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January 29, 2010

Quebec Meeting

I just returned to Toronto from Quebec City where I was holed up in a hotel with our regional reps for three days of ‘spit-balling’ about snowmobiles. We had a chance to get out on the trails with the new sled(z) but unfortunately a freak rain storm dampened the fun. There was one section of trail that got completely wiped out by a flash flood which left huge chunks of ice strewn about the forest. I didn’t get a chance to see it but Jon did and had an image on his i-phone that made me cringe.

Got word today that an old friend Max Aoshima has chosen to retire. What is notable about Max’s announcement, he is, to the best of my knowledge the only engineer left who started working with snowmobile in the 60’s development period which resulted in the SL350 and he has been with snowmobile ever since. His knowledge and sled history is brilliant! Max-san please enjoy your retirement and if you make it to Canada we must go for another ride 😉

Well we’ll hoist the blue dress high soon enough but if you’d like a little peek at what’s under the hood, here’s a little Sled Talk bonus. I am heading out on the road to meet and ride with our Ontario dealers Monday but will post again around this time next week. I have really enjoyed all the comments that have come in on Sled Talk and TY and it will be interesting to see what happens next week. I was asked to do a little video blog on the new sled which will no doubt be popping up pretty soon, sure to get me in some more trouble 😉

I need to ask a small favor. It’s report card time for Sled Talk and I have made a brief survey that I am asking everyone who reads Sled Talk to take the three minutes required to complete. All you need to do is click on this Sled Talk Survey link.

Thanks in advance!  cheers  cr

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Posted @ 4:29 pm in Travel and Events,Yamaha People and Communication   

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18 Responses to “Quebec Meeting”

  1. pat the rat says:

    just got back from a bone chilling ride tonight,opened the pc and went staight for skled talk,good idea about the survey,it will give you an idea of where the blog is at,now please unveil that sled,i know,feb 2nd,good luck with the dealers,the wifes phazer turned 15000 km tonight,what a great little sled its been,i’d buy another 1 in a heart beat,chow for now
    pat

  2. Mark Krupka says:

    Chris

    I heard the 2011 run on you-tube. It sounds very sweet and smooth. I see on your latest teaser pic of the perimeter frame that it has an electronic solenoid to alter the exhaust. I suspect it is similar to the bikes. Guess we will all know in a few days.

  3. DoktorC says:

    Sorry to here about your “wash out”…I can’t imagine the frustration having all the guys and NEW equipment ready to go only to have Mom Nature slam the door.

    I like the pic…there is alot going on under the hood. I think it’s safe to say that it’s alittle more then a rehash of last years apex.

    Thanks Rick…kinda my point. Amazing what guys can make of stuff.
    cheers cr

  4. rockerdan says:

    Great to see the underhood pic….delta box looks awesome with the lighter design and servo motor to adjust exhaust ports will surely bring more torque,power and fuel economy….very nice thinking here,reminds me alot of the 2 stroke power valves but this time in the exhaust itself!!!!

    You are doing a killer job Chris,the blog is my first stop when logging on….just got setup finally at cottage(muskoka) after my laptop died….nice to be back reading this!

    keep in touch and hope to get out for a ride very soon with you.

    Dan

  5. Stephen Burdick says:

    Chris,

    I have two 1968 SL350 sleds and have always wanted to know more of the “real” story on those sleds. I know that right now everyone, including myself are looking straight at the blue dress for Tueday and for good reason, WE LOVE YAMAHA PRODUCTS. After the dust settles (if it every does for you) any chance of doing a little vintage post? Go back to that first year and ask Max to recall what he was working on and the changes that occured on that project. I know I would be drooling!

    -Thanks,
    Steve

    Hey Steve, I’ll send Max an email next week and see if I can get a call into him before he disappears… I restored an SL350 that Bill Fullerton brought to our attention about 20 years ago. I sent it to Max and it sits proudly on display at our test center in Shibetsu… cheers cr

  6. Ike says:

    Good thing the survey.

    The bews of Mr.Aoshima got me remembering back in ´05 at Jyväskylä ATV / Snowmobile EXPO here in Finland I met Kanichi Tsunamoto (Product manager, Russian division Overseas Market Development Operations at the time). He came to visit our booth where we had several vintage Yammies at display (SL350, ´82 SRX 500 etc.) We talked a bit about the history of Yamaha Snowmobiles at far as I understood he was also part of the team what designed the early sleds. I have pics floating around somewhere

    — > http://s8.photobucket.com/albums/a45/Ikejaakola/Jyvaskyla/

    Ike

    Thanks Ike, cool pictures, that 82 SRX is a real find considering it never made production… cheers cr

  7. RICK says:

    I believe that servo motor would have something to do with the EPS?

  8. Don Thompson says:

    Hi Chris,

    Just looked at the 2011’s and I’m impressed with the refinements made in the Apex line, along with the addition of the Apex XTX model. I’ve got a couple of questios regarding shocks:

    1. Do you know if the overall length of the front A-arm shock is the same on the 2011 Apex as the current Apex’s? I’ve got some Ohlin front shocks now that I would possibly switch over to the new sled if they will work.
    2. Do you know if the Fox Mega-Float shock that’s used on the rear skid of the 2011 Apex SE model will fit on any of the current 121″ and 136″ versions of the Mono shock skid? If it does, I can imagine if Yamaha Parts and Accesories offers it to current Apex owners they would probably sell a few to guys looking to upgrade their current sled.

    Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work on this site.

