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January 20, 2014

Waitin’ for the Bus

Last week on the heels of the now infamous Polar Vortex we suffered through the more traditional ‘January melt-down’. I spent the weekend at the cottage watching the water dripping off the roof, the lake completely un-ridable (apparently that is not a word) with the mercury slowly climbing towards +8C. Thankfully it was short lived and temps dropped back below zero creating an incredible hard base as it began to snow.

I have to fly out tomorrow to MSP to meet with the magazine guys. Par for the course, the weatherman is messing with my plans, announcing another big change in the forecast. Get this, a second Polar Vortex is rising up from the Arctic set on paralyzing air traffic. That’s two in a row! They say this Vortex is not going to be as brutal as the last so those of us over 12 might wish to refer to it as a ‘cold snap’. I know the ground crews for Air Canada will all be huddling around the airport Tim Horton’s, refusing to work because its cold outside and not ‘safe’. I just know I’m going to get screwed on this deal!

IMG_2763We had a board of directors meeting here last week and it afforded a great opportunity to get our chief corporate guys out on the snow. Rumor has it some serious miles were racked up by the crew, running out of Quebec City. Somehow they neglected to bring along the most senior of senior snowmobilers on the payroll, but that said I think they had plenty of fun without me.

I am wondering if anyone reading this blog, rides a Vector LTX and likes to ride it hard on less than perfect trails? If you are that person and are interested to help Yamaha test out some new bits, drop me a comment and tell my why you da guy!

Sorry I am going to cut my ramblings short today as I’m being pulled in three directions  and have a lot of prep to complete before heading to the ‘bus’ depot.

cheers cr


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30 Responses to “Waitin’ for the Bus”

  1. Leonard Borth says:

    Hey Chris Leonard here in the flat lands of Canada and I bleed blue, I was the first person in Saskatchewan to get the new SR Viper and would love to help test some bits for Yamaha. Actually it’s part of my dream to test for such a great company. Thanks for your time and look forward to the next blog.

  2. Garry Rattai says:

    I drive a 2010 Vector ltx and have been reading your bogs on the performance dampers
    with interest. Our trails are a combination
    of lakes and wooded areas,and yes if Yamaha
    has something new to be tested on my sled I would be interested.

  3. MikeyJ says:

    My wife rides a 2013 Vector LTX, rides pretty hard to keep up with my Apex! If that isn’t riding hard enough I usually take it for a ‘good’ ride every week. Rough trail riding for at least 15km before joining our groomed trail network, with that said, sometimes are groomed network is pretty rough in Central NL. I should know better then speak for my wife (from past experience!!) but I’m pretty sure she’ll volunteer to try any new bits from Yamaha if it possibly means improving an already great sled. The Vector LTX is not a great seller in NL, but we are seeing more since she bought hers. People are learning about it’s great combination of quality, comfort and a rock solid motor with plenty of useful power… she also loves the power-steering! I might not be ‘da guy’, but she might be ‘da gal’!!

  4. Dave M says:

    Hey Chris
    I’m on my 3rd Vector the last 2 an LTX. Ride about 5-10k a year in Quebec, North Bay north and local my area. On a Sat afternoon around here the trails are less than spectacular. Currently I’m on 13 Vector LTX and my wife is on a 14 Vector shorty. Both better than great rides and would be more than happy to help out. Heading out to Quebec in a couple of weeks! Yamaha all the way!

  5. Curt Diesner says:

    I’m not sure if your offer extends to us that are south of the border, I live 5 miles aawy from Yamaha HQ in SE WI.
    I have been riding for 30 years, the last 11 on Yamahas. I currently have a 2012 Vector, not an LTX. I ride the Vector in much of the same fashion as I rode my last sled, which was a 2004 Viper S.
    I/ we ride fire roads, twisties lakes, and a bit off trail. I am not Ricky Racer, but I do hit the trails hard and love to jump.
    Keep this southerner in mind 🙂

  6. Ken O. says:

    Hey Chris,,
    Funny you wrote about a Vector Ltx rider, aggressive, that might like to test an item… Went for a short ride on the Vector
    after work yesterday, just crossed over 6200 mi. and how much I enjoy it. Even without EPS! This is my 6th Yamaha in last 10 years and best yet! Interest, you bet!
    You may remember me, I’m the guy that saw the Trapps and Yamaha factory beat everyone in 440 class (1-5) in Bangor, Me. That was 1971, first year they won World Championship!

