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February 10, 2016

Hey, Wait a Minute.

The guessing game continues. Thinking a little time spent reflecting on a business model might not be a bad thing right now. Hopefully this may help put things in perspective  for those with expectations beyond the realm of feasibility.

At the start of the current millennium, Yamaha made the decision to go 4-stroke as a company, not as a single product group. The idea was born at a level far above my pay grade so I can only speculate on the details. Yamaha looked at the reality of the global marketplace considering  all products; marine, motorcycle, power equipment, recreational vehicle (including snowmobile) and scooters. The conclusion – four stroke technology is the best overall direction for Yamaha to offer clean, reliable, fossil-fueled power to meet the needs of the immediate future.

I was in the room when this strategy was introduced to the snowmobile division. At the time I actually believed we had a choice in the matter (I know). Anyway, we debated the pros and cons with great fervour. The deal breaker came when engineering provided information indicating the 2-stroke snowmobile engine would not survive the second round of EPA emissions standards in the US. This was based on the technology available at the time. And so it was, we were down on all fours. Ooops.

For the most part however, the direction has proven correct and the emissions clock is still ticking on the snowmobile anomaly, but lets pretend for a moment, that we could hit the snooze button and propose developing a new hi-performance 2-stroke engine. The first challenge is to justify a return on investment. To design, develop, tool and manufacture an engine (any engine) costs billions of Yen (millions of dollars). The total cost is amortized to be recovered over a fixed period of time, generally a couple of years. The best way to secure the investment is by showing a potential sales volume capable of off-setting the costs in the short term thus providing reasonable profits further down the road. OK, I’ll go on record here as saying the snowmobile business is not showing a lot of growth these days. None of the manufacturers are raking in the dough selling sleds, in fact its a damn good thing we have all diversified manufacturing to produce other motor sports products. This trickles right down to our dealers where you wont find too many that can exist selling snowmobiles alone.

This relationship to producing other motor sports product along with snowmobiles is key. The best way to increase the production volume of an engine is to put it in more than one product. You don’t have to look too far in our industry to see the results.  Our competitors have justified their 4-stroke development by sharing engines with SxS / ATV / squirt gun and motorcycle (even the ones with ‘training wheels’). It’s good business. Yamaha has done this successfully for years and now it is a mandate. As a rule, our new engine development projects must have the ability to apply, at least in part, to more than one product group. Herein lies the quandary for new 2-stroke development. Where else could we apply a big two-stroke performance engine outside of snowmobile these days?

Before you jump all over me on this, think of the current markets. Look at personal watercraft, look at motorcycle (including dirt), look at ATV / SxS, look at outboard engines, (OK BRP is still trying but…). Point is –  reliability, cost of operation, emissions, applications, warranty risk, longevity all out weigh (pun intended) the advantages of a 2-stroke in everything but snowmobiles, or so it would seem.

Now, all that said, I like 2-strokes. Always have – always will. When it comes to purchasing any of the above products, 4-strokes have clearly taken over. In my case, I own boats, ATV’s, motorcycles and they are all 4-strokes except for my old sleds and my beloved Husqvarna saw.  One must concede – The future market for 2-strokes is not looking so good.

So, back to the business model: Mr Yamaha, we want to invest XX million dollars in developing a new 850 state-of-the-art, 2-stroke snowmobile engine. We plan to  sell 12,000 over three years providing there is no change to emissions regulations under Mrs. Clinton and maybe you can make $200 profit each if we sell more. Oh, and we get slammed with a Polar Vortex every year during her term. And if you make a really good one – one that lasts as long as a four stroke, doesn’t burn any oil, get’s great fuel mileage, doesn’t go bang if it gets lean and accepts boost easily, we might be able to use it in another vehicle or two…

Wait, where are you goin?

cheers cr

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39 Responses to “Hey, Wait a Minute.”

  1. RICH ACHESON says:

    Mrs. Clinton—-NOOOOOOOOO

    LOL! cr.

  2. DGZRT says:

    But, if this so called clean 850 cc super motor did exist could you not share it with other Manufactures ? this would spread the cost over a larger foot print !!

    Technically yes. AC had already committed to their own engine program before we started dating. They have a pretty awesome 2 stroke already but I can’t speak to their plans here cr.