    VX1R on TY 4-Stroke

  9. Craig says:

    Chris,
    Wow what a great refinement in the new Apex. On your video blog you do mention a 5% hp increase but there was no mention of the expected MPG increase with the new EXUP system. Also, with the fox floats being 10lbs lighter and the addition of the “webbed” framing and new exhaust design(shorter design with eliminated muffler bracing), is the sled actually lighter than the 2010 model? I ask this for comparison since the new EPS makes the sled feel much lighter for handling and corners better with the new ski’s and the 2010 Apex LTX was only 4 lbs heavier than the Vector LTX GT (SnowGoer Mar2010 issue), Apex would be the better choice overall for long trail riding. That is unless MPG is much different. Decisions, decisions..

  10. Peter says:

    SRX 500 made production but was recalled due to engine problem. Ppl who bought them was offered 81 SRX 440 instead but some choose to go with the 500.

    So about the Game Changer now Yamaha is lacking in all segments beside trail. Nice job Yamaha!

    Huh??? cr

  11. sledfreak says:

    Hey Chris, A few comments on the new sled and some update refinements on current models. First, the price tag sucks on this new sled…. In this economy, I’m not sure customers can absorb this much of an increase. But, I do like the refinements to it. Something I believe should have been done along time ago and released slowly over the years. But, it is what it is… I just hope everything works as advertised… Alot of people have lost their trust in Yamaha especially over the handwarmer issues that plagued the Apex and Nytro 08+ and Apex since 06. It took 4 years for them to fix the handwarmers and idler wheel issues. I am also disappointed in the hp increase. For the weight of this sled, 170hp would have been a perfect match for it. I believe this is the reason you are seeing alot of complaining on TY, because of the lack of increased hp. Why not a 3 cylinder with 160-170hp. You have some serious disgruntled sledders over there. I don’t think people wanted a Turbo, but a better power to weight would have been much appreciated and better received. I know the EPS will help with the weight and is a welcome addition, but you really are masking the weight problem. Anyways enough about that.

    In your testing or Yamaha’s testing, is the Apex XTX faster on top end, then the 128” Apex? Accurate data (data acquisition) would be helpful here? Not just a test on the lake. What data does Yamaha from there testing?
    Will the YamahaCharger from G-force bolt on to this new Apex and still produce the claimed 20hp?

    Thanks,

    Andy

  12. George says:

    Chris,
    The new Apex should do the trick for the people who can afford it, in my case I can’t. I was hoping for a vector and phaser motor in the new apex type chassie (EPS), so in a year or two I could pick up a couple of good used one’s. Now I can’t see this happening for at least three to four year’s which is not Yamaha’s fault but my own. In my opinion if Yamaha would have released these two model’s, it would not only been a game changer but a complete market dominating move for all level’s, entry, trail, performance trail. How hard would it have been to do? You have the motor’s and chassie in production already for 2011! Maybe I am missing something here? I have been on Yamaha’s since 1982, and riding since 1969 for me it’s time to look elsewhere, or get out of the sport all together. Sorry for the rant.
    Thanks for listening.

    George

    Thanks George, we do have limitations to what can be done season to season, I hope we can build your sled down the road… cheers cr

  13. Low Slung says:

    Congrats on the new sled,seems there are people who have a problem with the term GAME CHANGER.I for one am comfortable with the term.Power-steering hasn,t show up on any sled before(and i hope it only stays on yamaha sleds in the future,keep it in the family).EXUP is another ”new to sleds” technology that helps add more low-end power to the 150 motor(something that i found it lacked compared to my warrior).Yamahas new apex is really a step in a direction that reduces rider fatigue while making the sledding experience more exciting(less fatigue=more smiles).I wonder if this sled was released last winter would it have all the features it has now?(ex-mega float shock).Glad to see a price reduction in yamahas parts compared to last season(got both shocks in an ET410 this year for the price of one shock last year).Loved the videos of the new sled.

    Thanks LS, there was definitely some benefit in the delayed release of the new Apex, if nothing else an additional season of testing has yielded some excellent calibration to clutch and suspension.. cheers cr

  14. Yellowknife says:

    Chris, hats off to you for your video on http://www.yournextsled.com/story.php

    I think it was really smart to do that video and it was right on the money. Now people just have to get the chance to try before they buy.

    P.S. I set a new personal record for mileage in one day yesterday at 390 km’s. We found fresh snowfall but no groomers. We rode through everything from excellent fresh powder conditions to barely enough hardpack for the scratchers to dig into. This is one crazy winter, but i’m happy to be finding ways to put the miles on. I think scratchers should come standard on all sleds like you did with the MTX’s.

    Cheers,
    YK

    Thanks YK, gotta hand it to you… you sure know how to take a vacation!! 😉 cr

  15. Flatlander SE says:

    I presume that Yamaha has the 2012 emission standards in the bag for the entire lineup. The question is concerning the engine update (valve/injector location) and EXUP valve.
    Was the re-design for a power increase or for an emissions purpose also?

    Most of the engine config was to support the EXUP system, whci is all about torque. The increase of peak power is a result of not having to compromise the tuning for valve overlap. EXUP does help with fuel economy and is quieter, so may also benefit some compliance issues down the road… cheers

  16. sfraser says:

    Hi Chris, nice updates on the new Apex. EPS is real cool. Can you comment on price/warranty difference between US and Canada? Once again we seem to be on the short end of the stick

    touchy subject and not my fiield of expertise but will try in my next post.. cr

  17. mark rosenblath says:

    hi chris, nice work on the new Apex lots of performance stuff, more hp lighter chassis, same reliability, no need to think SRX anymore keep it up Rosey

    Thanks Mark, the test ride reports are strating to come in that support as well cheers cr

  18. Richard Caillé says:

    I am french people working in 1967 for LE Cantin in Québec city and Iwas on of the first to posses a Yamaha SL 350 and in 1968 we have exposed in Québec the new SL 351
    Remember!!….
    Richard


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