 96 but amy trying to convince her to take the MXZ or else a new Yahama 4 stroke for her or me. So far no luck in getting her to agree.

    I bought a Yahama ATV last Fall and have had good luck with it this past Summer, so I want to try a Yahama Snowmobile to see if it is as good.

    Hopefully you will consider me.

  19. snoguzzler says:

    Awesome idea! This will certainly lead to more then a few hangers on to upgrade to a “real” sled. I would like to nominate my brother Paul. He is still riding his 1994 Vmax 500DX. It has over 20,000km but is starting to show it’s age. In fact he is afraid to go with us on our anual trip up north. We ususaly go up for a 4 day weekend in Febuary but he has never went. He usually only goes with us on day trips down south. Last year he blew a cross shaft bearing on our last outing. He is a high school teacher who loves to sled but has been afraid to make the jump to new iron. Like someone else mentioned he doesn’t know what he is missing since none of us will trade with him long enough for him to get the feel. If there is anyway he can get it for our 4 day weekend we will definetly get the miles on it and since he is a high school teacher his “book report” on it might be a little easier to read then my mumble jumble! Brian has seen me ride so he knows it will be in good hands….We live near Trenton and our north trip is to Halls Lake north of Minden.
    Thank you!

  20. Paul Whalen says:

    Hey guys, I ride a ’94 Vmax with 20K on it, the oldest in the group of APEX monsters! This upgrade would be a welcome addition to the Yammy fleet. I’d even take a couple extra ‘sick days’ to rack up the klicks! I would be willing to Tweet a few excursions to fellow riders and even upload a few pics to facebook. Tell me where I can pick it up before the snow flies – we don’t to waste any precious flakes just talkin about it!

  21. Bob Turner says:

    Hi Chris !

    I’d like to throw my hat into the ring for consideration of some seat time on the Vector. I’m 62 years old and a retired elementary school principal living in Thunder Bay. I’ve been an avid sledder since 1965 with my first sled, a 9.5hp Ski Doo that I bought with money earned working Saturdays in a freight warehouse. Since then I’ve owned 21 sleds, 9 of which have been Yamahas. My current ride is an 06 Ski Doo Renegade 600 SDI. My wife and daughter share an 07 Phazer GT.
    Two years ago, my brother in law, best friend and riding partner, Dave, left Thunder Bay for Kingston ON. He and his family chose to uproot so his wife Karen could persue a wonderful new career opportunity. Dave has found the move quite difficult, and is really homesick. We miss them all a great deal. To help remedy this situation Dave and I are going to take a week and ride the marvelous trails of Southern Ontario this winter. Dave has an 04 Warrior that is mint, mint, mint. My plan was to bring the Phazer, if the girls will let me, because the Rev, while a good sled for the ice fishing and lake riding I do, is far too cramped to spend a week on. At my 6ft 2in the Rev cockpit is too tight for all day riding. I’ve tried it, and my knees hurt. I have almost 7000 miles on the Rev and feel that being a two stroke, I’m already on borrowed time. My next sled is going to be a reliable four stroke with lots of leg room and a long track.
    Anyway, sorry for rambling, but there’s so much more I’d like to say, especially about the various Yamaha sleds I’ve had.
    Hope this finds you well, and thanks, from a die hard sledder for your candour and your honesty. I always look forward to reading your blog. ( this is sincere, I’m not sucking up !! )
    If Im fortunate enough to make the cut, rest assured, that I will return the sled as good or better than I found it, and I will tell you exactly what I think about it, as well as regale you with some tales of our riding adventures.
    Safe and happy sledding to all !

  22. Parehead says:

    Well I am a long time Skidoo rider surrounded by a bunch of Yamaha fanatics (namely the Whalen boys – Snowguzzler and Paul) and I have to listen to excuse after excuse as to why I am ALWAYS waiting for them at the next checkpoint! I would like to believe that there is no such thing as bad equipment, just bad riders – but to be fair, I need REAL blue proof! Let’s have a go and I can ask the boys if snow tastes the same if it comes off a YAMAHA track!

  23. Sushil says:

    Hi Chris,

    It’s Sushil here. I have a good friend of mine that has ridden Polaris’ ever since he started riding. We’re planning on doing a RAP tour this winter and it would be awesome to have him ride the Blue Blog Sled so he can experience first-hand the merits of four-stroke technology (and not to mention $$$ savings on fuel and oil)!