  3. Bleedblue says:

    Well the ‘new’ Viper/YXZ/Waverunners motor does not accept boost easy thats for shure (Bad rods). ‘Why change a winning team?’ And please drop the shitty china ecu/efi system on the Viper. Starts badly and runs like a bad china engine when idling. The 2005 version of the same engine runs smoother. And its not even an EFI…..

    Fit and finish needs a step up. Display/controls/steering is what you notice while driving. And this is the worst place to save money. But Yamaha/AC seems to think otherwise…

    Give us fit and finnish in the tru Yamaha spirit and make the engine run smooth with boost…

    Thanks

  4. Garret says:

    I can see where Yamaha is coming from on building a 2 stroke engine from scratch and thinking that 2 strokes are going to die off but how long before that happens 10-20 years?? Polaris sells all 2 strokes as of now I be-leave. I don’t really want a 2 stroke but seems like the market is demanding them yet?? The other plus with a 2 stroke people will trade them in much more often then the 4 stroke that will out last the sled.

    I sure hope Yamaha has something up there sleeve to gain market share, and not just die a slow death. We Yamaha owners would not get so bent out of shape if we did not really want to see Yamaha be Number 1!!!

    Has the joint effort with Cat helped in sales??

    Garret, the Cat relationship has helped. We have big plans for our future but no one really knows how it’s going to turn out. So many variables but I do believe we have the right people with their boots on the ground on both sides. I’d be happy just to have a more balanced market share.

  5. SteveK says:

    I can accept the 4 stroke decision, there are lots of good things. Had them since the RX1. But they need development also. The Viper + others motor has just adequate HP, the Apex had more with 50 less cc. And the mileage is not very good versus even today’s 2 strokes, my Apex was better than my Viper. And if we are going with a necessarily heavier 4 stroke lets optimize both the chassis and engine configuration to make it as light as possible and get the CG as low as possible. To me this last part is where Yamaha has fallen behind. Hopefully in 2 weeks we will have caught up and passed…

    You’re on the right track Steve, we need to continue the evolution in time. cr.

  6. Bosco says:

    As they say in Japan “U-FUN-E”, LOL. This sounds similar to the answer you gave me a few years ago when I asked about moving snowmobile production to North America (I was thinking Georgia), you gave all the reasons at that time why that was not feasible and then Boom the Cat deal. I can’t wait to see where that thingy in the picture with the holes in it goes in the new engine !!!!! P.S. The riding here in North Eastern Minnesota has been very good ! P.S.S. That Hilary thing ain’t going to Happen, where going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN !!!!

    LOL I remember that. It’s true, we didn’t move our manufacturing to GA. We thought outside of the box. I thought my Hillary dig would get a rise out of some… 😉 cr.

  7. Mr T. says:

    Chris,
    You pretty muched answered the main questions of the direction Yamaha will be going at least with their engines!No 2 smoke!! It looks like the new 998 in the new side by side will be the main stay for sled engines in the future! With bigger power obtained with boost. The current Viper motor will remain or be replaced with the 998 with more of an aggressive cam in it. Kind of like they did with the Vector to Nytro deal! What I’m waiting to see is what are they going to do with the lower horsepower engines. Drop them all together or put them in a new chassis. The Phaser motor would probably go nice in a procross chassie. Hey what do you think we could do with the 708 single that we have in the ATV side of things, a new entry level economical sled that the whole industry needs! Could I be right on any of this?

    T thank you for this, I really only had one purpose for this post and that was to try and course correct some of smokey thinking. There are quite a few details left out but I painted the big picture best I could. cr.

  8. Peter says:

    AC has a new 800 twin in the works. Why not use the agreement you have with them and put that engine in a Real Yamaha mountainsled!

    Now there’s some forward thinking. I like it.

  9. Greg says:

    Mrs Clinton? Please.

  10. Tony S says:

    Agree on the 4-stroke decision, and the points above on fit-and-finish. I’m not sure why anyone would want a 2-stroke machine at this point, provided the weight is roughly close. In the age of magnesium and titanium components, this should be somewhat doable.