  7. Ken O. says:

    Hey Chris,,
    Funny you wrote about a Vector Ltx rider, aggressive, that might like to test an item… Went for a short ride on the Vector
    after work yesterday, just crossed over 6200 mi. and how much I enjoy it. Even without EPS! This is my 6th Yamaha in last 10 years and best yet! Interest, you bet!
    You may remember me, I’m the guy that saw the Trapps and Yamaha factory beat everyone in 440 class (1-5) in Bangor, Me. That was 1971, first year they won World Championship!
    Been a fan ever since! Would love to give feedback on a product, keep my Vector longer…
    Think snow and keep up the good work!

  8. Bosco says:

    Chris, I would be interested in doing testing for you. I live in northern Minnesota with a major snowmobile trail going right by my driveway that links to all other trails in the state and beyond. I’ve got plenty of Saturday afternoon wash board and mid week smooth to work with.I do many test and tune sessions out of my well equipped garage that lets me make changes under the same conditions of the day. I’ve been riding Yamaha (and some cats)since 1979 when I bought a new SRX. I’ve owned 58 snowmobiles and counting (not sure if I’m proud of that LOL!)which includes a ’05 Vector,’06 Attak,’07 Attak,’07 Apex,’08 Vector,’09 Nytro SE,’11 Apex so I’ve got a pretty good feel for the product. I don’t currently have a Vector LTX but my dealer is close by so I could easily get one. I might add that I may be 58 years old but I can still rip it with the young Bucks !. THANKS !

  9. Russell says:

    Hey guys I ride a 2010 RS Vector LTX Bought brand newthe fall of 2011. We run long & hard Up here in N/W Ontario If you want to test some thing this is where you want to do it. I probably run about 30% groomed trail the rest is lake running between back country bush trails and throw in some deepsnow back country just to see if it will handle it. Got about 7000 mile on in the last 2 winters hasn’t let me down yet. If you want someone to test out some goodies I would be more then interested.

  10. Mark says:

    I am from Ontario and just got a new 2014 Blue Viper this year. Just love it so I’m not “da guy”.
    Thanks for the blog!!

  11. Pa Sledhead says:

    I have 4 Yamaha sleds Locked and Loaded. I bought The’10 LTX, “Just to try it”. I get it, that sled is the real deal! Overlooked and Underestimated by many
    We are running Good to Perfect groomed mountain roads here in Pa. Many Weekdays I only see the Groomer Guy. (no eyes to see cool new stuff). Unfortunately because of our funkey weather by days end the surface is “studdery.(? word)
    Can’t guarantee when there will be snow here, But when there is I can be one of your Guys to take your goods for a high speed ride Day after day after day.

  12. Brad says:

    Hey Chris
    I ride a 2008 vector ltx gt and most of my riding is in deep snow on the west coast of Newfoundland. I love the reliability of the yamaha. I like where you are bringing yamaha in the furture and if u have something to test I would love to try it.


  13. Mr. T says:

    I would love to help you out but I don’t have a Vector LTX. Just can’t afford one. New or used. If I were to buy it would be the one. In my opinion the Vector LTX with EPS is the best all around sled built when you can only have one snowmobile to do evrything. Well I guess the 01 600 SXR with 1200mi. will have to do. I can still dream though can’t I?

  14. Andy Z says:

    Hi Chris,
    Just moving from my 2010 Apex LTX to my new 2013 Vector LTX. Mostly trail touring unless we are local (Ottawa)(buddy is on a 2010 Vector LTX). Both of us have an Air Force aircraft technician maintenance background (another life). I’m a detailed person, because the details will get you every time. Want the fuel economy of my Apex, I have a spreadsheet with every gas fill (6-7 KM\litre). We head out for the week to do the Gaspesie loop on 1 Feb; that should be a good variety of trail conditions.

