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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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21 Responses to “Muskoka Meltdown”

  1. Yellowknife says:

    Hey Chris – I find it funny that I’m upgrading my XTX to be what the 2013 is – BUT, some constructive comments, I would have liked to see a larger fuel tank – even if you guys had entered a partnership with the trail tank guys or something. The 2 stroke e-tec’s are beating me by at least 50 km’s in our conditions. They used to have to carry fuel to do my distance, now I’m the one having to carry it to go theirs, and they don’t need any on the back of their tunnel.

    Question, are the front shocks rebuildable? Do they have adjustable compression? By the looks of it they don’t. Any idea’s why? I love the adjustable ones and find it to be a step backwards even if it is to cut price.

    Speaking of which, what’s this unit cost in CA$?

    Glad to hear you’ve gotten some riding in at least. I’m back in Ontario March 8 thru 19. I’ll bring old man winter with me.


  2. Yellowknife says:

    Sorry, I should have finished reading before commenting, so I’d like to add that I like the extra heat exchanger, the dual switch grip controls, oil pressure sensing system (I didn’t know they didn’t have this before on Nytro’s), the extroverts, and that ski sounds promising.

    I think these are good improvements. I’d certainly like to have them on my XTX.


  3. Mr. T says:

    Chris, Now that I’m settled down after yesterday’s so called new sled release, I think I came up with a solution for their unprofitable snowmobile division and its LOYAL customers. Approach Polaris or Cat and cut a deal with them. Build all their engines, 2 stroke and 4 stroke for them. In return Yamaha stops making their own chassie’s. Plusses: First, Yamaha makes money and noteriety for their bullet proof engine technology, the companies strength. Second, the loyal customer can still say he has got his Yamaha dependibility with the added handeling, better ride, and lighter weight. Think about it, a Pro R 136 with a Vector or Apex motor in it. Hey lets throw in EPS on that. Yah baby what do you think of that, everybody wins!! I haven’t thought of any negative’s yet.

  4. sledfreak says:

    Ok… So lets look at this and lets be realistic.

    In your mind, what do you think Yamaha Customers are looking for in a new sled from Yamaha?

    Lets look at some of Yamahas weaknesses over the other brands, that people (mags or web) always seem to point out, particularly, in the flag ship sled (Apex).

    Weight. Its the heaviest in the industry, correct? What about front end weight? Or balanced Weight? There is a reason Yamaha put on Power Steering on the Apex, to counter the heavy feeling of the steering effort comprised from the 4 stroke 4 cyl, Genessis motor.

    Handling. The Apex gives a lot of inside ski lift and does not rotate very well as compared to other OEM’s. With a name like that, it should be the best. Twitchie feeling and/or darting from these sleds is just astronomical. Same issue, since 2003? Designing some different rubbers may help, but the geometry is still lacking!

    Shock Valving. You guys have the best shocks in the business, but pay a grade 3 student to come up with a valve stack for any of your sleds. Can you hear me now?

    Fuel Mileage… Not a leading industry player here on this particular sled. Smaller fuel tanks (Nytro), but even the Apex is smaller now. Sorry, but the etec is better and it shouldn’t be. It’s a 2 stroke! For the sake of argument we know 4 strokes are better on fuel, then 2 strokes, correct?

    Heated handle grips still lacking in extreme weather. They are better, but still not up to par. Ice build up is just ridiculous on these sleds. (rear exit exaust should be abolished. The straight shot of power that it provides is not a benefit if the subproduct it produces is a higher center of gravity (reduction in handling and overall sled balance) and the amount of ice build up from the exhaust melting the snow. Is that worth it? You could show me every piece of engineering mobo jumbo that says its better, but the bottom line is the motor sits higher adversing the effects of a low center of gravity and hurting the over all handling characteristics of the sled.

    Those are the obvious things that need to change and people have bitched and complained about over the course of this sleds inception.

