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March 1, 2016

Table for Two?

I am writing this 24 hours out from the official 2017 snowmobile launch. At this point in time the thread guessing about the new Yamaha sleds on TY has grown steadily, now sitting at 1,861 comments and 224,187 views… holy smoke!

CaptureI may be well advised to ‘get a life’ as I believe I have read at least 1,200 of those comments over the past month. Now having squandered the time, I’m pretty happy to say that we have not had any serious ‘leaks’. Of course there are lots of guesses that called for a factory turbo but I haven’t read any that led me to think the author was truly in possession of inside knowledge, so hats of to my colleagues who have managed to keep a lid on this thing. It was no easy task.

Capture2UPDATE: I spoke too soon. Last night someone stumbled upon a link to our web-site which was in the process of being loaded with the 2017 information. It was posted on the forums and removed shortly thereafter in an attempt to limit the viral spread. I’m curious how this happened as it certainly wasn’t the ‘hack of the decade’. Instead, from what I can tell, some of the documents were not handled properly by our staff who left them unsecured, just begging for Mr. Google to find.  It was not intentional but very well could have been by nature of the non existent security. I’m left with a big WTF and an apology for Tom at TY and our friends in TRF. Oh well, just another log on the fire! ed.



Now, in full anticipation of the fall-out that rains from clouds of conjecture over any new launch. I would like to toss out a few random comments to help with the digestion, knowing full well it will take more than a handful of Tums to pacify  some of the forum pundits.

The 998 Turbo project had commenced before the AC joint venture was a handshake. We pitched the project in planning multiple times over the years and YMC finally began official development  over three years ago. The new boosted engine is nothing like a traditional ‘add-on’ but you won’t really get it until you have a chance to pull the trigger.

When Arctic bought in, we were able to work much closer with them than on the previous Viper project, which really was a ‘short block’ supply agreement. The Sidewinder is the result of both engineering groups working side by side from the get go. But the Sidewinder will speak volumes to this all on its own.

There is a lot of cyber banter essentially citing ‘turbos are cool but Id rather be blown’… supercharging at sea level is the only way to get pure, instant, response. And for the most part the guys were right – Until now.


Guy Hache – Interview

We (I) hope that the Sidewinder has what it takes to move our 4-cylinder Apex faithful. I know there are some who were hoping for a cross-plane NA R1 engine upgrade in a svelte new carbunobtanium chassis direct from the land of the rising sun. I get it –  The Sidewinder may surprise you.

Then there is the camp who are still holding out for a big Y 2-smoke. I tried to snuff this with my post on engine development requiring multiple platforms (SxS, ATV, SMB, Waverunner) with which to share engines. It’s pretty sound business; but then our friends in Valcourt introduce an all new 2-stroke 850 dedicated for snowmobiles, as if to spite my logic. Befuddled; why they would invest all that money to develop an engine with near identical features and performance? After a good head scratch, it’s really pretty obvious. I’ll let you ponder that one.



There is no doubt a hole exists in the industry for an inexpensive, sporty, cool, lightweight, mid-size, entry platform. Many folks have described their vision of same in the forum conversations along with ownership intent if it becomes available. Regardless – the Sidewinder is the ‘antithesis’ to such a sled. It is far more machine than anyone ‘needs’, which is an entirely moot point. For a true motor-head, one good pull leaves you in a dizzy state of ‘want’ and desire.

To give you some idea on what went into our new engine, here’s a document I put together last summer. This ‘Communications Platform’ is the basis for a lot of our marketing and dealer education material. It came as a result of interviews with key engineers on the project and many hours of research and internal discussions.

Gensis Turbo FINAL


Gaby Gregoire – Test Pilot

I haven’t seen final pricing yet so I’m guessing when I say the price of admission will be a deterrent to some. On the other hand this is truly a flag ship model that commands respect. For those who want the fastest, most sophisticated production snowmobile ever built; it may be time to time take someone special out for a nice romantic dinner! 😉

Cheers cr

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40 Responses to “Table for Two?”

