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November 7, 2014

Carry On or Checked?

Friday noon, looking out the window at the falling snow. The calm before the storm as my calendar is rapidly filling up towards Christmas. We have several tests planned starting end of November right up until the week before the holidays. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Viper chassis responds to the addition of Performance Dampers. I will also be joining in with some of the project guys from Cat early in December to sample some new sizzle and I have a ‘bucket lister’ journey to add another new country to my tally of weird and wonderful places to ride snowmobiles kicking off the season.

The only ball in the air is how to divide and conquer a conflicting date and whether or not I’ll need (or can arrange) to fly to Japan for a couple of days mid December.

Something occurred to me while discussing this meetings agenda with our engineers. Most people, regardless of their brand blindness, will agree that Yamaha engines rank amongst the very best in the world. This is especially true regarding durability and reliability and if you consider the QDR relative to the performance, one could argue Yamaha is the best in mass production motosports power – marine, motorcycle, off-road, snow… My epiphany was – we have never tried to explain what we do differently, what steps are taken in engine development, to deliver the balance of performance and reliability that the Yamaha QDR reputation is founded upon. We’ve spoken to it in marketing over the years but the engineering detail has never been really been exposed. I sense an opportunity and an intriguing project at hand.

Case in point is the all new R1 and R1M MotoGP inspired bikes. @200hp / liter of normally aspirated power packing a full warranty along with the duty cycle of a flippin Corolla. The on-board electronics controlling this engine and consequent power delivery is incredible. I have mixed feelings about having a computer control how I ride but considering the performance levels being achieved and so few Valentino Rossi’s buying road legal sport bikes, I get it.

We are seeing more sophisticated electronics being applied to our snowmobiles as well and I see this only increasing as we move forward. Having learned from my past ramblings allow me to say this ‘just for the record’ – I did not say that the new R1 engine will be available in a snowmobile next year, an ATV maybe  – but not a sled!

cheers cr


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12 Responses to “Carry On or Checked?”

  1. Hal says:

    Well done! 🙂

    Last paragraph made me laugh out loud.

  2. Don aka VX1R/Boomer on TY says:

    Chris………..your last paragraph shows you’ve learned more “dance moves” well.

  3. DNR says:

    The little things here I find interesting also.

    Thanks cr.

    Quote the Web: Rossi is arguably the most successful motorcycle racer in the history of the sport. Rossi…… return to Yamaha Motor Racing in 2013 after two……

  4. Steve Roverts says:

    I share your thoughts on the QDR of all Yamaha products
    Made in Japan and Yamaha indicates to me quality of design and assembly
    It has not always been like that , not just Yamaha either.
    Remember Jap scrap that was the beginning of the import cars
    First Civics and Corollas well,,,, and in addition
    Abusive conditions and operation in a new market
    Owners that just drove the @&$ out of everything.A
    North American consumer could destroy anything in weeks
    Total ignorance of any maintenance or repair
    I remember sitting at stop lights, looking around , total carnage
    That has too changed, consumers not only more affluent and demanding but intelligent and aware.
    Technology has made easy access to technical information , through marketing, forums, boards or blogs. I and your readers are proof of much of that.
    QDR , automation, robotics and trained loyal staffing as well as quality suppliers are some ingredients for sure.Japanese traditional value.
    In this world that is a competative edge. Globally the world is operating to dilute that , and quality products may come from any market or country of origin. The Viper is that . There is a loyal following of pure Yamaha clientel that resists this , and in a way I think I am one . Thats not to say the future isnt bright, its our age of reflection back to those days of primitive manufacturing that scares us. A good CR lesson on QDR may be wasted on us , and for he new generation of customer its expected and demanded. Read the YMC web of the new R1M , unbelievable technology and sophistication, the human consumer as end user ,the weakest link. If only one could manufacture consumers. Hey isnt that in your job description yet.??


    Good points Steve, the line between logic and emotion is becoming more blurred with each passing season. Sport snowmobiles sales are driven by emotional response to the vehicle as much or more than a logical appreciation of its manufacture. cheers cr

  5. Fox1000 says:

    I lol on the last line. Well done! Looking to see what the future holds.

  6. Jason JDViper (TY) says:

    Made my weekend! Thanks for dancing CR!