  24. ski-dog says:

    Chris

    With regard to the Blue Blog Sled I have a friend coming over from Ireland in February. He has been here a few times but never in the winter. He is giving a winter trip a try as he and his fiance (a Canadian) are considering coming to nest in Canada (specifically central Ontario sled country). Wants to test winter as part of the decision. He has seen my sled a few times and is quite curious about snowmobiling. If a sled riding Irishman is worhty of consideration let me know.

  25. Steve says:

    Hey guys pick me pick me!!!! lol That’s awesome you are putting this all together and hope lots of miles get put on that bad boy! What a great idea! Chris, you may remember me bumping into you in ‘Buktu’ a couple winters ago and I would really like to help you guys rack some klickage up on the blue blog vector. You see I have been riding my Apex for the past couple of years and have put 7800 happy k on it. Unfortuneately now divorce has forced the sale of my baby. ( no, that’s not why ) I am lucky enough to have the trusty old srx to ride but man I don’t miss smelling like a chainsaw if you know what I mean! I’m here in the snowbelt of Ontario and we have, on many occassion, been the first to open our trails and I have been involved with the club here to know what it takes for that to happen and also have been looking forward to taking a trip to Quebec as we have enjoyed much of northern Ontario already! Anyways I know I could put lots of time on it and give a good evaluation and comparison. I’m also on ty as srxz and would look forward to sharing some happy stories there as well! Snowin yet?

  26. Fox1_RX-1 says:

    Started riding Yamahas back in 75 on my father’s GS338. In 79 I bought my first Yamaha an Enticer 300 and had it until last year. My son had taken over the 300 as I stepped up onto bigger sleds. He had a blast flying around on that sled. We had to retire the sled last winter after almost 30 years of duty. With University or College coming up next year the funds for a new or newer sled doesn’t look promising. I’m sure he would be thrilled to have a chance to put some mileage on the BBS for you. We are in the Fenelon Falls area and the Rail Trail would be an excellent stretch to rack up the mileage.

    Fox

  27. John Baglieri says:

    I’d love to take you up on the test ride on The Blue Blog Sled Challenge!! I write for SnowGoer magazine. I have a Quebec Gaspe trip planned for Saturday Jan 30 until Friday Feb 6th. The trip is 1,170kms or 895 miles and we have booked into 6 hotels along the way. The trip starts in Rimouski, PQ and circumvents Gaspe back to Rimouski. We have video equipment, cameras and logging sw for input on fuel data, outside temperatures, weather conditions, etc… I would love to test out a new Vector or any other sled that Yamaha makes. John Baglieri at Digital Video Productions

  28. Todd says:

    Hi Chris,
    I just got done reading your most recent blog. Sorry to hear about your friend. Hope all is well with him.
    If you still need another test pilot for the Blue Blog Sled, I would like to throw my name in the hat. I sold my Apex GT last February. I didn’t want to, but had to. You know that job/economy thing that seems to still be hanging around. First year without a sled since 1994. It is much harder than I thought it would be being without a sled and living in Western New York .
    My riding buddies are also distraught because our annual weeklong trip to Quebec looks like it is not going to happen. Don’t know why they won’t go without me, but they say it will not be the same. Makes me feel good and horrible at the same time. I am 43 and have been riding sleds since I was 12. My schedule is flexible and I can pick up the Blue Blog Sled and return to where you need. I would love to tell my buddies that I have access to a sled for a week to make Quebec/Ontario trip. Any way you can help?
    Thanks
    Todd

    Hey Todd, will push this one over to Bryan, so many good offers, so little time! cheers cr

  29. Martin Dakers says:

    When does the list of recipients get posted or notified. I’ve scheduled our annual family snowmobile trip to Huntsville this year for the 3rd week of February. There are 5 of us and 4 snowmobiles, a couple of them older and not too reliable. Good luck too all who applied, be nice if all of us can get a chance.

  30. Bob White says:

    Whatever happened to this? There were some great submissions to this initiative which I thought was a great idea. Were candidates selected and did it take place or was it cancelled? Either way, I haven’t seen any announcements.

    Bob

    Hey Bob, thanks for the reminder I meant to update/ Short answer is: it didn’t happen, close but no cookie. Will give you a full update in my next post. Good news the concept (and sled) still live but we have almost run out of winter… cheers cr


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