  1. Beyerman says:

    Great package, not big on the name of it.
    I’m not a mountain rider, but this will make full horsepower at high altitudes while the 800’s are making way less.
    As far as Doo’s new 850 is concerned, I think the reason they stay with two-strokes is the same reason the Honda ATV’s stay with a lousy transmission.
    To finish, as the Lester boys would say “Bam, new king of the hill”!!

  2. MikeyJ says:

    You broke the Internet!! Seriously, I’ve been waiting all day and can’t see much yet, must be some Doo and Poo owners drooling over the pics… snow porn?!?! Seriously, I can’t see it though, trying the US site now and hoping for better luck.

    Looks and sounds like a home run for Yamaha at this point, the new HP King!

  3. Mr T. says:

    It’s the most sophisticated sled yamaha has ever produced! Really? More sophisticated then an Apex? Really???

    All things considered, IMHO, YEP! Hope you get to try one. cr

  4. allan says:

    with the sidewinder as the new flagship it may be the turning point for the genesis 4 to the history books?

  5. Yellowknife says:

    A tear came to my eye when I read this part: The Yamaha Mitsubishi ECU (electronic control unit) uses a series of 9 sensors to gather
    running condition data and computes using its predetermined memory ‘map’. It then adjusts
    ignition timing, fuel delivery, manifold air-pressure and turbo boost pressure to produce
    maximum performance – reliably.

  6. Mike says:


    you might want to explain, maybe in detail what this ” Agreement ” is with CAT.
    Is CAT a partner with Yamaha , does Yamaha own CAT now ? or in the stages of taking over Cat,
    This just might help CLEAR the Air so consumers are not confused on the deal between Cat and Yamaha and what they are really buying.
    “Mother Ship” didn’t want to develop a new Chassis for its NEW Motor ????

  7. Gary says:

    Hi Chris, great info on the new turbo! Quite the technological marvel.

    Question for ya. Why is it that every year, Yamaha is so insistent on removing any leaked info from TY? With all the info available elsewhere on the internet, banning TY from posting info seems pointless doesn’t it?

    Geez Gary, there is a rule. You know we don’t break rules. Corporate 4Ps. 😉 cr

  8. Matt Keigher says:

    Any of us with a few bucks and time could have had something close to the sidewinder several years ago! I say this as a long time Yamaha sled head; This is a huge disappointment! You know when there is no mention of weight, or horsepower numbers what is really going on. I am literally sick to my stomach and now see why you were so miffed last year. The only way you are going to get to build the sled that you want is if you resign and get a new job for you know who. Just like I am not even close to considering any of your new (I use the word new very lightly) sleds. I seriously cannot believe this is what Yamaha was working on so hard. I will not buy another new Yamaha sled until it spanks everyone else sled just like most of your other products do. This engine was obviously designed solely for the sxs market, remember snowmobile riders like handling, power, light weight. The only way this engine could be considered light weight is if it was attached to a unicycle. Your excuses for no 2-stroke are not valid and you know as well as I do that the other 2 plan to build class, and light 2-strokes for at least 15 more years.
    No Thanks!
    Matt Keigher

    Respectfully, I must offer you my bottle of Tums. The Sidewinder is not for everybody. Let the spanking begin. Cheers cr

  9. Big50viper says:

    Hi Chris
    After just recently retiring and realizing I’m proabaly buying my last new sled I’m still hoping to buy a 50th anniversary Apex
    nothing wrong with the 2017 sleds but have been driving Yamaha since 1977 and I ‘m hoping we will still have a Yamaha built sled from Japan next year but to be honest your comment about the Apex faithful moving to a Sidewinder really does’nt interest me and if you drop the Apex I will have to buy a 16 or 17 Yamaha and keep it until I pack in snowmobilng and just play around with vintage sleds, bought a 80 exciter for parts and now looking for a decent vintage Stx or exciter I know you are probably also hoping for a Japanese sled but really have no say into the bigger
    picture anyways I’m still hoping we find that endzone( CFL size) Thanks for letting me vent.