    The emergence of turbocharging is only because no one has a performance engine like the Apex’s (12k rpm)- this is why they must turn to boost. And boost is cheap. N/A two strokes have reached their practical, reliable, mass produced power ceiling (~200hp/liter). The 800 etec with its 75.7mm stroke is already highly stressed. With power and reliability comes weight.

    Yamaha should tweak the engines and focus on the rest of the sled i.e. suspension, ergonomics, styling and chassis. The engines are not the problem. The fact that the magazines love ski-doo is a problem, as is their marketing machine- and after all it is a business.

    But I think it’s all right there for Yamaha, they just have to put the hammer down.

    Crossplane crankshaft??

    Well thought out Tony, as you point out the costs do vary between the options. We need to be profitable at the end of the day. Not as easy as one might think. Thx cr.

  11. MikeyJ says:

    Hi Chris,

    I get the business model case for Yamaha to stick with 4-stroke power, but I see a flaw in that model in that it has not resulted in product that the market place is currently demanding. The model works, in my opinion only if Yamaha has been working on enhancing it’s 4-stroke engine offerings in their snowmobile division, gaining them more power, better fuel efficiency and less weight. If that is the case, then I would say the business model is a good one and offers Yamaha an opportunity to grow its market share and insure future profitability. Eh, but what do I know, I’m only a humble snowmobiler!

    We’re all humble snowmobilers here Mike. We are simply playing the cards we’re dealt. cr.

  12. MikeyJ says:

    I’m not going to ask for any hints on the 2017s, I know you won’t do that, but…

    I’m considering moving on from my Apex XTX after this year, just wondering if anything of interest may be right around the corner from Team Blue??

    The last survey I did on Apex boiled down to the basics, customers wanted lighter weight and more power. That said, there were many secondary wants. I don’t know if we will have the right machine to fit your needs. Please let me know in a couple of weeks.

  13. Justin says:

    Chris,

    Good to have you back. I always enjoy your insights! I admire your patience and restraint! For me, QDR, and a sled that last longer with “routine” maintenance is paramount. I love light weight, but I love not having to worry about my motor going bang if I get bad gas in the bush, even more. I have always understood the decision to collaborate with AC. You are playing the hand you were dealt. It was ultimately the consumer who forced your hand. Not enough of us bought Vector’s and Apexes! I know Cat has some talented folks, and I like what I heard in the interview with Pete and Brad. It seems like both parties are truly open to developing something really good and don’t seem overly concerned with who’s going to get the credit if your future endeavors are successful. In terms of the contemporary corporate environment, I am impressed by what I know of your arrangement with AC. The rhetoric seems legit. What is that worth? We shall see…..I’m hoping that the new one exhibits a little more of the “Yamahaness” that Viper owners seem to miss in their rides. Great engineering and design are only part of the equation. Execution is what you guys are so good at…..
    Git-r-done!

    Thanks Justin. You touched on a good point. There is more collaboration between the companies happening, some of which will be seen in the near future and more as we go forward. cr

  14. Todd S. says:

    Chris,

    With all due respect, it seems like you are trying to justify past Yamaha decisions and are trying to convince us that Yamaha is on the right path. As Bill Parcels says, “You are what your record says you are.” The historical decisions Yamaha has made since the all 4 stroke platform was implemented has resulted in a last place finish for market share. Say what you want or give whatever excuse you want but that is proof, as of today, that those were bad decisions. My understanding is that Yamaha is not even number one in the sale of 4-stroke snowmobiles, that honor belongs to Ski-Doo. You make it sound as though Ski-Doo and Polaris are going to go out of business because they offer 2-stroke snowmobiles to their customers. If those two can run a profitable business then why can’t Yamaha? Imagine where Yamaha would be if they had made a different decision to continue to offer BOTH 2 and 4- stroke snowmobiles in stead of just 4-strokes. If Yamaha 2-strokes were as good as their 4-stroke I bet they would have sold a lot more sleds and made a lot more money. I have owned Yamahas since 2006 and since that time Yamaha’s market share has decreased from 12% to about 5%. During that same time Skidoo has gone from 40% to about 46%. At approximately 150,000 units sold world widest year, that makes the score: Ski-Doo 67,500 units to Yamaha’s 7,500 units sold per year. Did it pay for Skidoo to offer 2-strokes? I think so. It would seem to me to be hard to argue against it. Granted we all can’t be number one in sales but of the 54,000 2-strokes that Ski-Doo sold (80% 2-stroke – that’s a guess) i got to believe that Yamaha could win over enough skidoo owners alone to at least double their sales.

