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Archive for February, 2012

February 16, 2012

My Turn to Rant

Thursday morning and already looking forward to the upcoming long weekend, my Apex awaits and snow is falling. I will get home next Monday night only to turn around Tuesday, load up the truck with three more sleds and three guys from YMUS  heading back north for some testing and discussions. I will finally get a chance to try a Nytro with the front end kit which is currently being raced quite successfully in various cross countries in the US. I’m hoping the timing and conditions allow us to be on snow dawn to dusk next Wednesday racking up some big numbers on the sleds. I know the guys who are joining me are seasoned riders and barring any ‘incidents’, it should be a good day.

I want to thank those of you who responded to my last post, or more likely responded to the release of the Nytro XTX back-country. Good or bad, I appreciate anyone who takes the time to give me constructive feedback. I can’t say I was surprised at some of the more critical reactions. I did have to bite my tongue on a few points which I thought were a bit unfair but I am not here to defend anything today. I know the expectation for some new, ground-breaking iron from Yamaha is high right now (actually it always is). The Nytro especially is overdue for a massage (me too! come to think of it).  Having internet ‘count down tickers’ to March 2, video teasers, viral hints and hype only fuel the desire. Frankly speaking it is unlikely that MY 2013 will go down as one of the land-mark new product launches like I described a couple of posts back when I visited some of my favorite meeting memories. I am surprised that no one put two and two together regarding the type of dealer meetings which were held around each of those prior releases and what is planned for the upcoming one – boys and girls it was a good hint!  😉

All that said, there is a lot of stuff happening  behind the scenes. And as Hal pointed out in the comments, 2013 is just a blip on the radar when it comes to what we have done, what we are capable of doing and what is to come in the future…

BTW I really appreciated the positive comments defending the Apex. I know I am not alone when I hear someone bashing an Apex because it is too ‘this’ or not enough ‘that’, (right Sean? 😉 ) I wish I had a better parallel than motorcycles to illustrate what I believe needs to happen in the snowmobile industry but let me try. I haven’t quite put my finger on it but if you were to take the current Apex, put it in its element- being the fast, flowing trails  most of us dream about – and run it against anything in the current crop of sleds; you’d be extremely hard-pressed to find fault. The new Apex along with its sibling Vector, are IMO near perfect trail sleds and the harder and longer you push them the better they work. For those who are still stuck on the weight / handling, and the older issues like grip warmers, bearings and stuff, sorry to say its time to get over it, trade up or move on. Problem is, as I see it, we haven’t (yet) created the kind of positioning opportunities in snowmobile like we have with bikes. Motorcycle riders don’t compare an R1 to a YZ or Raider or Tenere. They are all purpose built to deliver a specific ride character in certain conditions and are all respected for different reasons. I have never heard someone on an adventure bike crap all over a sport bike because it is heavy by their class definition or a cruiser rider lament that the chassis doesn’t take the bumps like an enduro. See where I’m going?

So why do we compare sleds like they are all designed to do the same thing, the same way at the same level for everyone. It seems to me that the snowmobile trails (or lack of) offer a more vast range of conditions and terrain than motorcycles. The Apex is not a snow cross sled or a boon docker but dang-it, they’re awfully hard to beat on a decent trail which is exactly what we intended it to be… sorry, not trying to open a debate, it was simply my turn to rant 🙂

Cheers cr

 

 

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Posted @ 5:01 pm in Yamaha Insights   

February 10, 2012

Muskoka Meltdown

Had an interesting week. We (our accessories development team and snowmobile service managers) have been locked down at Kellermans resort in Muskoka. Twelve of us hit the trails Tuesday to test out some new riding gear. The conditions were less than ideal but all-in-all things worked out really good. Wednesday and Thursday were all day meetings. And here I sit last man out getting caught up on the email and reading the aftermath of yesterdays XTX announcement. I am finding it kind of sad to see the disappointment written in comments here and on the forums but I can’t say I was surprised.

The MY13 Nytro XTX we launched yesterday was a last minute addition to the line up, which YMC finally conceded to build once they recognized the efforts (and cost) going towards accessorizing the sleds to get a decent back-country track and improved deep snow performance. As many have pointed out, guys have been doing this since we first released the Nytro. The only reason we announced it yesterday was based on a strong request from the sales guys who wanted to add the unit to the Power Tour demo rides which are happening now. Had we waited until March 2nd the chances of deep snow to play in would be that much less. Having said that, this years snowfall and warm temps have pretty well negated the whole plan anyway. I have mixed feelings about hyping up our new product launches, thinking they should be more steered by the actual impact the product will have more-so than the basic desire to excite the market. That said, it is our job to advertise and promote regardless of the cards we are dealt be it a completely new model line or BNG. No excuses here, just offering a little background on why we had a preemptive announcement.

Back to the riding… I am also aware of some frustration regarding the availability of our new Dupont hy-fax. As I mentioned in an earlier post I was impressed by the testing results but was not going to fully endorse without running a set. Well I have close to a thousand km on mine now and my last few rides have been on glare ice. The trails are rock hard here and the lakes are skating rinks. My  hy-fax still looks like new, have not smelled plastic once, have been running the lakes at speed (I am also using and Ice-Ripper track) and right now I am thinking this is the real deal. I don’t care what brand of sled you ride, without some good scratcher’s you wouldn’t be going far or fast here right now without destroying the runners. I’m a believer! The issue now is overheating engines, everyone I have talked to is seeing temp lights and searching for the illusive snowbanks on the sides of the trail, damn we need snow!!

 

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Posted @ 10:13 am in Accessory Stuff,Opinions and Insights