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November 12, 2012

Maytag Men

So the thought crossed my mind when this pic showed up in the in-box – ‘why would an Easterner really need a supercharger to get the most out of their sled’?

Now I remember! This was taken over the weekend in the Gaspe region of Quebec and sent in through our dealer Abel Denis Huard with the simple  caption ‘we’re riding’. Gotta love it.

I was watching the CBC news a couple days ago, when the anchor spoke of an explosion in Valcourt Quebec. Turns out the big bang happened at the BRP  (Skidoo) R and D center, badly injuring a couple of people.

There were no details on what caused the explosion. I don’t know if they do any engine development there – okay, you are probably guessing where I am going here but I am going to take the high rode and leave it alone 😉 – Respectfully, I hope all the people involved are okay and will soon be home with their families.

We have a large contingent coming up from the USA on Wednesday and I’ll be locked down for a few days as we review and discuss our snowmobile mid-term plan and accessory development strategies. The service division is also involved with a meeting on the agenda for Friday to review all the outstanding service issues. I think they are actually going to end up playing darts in the service shop and lament the lack of  NHL this season lol.

Spent a bit of time on Toyallyamaha this morning, quite an interesting read (all 6 pages) started by Murse who is ‘Sick of all the hype’  Good one buddy, everyone pretty much stayed on topic right up to where you brought it home. I took the big picture as clear indication that the season is about to start… let the games begin!  cheers cr

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7 Responses to “Maytag Men”

  1. MikeyJ says:

    Besides being a huge snowmobile fan, I love F1 Auto Racing. It’s all about speed, technolgy and sound, a F1 race is truly something to experience first hand. In F1, they have what they call ‘silly season’, about halfway through the racing schedule the rumours start flying, this driver is going here and another there, fun stuff to follow. After following several snowmobile forums over the past years I realize that snowmobiling also has its ‘silly season’, the main difference being that our ‘silly season’ starts even earlier in our schedule… even before the very first flakes of winter hit the ground, it is indeed fun to follow!

    Personally speaking, I follow the forums in the hope I might catch a hint of what my next Yamaha might look and perform like. I also like getting similar news on the other brands, to see if they will actually bring forth a sled that works as well as my old Yamaha… now that would be news!

  2. DNRLBL says:

    Good to stay in touch, cr. I like the part about playing darts.
    I know a few of the water sports local reps will be playing ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ at their meetings.

  3. Justin says:

    Chris,
    Thanks for allowing me to take us all off on a “flight of fancy” in my last post regarding what might be coming from you guys. The point was to illustrate what is possible. I was hoping to get folks out of the negative mode that can become so pervasive when certain new model expectations are not met. With something new on the horizon, I sincerely hope you guys don’t compromise even a little bit on DQR just to deliver something lighter that offers marginally better performance. DQR as most of us understand is directly tied to long term value. In tough economic times, with sled prices going up, long term value becomes much more of a priority. A wise man once said you can have any two of the following: light weight, durability, low cost. But you can’t have all three! Here’s to wishing you and everybody at YMC all the best as exciting new things are introduced consumers. I have every confidence that those things will stir up the kind of emotions and excitment that your customers have been waiting for and deserve. I believe in what the Yamaha brand stands for and I trust it’s in good hands. Stay the course!

  4. Yellowknife says:

    Yay CBC News plug! LOL

    Now hold the sled dogs on the service division front – it points me towards parts durability, or lack of. Is it too much to ask for better quality in some stock parts? The exhaust donuts come to mind, or tougher ball joints and tie rod ends that take longer to wear down. Or maybe make them servicable so I can grease them every couple of weeks without taking them apart. Even the steering column bushings go toasty toast too fast for my liking. You make two similar snowmobiles with the differences being one costs 2 grand more cause it has top of the line parts that last seasons longer than the ones on the other sled and i’ll buy the more expensive one every time. Keep me outta the shop some more! Bullet proof engine’s? Well, Jury’s out still, but what’s assembled around the motor’s can always improve 😉

    BTW; 3 day work weeks December through April. I’m going to break my own record of mileage in one year and aim for 12,000 km’s. 3 Yamaha snowmobiles all out of warranty. What’s the worst that can happen? Stay tuned…