    I will be riding the Apex XTX in Quebec next week and can’t even imagine a better sled to be on. Well maybe if it were 100 lbs lighter.

    Thanks for all the hard work Chris!

    Todd S.

    Thanks Todd, clearly you have put a lot of thought into this. I don’t think I’m trying to justify past decisions as much as I trying to explain some of the background that has been a part of them.
    I have learned its best for me to keep looking out the windshield, if I look in the rear view mirror too much nobody wants to be around me. Cheers cr.

  15. Eddie Weesjes says:

    Great read Chris, but I have to ask, in Canada we aren’t subjected to the stringent EPA laws are we? And I’m assuming if Putin steps aside sometime and Russian sled sales rise again they aren’t in the EPA Stranglehold either? (As with much of their neighbours aren’t either?). Wouldn’t that be enough to offer a new two stoke? For that matter, I realize that the “snowmobile pie” isn’t getting any bigger, wouldn’t it make more business sense to entice off brand two stroke riders to come to Yamaha with their offering? And isn’t it good business practice to try and get riders into new sleds every two/three years, you now have to have a reliable two stroke for only 2000 to 6000 miles. Me and my Yamaha buddies aren’t a model consumer for Yamaha, I still ride a 2007 apex with 16 000kms on it, there isn’t enough change for me to open my wallet, off brand buddies are riding (at the oldest) 2013 units and newer.

    Just my $0.02

    Eddie, you bring up a couple of very interesting points. On the EPA side, yes and no. Canada isn’t bound by EPA directly but it is recognized by transport Canada and agreements are in place to make sure engines sold in Canada comply to clean standards. I forget the details but the end game is the EPA has a big impact on our market. The Russian thing does play into what we are doing. That I’ll explain further in March. cr

  16. lowslung says:

    No more new two-strokes from yamaha,better question is any new snowmobile platforms coming out of japan?This would be the most telling answer of where yamaha is headed(By the way surprised to learn Subaru builds the new grizzly engine,but its a yamaha design,strange days indeed.)

  17. Anthony says:

    I have been riding 4 stroke since 2006 and no intend to go back to 2 stroke even if I enjoyed riding my SRX’s and Vmax’s. I am a trail rider and this is what I need.
    That being said I believe that Yamaha should have kept few models with 2 stroke engine to suit the off trail market or riders that prefer that option. There are still a lot out there. I have the feeling Yamaha have lost part of the market because of that call. Would also like to see an entry level snowmobile for Teenager. My kids are growing up and soon be old enough for trail riding. NO way they can practice in the back field with neither my Apex nor the wife’s Vector. Something like a Bravo or Enticer would be a good snow machine for rookies. That is the way I was introduced to the snowmobile world 30 years ago.
    Just like you I believe in looking fwd instead of trying to change the past so let’s keep on “looking out the windshield”
    We don’t have much snow here in Québec but trails around my place are not too bad. I will keep on riding patiently waiting for March 1st release. I really believe something big is coming for 2017.

    Regards

  18. Steve Roberts says:

    CR
    2 or 4 stroke yah , we all miss something of the choices available. I’ve said this before . Yamaha used to have different platforms for all types of sled, utility, trail, lake racer etc. After seeing Polaris sales success with Indy whatever’s a different path was taken. We now have Viper whatever’s and sales competitors have multi platforms. Global market decline may upset some sales figures , but Yamaha still has the depth to bring different, albeit not new platforms back ( VK bravo ) ugh there I said it . A clean small light four stroke (708) in these platforms would be a winner up north, reclaim faithful market share , and simplify global product lines.in a world where old is new again this seems very retro logical. Look for a used bravo or VK 2 stroke , they are coveted things. Look at the trail networks available and the restructuring of the OFSC , think there is going to be a market for off trail, I do. Don’t need fat heavy fast, need smooth light nimble….. And inexpensive to ride and fix. Improving sled choices and ATV / SxS choices can be done with old school model and design….new multilevel powertrains , simple simple