    You’ll get no argument from me. I’m still a huge Apex fan and could be quite happy owning one as my last new sled. That said the Sidewinder is incredible in its own right. For me the deal breaker is EPS, at my age it’s a big deal. I can ride the Apex all day without paying the piper, where the Viper / Sidewinder takes more input on the bars. Would be a different story if I was still a young man. Cheers cr

  10. TK says:

    Mmmm that new engine got me to want a test ride 🙂 but as always how heavy is The sidewinder mtx?
    And you started to develop The engine before yammacat what chassies was it ment for?

    The first version I rode was in a modified RX chassis. We also had both turbo and SC engines to sample at one point. We won’t have final weights until production. It is definitely heavier than the Viper, depending on model, likely in the neighbourhood of 10-12 kg wet. But you don’t feel it unless your using it to bench press cr.

  11. Low Slung says:

    Not surprised by the sidewinder(Expecting a leaning snowmobile=sidewinder but the second teaser video killed that idea).Prices are getting out of hand,but most toys today are purchased by monthly payments,ownership has a different meaning now(Don,t really own it,just rent it).Real surprise was the VK540 back again(I had inside info of a new utility sled)but this is better than i expected(Love the updates,styling).EPA,take that.

    The VK is a real prize, so many significant improvements and updates. But once on board she’s an old friend. Gotta love the coffee grinder drop case… Some things don’t change ;). cr

  12. Bill P. says:

    Im excited! As usual, some of us will bitch but I like what Im seeing. It may not be what YOU want exactly but its great to see Yamaha coming out with some new brilliant snowmobile engineering. Im blown away by the detailed technical brief you posted for us to read. This engine looks to be light years ahead of what anyone else has to offer. Sure – I would love to see a new chassis but whats most important is to see Yamaha innovating again in the sled market! I never would have expected conservative Yamaha to release a motor like this. Sweet!!! Finally a new sled that can tempt me away from my beloved Apex.

    thanks Bill, i passed your comment along to our development team, it means a lot to us! cheers cr

  13. Stephen Burdick says:

    I am basically a snowmobile freak, so the following may be a bit one sided……. I own way too many sleds (70-ish in total….) and the following 15 Yamaha’s sit in my garage as of today:

    1968 Yamaha SL350 –
    1969 Yamaha SL351 –
    1970 Yamaha SL338 –
    1971 Yamaha SL292 –
    1973 Yamaha SR433C –
    1976 Yamaha SRX340 –
    1987 Yamaha Phazer –
    1990 Yamaha Bravo –
    1990 Yamaha Phazer II –
    1992 Yamaha VMax-4 –
    2002 Yamaha SXViper –
    2003 Yamaha RX-1 –
    2007 Yamaha FXPhazer –
    2007 Yamaha FXPhazer MTX 144″ –
    2008 Yamaha FXNytro MTX 153″ –
    2010 Yamaha FXNytro MTX 162″ MCXpress 270 hp Kit –

    With that said, I think the new Sidewinder is exactly what everyone has been pissing and moaning about for years! Better handling chassis, lighter weight package, more horsepower or turbo that is factory installed, multiple variations for ALL riding conditions and styles, so on and so forth. People have a hard time being “happy” in this day and age. If you aren’t happy, you need to look deep and figure out why? When I wasn’t 100% happy with the offerings in 2010 from any brand of snowmobile, I decided that a turbo was the way to go for me. In my mountain riding, a nytro with 270 hp goes anywhere I am willing to explore and more. After Chris provided an opportunity to try out the new 2008 FXNytro MTX in Revelstoke, BC and seeing all of the turbo-ed monsters up there, that was the start of my Turbo ADDICTION! Just to clarify, I am a teacher in the US, married to a Canadian who is also a teacher and we have 2 small kids, so money is not growing on trees. I have not put a leg over the new SRViper since it’s debut, but I will be finding a Sidewinder to ride as an audition to my new sled purchase in 2018 for the 50th Anniversary Edition to my Yamaha Sled Collection! It will likely be a sled for my wife to ride and I will be taking my turbo-ed nytro to over 10,000 miles of mountain riding! Thanks Chris for the always interesting info and perspective on the snowmobile industry and the introduction back in 2007 that kept me coming back for more BOOST!!!

