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November 28, 2012

Powder envy

Thinking we should all live in the mountains. I have been  seeing some pretty exciting pics from friends who are fortunate enough to hold up in the west. Check out the November snow that DNR gets to play in. And the resulting oops of a random brain fart. Randy has also been hitting hard already in Rev’y.


Kinda makes you want to go play does it not?

I was reminded this morning of a little project I did last season and meant to pass along as a tip for anyone still running our older two stroke / trailing arm chassis. I mounted up a pair of the dual keel Tuner skis to my 2000 Phazer and was very pleased with the results. The steering effort was good, there was less push and much less darting. The mod was simple, all it took was a longer bolt (I used the standard A-arm spindle bolts PN  90105-10070) and scrounged up 4 flat washers with 10mm ID holes to shim between the saddle and spindle axle. The original ski rubbers were retained along with the mounting bolt nuts, (of course I used a fresh cotter pin ahem) and applied a gob of grease to the bolts. Now if I could just figure out how to mount a set on the Bravo…

Our brass is all overseas right now for some meetings with top management. This is an annual planning review with lots of big picture stuff covering all or our products. One item on the agenda is of particular interest to me and I think it will impact our snowmobile business  in the coming months, but more on this later. Meanwhile we are sitting fingers crossed, waiting for the season to commence fully, with the hopes of open trails and renewed sales after last years dismal finish.

We had a nice dump of snow at home on the weekend and it wasn’t long before I saw sled tracks on the shoulder of the road leading off into some farm fields. I say it every time this year and knowing that I’m preaching to the choir but: Think twice before heading out on your machine. Wait for the trails to open and take extra care off-trail with the limited base this time of year… play safe!!  cheers cr

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17 Responses to “Powder envy”

  1. snoguzzler says:

    More on this later…….. You’re not going to make us wait till Feb are ya?

    Well, er uh hmmm I guess, maybe… will have to take it one day at a time cheers cr

  2. Mr. T says:

    Lets just hope that one item on the agenda is a yea instead of a nea if its something we have been waiting for, for the last few years.

  3. Low Slung(Kent Deveraux) says:

    Its snowing here as i look out the window(Won,t get enough like this time last year for a rip on my bros RS nytro).Mothballed, the yami sleds will stay for now.Those high level meetings have me worried about the future of yamaha in the sled game.Been hearing rumours of a deal with a U.S sled builder(this has me really concerned).Hope its only cash yamaha gets in return for giving them some tech(i really don,t want there tech in a yamaha,it would almost seem like yamaha is giving up).Hope im wrong and all this works out.Glad to see your still coming up with ideas for the old iron. I love a challenge when coming up for solutions to improve the performance off our toys.You get a great feeling when it all works out.Never stop thinking,wrench in hand,eyes on the solution.

  4. DNR says:

    Hey cr, thanks for the nice post.
    We are thinking of CNC equipment at the shop. Running bushings and the equivalent, 24/7 with a small unmanned lathe or milling machine. We have the power!
    Maybe ‘Canadian’ made can be stamped on something your drawing board holds.

  5. Mr. T says:

    The saddle on the tuner skis is shorter in height from the ground and would cause maybe an unbalanced sled with a 2000 phaser. I have a 2000 and a 2001. The 2001 has the taller posts and in my opinion would benefit from the tuner ski’s. Does that height difference really matter when it comes to handaling?

    Good point I forgot about the spindle change. if I recall that was for the change from aluminum saddles to saddless skis. Not that it would be like us to over think and over engineer anything lol.
    I believe (IMHO) the benefits of the Tuner far outweigh any compromise a few mm in saddle height would make. I know my Phazer is quite improved over the old ski. If you decide to try it, I would love to hear your thoughts. The PZ has one of the ‘busiest’ handling characters of any of the trailer arm set-ups. cheers cr

  6. scott says:

    Good to see someone is out riding. Very little snow in South Central Alaska right now, What we did get has been scoured away by the wind. Riding 4 wheelers in below freezing temps is just not the same and feels so much colder than a snowmachine.