    Regards
    SR

    😉 😉 😉 cr

  19. Iveyrider says:

    Lots of well thought ideas and passion in these comments. Commenting on the business side of the industry would be way above my pay grade. Will keep this simple and selfish. Long time Yamaha group. Hard to argue with the feeling you get when the Apex trigger gets pulled. It is the other end of my anatomy screaming at me. Just want something that will go where it is pointed and makes not so perfect trails enjoyable. We get X amount of hours on the snow. Conditions will not always emulate a baby’s behind. Chassis and suspension! Can you say r-motion! Like I said, simple and selfish. Great to have you back Chris

  20. Yellowknife says:

    That was a long read including the comments. Thanks for that, it’s nice to see.

    1st – please tell me the hilary haters aren’t voting for trump. Good god help me. If you’re voting for him you should at least get him to sponsor Yamaha’s 2 stroke snowmobile development with all that money he has – just keep his lack of brains out of it. Now I feel a bit better, except…

    I agree (surprised? lol) with the comments about the AC ECU and what it did to my Viper experience. That bastard starts at -40 now after being plugged in for 2 hours BUT, it won’t start on the first try – and you gotta know that or you’ll kill your battery in short order at that temperature, and the idle at any temperature is a clear indication the fuel delivery system is not performing the way it should. Also it’s supposed to be a snowmobile not a fog machine. Enough said. (broken record i know!)

    I hear loud and clear that Yamaha is going to offer an AC 2 stroke in a Yamaha decal’d sled at some point. I like AC and anything they offer about as much as Trump. Just saying that name puts my line of thinking off track. If I didn’t work for a news broadcasting company I’d have the TV off until the U.S. election was over with.

    I digress… Just 36 hours ago, I finally sold the Viper. Sell is a strong word as I practically gave it away, but I had to cut my losses. My 09 Nytro XTX is also for sale and this morning I am about to sign ink on another 600 E-TEC exact same as the one I already have. I want a Yamaha sled that is not affiliated with the lack of quality AC has to offer. 2 stroke or 4 stroke, something that fits my needs here. (I know i’m like the snowmobile market within the snowmobile market!) That simply does not exist right now from YMC. It’s the end of an era for me as I first went to 4 stroke (all Yamaha’s) in the fall of 2006 and am now stepping back to 2 stroke 10 years later. I only wish Yamaha could do the same as the best part of purchasing the 4 Yamaha’s I owned was the amazing support from YMC at every level I knew of (you know who you all are) to keep me on the trail, riding, testing, breaking things and still knowing I had a team behind me. And it’s a hell of a team. I took up more people’s time at Yamaha than I do at my real job. That’s what riding Yamaha feels like family and I’m no sponsored rider though I did enjoy more perks than most 😉

    By the way, the outlast Jacket and pants are still holding up to my standards – and if me riding Doo’s with that thing on every time isn’t proof I don’t know what is! lol I’m harassed every time I walk into the BRP dealer to buy liquid gold.

    So Yamaha doesn’t have the best sled for my needs right now, but i’m sitting on the sidelines watching every minute despite my move to the competition. I’ve outgrown my Nytro and well the Viper and I were like a bad speed dating experience. There’s things I would have done differently about that too if I could go back 😉

    I’ll be watching – and I hope one day soon i’ll be back buying. At least I have my outboards which are the other 50% of my outdoor season up here. If Yamaha built a truck i’d buy it too. Thumbs up to you and your team for the passion you continue to put into your work. All I can say is dam those friggen engineers.

    And for crap sakes don’t vote for Trump, I don’t need all of you moving to Yellowknife after the U.S becomes uninhabitable.

    Cheers,

    YK

    P.S. Tell the engineers the big black spot on the snow when I pin it with my E-TEC has EPA written all over it 😉

  21. Mitch M. says:

    Hey Chris,
    I’ve been a Yamaha guy my whole life starting with a 1985 phazer when I was young. Owned 6 more yamahas since then. You guys IMO have always had great trail sleds, and still do. Great power, built to last, fit and finish second to none. I think where Yamaha hasn’t kept up is the mountain segment. I have a mpi supercharged nytro that has great power but the weight leaves something to be desired. I haven’t had a chance to ride the new viper so I’m guessing that got improved some. My question I guess is what is the weight difference between an apex or nytro motor and a competitive 2 stroke 800? Say the motor is 30lbs heavier, then where is all the weight coming from compared to a RMK or summit? Seems like Yamaha could stick with the 4 stroke game plan and still sell a pile of mountain sleds if they could bring the weight difference to within 20-30lbs and maybe bump that apex power to 170-180hp range 👍 I guess till then I’ll be riding my 2015 summit I bought last winter. First anything I’ve owned that hasn’t been a Yamaha. I still bleed blue even thou I do like the skidoo. Thanks you Chris for doing these updates to give us a little behind the scenes look. Good luck with the new model year.