    Cool!!! Thanks Steve, I still remember meeting you in Revv’y. Glad to learn you are still in the saddle. cheers cr

  14. Krom says:

    “but then our friends in Valcourt introduce an all new 2-stroke 850 dedicated for snowmobiles, as if to spite my logic. Befuddled; why they would invest all that money to develop an engine with near identical features and performance?”

    I can’t understand how Yami is so blind to the fact that the marked wants 2 strokes. Around here Cat sells more 2 strokes than 4 strokes (they also sell more turbos than 7000’s) Polaris doesn’t have a single 4 stroke sled and is #2 in market share, Doo sells a ton of 2 strokes. You seem to be the only one who was surprised to see them come with a new 2 stroke. The 850 is 10 hp more, and claims better fuel and oil economy than the 800 its replacing. It also appears to take care of the issues with bearing and piston life, some guys report. They will sell so many of those that it pay off the R&D in 3 years or less.

    You guys have had HPDI two strokes for a long, long time. The R&D on the fuel system has long since been paid off. Even if you have to double up on fuel pumps, and injectors, its got to be cheaper to build than a 4 stroke.

    Yamaha’s decision to focus on 4-stroke was made at a much higher pay-grade than mine and it was company wide not just snowmobile. No one here will argue with you that there is a big market for 2-stroke engines and we realize we are missing those sales. That said, 4-strokes have continued to grow steadily in acceptance and sales. Where things end up ten or twenty years down the road who knows but it is the road we are on. You referred to some issues associated with our competitors current 2-stroke, with their new engine perhaps addressing the same. I contend that is the main justification for the development, it may well be cheaper to build a new engine than to continue bleeding out relative to high warranty costs and consumer relations good will. Of course it has more power and uses less of everything else – marketing 101, and I am sure they will sell like hot-cakes, they doo make good sleds. That said – I can hardly wait to line up with one! BYE-BYE 😉 cheers cr

  15. Lakercr says:

    This sled is as good as you web server isn’t! (sorry, I’m sure that’s being discussed at some point today…).

    Awesome, awesome job on this Yamaha! An engine purpose built for boost, Mits electronics, and new clutches that don’t make all my tuning parts obsolete (I’m looking at you BRP). This is a win. Class leading HP (180?) but it is the torque that will make the other kids sad. 180 boosted HP is not like 180 HP out of a NA engine, but you know this. Racing my brother’s Etec 800 next winter will be just like racing my daughter up the driveway after school; they will both win exactly as many races as I let them.

    I haven’t called a dealer on embargo day +1 since the SRX launch. I’ve called two already today.

    Good job guys.

    Thanks Jim! And i think you know the difference between a Yamaha horsepower and a marketing horsepower… 180 it is 😉 😉 😉 cr

  16. Adam says:

    In regards to previous statements about developing a new engine for multiple applications, could the same be said for transmissions? Should or will the new clutch set-up trickle down to the Viper or other products? To me, if that clutch was added to the ’17 Viper, many more sales could be generated. Impressive new sled (sidewinder), but I’m still completely baffled why there is a huge hole in the 95 – 110 hp range. Would it not make sense to install this 998 with out a turbo into the SR chassis; BAM you’ve got an Exciter! And the poor Phazer remains unchanged for the 10th year…….