    Cheers,
    YK

  5. Justin says:

    Chris,
    This is meant as a respectful reply to Yellowknife.
    Everything breaks. We can all agree that how people ride and where people ride has a lot to do with the DQR story. The initial quality of parts plays a role in the story, and so does design. Yamaha steering system compenents wear in my opinion because of greater stresses due to a heavier motor and because of design. BRP has a less complex design but you will see more slop in an XR after a season than an XP. I have owned both. In my opinion, better parts won’t solve the problem, they will create another….higher cost! I would argue that we are at a tipping point with respect to cost. That’s a whole other topic. Exhaust donuts? Again, this is more of a design issue than a parts issue. I would argue that the benefits of the rear exiting exhaust system outweigh the compromises. That said, will we see it on the next chassis? Wait awhile. On a side note, ask BRP owners about exhaust boot issues wtih late model Ski Doo’s. On the motor front I can confidently say there is not a more reliable engine family in the sport. Period. Any argument to the contrary is DOA in my humble opinion. Surely there are statistics to illustrate this point definitevely. Anyhow. Is the mechanical reverse a PITA? No doubt! No sled is perfect.
    As Yellowknife so eloquently stated, there is always room for improvement. I’m sure big improvements are what we will see in the next generation of Yamaha sleds. That’s what happens. I would bet that when the decision was made to go fully 4S it was not an idea embraced by everyone and the engineers knew there would be unique challenges. I think that is the story here, and I think the first generation worked out pretty well all things considered. Everyone is on their first generation of 4S sleds! As is is today, when it comes to being able to put huge mileage on a machine albeit with your share of routine maintenance costs, Yamaha (in general) has been the brand to own for about the last ten years now. Yes, again, there is room for improvement and I am very confident that you guys have learned a lot in the last ten years. Just sayin”

  6. Yellowknife says:

    In response to Justin; good points/debate.

    As a consumer of 3 sleds from BRP from 2002 to 2005 Model years (selling each before being out of warranty) and 3 sleds from Yamaha from 2007 to 2009 model years (of which I still have with over 45,000 km’s between them), I have a good trail of paperwork on the last 10 years of snowmobile maintenance costs over the 6 units. In fact, I ended up with a 3 thousand dollar bill this morning on my XTX, which has 3 seasons on it, over 15,000 km’s and is a few weeks away from the warranty expiring. I think it would be of value to myself and others if I were to go back through all the paperwork and compare the costs of maintenance and repairs for all 6 units. For me, the data could show that it’s best for me to sell sleds before they get too many miles on them; the cost of buying new vs. maintaining something that’s getting up there with the mileage.

    The other thing I recognize is that these companies have to make money. They make money on parts. Dealers make money on labour. If we all had an invincible sled, the companies would fall out of business BUT i’d say the majority of sled owners don’t face the durability challenges that I do because of (like you say) how and where I ride. I get that, and a company isn’t going to listen to everything that the minority cries about (although Yamaha does listen to many of my cries!) I’d also say it takes most folks 10 years to put a sled through the same usage that I do in 2 or 3 years. End result? Most people won’t complain about parts durability when they get that many seasons out of their unit, but high milers like me who simply look at the time gone by (more often than the hours ridden) see the failures faster and the costs in or out of warranty can be 25% of the value of a new sled, per year. That’s a lot of cash no matter who’s pocket it is coming out of. Warranty claims push companies to make better products cause they eat into profits. I unofficially declare that I try to get those claims in about 75% faster than most riders & push the company to make a better, more profitable product as a result. Overall I’m a happy Yamaha owner for sure for reasons of support, service, and product in that order. But as they know, I’ll speak up every chance I get to push for better, even if it means stepping on some toes 😉

    Cheers,
    YK

  7. Justin says:

    Great post YK! I can absolutely see where you are coming from and I know how you ride. Like you, I will never give any company a pass on quality issues. If ther is a “legit” design flaw or quality control issue. A case in point might be some of the issues Yamaha experienced with the first iteration of “Mono” skids. Reminds me of the early days of Polaris “Xtra” long travel skids in the XLT and RXL….welds were cracking and torque arms were failing. Not good. The target market wasn’t supposed to destroy skids! Neverthess, I really like the perspective that you are offering here and I have no doubt that it will make future Yamaha’s better. Maybe not as fast as we would like, but it will happen. More to your point, really quantifying value is tough and it’s not useful drink too much Kool Aid! That said, I know that my late model BRP stuff has not been without it’s issues. I will be going to Yamaha because I ride a lot in Quebec and engine longevity is becoming more and more important as I look to get a couple more seasons out of a sled. Can I do it on any brand’s 4stroke sled. Probably. But I have heard from a lot of fellow riders that Yamaha and it’s dealers really do stand by their customers. Truth be told, my BRP dealer is awesome but it’s time for a change. With 10 years of 4 stokin’ in the rear view mirror, I am hedging my bets that the “Big Y” has learned a few things. The engines are heavenly. I know you don’t ride an engine but they really are good! I just have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a good year.
    Happy sledding to all! And thanks to Chris for allowing a little back and forth. I know that’s not what this blog is really all about.


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