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Archive for September, 2013

September 19, 2013

Well, you asked!

I’m leaving for Japan this Sunday for a week. Lots of meetings planned for both snowmobile and wheeled vehicles. So I figured I should get a quick post off before proceeding through security ūüėČ

Some good comments and questions came in over the last few days. The MPI Viper turbo system shown at Haydays is a Stage 2 producing well over 200hp and available direct from MPI later this year. This kit will not be distributed by Yamaha and warranty policies apply the same as any after market modifications. MPI is still the supplier for our Nytro kits and we have a great working relationship with them. I expect to see more good things coming in the future.

Jamie was asking about the internals of the Performance Damper and Bob wanted to know a bit more about

Capturefunction and stroke. The shock tube is fairly conventional with a piston connected to a damper rod. On one side of the piston there is oil backed with a nitrogen gas charge. On the other side of the piston, a negative spring pushes back against the gas charge which allows the pyramid stack (piston-valve) to react to very small, high frequency inputs (vibration).

Capture2Theoretically the piston could move up to 20mm but in reality it moves little more than 1mm with small deflections measured in microns. The are no pivot points involved in mounting. It connects directly to frame  (location is not really critical), working to increase overall chassis viscosity.

Yellowknife mentioned he has felt no vibration in his Yamaha or buddies Polaris but the Ski-doo was a tingler… interesting! Scott mentioned that even though the technology is cool, it doesn’t make him want to run down to his Yamaha dealer and buy a new sled. Good point, we’re working on that one!

But – consider this: It may be of interest to someone who plans on keeping their sled ¬†and is looking for a good bolt-on that offers some very tangible¬†improvements¬†to the handling (… on any snowmobile). More on this later.

I will post the complete story with some testing info and pics when I return from overseas. We have plans to get these into the market for consumer evaluation -read demos- this season and are working on more assets to support our chassis damper claims. Proof is in the puddin’ they say!

Cheers cr


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Posted @ 11:14 am in Yamaha Insights   

September 6, 2013

Bad Vibes – Part Deux

First I gotta say thanks for keeping an open mind regarding the chassis damper system. I was prepared for a bit of ‘flaming’ and what I have received so far are positive, intelligent comments and questions, which I’ll try to answer in this post.

Mr. T wanted to know if the snowmobile application would be in pairs and the answer is yes, in all applications.

The sled I rode in Shibetsu was an Apex as shown here but weIMG-20130823-00367 have not made any decision on what, when or even if we will go to production with this. (I for one, recommend we do)

Another related query was if the damper system would have as much effect if a different engine was used, the example being our cross plane R1 design. When I posed this question it was explained that the damper system has basically the same amount of impact regardless of the IMG-20130823-00368application. In other words if it improved an 800 2-smoke by X%, it would also improve a CP1000 4-stroke by X% – a flexy chassis by the same X% as the most rigid chassis. The one thing I found really interesting; it is thought the overall impact (the real X% value) will be greater on a snowmobile than on a car, where a lot of effort has already gone into control of the elements and the conditions of operation are far more consistent.

Of course the ‘biggy’ to many is weight. We pulled a damper off and hit the scales, the complete system mounted should come in under one Kg, (that’s about the equivalent to your morning constitution). In this case I think it would be worth every ounce.

My first comment upon getting off the Apex, was it felt like there was some kind of gyroscopic effect being applied. The sled settled down, feeling less nervous and more stable right from the first pull on the trigger but more on riding impressions later…

For those guys going to Haydays, we will have the system¬†available as part of a ‘future technology’ display, you may want to take a closer look and go for a pint (or two) to discuss afterwards. ūüėČ ¬†Unfortunately I can’t be there this year but the weather looks good and there’s lots of ‘buzz’ out there, have fun!

cheers cr

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Posted @ 9:39 am in Sled Development,Tech Talk   

September 4, 2013

Bad Vibes?

My trip to our Wisconsin R&D center went quite well. I promised I would post about some new technology being tested and then followed the comments over on TY, speculating what it might be. Folks looked to motorcycle, ATV and even Waverunner technologies having potential for transfer to snowmobile. (I especially liked the idea of composite Nano-technology applied to the frame). But interestingly, no one considered automotive technology. This caused me to reflect a bit on some of the outstanding engineering Yamaha has developed for the automotive industry over the years, engines, suspensions, electronics, robotics the list is quite lengthy. Funny thing is, the companies that have incorporated Yamaha technology into their vehicles seldom make mention of it with any connection to Yamaha, but I digress.

What I rode last spring has its roots in automobile and has been around for over a decade. No, it is not a ‘Game Changer’ (had to get that out of the way quickly) or quantum leap to leave your head spinning. Well maybe a little bit once you try to understand how it works ūüėČ

I don’t really know where to start so I figure I’ll lay out the concept for you to speculate and digest, then add some additional details in a following post or two. Here it goes…

It is commonly known that by increasing the stiffness or rigidity of a chassis, the handling can be improved much of which is due to the frame not acting as a ‘spring’, allowing the suspension to function as intended without compensating for chassis flex. However regardless of how stiff the frame becomes, there are still high frequency vibrations and energy resonating throughout the vehicle that have a significant effect on the handling, comfort and overall ‘feel’. Auto engineers have¬†focused¬†significant effort on ‘chassis damping’ to improve ride character, something not akin to snowmobile.

Yamaha developed and quietly marketed a very simple yet¬†sophisticated¬†damper system, consisting of a pair of highly specialized ‘shock absorbers’ (for lack of a better term), that when mounted¬†laterally¬†across the frame, one up front and one rear, negate most of the elements buzzing through-out the vehicle.

The ‘Performance Damper’, as it is called in the auto world is utilized on thousands of vehicles and most recently, a couple of snowmobiles. It is about now, I figure, you are sitting back, arms crossed and frowning at your computer screen. Cool. I did the same thing, then I rode the sled. Then I started researching with my buddy Google…

There is quite a bit to get your head around as I find much of the concept and benefits of chassis damping is near intangible, very hard to define and quantify. I expect I’ll start a bit of conversation here today and I plan to participate once I see some thought provoking comments.

No – I have not tossed out everything I have learned on the subject, not by a long shot, but there it is in a nutshell. We are testing the same damper system on our snowmobiles that has become widely accepted and applied on the auto side. Initial results are quite positive but without riding it yourself it is ¬†very easy to dismiss. As Donald (Odd-Ball) Sutherland said in the original MASH: ‘Hey – cut with the negative waves’ cheers cr


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Posted @ 11:44 am in Yamaha Insights