    Yamaha, cannot keep blaming the economy for not releasing a new sled. Other OEM’s are pushing forward and Yamaha is not. A variant of the same platform is NOT a new sled. Say what you want.

    I don’t think everyone is asking for the lightest, highest hp, tricked out sled from Yamaha. But, what they are looking for is CHANGE and more importantly, hope, that Yamaha is still dedicated to the sport and are listening to the needs of snowmobilers.

    You cannot honestly say that Yamaha makes a better snowmobile then the competion, even if the motors are superb. All OEM’s make 4 strokes now. You need the whole package. You read the web and the mags, its just not me saying the obvious.

    Sure Yamaha is still making snowmobiles, but so did 70 other snowmobile OEM’s back in the 70’s. Look what happended to them!

  5. low slung says:

    No worries about temp lights here today chris.Me and my brother(7 skulls)busted through deep,wind swept drifts today on the back country(and a few stuck sessions had us looking at the darkside,but to be fair i got stuck just as much on a lightweight ET410II today).The release yesterday of the variant 2013 nytro was overhyped(i blame yamaha USA for this)but your reasons for the sled really shed light on the demand for these off-trail specials.The only all new thing i predict from yamaha for 2013 is whats under that white plastic that had the two kids amazed.Does it have one ski?And have you ridden it?

  6. scott says:

    I respect that you allow for even the negative comments to be posted on your blog. There have been quite a few times that I was surprised you posted my comments in their original and unedited form. That is huge since my comments are often critical of the direction your employer is going with their sled division.

    I was reading the posts on TY and there was a lot of frustration. Thanks for acknowledging that and commenting on it over here. I’d think it has got to be hard to maintain a positive attitude when it appears that the higher ups at YMC do not share the same passion for snowmachining as do the customers.

  7. DoktorC says:


    You’ll be glad to know we received about 5cm last night (I’m about 1 minute from where that picture was taken)…just enough to lube and cool for the weekend.

    As far as the comments go about the XTX…the whining is the same EVERY year no matter what you do. keep your chin up…and the hammer down.

  8. steve roberts says:

    I ve said it before, and it warrants it many more times, this blog represents your dedication to the sport of snowmobiling and will be remembered far longer than any product from any manufacturer.
    The high caliber of snowmobilers you attract here, with their savvy and pure snowmobile comments is proof that we all talk the talk and walk the walk.
    Regardless of product releases, weather conditions or ecoomic factors, I enjoy and look forward to reading not only your insights but every comment on these posts.

    Snowmobilers make the difference.

    Steve Roberts

  9. SXV says:

    Well I think things are about to change in the Yamaha camp. I guess that more and more development will be moved from NA to Scandinavian and Russia since that is where the most sales are now. And that as I see it will be a good thing, mainly since YMUSA has been calling the shoots over the last years and they have failed to meet the customers demand.
    It’s about time to move the development to other places where competence and knowledge is better.
    Cause every time I ask my dealer why Yamaha does this and that they claim it is decided by Yamaha USA and their type of riding, as You mentioned Chris in a post a while back, does not correspond to most of the rest of the world. When I go riding I can be out all day and not a 20 wot as seem as the preferred type of riding by YMUSA.
    And regarding the release of the Nytro 1.75, it wouldn’t have caused as much negative feedback if they hadn’t already showed it and then tried to hype it as a new release, as a customer I see that as an insult. And when it also regarded as a development of a existing model it is disqualified as a new release.
    I do hope for a new sled march 2 since I have put my Nytro XTX on sale. This is my forth winter on it and is has me more annoyed than exited when I’m on it and that is not a good sign. The engine is sweet but the time and money that I have to put into it to make it work as it should have in the first place is not funny. And for the first time since I started riding in the mid 80s I thinking of looking on a different brand and that sucks cause the support and service from my Yamaha dealer is excellent. But excellent service will not sell sleds if they are no fun to use.

