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March 4, 2010

HID – Snowshoot – Yamafest

Checking out some bolt on stuff this week. Randy Swenson (Team Thunderstruck) is our newly appointed western regional manager for Yamaha and was in town so I grabbed him on Tuesday night for a ride. The snow conditions around south Simcoe are getting real skinny but it was still worth the effort to get with Randy. I had a set of HID lights in my Apex to try out as well as the newest version of the TRIC ice scratchers… and I’m glad I had both.

The HID lights are really intense and in my estimation worth the price of admission. I will definitely be running these on any of my future sleds. We were running a rail trail tunnel through the bush at a significant velocity. It seemed illuminated similar a freight train -very nice! Not sure how much the scratchers were helping across the now snow-bare, plowed corn fields we had to run, but there is likely a clean strip that won’t need to be harrowed in the spring!

Randy was running the same sled that Matt smashed the world 24 hour distance record on. All I did was change the oil, tighten the track and replace the carbides (broken studs). The steering was still nice and tight and everything was running good as new. Got a chuckle out of Randy when he said this was the longest he has sat down on a snowmobile in recent recollection and his throttle thumb was cramping from the steady throttle settings down Lake Simcoe. He also remarked how powerful the sled felt at sea level, which coming from a man who runs upwards to 400hp in his ‘first ascent’ machines, is quite a statement.

We are heading for Wisconsin next week to hook-up with the US based, testing and planning guys. Hopefully we’ll have enough snow to check out some of the future projects they are working on. Won’t surprise me if we end up in the UP.

Wade is holding down the fort at the annual media ‘Snowshoot’ which is taking place in West Yellowstone as I write this. So far I haven’t heard much about what is happening there but I am sure there is lots of schmoozing between the OE’s and journalists, we’ll have to wait and see what actually gets printed. So far it would appear the new Apex is a hands down winner for the most advanced, evolved / changed 2011 model released thus far, but I’m not completely up to speed and have yet to see how strong the marketing spin will be behind the emissions motor oriented line-up from Quebec. What? Now ‘4-strokes are lighter than 2-strokes’? Really now, that’s simply amazing. How do you spell ‘sled of the year?’ 😉

Yamafest is a go out in Revvy and I understand that Gilles from G-Force will attend along with his world-speed record holding Apex Streamliner and a Yamcharger equipped mountain sled. Randy and the boys are planning a few surprises for the participants, only wish I could make it out this year…

We’re looking at temperatures upwards of +10 degrees C this weekend. Could it be time to put some air in the tires? Hmmmm.

Cheers cr

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4 Responses to “HID – Snowshoot – Yamafest”

  1. Yellowknife says:

    It is way too warm here too. What the heck is going on? Hopefully it means a cold April and sleding into May.

    Speaking of mods, I’ve got the roll-over kits from fourstrokesolutions to eliminate oil spilling into the airbox if you’ve ‘stucked’ your sled in powder on its side. What is Yamaha’s feeling on this issue, especially for the mountain riders? Has there been any interest in coming up with a factory feature to help with the problem?

    Also, I got a kit for the steering joints in the Phazer because of the excessive free-play in the front end joints (not including spindles/ski’s etc) The kits have gotten some great recognition, i’m wondering what Yamaha thinks about this excessive play issue as well, and if there’s been any interest in redesign to tighten up the bars on Phazers?

    Both kits are available respectively from:





    Hey Allen, glad you made it home safe and sound from you’re snowmobile adventure, thinkin I need to get a job with the CBC 😉
    The answers to your questions are a little gray. We have added some special shims in production to the steering links to reduce the free-play but I am told its not completely effective. We have also added a switch to the Phazers that sense a drop in oil pressure and shut it down but there is a delay on it due to hill climbing angles where it may be possible to have the sled in some extreme angles while still in control and the pilot wouldn’t appreciate the engine suddenly shutting down. The rental guys are big on installing mercury switches, seems there sleds have the funny habit of laying over for no apparent reason… now go nail a ptarmigan with your Dodge and have yourself a nice YK road kill dinner okay 😉 cheers cr

  2. morrisond says:

    Hi Chris,

    Who makes the Zenon kits?