    I hope the agenda item is to establish an agreement with Cat to sell them engines and Yamaha gets their chassis. Yamaha NEEDS a new chassis. I don’t understand what goes on at Yamaha? Your company is amazingly innovative and comes out with off-road machines no one else had even thought of. Look at the history, the DT-1, monoshock YZ, the BW 200, the Terra-something ATV, the Wolverine, the Rhino, the RX-1, the Phazer and Nytro. Then what happens? They most often just sit and become stagnant. Nothing major is changed or improved fo years and years. I don’t understand it? It’s like there is one guy with new ideas and he floats around from Dept to Dept creating really great machines and the rest of the guys can’t seem to do anything worth noting.

    Right now with the sled division I think it would be better off merging with Cat. Let Cat come up with the innovation and Yamaha just supplies the engines and clutches. Cat could benefit from some Yamaha quality control on the assembly line but I’d happily take some crude and ill fitting body panels in exchange for light weight and performance. If Yamaha QC would stifle the innovation and performance that then just let you guys do what you do best, build engines.

    ah that would be the Terra-Pro Scott… Last I looked Cat was making ATV’s and UTV’s as well, would be kinda hard for us to ‘merge’, without messing up a whole lotta stuff. I’d prefer it if we just purchased Ski-doo and half the market with it, sell off the Rotax division and ah come to think of it, maybe not..lol.
    My real wish list would have, right at the top, two all new platforms with all new engines both boosted and N/A, built in our Newnan Ga factory offering Yamaha quality at Polaris price with a hundred variations covering every corner of the market. whew, I think I need a smoke! cheers man, here’s to the dream!!

  7. Mr. T says:

    I like your dream!!

  8. Rich Olynyk says:

    Hi Chris, if your dream involves any consumer testing this winter I would have no problems providing valuable conusmer input!!! Mountain bike is put away, sleds are in the trailer waiting to hit the snow.

    Well now thanks for the fine offer Rich, you have no idea how hard it is to find guys who are willing to come-out and test our proto-types and provide their comments afterwards while we re-hydrate! lol.
    You are a bit ahead of me, as my sled is sitting in the ‘barn’ awaiting a PDI, while I’m changing the tires over to suds on the bike…looking forward to see you on the trail, keep the soft side up! cheers cr

  9. snoguzzler says:

    Count me in on one of those proto-type rides!!!
    So the news in Feburary will be 2 all new body styles with new power plants (some with turbo) built in the USA. LOVE IT!

    see… now that’s how ugly rumors gets started lol cheers cr

  10. scott says:

    I was thinking Yamaha might consider some type of arrangement with Cat to supply engines in exchange for a new chassis. Doesn’t sound like that is a possibility?

    Your comments about Polaris pricing made me realize that I’d not seriously looked at Yamaha sleds since the spring of ’07. I remember what my base Nytro listed for back then and I was shocked to see what they are going for now. I then looked at quads and I’m glad I bought my ’07 Grizzly 450 when I did. I then checked Polaris pricing for sleds and quads and quickly realized you guys are in a tough spot. It has to be very difficult to sell old sleds for more money than the competition who has brand new models or significantly improved models.

    Please let us know what we can do to help with your dream. More surveys? Bring them on! A prescreened focus group to try out concept ideas on, I’m game. I’m all for building sleds in the USA. If that means the sleds are less expensive and will get updated more often, that seems like a great idea. I’ve been shopping for small dual sport bikes and I can see Honda has to charge a lot more for a bike made in Japan. The exchange rate must be having a huge impact on Yamaha sled innovation? My dream would be for Yamaha to offer one light weight, very good handling chassis for its performance models. just like they did with the trailing arm Vmax. Don’t change the motors, they are fine. Drop the rear exit exhaust or run it completely above the tunnel. That eliminates the icing problem. Run one body style. The weight goal should be a Polaris Indy with a Nytro motor. Take the dry weight of the new Indy, pull the motor, then weigh it again. Figure the only additional weight can come from the Nytro motor itself and you’ll end up with a sled competitive weight wise to a two stroke. It can be done and not cost a fortune in exotic materials. I’ve seen enough torn apart XP’s to see that things can be built very light and strong. The new Pro-ride is very light. Let me (the consumer) worry about reinforcing things if they bend or break. Yamaha used to have that same mentality with the original Phazer. Yamaha could keep the tried and true Deltabox chassis for the second sled platform. No need to reinvent the wheel there.

