March 13, 2012
Back in the office today after spending last week at our US based R&D facility but before I get into that, I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who posted comments on our 2013 model introduction. As this weeks post title suggests, much of what was written came to me as ‘tough love’. A few commented that the feedback was pretty harsh but I don’t see it that way. At least not when I know the author is sincere in their wishes for new and improved products from a brand they appreciate.
I went as far as copying the comments into a document for distribution to our development team and took a few minutes to read a couple of my favorites during our meetings last week. I can honestly say there is no one on our team who doesn’t ‘get it’. We know what we need to do and we are focusing hard on our future.
Back to our meetings, we had a couple of back to back 15 hour days with lots of riding to break things up. The snow in northern Wisconsin was quite soft and melting on day one but it was the remains of a recent storm and quite plentiful. That night the temps plummeted and we were treated to totally different conditions on day two. The cool part of back to back sessions on test vehicles in changing conditions is seeing how the ride character adapts. How the traction affected different tracks, skis and suspension combinations. How something that was abstract and unclear one day can be so noticeable and clear to all the next. I tell you anyone who tells me they have the perfect set-up on their sled is full of it as I don’t think there will ever be such a thing. There is always compromise with so many variable conditions.
That said I am thinking my Apex set-up this year is perfect. lol. Now what were we riding you ask. Well we had a lot of sleds to compare, some fairly basic, production units with different settings and bolt-on parts and some other project more radical, still production based but heavily modified to demonstrate different things re: lighter weight, more horsepower, different footprints, can’t go into detail but there was lots to talk about. And now don’t be jumping to conclusions as not all of what we rode is intended for production. We use the knowledge to help prioritize our direction. We also ride our competitors machines and keep production units in the mix for baselines. Was I smiling at the end of the day? Heck yes, if for nothing else, it was a blast to rip around on so many unique snowmobiles, somedays I hate my job, just not last week.