    Any chance you can post up the imfamous graph of the 2010 Apex Engine compared to the 2011 that was shown to the dealers?

    The Apex may be the most changed 2011, it will be interesting to see how it runs against the 800 Etec next year. The new Polaris RMK/Assualt/Switchback does look pretty hot as well. Can I transplant an Nytro or Apex motor into it? It would be nice to see some video on how much faster the 2011 is or one of the comparisons you used to make like the 2011 Apex x lengths faster than the 2010 in x feet.

    Have fun MTB this summer. Will you be at the Toronto show on March 31?

    Hey Dane, I’ll post some info on the Zenon kits, need to do a little more digging. I would like to see Yamaha make these available as an accessory, makes night riding a lot more fun. Won’t post the graph without checking in with our engineers, they are very sensitive about making power claims these days. Amazes me how skidoo can replace a two stroke twin 800 with a 2 stroke twin 800 in the same chassis and create such as buzz. The good news to me is their new EPA compliant motor costs them more to build and has more stuff that can go wrong, I’m not too concerned about how the Apex will stack up against one, it’ll be close either way, I’d just pick a really long lake and wait for the XP headlight to quit workin 😉

    Really looking forward to the MTB season and especially the fact that my daughter is going to race with me… cheers cr

  3. George says:

    For the new project’s that you will be testing, it will be in the UP the way the snow is melting right now. I hope you will be testing my new EPS equiped vector and phaser motored sled’s!! The wife and I had the oppirtunity to ride the 2011’s in Hurley Wi. a couple of weeks back for about 25 miles or so. All I can say is OH MY GOD (OMG)!!! In my opinion every sled made, should have power steering. We had a choppy base with about 6 inches of lake effect fluff on top, condition’s that would make any sled push in the corner’s, and they took us through alot of corner’s. The sled’s never pushed! So my thought was that they had a lot of weight dialed into the ski’s and that was confirmed with all the track spin when we would cross road’s. We were going at pretty good pace that you should have been feeling it in the arms and shoulders! I felt nothing, at times I was one handing it and giggling in my helmet thinking how cool this is. The best part was my wife’s comment’s. First we had just finished a two day, four hundred mile back pack trip in the UP. with her riding her 2001 phaser with my daughter on the back. Now my wife, being 5’2″ tall and 49 year’s of age, doesn’t have the leverage to whip around a sled that has a 144″ track and is 200lbs. heavier! Her comment’s, base apex: “easy to steer”, apex se: “to easy”, my responce to that was “what??”, apex xtx: “not as easy as the first two but way easier than her phaser”. In my opinion this is a game changer, it allows you to set up a sled to handle like a slot car with very little effort. There is a reason why most race cars, even 1500lb, 800hp, sprint cars, have power steering. I would like to thank Yamaha for the demo ride, and you, Chris, for the oppirtunity to let us comment here.
    Thanks again!

    Hey George, thanks for the vote of confidence. Your wife might surprise some of the boys when she sneaks by on the inside line 😉 cheers cr

  4. pat the rat says:

    chris,nice write up,i’m concerned with the scratchers,do they hit the belly when running high speeds,i’m buying a set of scratchers and the tric ones look simple,plus you can reverse with them,wish i would of had them when we did the ride around algonquin park last week,lots of road running,cant beleive how the trails are narrow in the south compared to ours here in the north,but it was still a blast,the 09 vec turned 7000 miles,not bad for a season & a half,its been flawless,the phazer turned 11000 miles,still kicking strong,if weather permits,this wednesday,the new apex will be in town,cant wait to try it

    Hey Pat the scratchers may contact the pan under some conditions but lightly, I noticed mine a couple of times on deceleration over frozen slush, I don’t see any problem with mine. Trails are disappearing fast here, hold sthe snow holds up for your demo rides.. cheers

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