  22. Greg says:

    Hi Chris,
    Great job on summarizing the past & current/future Yamaha snowmobile direction. It will be 4-stroke, QDR (Quality/Durability/Reliability) will remain a high priority and Yamaha is obviously very interested to continue with the snowmobile business in order to support Yamaha dealers & customers (why else would Yamaha make a snowmobile-only joint venture with A/C? – that is not seen as a typical Yamaha business practice).

    Based on the latest info, my guess is that Yamaha will continue with the ‘dual-peaks’ direction of snowmobile products coming from Japan & A/C. That allows Yamaha to supply both the No. Am. & European markets with sufficient products to continue distributing/supporting the core markets in these areas and still make business sense.

    Each snowmobile manufacturer builds what fits their company & engineering capabilities the best in order to succeed in business, but they all must meet EPA regulations – Polaris tried to design 4-st snowmobile engines and they failed so they went 100% 2-st (this worked because they could use fleet averaging to meet EPA regs before they developed the latest clean/lean-burn 2-st engines needed to pass the current EPA regs).

    Ski-Doo first went with their clean/lean-burn 2-st direction because they had access to this technology from the purchase of Evinrude outboards. As they developed 4-st engines for their ATV/Spyder product lines, some of these engines were introduced into the snowmobile line-up (IMO, to meet customer demand, not to meet EPA regs).

    Arctic Cat first went 4-st from the Suzuki automobile connection in order to address Yellowstone park access. Since they are still building conventional 2-st engines, I believe they used 4-st engines to meet the overall EPA regs thru corporate averaging. Towards that goal, they went 4-st from many different directions. (automobile N/A & Turbo, ATV N/A & Turbo, KYMCO, Yamaha). The current 600 clean/lean-burn 2-st helps w/ corporate averaging, but I believe the other 2-st engines still are not completely up-to-snuff from the clean-air side, so they need (& also prefer) to use 4-st engines for some markets.

    That leaves Yamaha – easily has the best technology in high-performance, lightweight, durable N/A 4-st engines. Yamaha can easily meet EPA regs without sacrificing any QRD requirements. Granted the current crop of clean/lean-burn 2-st engines are lighter than Yamaha 4-strokes, but if QRD is an important purchase decision, Yamaha shines. That’s why Yamaha has a higher market share among long-distance trail riders than mountain riders. It comes down to what fits each manufacturer and each rider the best.

  23. Parker says:

    Hmmmm…..That little three holed picture looks like a new flyweight with rivet holes in locations that would likely be useful in a turbocharged application……Could we be seeing a new boosted 1049 going into production out of the Thief River Falls Factory???

  24. Bosco says:

    Hey Chris, just seen the sneak peak video, by seeing the riders body English I’m guessing (as we would say up north) it’s that there Leaning snow machine, ain’t that somethin ! LOL !

  25. VNT says:

    What about clarifying the Rod issue in the 2016 YXZ and Viper engines ?

    And please dont blame it on the MPI controllers. That was an issue but is not the real issue.