  11. Mr. T says:

    What’s so ugly about that rumor, it sounds pretty ho to me!!

  12. Low Slung says:

    As we all prepare for the arrival of the holidays what are the chances that us yamaha faithful can get a nice 2014 yamaha snowmobile teaser pic for the christmas stocking?

  13. Ryan says:

    I would agree on some of what was said in the comments. Ive always known Yamaha as being an innovative “ahead of the rest” company when it comes to motor vehicles. They have sort of been a pioneer of this sport when it comes to technology. When I see a fourstroke sled, motorcycles, atv’s and side by sides I remember who did it first. The one problem I have saw over the years is that Yamaha is the type of company that likes to perfect things. I wouldn’t say they are “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” company because their stuff changes for the better every year, even if it’s minor details.

    The one problem I believe is that we have gone back in time to lets say “the 60’s” in terms of the development in technology. Back in those days, you could tell the difference between a 68 and 69 model car. Chassis may have been used over a 10 year stretch, but the bodies changed almost every 3 or 4 years and the little details changed with every model year. In the “80’s” and “90’s (which i was born for what its worth) most things being built had a long production run. The phazer remained almost the same from 1984 till 1996 except for small details. But now we have gone back to the 10 year chassis, 3 year body times. This gets expensive especially when we’re talking toy’s and not daily transportation. The technology is evolving too fast for the profit margin of the company.

    I would agree moving sled production to North America would be a good move, as long as it doesn’t hurt Yamaha’s long time reputation of durability and longevity. As far as “light weight” is concerned, Yamaha isn’t really playing in left field. On snow magazine did a comparison of sleds, the Monoshock II megafloat came in 3 pounds heavier than ski-doo’s new rmotion. If 3 lbs is a deciding factor in buying a snowmobile, start drinking light beer!

    I Know I won’t be switching brands but I hope to see something new and innovative for 2014 just to make the other big 3 jealous. I also up for a ride anytime, I don’t mind riding in the dark to loose the paparazi either!

    LOL.. well stated Ryan, thanks for the comments! cheers cr

  14. Carl says:

    I would love to see pictures of your dual keel Tuner skis on your Bravo. Was it a hard job? . I’m wondering if I should do it for my 2000 SRX. How are they compared to the snowtrackers? Thanks

  15. scott says:

    Here you go, everything that is wrong with the current state of affairs in the snowmachine marketplace. Sleds need to be smaller! They used to be smaller, which meant lighter and less expensive. A smaller sled doesn’t cost as much to build since there is less of it. Run a 16″ wide track and 7″ to 8″ wide skis and you’ve got the floatation as long as it is built to be light. I believe Yamaha could do some damage to market share by going back to their roots with a small, light weight sled. Make it peppy and fun to ride and most importantly, make it capable of floating on top of the snow and Yamaha would have a niche and start selling lots of sleds. I found this photo on a public sled forum and I’m left wondering, why are the current sleds so long and big? [IMG]http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i148/rock_rider/A8p_RqSCMAAf8vEjpglarge.jpg[/IMG]

  16. snoguzzler says:

    Merry Christmas everyone!!

  17. Mr. T says:

    I hope you are still with us, it’s been a month since you last posted. Just hope what you have been saying hasn’t gotten you in to trouble with the upper Brass!

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