  15. Richard says:

    Good afternoon,
    I would like to be one of the people to “test out and report on some new tidbits”. I own a 2012 Vector LTX, previous to this sled, I have owned 2 Apex’s, RX1 and 2 SRX’s. I have been driving the four stroke since 2003 I enjoy and appreciate the reliability that Yamaha offers. Previous to that I owned a VMax 600 followed by numerous Polaris sleds. I certaintly appreciate the excellent fuel mileage from my Vector LTX.
    My sledding experience involves many years as noted by my previous sleds. I also belong to a snowmobile club in Manitoba. I sled with a good core of friends that mostly drive Apex’s but we did have some turbo cats join us recently along with a Skidoo Renegade . Our riding involves through the twisty trails from our homes heading east, south, and north of Winnipeg. We meet every Saturday morning and head out on our venture which usually involves between 180- 250 miles. The day is a “good workout” for both driver and sled as getting to the twisty trails invovles going down ditches that have concrete like characteristics. Every year we plan a longer 3-4 day trip over-nighting in different locations as we go. This year the trails and ditches have been less than ideal as the cold temps and violent winds have wrecked havoc on the trails. I would rate my driving as being semi-aggressive as perhaps some “smartness” and age have joined together to be make me aware of the sled’s capability, my capabilities as well as respect for others on the trail.
    I look forward to be given the opportunity to test out some new products for Yamaha and helping the whole snowmobiling industry in general.
    Your consideration in this decision is appreciated.

  16. Mr. T says:

    The SXR 600 has 12000 miles on it not 1200. That along with the other 30000mi I have logged on my previous 3 Yammy sleds. I should learn to proof read!

    ahhh thats better !! :))) cr

  17. Mike says:

    I don’t ride a vector LTX but I own one, so I am not the guy for you! My friend Gabby on the other hand,is one of the guys you are looking for! He owns an 08′ Vector LTX and lives on it. When we’ve ridden together, he just doesn’t ride the trail, he is the trail. We ride around Saskatoon, SK. Our trails,although groomed regularly, are subjected to the wild prairie winds! But this doesn’t deter Gabby. He climbs aboard his Steed, starts its engine, and the two of them together are focused on the path that lies before them, be it a gnarly,twisted,wind ravaged one, they conquer it like Perseus and Pegasus. Off they go into the dangerous white yonder, fighting off the dedicated moguls and hardened drifts meant to dislodge him from his companion, only to emerge victoriously at our next stop!
    This guy can ride. It would be an honor for him to be selected as one of your top secret testers!


  18. Steven Bell says:

    Lake of the woods area is a veary diverse area for testing (Belt life)
    (Baudette Minnesota USA )to (Kenora Ontario Canada )
    If any sled you are testing can be a front runner (of its-class )from baudette Minnesota to Kenora Ontario Canada (90 miles ) breaking powder 98% of the way you win

    In the umpteen years of countless sleds there is only one sled that can slug it out all winter with the changing snow condition (From hard as rock snow/ice to deep powder with a foot of slush under the snow

    YAMAHA APEX 06 08 09 11

  19. Steven Bell says:

    Yes we have 4

  20. Steven Bell says:

    The direction of your new venture with the green team is what i have been saying since 06 after riding an apex it is hard to fined a sled that at the end of the year all I can complain about is ride and weight but have not missed any rides the whole year and I not the one with the problems on the trail .
    My father threatens to take his back bumper off because the yamy is the one that tows

    If you build any sled from now on and it does not have the same belt life as an apex ( You will be going backwards )
    You guys have a good thing and I like your direction keep up the good work iam hook on reliability
    In real world riding I fined in freash powder high mile running there is only one sled that get on top of the snow and out last every sled out there and its because of the belt not getting to hot and losing power then compounding the problem and boom. Rubber flying
    Don’t get me wrong I have blown and seen many blown belts on apex es
    But the abuse that we give them I feel it is the best bang for my buck and I’ve ridden with every sled out there for years

  21. Steven Bell says:

    Oh forgot to mention, that little ride from Baudette Minnesota to Kenora Ontario 90 miles on a lake with over 14500 islands (lake of the woods )
    Has to be done in around 45 min plus filling up gas depending on snow conditions that’s a test

  22. trailcruizr says:

    I can hear all of the “sucking” (up) all the way to my house! LOL!!!

  23. Bill says:

    Chris – last year after all of the turmoil and frustration expressed in this blog and on TY, it was mentioned that Yamaha was still committed to developing its own sleds. Five new sleds in the next five years was the promise as I remember. In fact, in one of your replies after the Viper release you said:

    “For now; know that we are committed to evolving and building a strong lineup of Yamaha original snowmobiles with new products coming every year going forward.”