    Hope this is something you can answer as this issue seems to be a `do not talk about it`within Yamaha

  26. Viper S says:

    Hi Chris,
    Wow, are you back or what? Must be something big is brewing or are we heading to the slaughter again. Some very good comments thus far. I like others, are tired of Doo and Poo moving forward, while Yamaha uses band aids to stop the bleeding! Yeah the Cat move was a good pairing, but let’s make them better, which I guess is happening. Fit and finish, they said!
    Yeah OK, no more 2 strokes, but didn’t Yamaha used to own the MPG records? No, now it’s other 4 strokes and 2 stroke E-Tecs! If I sat in some of those planning meetings, I’d be a little vocal about what’s up!
    Don’t want to hear about Hilary, unless we have a Bernie for an option.
    Catch my drift, it’s time for change (not rhetoric)!
    Viper S

  27. SRXSRULE says:

    With all of the manufacturers trying to be the first to market with the next best thing, and this next big thing has been becoming very popular lately. I think the video showing the riding position and the picture of what I believe to be a brake rotor gave it away. I say two words – “Snow Bike”

  28. scott says:

    Chris I really enjoyed reading this article. The background on the business side and costs and factors that weigh in to develop a new engine left me at a loss for words for an entire day. I still can’t really come up with anything to counter Yamaha’s reasoning even though we know it lost you guys market share. I guess it boils down to I never disliked the motors in my 4s Yamaha’s, I just grew to hate the chassis and weight. That said, I’m still not ready to make the leap to a Yamacat as weight is still a big issue and to be honest, I don’t think you guys have the same QDR with the rebranded sleds.

    I’m excited to see whatever the new sled is you guys have coming out. I’ve already paused segments of the video over and over, quietly saying “enhance… enhance” in a fake British accent. I feel pretty comfortable it has two skis in front but can’t tell anything else other than it sounds like a 4-stroke. You guys did a great job with the snow dust and out of focus frames of the sled. Congratulations! I’ll now have to get my best people on this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxq9yj2pVWk

  29. Anthony says:

    Good job Yamaha with that teasing video. It is really teasing me.
    Looked at the video a lots of time and at the slower speed my Mac can go, Picture by picture. On some pictures I can clearly see 2 skis. The driving position makes me wonder. It seems like something really different from what we have seen before. It could be the camera angle thought. On another picture I am almost sure this is a mountain/off trail snowmobile.
    Could it be more than one new model in that video? Or one complete new machine with different version available? If this is only 1 new model than my guess is an off trail machine.

    The real beauty of a ‘teaser’ clip is that it could be produced without using any sound bytes or footage of an actual prototype. Hmmmm I wonder…. cr.

  30. Greg says:

    Chris,
    After watching the video again, I’m ‘leaning’ a little bit toward the snow-bike direction … If so, it should be a blast.

    Ah Greg, even you are thinking snow bike? LOL What a clever ruse on behalf of Mr. Star. Cheers cr.

  31. Jason says:

    I’m thinking it mite actually be an R1 street bike adapted to snow
    With a track out back and two skis up front. Real rider forward. Just
    Like a crotch rocket.
    Now I’d love to ride something like that.
    We can only hope.

    Or at least give us a 2 stroke or 4 stroke at about 475 lbs. with 140-175
    Horse.

    Am I even close?

  32. John says:

    How about a 160 Na Viper clone.Japanese electronics and chaincase

  33. Gary says:

    I don’t want a snow bike, nor would I think Yamaha would invest resources in building such a low demand product.

    What Yamaha needs is a light weight low to mid powered sled to compete with Skidoo’s 900 ACE. That equals money!

  34. Snowhawk says:

    Hey, wait a minute…I think this suspense is a little to much…
    We are in need of a new blog-post with some hint, so we can calm down for a second, and after the comments can start dropping in again;-)

    Regrds

  35. Tyler says:

    I’m happy to hear there are more sleds being built in cooperation with AC.
    I like the viper and am looking to switch from my Nytro.
    I would simply like to see more Yamaha components on the viper to set it apart from the 7000 cat.
    Vector / apex gauge, Yamaha EFI (From the Nytro), Nytro tail light, Nytro engine internals. These are just small details that would really give the viper the edge over the 7000 in my mind. Plus all these parts already exist.
    I do drool over the viper because I know how well that chassis works just add some more Yamaha seasoning! 🙂
    This statement stands true for any future sleds built by AC for Yamaha. Love the cooperation but lets see some more distinction between the models 🙂

  36. Chad says:

    I want to see you guys put your 80hp Phazer twin engine into a snowbike. Light weight, powerful…already have the engine done (god forbid you actually build a new engine for us sledders!). You can likely leverage your YZ bike platform. You have all the base things needed to cobble this together in true Yamaha sled fashion. This may even meet the Japanese management’s approach to the sled market of invest in nothing for sleds and leverage other existing platforms.