    But I do hope Yamaha will bring something that will be a new benchmark in the industry as the old SRV and SRX was.

  10. Mr. T says:

    Chris, First I would like to say I’m sorry for all the recent ranting that I and my fellow Yamaha riders have been giving you about this last release, we all know it was not your decision. I think this frustation has been boiling for a while and this just pushed it over the top. That was an embarasment to the Yamaha loyalist and has really put doubts in their minds on what the direction and future the company has for sleds. I think you have to reasure the future of Yamaha sleds to its faithfull good or bad. Thanks for listening and this will be the last time I post on this subject.

  11. RSILK says:

    Did you examine your track clips after using the dupont slides in those harsh conditions? If they look good I believe we really have the real deal. Thanks

    So Far So Good, Clips showing fewer scratches and line than regular hy-fax (I had / have? the same concern)
    cheers cr

  12. Bosco says:

    Chris, just needed to respond to all the bashing on the Nytro XTX release. I can’t figure what all the bitchin is about the Nytro being so heavy when according to the published dry weights it weighs about the same as the 1100 cat and within about 20 lbs of the 1200 doo, thats what a 4 stroke is gonna weigh. Sure the Vector and Apex are heavier but those are PREMIUM trai sleds. I’ve road the 1200 doo and that thing steers so heavy it feels like it weighs 600 lbs. I’m not sure what they’re smokin on TY but they should do snowmobiling a favor and shut that worthless site down. Keep up the good work and thanks for a PREMIUM product!

  13. Hal says:


    I guess this is the dark side of brand loyalty.

    I am a TY member and find the site very informative and helpful. It is great that all that information is available to new and existing yamaha riders.

    I always find it interesting this time of year to hear the rants by the small percentage of members who are disappointed with the new model year offerings. I think there gets to be a little bit of a mob mentallity when the bashing starts.

    In a way your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I read posts where people are complaining about BNG and the lack of new offerings, and then they turn around and state that they aren’t buying a first year sled because there will sure to be bugs.

    I think the logic behind the timing of the release makes sense and I appreciate that this forumn allows us some insight into the decision making. It is great that now we have a choice on what kind of XTX we can buy.

    I personally am excited to see what got the kids amped because I have a 7 year old who I would love to get into the sport (provided I can pry him away from the hockey rink).

    Try not to get to down. Think about how happy yamaha fans will be when you totally overhaul your line up and they can all snowcheck some new sleds. I am sure the forumn’s will be buzzing with positive vibes, atleast until they find new model bugs to complain about. 😉

    Keep your head up, your stick on the ice and your right thumb to the bars.


  14. Kingsley says:

    On my 2011 Apex XTX the sliders are getting eaten up like I`ve never seen on another sled. Roughly 1400 km & I`ve gone through 3 sets so far. I`m out with Ski-Doo`s & older Yamaha`s and their sleds have hardly any slider wear at all. I`ve heard it all , tracks too tight , not enough snow & poor quality sliders. Looks like an engineering flaw but no one will admit to that. Engine runs flawlessly.

  15. pat the rat says:

    the hyfax on yamaha’s wear out fast then stop for thousands of miles,its a non issue for me and many others,cant beleive all the negativity you read on forums over the backcountry nytro,they’ve been crying for a bigger track and once they get it,they bash the heck out of it,i just came back from a 1500km trip today,i left with a 18000 km sled without a worry of not getting back,the vector ran like a dream,i would not attempt that on another brand,seriously,on top of that,the phazer turned 23000 km,i aint bashing nothing

  16. Scott says:

    I’ve never understood all the complaining regarding hyfax wear and Yamaha’s? Neither my Vector or Nytro wore hyfax any worse than any of the other sleds (Polaris, Ski-doo and Yamaha) I’ve had since ’85.