    It is quite likely you will see the new clutch system proliferate going forward and you are correct, there are still some holes in the lineup that need to filled. as they say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ thanks! cr

  17. Todd S says:

    Hi Chris,

    I’m going to stop trying to figure out the bean counters at Yamaha. These are the same people that you indicated have no interest in producing a 2 stroke even though tens of thousands of them are sold by the other manufactures, but somehow they are interested in producing a motor for a hyper sled? I know it has other current applications and I’m sure it will show up elsewhere in different variants in Cats and Yams in the future but it is my impression that no hyper sled was a high volume sales leader. I guess that’s why I do what I do and they do what they do.

    I have always liked the styling of all the Yamahas and Vipers and the changes made for the Sidewinder get two thumbs up from me also.

    I live south of Buffalo NY and do most of my riding in Quebec. Two questions. Is the Sidwinder going to make me forget about all the things I love about my 2011 Apex XTX? I don’t need Yamaha to make this sport any more expensive than it already is by coming out with an updated Apex next year. Second question. Is the Sidewinder going to be like riding a 100 lb lighter Apex?

    Congratulations on the Sidewinder!! Can’t wait to see it at the show tonight.

    Todd S.

    Todd, I think the best thing I can suggest for you is DO NOT under any circumstances, take a ride on a Sidewinder. Rub a coat of wax on the old Apex, tighten up the track and continue to love her till death do you part… cheers cr

  18. Mike says:

    I see no reply to mine ?
    is it that big of a secret what the true story is with CAT and YAMAHA,,
    us as consumers should know what is the deal between the two ,, or am i wrong,,
    Yamaha not building their own Chassis for the Sidewinder baffles me , ,

    Sorry Mike, this has been beaten to death on line. Here is an interview with Pete and Brad that addresses just about everything I can think of. cr

  19. Anthony says:

    Hi Chris,
    Finally got what we want. The Vipers are real good looking sleds but I never wanted to buy one because of the lack of power. Still like my Apex but we have to face it. This is a 10 years old design. It don’t make heads turn as it did in the pass.
    Now we have a real cool looking sled with a powerfull engine
    Can’t wait to see it real and test drive it.
    Couple questions though: Is the Sidewinder drive system the same as the Viper(AC engineered) or a new Yamaha engineered item?
    AC seems to offer a similar engine in some of their sleds(CTEC4). Bigger bore though. Is Yamaha suppling this engine to Cat or Cat is building it? If Yam supplies Cat. Why Yam bored its engine at 998cc and the CAT version is 1056cc
    A bit disappointed with the rest of the line up but as you said we can’t have it all the same year.

    Good job with the Sidewinder. Except for the name(Sidewinder) this snowmobile looks awesome.


    hey Anthony, I think you may have misread the Arctic specs. Their new 9000 series does use the identical engine, we did a lot of the development work together. they do not use our new clutch system and I am told there are differences in the power deliver due to the calibration and designs. The chain-case is an Arctic design but our engineers had the tensioner and the chain and gear set updated during Viper development. I beleieve the other Arctic models have a spring loaded tensioner where the Yamaha influenced ones get the bolt and lock-nut. And what about our new VK son? cheers cr

  20. Viper S says:

    Hi Chris,
    With this lovely Winter, won’t get to try a Winder til next Winter…But sounds and looks good! My initial excitement was good, but want a look and see next week in Augusta, Maine… Still don’t see the full on commitment to do battle in market share. A buy of Cat wouldn’t be a surprise though. I’m not ready to plunk down 16 grand for power I don’t need. My 07 Attak scared me enough. My short ride and some clutch work on the Vector Ltx last Sunday will probably keep me happy (unless I find a nice blue 15 or 16 Viper LTX). Unless I hold off another year or awhile longer. Yes, for me too, 4 strokes rule!
    Thanks for your hard work!
    Viper S