    Surely I am being a bit cheeky here. But I do have to say that over the past 15 years I have been really disappointed and let down by Yamaha due to their abandonment of the sled market and investments in it. Growing up, all we ever had was Yamaha everything. Yamaha sleds. Yamaha wheelers. My dad, uncles, grandpa. But not anymore.

    For a true enthusiast, it is clear to see what Yamaha is doing. The sled market is truly an enthusiast market…more so than other powersports. Not many random people drift into sleds. Its cold, stinky, need snow, expensive, etc. Sledders usually grew up with them and know the sport and equipment in absolute detail. And in a market that is driven by hard core enthusiasts…you can’t pretend. We know.

    Anyway…enough of my lecture. I’ve always felt bad for you Chris. No doubt you and the entire Yamaha sled team had to have shed a lot of tears of frustration as your HQ made decisions that you knew damn well would cost you customers. I’m in global business management and marketing with a diversified company as well and I know what its like to be given no resources while they invest in other areas. Its tough. You guys at Yamaha NA have done your best to keep a positive light on it and play the hand you were dealt. And I appreciate that.

    So back to how I started this…how about that Phazer motor in a YZ chassis snowbike? Or even a newly revamped Phazer for my 12 year old son. Give me something! I want some blue in my blood again!

    Man that was a good one Chad. We have actually kicked that idea around over wings and beer. I think it would be a great project. I also appreciate your perspective and understanding on our position here. Thanks! cr

  37. Beyerman says:

    I’ve just played the teaser video a few times.
    Then I played it some more with the volume cranked up.
    Where have I heard that sound before?
    I’m a motogp subscriber and I also watched the entire 2009 WSBK with Spies piloting the 09 R-1 and if I didn’t know any better that sounds alot like the sweet symphony of a crossplane Yamaha 4-lunger.

  38. scott says:

    Chris

    Thank you for confirming what I knew. I work with a Japanese company. I know your frustrations.

    I owned a apex ,I filled out all the yamaha surveys and what we all asked for we didnt see.

    I left the fourstroke ,while powerful the weight is the elephant in the room . I bled blue. Reliability is needed for 4 years ,light weight is king. The two strokes make me feel 20 years younger, sorry light is right. Move a apex front end to line it up to go out the the trailer door and it may end your ride!

    It’s a matter of honor, I understand that
    But what we want is what we want not what we are told we need.

    Good luck

    Scott

  39. Pooch says:

    Subject – Yamaha 2-stroke. As a person with my financial well being invested in the choices Yamaha makes, it makes me wonder what their thinking is. As a dealer, I sit and watch my red neighbor sell 100+ sleds, while I struggle to get 10, and have no profit on them. they sell two strokes, they sell a unit that the purchaser knows is going to fail, and they will be walking, but they buy it any way. based on Zero percent financing for 60 months? 4 year warranty’s? so many models to choose from? but only a couple engines.. I have never heard a positive comment about the store in Red, but they have sales. and they are not giving product away. their product is light and fun, yep it breaks, yep the customer complains, but what does he buy next time around?
    As a dealer, I want sales. I want an exciting product. I am more profitable if I sell 20 bravo’s then one Apex. Not to mention the possibility of other sales while these extra customers wander in my store.
    The four stroke has its place, no question. In some of these Yamaha products with the four stroke it can not be out done by a two cycle. period. There is no 2-stroke going to out pull a VK-Pro. Marine engines, the technology in 50 hp and up, its silly to think two stroke. but we are fooling ourselves if we do not realize the potential of sales if we had small 2-strokes again.
    build a version of the bravo again, add reverse and electric start , keep the price affordable and I will order 50 now. back country riding, ditch banging, just exploring logging roads etc. fishing, is getting far more popular then trail riding, and these guys break stuff. better for us.
    Yes the big bore gets the hype, but the numbers show were the sales are. Build a 500 fan, a couple 600, 800 liquids, put them in real chassis. Make them affordable, not the fastest, but durable and functional and we will sell. ( KISS principal comes to mind )
    I wont speak for other dealers, but I have lost interest in this business, because we do not make any money selling the product anymore.
    my rant is done, thanks for your ear.


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