Yamaha Sled Talk
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February 4, 2016


Low Slung asked an interesting (and timely) question: The sled industry is pretty unique in that the press gets to ride the sleds before its release to the public (Not the norm in the car industry,too many spy pics before hand). Does it worry you guys that someone may get a snapshot of the new iron before its released to the world?

I thought I would share my response on the subject of spy-shots and leaked information prior to a new product release.

First, the media must sign ‘non-disclosure’ agreements and abide by our embargo timing when we give them advanced information on new models. They need extra time to prepare their publications and web-sites to coincide with print schedules and embargo dates. They would be open to law-suits if there was an intentional leak (note: we have never had to exercise this option to the best of my recollection).

We have had to deal with ‘spy’ shots getting leaked from inside sources and there have been cases where people have lost their jobs over this depending on circumstances. When it does happen there are generally two internal camps that quickly form. One side will be all freaked out, in damage control mode, wanting to recall, blame and punish (possibly justifying their own position). The only thing more damaging than having something published  to the internet you want kept secret, is trying to chase it down and remove it – doesn’t work so good!

I tend to sit on the other side where, if I see no harm done (based on timing and details) it is fun to observe and embrace the ton of excitement (not to mention the free advertising) that’s created as the pics go viral in the ‘hunger for info’ enthusiast sphere. The social aspect of the internet along with camera phones and portables really have had a profound impact on all of this.

Leaked pic that didn't hurt too much

Leaked pic that didn’t hurt too much


And one that did!

Outside of the company lays a conspiracy group that rises up if there is any indication or conjecture the ‘leak’ was fabricated by a manufacturer to gain attention. We are not very good at that game-not at all. There are far to many politically correct people and processes inside of Yamaha for us to ever get consensus on breaking a rule. Instead we’ll hire an agency to produce a polished ‘teaser’ video ‘Hollywood style’ and proudly brand it Yamaha ‘revs your heart’, to get things buzzing. These clips are carefully designed not to ‘tip the wagon’ then approved by kings and council. I still chuckle when I see what some guys actually make of them – ‘I freeze framed the whole thing and found one millisecond of footage where, when I zoomed in 50x and applied an enhancing software program downloaded from a Russian hacker site, I was able to confirm by the heat signature it has three cylinders and the chase vehicle in the dusty distance was in fact a Gillette 1000…’ truly fascinating forensics.

The other source of leaks is far more nebulous. The old forum thread ‘I have a trusted friend in the industry and he told me…’ More often than not it’s bogus but there have been times when I read things containing details clearly originating from an ‘insider’. The best part of these ones is sitting back and watching the on-line banter as the ‘leak’ gets called ‘bull spit’ by other ‘seers’ or the comment gets hi-jacked then buried in a sheer flood of opinion. I watched one of these unfold over on TY, I was almost believing the guy was legit before he tripped. I have learned not to react too quickly to this type of leak but there are times when the message needs to be heard. I delivered a little sermon at our last field staff meeting after reading something which I was able to determine came from one of our staff. Didn’t single anyone out, instead reminded all that their closest friend who they completely trust and confide in also has a closest friend who they completely trust and that person ain’t you!. My old pal Greg Marier once said something to me in Japan years ago. ‘Chris – two of us can keep a secret – if one of us is dead!’ Fortunately we are both still kickin’ and Greg san, your secret is still safe with me 😉

Stay tuned, I feel a ‘leak’ coming on! (maybe it’s that damned old age thing) – ‘Depends’ 😉 cheers cr

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15 Responses to “Depends”

  1. Scott LaCrosse says:

    Chris, welcome back! This is why your blog is a must read. Have you ever thought about becoming a mystery/suspence writer after your days at Yamaha come to an end? Sherlock Holmes I am not. As I move up in age not to many things make my heart skip a beat (besides my wife) and bring me back to my youth but the thought of something new and fresh from the Yamaha snowmobile division is. Thanks keep up the good work!

    LOL, should I be floating the old resume to some of my friends in the media? Awesome your wife still keeps you young! cheers cr.

  2. Brandon a says:

    Going for 40% let me know how if I get it.
    – phazer in viper chassis
    – 800 triple 2 stroke
    – 600 2 stroke
    – factory turbo viper
    – snow bike

    Hmmm, guess I can give you a 1.75 for that. 😉 cr.

  3. scott says:

    Terrific post Chris, I loved it! Glad to see you back and your line about trust and your closest friend is one I’ll commit to memory. So true. The 50X zoom bit had me laughing sitting here eating breakfast reading your blog. Cheers!

    Makes me happy knowing my humour is appreciated! Thx. cr

  4. lowslung says:

    Alot of work to keep the cat,i mean yamaha in the bag,thanks Chris.

  5. Mr T. says:

    Great read Chris! Love it!

    Thx T! cr

  6. Yellowknife says:

    Great post. It made me wonder if you’ve also seen a post where the person was dead on the money, but it was pure coincidence as they were completely guessing. 😉


    OK now that was deep! cr

  7. Anthony says:

    Keep on feeding us with that kind of post. Really interesting

  8. Niklas says:

    Great read. Hope to yamaha back in racing,haven’t seen them in Either cross country ör hillclimb recetntly?

  9. Viper S says:

    Nice post and it snowed 10 or more in. here in Central Maine! In for a snowy pattern this week too! So I guess thinking snow and dancing works! 😜 Keeping us in suspense a bit longer tells me something is up…
    Maybe some new DI 2 stroke triples? Would be sweet in the Viper chassis! How about more muscle in the Phazer? The suspense is killing us! Nice to have you back on and look what the weather is doing now!
    Keep thinking snow!
    Viper S

  10. TK says:

    Hi do you have any comments about this video? http://youtu.be/ltjq90Dtw3c
    Your guy is saying that in 2strokes your still competitors does that mean a new 2s is comming 🙂 and he is also mentioning new chassis?

    What Pete is saying is AC and Yamaha are currently working together on 4-stroke powered snowmobiles. When it comes to 2-strokes, Yamaha and Arctic remain competitors in other words, continue to do our own things. His comment does not address the future in fact none of the interview does aside from the fact both companies see lots of potential for greater sharing of responsibilities – whatever that means 😉 . cr

  11. TK says:

    Thank you Chris 🙂 keeping my fingers crossed for the 2017 launch. Something around 200-225kg 4s 162″ would be Nice and some more horsepower 150-180 maybe 🙂

  12. CookeCityRider says:

    Is there a sled in the third picture? When Chris said ‘one leaked picture hurt’, maybe he wasn’t referring to the SxS but rather the sled in the background?!Wouldn’t that be the definition of ‘hiding in plain sight”?

    OK, you guys got me… Busted! 😉 cheers cr.

  13. Jeff K says:

    Great to see you return to the forum. I had been checking every day for new posts, other than for the last week when I traveled to enjoy some great snow on a couple turboed Viper MTX’s. The snow is out there and being from Nebraska we are used to traveling to enjoy it. Now I am just trying to get that 50x zoom to work on your picture and waiting for March 1. In the meantime I will enjoy one more trip west to enjoy the Viper.

  14. Greg Marier says:

    Hey Chris – I can’t believe that anyone else hasn’t called you out on your ending comment:

    I feel a ‘leak’ coming on! (maybe it’s that damned old age thing) – ‘Depends’ –

    I guess that ‘twisted’ can describe someone’s sense of humor.

    Keep on keepin’ on

  15. Niklas says:

    To the right i see a reindeer and a snowmobile ski? Does this mean im loosing it?

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