  21. Anthony says:

    Hi Chris,
    Thx for the quick reply. Happy to hear that Yamaha has improved the chain case assembly. That is one of the bad comment we have heard from Viper owners around here.
    Three of us here want to buy the new Sidewinder. We are planning on test riding the Viper to see how it handles before we order our new sled. Would it be right to say that the Sidewinder handling would be pretty much the same as the Viper but with more power?
    As for the VK. I don’t have no use for a work sled but Yamaha was suffering that segment. The old VK is a proven sled but other manifacturers have new technology sled out there. The BRP Expedition is very popular around here. Not sure if customer want to go back to a 80’s looking sled.
    Yamaha Sleds are more expensive than other brands so that doesn’t help either. Me I don’t mind paying a little more for a reliable snowmobile. My way of thinking is “Pay now or pay later”
    I own a Apex that has just over 35000km. Put a new track on her at 20000Km and that was it. No issues. That means a lot for me
    Once again congratulation for this new Sidewinder. My guess is this is going to be a big seller.


  22. Mike says:

    does Blue and Green make purple lol
    you think there will be a purple suit coming in the clothing line,
    Yamaha on one sleeve and CAT on the other.
    Nice thinking on Yamaha’s part to leave the Apex in the line so the BRAND LOYAL guys dont jump ship.
    Chis Can you tell us if The Mother Ship is done making sleds , ,, As Their NEW sled is CAT
    and their own OLD OLD sled is yamaha.

    And comparing that NEW YAMACAT to a 800 is way out there , ,,
    show up to a local drag race you sure wont be allowed to run it in a 800 class race, you will be running in a TURBO CLASS only.
    Its a SAD time when you don’t have your OWN flagship sled . ..
    like i stated now the flag has two sides CAT on one Yamaha on the other ( as one ).

    Thanks Mike, interesting analogy – in simple terms you are correct, green and blue make purple, yes and that is exactly what it is. I would suggest however, the balance of green to blue will create different shades of purple and the Sidewinder is not the same color as the Viper, it has a definite blue hue to it.

    I tend to agree on the 800 class comparo because it isnt apples to oranges, but in the Yamaha ‘sales camp’ if you are shopping for an 800 ‘class’ (or should that be 900 now that the market leader is selling 850’S?) we only sell 4-strokes and our boosted triple is our answer. ISR rules are driven by the manufactures. They did recognize a displacement handicap for 4-stroke similar to MX. But they voted down crank shaft speed reduction (Apex) which had some bearing on the original Nytro engine which was designed with no reduction gearing to compete in the 600 class. And i fully agree they will never let us run sanctioned events with a turbo against NA engines.
    End of the day if you want a top of the heap Doo or Poo you buy an 800 / 850. if you want the same in a Yamaha, buy a Sidewinder. We’ll see what happens when the boys line em up next winter. Tums? 😉 cheers cr

  23. Tony S says:


    You must go crazy listening to all these people pining over 2-strokes. Folks, the entire point of a 2 cycle reciprocating engine is for weight savings- that’s it. There’s no other advantage vs a 4 cycle. Team doo can throw the kitchen sink at the Etec, but there’s really no more power to be had.
    As much as I like N/A power, this 998cc looks like it was done properly, so kudos to Yamaha. As expected, they did not disappoint in the engine department.

    However, the other manufacturers do sell 2 strokes like crazy. Chris, Yamaha needs to start advertising weight and specifically power to weight vs the other sleds. Last I checked the 800 2 smokes are not that light, and are not that powerful.

    Appreciate the insight into different versions that were prototyped. Just curious- Did you have any machines prototyped with the new R1 motor? Also, I noticed you are still using the new Viper digital gauges, any specific
    reason why?


