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Archive for September, 2011

September 27, 2011

I Want My Share

Something came to my attention last week that stopped me in my tracks. As you may already know, there has been at least three occasions where large sections of the Quebec trail system have been in jeopardy of closure. This has happened due to disagreements between certain landowners (farmers) and the Quebec government over such things as taxation and bi-laws. The trail access was held hostage until concessions were met. In all cases at the eleventh hour leaving the FCMQ in an awkward position with trail permit sales and grooming operations caught in the decision.

I have no viewpoint regarding the actual political issues between property owner and government. I just think it is unfortunate that the trails became a bargaining chip in a game where they play no active role. The bottom line is the trail systems very existence is founded on the goodwill of the volunteers and property owners. If we lose one or the other the ‘trail closed’ signs get posted and the local communities suffer.

Well the mayor of Saguenay city decided to initiate his own defense to ensure  snowmobilers (and their wallets) have full trail access to the region which is highly dependent on winter tourism.

His solution, reach deep into the regions coffers and pay the local landowners who have trails cross their property. Pretty nice gesture at first glance. The numbers I saw said $900 / kilometer, then another source said 900 bucks per owner, doesn’t really matter. The part that concerns me is what about all the other property owners who are not in the region of the Saguenay? How about the farmer who lives right on the border of Saguenay, he’s not getting paid anything for the trail across his back 40 while his neighbor is getting nicely rewarded by the town…

I don’t know where this is headed but I for one am a bit concerned. There are a lot of riders who complain of a 200 dollar trail permit. A precedent like this could cause a demand for widespread compensation  that would knock the permit price into the stratosphere. The only solution would be found in accessing tax dollars from governments willing to protect winter tourism, which will be sketchy indeed.


To end on a positive note, here’s a pic from the Whistler web-cam submitted by one very excited western region sales manager.

 

cheers cr

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Posted @ 2:00 pm in Industry News,Opinions and Insights   

September 21, 2011

Dealer Networking

I just returned to the office along with most of our management team after spending the past week and a bit travelling to meet with our dealers. We kicked off the tour in Quebec City last Tuesday and Wednesday at Wendake native cultural museum. The attendance response from our Quebec dealers was so good we ended up having to rent a big top tent to display all our stuff and was standing room only for staff during the presentations.

I jetted home Wednesday night just in time for our mountain biking race series awards banquet where I proudly watched my daughter receive the ‘best sportsman’ award then it was off to Deerhurst Resort for the next meeting. Our very own Amy McIsaac and her band provided the nightly entertainment and once again we were caught off-guard by the higher than expected dealer attendance.

We wound up the Ontario meeting on Friday afternoon, made a mad dash to cottage and hit the airport early Monday to fly to Halifax for round three. The east coast hospitality was great as we were received in a century old harbor tavern and treated to some more local culture. At the same time, some of our team headed west to Banff where Randy and the boys corralled the western dealers. I heard there were some shots fired and a good time was again had by all.

We had some key business partners join us at all four meetings providing some excellent new product support for the attending dealers. We introduced the new Dupont hyfax and Tuner skis along with new partners, Shark helmets, AXO riding gear and Irish Setter sports wear as ‘exclusive’ to Yamaha lines. We also had the experts from Camoplast and Superwinch on hand along with the brass from Nippon Oil blenders of Yamalube and from YMUS Mr. Yamalube himself Steve Friedrichs who has forgotten more about oils and lubes than I’ll ever learn.

In debrief there was clearly an overall positive message delivered at these meetings and a general acceptance that we are on the right track and moving forward. Of all the product groups we touch the most solid in respect to the consumer has got to be snowmobile. Everything points to a season of growth given just a little co operation from mother nature.

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Posted @ 1:19 pm in Accessory Stuff,Yamaha People and Communication   

September 12, 2011

Haymakers2

Just a quick update to Fridays post on the new skis and sliders. Robert sent me up a copy of the hand-out flyer from Haydays. It contains a lot more detail than my first report. Note the pricing is in US dollars and we will be within 10.00 bucks Canadian, which is good news.

New SMB Accessories

I am hitting the road tomorrow for a week and half as we are hosting a series of 4 regional dealer meetings. I am able to make three of the four and am looking forward to visiting Quebec City and Halifax along with a couple of days at Deerhurst Resort in central Ontario. I’ll update on my return. Cheers  cr

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Posted @ 8:12 am in Yamaha Insights   

September 9, 2011

Haymakers

The air has turned chill around here dang quick this week and along with the cool breeze I’m getting hit with lots of cool sled stuff. The Sno Barons ‘Hay Days’ kicks off the season in the mid-west for many riders and Yamaha is always there with bells on. It appears they have resolved the parking / access issues from last year but we’ll soon find out as the event date is this weekend. Yamaha will have some new stuff on display at Hay Days and I figure the news will spread quickly next week and there should be no harm in giving you the holeshot.  There are a couple of items, I think are really cool and plan to bolt onto my own sled as quick as I can get my hands on them.

One of them comes in the form of a new plastic ski which we have named the ‘Tuner’. It features dual keels and a selection of 4 different carbides that can be mixed and matched to dial in the ‘ handling character’ to suit the rider and suspension set-up. Jon had the chance to test the design and was blown away with the results. Darting can be all but eliminated, ski lift and under-steer can be balanced to preference and steering effort can be dialed to suit your tolerance. As a bonus, the ski is about a pound lighter than our current offering and can be retrofitted easily to most models. When looking at all the other skis on the market, the Tuner appears right on the mark and if the projected price holds true, it will have a distinct advantage at check-out.

There has been a lot of on-line conversation regarding maintenance kits for our front end bushings. We have sourced a supplier to produce ‘Oillite’ bushings to replace the stock plastic when the time comes. They differ from most current aftermarket offerings as they are made using a forging process which ensures uniform tolerances and consistent high quality. On that subject, the properties of Oillite (copper/iron alloy impregnated with self lubricating oil) allows for much tighter tolerances than the OE plastic parts. The end result is a much tighter feeling system that will significantly outlast the parts they replace.

There is one more item that is of big significance. I alluded in my last post to ‘one of snowmobiling’s biggest PITA’s’. Well to be more specific, hy-fax wear has to be one of the most common issues of debate amongst trail riders. The UHMW slider has remained virtually unchanged since it’s introduction over 4 decades ago. That is until now.

Yamaha has teamed up with Dupont to develop a new runner for extreme condition riders. It features bars of ‘Vespel’ material which are embedded into the UHMW runner in a unique compression molding process, at specific angles to keep the Vespel in contact with the clips. The end result yeilds much greater durabilty and less friction (read improved top-speed and mileage) under marginal snow conditions.

I have seen some testing data and heard the detailed explanation of this new product and it is so good that I am reluctant to make any concrete claims here until I try it myself. The stuff won’t be cheap but if it delivers as claimed….wow.

I won’t go into all the finer details of these new accessories here as there will be official bulletins issued next week that will answer most questions including pricing and availability but I will say I am extremely impressed with each of these new products based on my limited exposure and add my own disclaimer. ‘Specifiactions subject to change without notice… don’t shoot the piano player’

cheers cr

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Posted @ 1:07 pm in Yamaha Insights