    Of course when I look at the photos of today’s Grafton 100 race and see they are racing in maybe, 2-3″ of snow and the course is down to dirt, well….. naturally hyfax is going to wear out at a faster rate. http://s34.photobucket.com/albums/d122/zr2onthego/USCC%202012/

    I’ve also watched YouTube videos of ordinary guys riding in these conditions and I’m dumb founded people actually ride their sleds with so little snow on the ground! I always wonder if these are the same guys complaining on the forums that their sled prematurely wore out its hyfax? IMO, the biggest reason hyfax wears out more quickly on the newer sleds is the 3rd window closed tracks. In my experience a fully clipped track runs cooler. In one race I got my stock Nytro track hot enough that I could see wear marks on the closed windows. No surprise there, we had to do a bunch of high speed river running on hard packed, spring time in the morning. By the second lap the snow was chewed up enough that things were properly lubricated.

    The ’13 XTX release was lame. Had it come with the improved front end then that would have been worthy of some hype. As it was I checked out the FB video out of curiosity (since I read so many negative comments) and I didn’t even watch it all the way through. The video was low quality, not even orientated the correct way and was a waste of time. The YMC marketing guys need to look at how Polaris released info on the new RMK. I’m not even interested in an RMK and I know about it! Much better release than the XTX clown show.

  17. snoguzzler says:

    Chris – I would buy another 2011 Apex in a heart beat. I don’t see why you need to change anything. Sure it’s heavier, but that only matters if you get it stuck. With the power steering and cobrahead carbides this thing handles superb. (reminds me of my old Viper). I can ride faster then my buddies on their new Rev’s comfortably and have no issues with darting or ski lift. As stated above it is a premium TRAIL sled! Keep up the good work!

  18. Stewy says:

    So if I’m reading this right, it sounds as though the rest of the “new” lineup is NOT worthy of the Power Tour demo rides! The over-hyped release of the Nytro is the only thing that the Yamaha faithful get to see this year. IMO this is a pathetic display of marketing that only makes YMC look worse. If you don’t have anything to promote, admit it, and do it quietly without all the fanfare. I’m sorry, but the North American marketing department is not getting the job done. Maybe a little less time testing accessories and a little more time with product testing and improvements would go a long way. Japan is not getting the message of what the market wants and needs otherwise we would see them in our showrooms.

  19. Steve K says:

    Chris, I agree with the post above that Yamaha is almost insulting us customers when they make a huge deal about a “new” sled variant that is described on American Snowmobiler website back in Dec. Sorry. I do await March but cannot get excited about the prospects. Also, the Polaris news is more exciting, Not a sled for me but certainly interesting innovation.

  20. 7 skulls says:

    Hey CR
    My 06 nytro recently split a flex pipe just in time for the snow to disappear and my return to work, effectively ending my winter. A new flex pipe from the us cost $85 less than the same part in canada. To be fair, yamaha is not the only company which has this out of wack cross border parts pricing. I’m all for supporting my local dealer but don’t want to get mugged while doing it. With the Canadian dollar at parity, I don’t understand the discrepancy.
    Secondly, anyone who works on yamaha sled can easily see the high-end engineering on display but… nuts, bolts, screws, fasteners of all sorts need to be more corrosion resistant. Oxidization never sleeps. Dissimilar metals will also seize with time. Doesn’t have to be stainless, even zinc-plated is an improvement.
    It was a tough week here and on TY. Yes my sled is an 06 and its time for an upgrade, not because I need to but because I want to. Something between the fx nytro and phazer would be nice or maybe that 500sxr I saw in ebay for $1400;)
    Keep your head down CR and the throttle pinned.

  21. snoguzzler says:

    I forgot to mention fuel milage. SledFreak says the etec gets better gas milage. WRONG – when you compare apples to apples. I ride with a 2012 800R etec. We get the exact same gas milage. The 600 etec I ride with beats us but isn’t in the same class. Whenever we race I can beat him as well. The only thing he has on me is range…

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