    Thanks Tony, I’ve learned or maybe more appropriately, have become conditioned to let some of the more negative banter simply roll off my back. I certainly understand the ‘light is right’ mentallity but to your point, in practice I believe it is often nowhere near the issue some would make it out to be. Anything over 350 lbs is heavy to me 😉 On the gauges, not sure what the issue is you refer to. I know under some conditions the Vipers would fog up but the Sidewinder doesn’t have a radiator and there is very little steam produced.
    On the Hp to weight, we should probably publish something, but we need to confirm where we are at with regards to all the 2017 engine offerings. We did the math on the 2016 800’s vs Sidewinder and it looks like this. Cheers cr


  24. Greg says:

    Hi : impressed with new Sidewinder. My only request would be the option to purchase the track & seat of my choice. For example – a 137″ (or 141″) X 1.6″ Cobra with a mountain seat. I’ve bought many, many snowmobiles & the last few years they have been SRX’s, Nytro’s & Viper’s. I presently have a ’15 customized Viper X TX SE with a Trail MPI Kit. So….my question is…how is the ’17 Sidewinder going to perform vs present MPI kit? It appears the Sidewinder will be lighter but also down a few ponies on the MPI. I’m sure you guys have some riding time in draw conclusions s & perhaps have even raced the 2. Have a great day.

    Hey Greg, I was waiting for someone to ask that one. During the filming of the dealer preview we had two MPI P180 kitted Vipers. One was installed by the book the second had the addition of an Ulmer clutch kit. We ran them multiple times against the Sidewinders and Apex.
    The results were pretty consistent. The MPI Vipers were basically in between the Apex and the Sidewinders. We did rolling starts (@ 30 – 40mph) to prevent blowing out the test track and to help equalize track lengths and hook-up. The Sidewinder was never beaten in what must have been a least 100 runs. We were seeing top speeds ticking in the 120mph range with a slight uphill grade. (we were using and abandoned air strip). All that said, these were prototype L-TX and B-TX, there was no doubt in any of our minds regarding which sleds were fastest. cr

  25. Tony S says:

    Thanks Chris. No issues with the gauges. Just that I pilot an Apex, and a sucker for an analog tachometer with a digital speedo. 🙂

  26. Mark Lawson says:

    Congrats on a great release Chris. I read all the post on TY and submitted plenty of my own. The next boards to watch are the folks with the YXZ and the craziness that is the wildcatforums. Those guys are hoping and praying for the 998T in the next wildcat!!

    As you mentioned in the comment above, EPS is the dealbreaker for me. I am lucky enough to have an Apex XTX and Viper LTX in the stable and EPS is still the lone feature that all other OEM’s cannot provide me. The sidewinder is such a tease, but I could see replacing the Viper in the stable before the Apex.

    I do know there is a ton of tech under that hood and high temps. I do hope that the next revision has EPS for us that have older bodies than our actual age.

    Keep up the great work and don’t beat anyone up on the early leak. I think if it were planned, it was a great marketing play as it elevated the buzz of the actual announcement.

    I will be watching for the demo tour for those of us with snow still on the ground.

    Thanks Mark… us old guys gotta stick together 😉 cheers cr

  27. John says:

    Great sled, I was hoping for more Yamaha influence with the chaincase ( Japanese bearings), however the rest is outstanding, been talking to my dealer and will ordering my Sidewinder LTX DX next week, just can’t decide black or blue.

    Hey John between you and Anthony you got me wondering about the chaincase. I need to check into this a bit more. I know we did have the bearing changed recently and the background to the issue was the jack-shaft diameter which was changed to employ our secondary clutch on the original Viper. I think the QA guys sorted it all out with the issue behind us. We all know the Sidewinder is putting down significantly more power so it stands to reason, durability testing will be looking closely. cheers cr