  7. Stephen Burdick says:

    Great! I will let all my friends know we will see the new R1 engine in a snowmobile in 2016………..

    LOL, thats how it seems to work alright! cheers cr

  8. Mark says:

    Hi Chris,
    I have heard some talk about a Direct Injection 2 stroke for Yamaha sleds in the future?

    Define ‘future’?
    In my definition of foreseeable future I see Yamaha firmly committed to 4-stroke (for what you are thinking.)
    cheers cr

  9. Yellowknife says:

    I feel like blowing smoke with absolutely fact-less predictions.

    Yamaha is working on a 2 stroke DI sled combo.

    Next season will be another joint Yama-cat release.

    During Christmas, I will get my moose for the season. And the Viper will be there for the photo’s while sipping on new fuel mapping.

    Never mind Japan Chris, come here, you’re overdue! I give you my aeroplan miles 😉


  10. Dave M says:

    Can you foresee 2017/2018?

    17’s already in the can, workin on 18 and trying to move 21 up a year…
    cheers cr

  11. Richard says:

    Okay, let’s have a little fun by changing a few words ….. The 20?? Apex will feature the most advanced electronics package ever offered on any snowmobile: a full suite of inter-related technologies, enabling the rider to enjoy the fullest range of performance with great comfort, control, and ease of operation.

    Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is the first on production snowmobile featuring six axis of measurement: It consists of a gyro sensor that measures pitch, roll, and yaw, as well as an accelerometer, or G-sensor, that measures acceleration in the fore-aft, up-down, and right-left directions…all at a rate of 125 calculations per second. The IMU communicates with the Yamaha Ride Control (YRC) Yamaha’s most advanced electronics package ever offered on a production snowmobile. Includes Power Delivery Mode, Traction Control System, Slide Control System, Lift Control System, and Launch Control System . All these systems are adjustable and can be saved within four presets.

    Another feature exclusive to the all new Apex that takes electronic control to an all new level is the Yamaha-exclusive Communication Control Unit. The CCU allows riders to communicate with the vehicle via Wi-Fi through Yamaha’s exclusive Y-TRAC smartphone and tablet app.

    The onboard system is comprised of the CCU and GPS antenna, running data can be recorded via a data logger, with trail mapping and automatic timing managed by GPS. This data can then be wirelessly downloaded to the Android or Apple iOS app where it can be analyzed and even make setting changes to later upload to the Apex. This Yamaha exclusive Y-TRAC system gives an all new connection to the machine that has never been seen outside of the factory race pits.

    Power Delivery Mode (PWR), lets the rider choose from four settings of throttle-valve opening rate in relation to the degree of throttle opening to best match their riding conditions.

    Variable Traction Control System (TCS) with lean angle calculating the track speed as well as the lean angle, it helps prevent track spin when exiting corners. As lean angle increases, so does the amount of control…with ten separate settings (off and 1-9) enabling the rider to dial in the exact level of control needed.

    Slide Control System (SCS), the first of its kind on a production snowmobile. It works in tandem with the IMU, where, if a slide is detected while accelerating during hard leaning conditions, the ECU will step in and control engine power to reduce the slide. This too can be adjusted by the rider. Four settings (1-3 and off).

    Lift Control System (LIF): IMU detects the front to rear pitch rate and the ECU controls engine power to reduce the ski lift during acceleration. Four settings (1-3 and off).

    Launch Control System (LCS), limits engine rpms to 10,000 wide open throttle. It maintains optimum engine output in conjunction with input from the TCS and LIF systems to maximize acceleration from a standing start. Three settings (1-2 and off).

    A new style driven clutch is used to give the rider more confident downshifts when entering corners aggressively.

    The Apex uses YCC-T® (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle), fly-by-wire technology providing optimum power delivery. YCC-I® is Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake which is a variable intake system that broadens the spread of power in both low and high rpm.


    Sigh…. I miss carburetors.
    Well done Richard! 😉 cheers cr

  12. Trailcruzr says:

    Richard – and the sled costs USD35K and weighs 800 lbs. Perfect for rich people that ride the supertrails in Ontario and Quebec.

    Fun to dream though!

    Awe c’mon, if the sled is going to cost 35K we can use carbon and get it down to 500lbs!!
    Strong – light and cheap – you can have any two you like! cheers cr

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