    So what’s the deal? Will we see a new YAMAHA sled this year, designed and built exclusively by Yamaha? Or was that just an empty promise to quell the Viper frustration?

    Just an empty promise / disclaimer: specifications subject to change without notice

  24. scott says:

    I’m glad Bill posted that quote because I’ve over and over I’ve seen something along the lines of 5 new sleds in 5 new years referenced in forums but I couldn’t remember if I’d actually read it anywhere? Seeing it now referring to products… well, that can be all kind of of things. Product doesn’t necessarily mean new, 100% Yamaha built sleds. If the major innovations to the 2015 line up is performance dampers fitted to 12 year old Deltabox sleds, the complaining in the forums is going to be entertaining to read.

  25. Yellowknife says:

    I’m behind on the readings but quick question to confirm if you can – I know you’ve spoken to it before… I was asked… “Is it true that the Viper has an AC EFI system? I was under the impression that EFI and mapping was provided by Yamaha. At least on the Yamaha versions anyway”



    The ECU is AC the EfI system is Yamaha same as Nytro. The magic is in the mapping. Viper ECU System is made by Synerject and mapped by AC engineers with some collaboration. Cheers cr

  26. Yellowknife says:

    In response to Bill, if I may, Yamaha as stated is committed to evolving and building a strong lineup of Yamaha original snowmobiles. That part means they’re working on the future, as in, not this year or next year necessarily, but in the long term. You know how many years it takes to go from “idea” to “production line”? Not 1 or 2 I can assure you. On the ‘new products every year going forward’ – that didn’t mean they would be original Yamaha units. I hear the 2015’s will be in partnership with Ford 😉

    Nice one Yellowknife… You nailed it, we are struggling to get a good shock setting for Ford, he’s a big SOB Will be the first sled with a breath actuated ignition switch! 😜

  27. Bill says:

    All I can say is I guess maybe we interpret Chris’s quote differently:

    “For now; know that we are committed to evolving and building a strong lineup of YAMAHA ORIGINAL SNOWMOBILES WITH NEW PRODUCTS COMING EVERY YEAR going forward.”

    Please allow me to clarify. We remain committed to building a complete line of snowmobiles. We are continuing to develop components and new models in Japan. We are pleased with the Arctic Cat agreement and success. We will have new and or significantly upgraded models coming every year. Some will be from TRF some from Japan
    Cheers cr

  28. sledheadgeorge says:

    Hi Chris,
    One of the sleds in my stable is a 2010 ltx Vector. I primarily ride in central Ontario in the Bancroft area, so we have quite an array of different trails here. I was privy to your 2006 Apex chassis release and test rides in the Perry Sound area if you remember. I also have a turbo Warrior with over 16000 miles on it that still runs great. If you need any Vector R&D testing, I would be more than happy to help out with real world testing.

    Thanks George, I remember your turbo, and you telling me how you change your tracks to suit the conditions. Doesn’t surprise me that its still running strong with over 16K on it! cheers cr

  29. Chip Fischer says:

    Just a little back ground. I have owned a 2005 RX1 2007 Apex
    2009 Apex 2010 vector GT and currently own a 2012 Vector LTX and a 2013 Vector short track. I have raced motocross my whole life and riding Yamaha snowmobiles for many years. I average about 3000mi a year in Northern Wisconsin and we have all types of trails rough and smooth. I have ridden with Yamaha for there ticket to ride.Riding the new power steering units in Hurley Wisconsin in 2010 and wrote comments on the machine for review for Yamaha. I feel I have the experience and knowledge to test new equipment. Also I live by Rock River Power Sports a premier Yamaha Pro dealer that could hep with install of
    test parts.

    Thanks Chip. Pease consider

  30. Low Slung says:

    Bit late to post this Chris but in January while at my local Yamaha dealer I was there to pick up my sring order swag(cool roller bag by the way).While there I notice two yamahas reps talking to my dealer.One was a man and the other a woman and both were Japanese.Speaking to my dealer a few weeks later he told me the man was from Yamaha Canada but the woman was from japan and was very high up in yamahas powersports division.He said it was rare to see reps from japan at a local dealer.While I didn,t get to meet them it was nice to see the brass in touch with the dealer network.

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