October 13, 2015
Bounce in your Sled?
I was out of the loop last week as we just hosted a national dealer conference at Deerhurst Resort with a focus on marine, motorcycle and SxS vehicles. I spent my days track side attending to the Camso track kit equipped Wolverine and Grizzly and supporting the YXZ demo rides. It was really interesting (and fun) to watch the anticipation and reactions of the dealers who had the chance to strap into the new YXZ. The demo track was short and sweet starting with a long straight leading into a 30 foot jump followed by a multiple three foot, ‘whoops’ section. Upon clearing the bumps – hard on the brakes, cross over the abandoned airstrip, then back home on another long straight. This section had some off-camber bends, another high speed kicker into a dogleg and a short, hard braking finish. We had three test engineers from the US driving the vehicles. These guys had countless hours of saddle time in off-road buggies and were able to really demonstrate the potential of the vehicle.
Once the dust settled they had completed over 500 laps, WFO. Passengers were treated to a moderate ‘slow’ lap to get a good look at the terrain. On lap two, things got exciting as the driver dumped the clutch with the engine on the red-line, power shifting through to 4th gear, hitting the jump to land into the whoops at 100+ kph, lock it up, cross the track and hammer it back up to speed, lurching sideways full throttle into the final brake bumps and back down to idle within scant feet of the ‘Parc Ferme’. Not once in +500 laps did they make a mistake or get out of shape (much) – amazing. They pounded the two pre-pros which never missed a beat. We did have one slow leak in a rear tire which we plugged and one sub assembly loosen up which the engineers knew enough to monitor and re-torque based on previous testing experience. All told we didn’t loose 15 minutes in the two days. Here’s a link from the YMUS meeting on a similar track to give you an idea
There was a bit of speculation on the new YXZ 998 cc triple and whether it could cross into other products. Short answer – of course it could – but not in a 10500 rpm / 112hp version. There is one advantage to a 998 and that is realized in cost as imported engines over 999 cc are assigned an excise tax. The divorced transmission leaves the door wide open for other applications. The only thing missing is the tuning to meet the application, be it water, pavement or snow.
The new YZ450FX was released with many references to snow bikes. The new YZ-FX has the ‘magic button’ to make the engine start with a quick stab of the pinky. A most welcome addition for anyone thinking about installing a track and ski. We didn’t really do any snowmobile business at this show per se, but there certainly was a lot of conversation on the subject.
On a personal note, I pulled two of my sleds out of storage this weekend to fire up and was pleasantly surprised, no critters had decided to take up residence in either one. I had kept them out doors on a trailer (well protected from the elements) in cottage country – red squirrels, mice, chipmunks etc.- not so much as an acorn, which I attribute to the ample use of Bounce dryer sheets. In years past, even with moth balls scattered about, I always had a least one visitor make a mess, but this year, nothing. I’m just hoping I found all the fabric swatches because having a sled burn down may change my tune on the virtues of the smelly little napkins. It was a bonus to have nice weather to get everything cleaned up, greased and adjusted, that said another session is required to align the steering in the Vector which appears to include a bit of open heart surgery. Yes, I really need a toy-box / garage / man-cave up north!
We are a couple of weeks out from the Toronto Power Sports Show and flurries are in the forecast…