Archive for November, 2013
November 29, 2013
‘Tis The Season
I don’t want to jinx the deal so I am typing this with fingers crossed but winter has apparently arrived! There are now some trail systems officially open in the UP Michigan and Quebec, several local ski hills are planning on opening this weekend in my neck of the woods and Randy is hitting the slopes in Revy tomorrow. I am really hoping no one gets too far ahead of themselves and does something silly, after-all it is still only November. Think twice and ride safe, especially on these early outings…
Our test team has returned home for US Thanksgiving from Alaska where they successfully ran durability on the first batch of production machines. It is kinda nice to know someone has already logged on over 4,000km! By all accounts everything is proceeding according to plan. The sleds will be completely disassembled and inspected for signs of wear or malfunction, reports will be written and reviewed then steps taken as required in a continuous cycle of refinement. The next stage will see field engineering focus on the 2015 model line calibration and validation, this won’t stop until the last flake of snow has melted next spring.
For those who ride in the mountains or may be planning a first ascent this season, you should take a look at this article which I found in SnoWest magazine. Avalanche awareness has measurably increased and is having a positive effect on the safety of riders on the slopes but the danger still lurks. ISMA (our industry association) in conjunction with avalanche experts boiled down these five important points to take with you on every ride. Avalanche Safety for Snowmobilers.
I hope all of you in the USA are with you families this weekend, sharing in Thanksgiving.
Here is another peek at the animation we are working on to help explain the Performance Damper system. It won’t be long now and we’ll have some sleds to try with these magic sticks installed. Cheers cr
Posted @ 1:03 pm in Yamaha Insights
November 18, 2013
The Other Side of Sleddin’
I thought I would share a story of the past weekends adventures. It was all about snowmobiles but nothing to do with my job or this industry. I loaded up my Kodiak with fuel, chain saw, hand tools and set out with my daughter and a group of like minded individuals to brush out several miles of snowmobile trail en route to an old bridge that has linked our lake to the main trail system in years past.
The Six Star snowmobile club supplied a large lift of rough-hewn hemlock, which was all hand bombed on board and barged down the river to the waiting cribs. At one point we had over twenty people, packing lumber, tugging pry-bars, swinging hammers and wielding saws as the old bridge deck was slowly replaced. I didn’t know many of the people I was working with but the spirit and camaraderie we shared was clearly apparent in the conversations surrounding local sledding, grooming, our clubs, and the volunteers who make the trails happen – I worked my a$$ off and it felt really good!
The last spike was banged home right at dusk. ATV’s packed up, hands shaken with a few ‘see ya on the trails…’ My day ended with my family and some ‘new’ friends at the cottage, chicken wings, beers, a warm fire and some good conversation. This is a part of snowmobiling that has its own rewards. The sense of community and accomplishment that follows the effort of contributing to your local trails or riding area. I hope that you also have a chance to experience the kind of satisfaction that I know I will have every time I cross over that bridge this winter…
Posted @ 10:56 am in Opinions and Insights
November 11, 2013
Coming soon to a Trail Near You
Cold rain, snow squalls, commuting in darkness, indeed, we’re on the brink of winter. The doors on the big rigs are sealed and our testing crew, gear bags stuffed, en route to a remote area of Alaska where they’ll run durability on a fleet of production sleds to kick off the seasonal project development sequence.
Never to be left in the snow dust, our management team is spooling up with a flurry of meetings starting next week in our Lakeview office. Jon is off to the corp head office in Cali to pull double duty on future product discussions and MY16 color and graphics. I am going to stay back to keep the home fires burning but will dial in for a quick product plan update via a conference call.
I don’t know if its a past life spent racing dirt bikes or simply growing up in the mountains riding fan-cooled sleds light enough to pick up by the front bumper – multiple times a day – I am captivated by the MX conversion kits led by Timbersled and several others. I know there would be issues on the dedicated trails here in S-ON. But the power line corridors and dissecting abandoned logging roads beg for something like this. Light, agile and narrow with no plumbing to hook a stump or send you to the shop with crumpled clip and an empty wallet. I want one!
The trucks are rolling out of TRF with SR Vipers destined for dealerships all over North America. We had a little hiccup with the shipping dates but we’re now on the gas and sleds are being off-loaded at many dealerships as I write this.
While at the TO Snowmobile Show I met Louie. It was an interesting encounter. One that quickly led to a tire kicking session on a Frankenstein sled, fabricated in his man-cave from an aluminum cookie sheet with hand laid carbon fiber bits and glued on Pogo-sticks off a Tundra. A VK540 mill spinning a forward mounted ‘old school’ secondary layout providing thrust. A Newfie boon-docker if you will.
Turns out Louie wasn’t just into building eclectic bush-wackers , he hosts his own web-base TV show called ‘Powermods’ where he explores some of the after-market industries latest and greatest bolt-on engineering with a ‘how-to’ approach to building and testing some pretty cool stuff. It was only fair that I showed him some of our latest – captured off guard and off the cuff, here’s my spiel with Louie on the Performance Damper. It was fun watching the reaction of people trying to get their heads around the technology, Louie’s ‘awe c’mon’ was perfect. Now if that wasn’t enough, here’s a brief explanation on the Dupont Hyfax display.
November 1, 2013
Got a taste of the Performance Damper animation video we are working on so thought I would post it here ahead of the game. And only a day late for Halloween!
The quality is pretty lo-res compared to the master file but you’ll get the idea. We will have two more parts with an audio track in the final version.
Posted @ 2:07 pm in Yamaha Insights