  28. Pat the rat says:

    Wow,what a release,reminds me of when the vmax 4 came out in the early 90’s,i really want to throw a leg over a sidewinder,beeing a new to me apex xtx rider,want to see the difference in power,i’m so addicted to the pull of this apex,i cant imagine 20 to 30 more hp,hold on,the new sleds look great,i am a die hard yammi guy and was hoping to see a new japanese sled,but my mind is changing,with yamaha engineers sorting out bugs season after season,this will get very interesting in the coming years,great job ,congrats on an awesome release

    Thanks Pat, it’s been quite the ride alright! The Sidewinder to Apex is about the same as an Apex running a Viper, no contest.
    Cheers cr

  29. Steve Roberts says:

    Well dust is settling after a wild Internet release . Makes one appreciate the volume of interest, or the lack of server capacity .
    A blur of acronyms for model designation took a bit of figuring out what market segment each SW was applicable to, but one thing that was evident was a common power plant , which I believe is a technical wonder. Shocks , track length and lug height or addition of windshields seem to be the variables consumers choose, I didn’t see any info clutching or gear ratio variances , and assume the ecu gives all the same engine characteristics.
    The comparison to 2s I feel remains a marketing issue only relevant to extreme conditions that exist is some segments, the bean counters know how much is at stake in these.
    Love the VK , and the video , watched it several times, very functional improvements. Hope the fuel efficiency doesn’t start mandating jetting changes, hate to see burn downs over a little bit of missing piston wash to satisfy some irrelevant mpg figures. But as the -37 video suggests , get er done is the credo . My 98 and 03 have been workhorses beyond reproach, as many will attest, comforting to know parts and replacement units are futures that exist in this market. At the price it is a value leader . On pricing , full on performance under 20k is comparable to other power sport segments , I personally feel it far surpasses most rider capacity to effectively handle that level of performance , much like R1 bikes etc.
    It’s a funny world , where F1 caliber cars are marketed to the commuting public, I suppose 180 hp trail sleds go hand in hand. Free market rules.
    Bragging rights to top hp, speed , etc are still age old benchmarks for some,it’s just funny to me to think of the new VK as a lightweight , but I concur over 350 is more than my old back can handle.
    Excellent attached technical piece, good read. Get more. Articles of the caliber of Kevin Cameron I really enjoy, separates the buisness from the technology and are what readers here would really enjoy in my opinion.
    Keep up the good work , if it was easy everybody would do it.
    White Lake ON

    Thanks Steve, Ah the Cellar Dweller 😉 I have a similar technical article on the VK I was thinking about sharing but I dont know if many guys on here are as interested as yourself. I did a little history on the model and detailed all the updates. cr

  30. Low Slung says:

    Technical article on the VK540,you got my vote.By the way why did the 1992-2001 ET410II get Nikasil cylinder liners while this tech never made it to the VK 540 mill?Cost vs benefit?

    Ceramic coatings, NiCaSil etc are lighter and harder than steel liners. The expansion rate of the cylinder is more consistent as its all aluminum and both durability and performance can be benefits. On the down side, if you have a piston failure, you can’t bore them out. Sometimes you can get away with cleaning them up or else you have to sleeve them or replace the complete cylinder. There is very little advantage for a loose tolerance fan-cooled motor in a work-sled and they cost a bit more. I dont recall if the ET410 had coated jugs, it may have but certainly not a deal breaker… cr

  31. scott says:

    I’d be interested in reading about the VK.

    OK, will post next week cr

  32. Tyler says:

    Great job on the new sidewinder! Cant’ wait to see how this sled performs next year!

    I love the new B-TX addition as well and am glad to see yamaha embracing the boon docking crowd here out east.
    Anyway… can get that 1.75″ BackCountry track on the 141 M-TX as an option for next year?
    BC is a great track but I’m not 100% sure I need the 153″ length as I still rip alot of trails on low snow years like this one.
    Any chance Yamaha is thinking about a tipped up rail on any of the viper chassis long track crossover sleds in the future? (141 MTX or 153 BTX).

    Just curious because my XTX Nytro is still a great sled with the addition of the BC track. 6000+ miles with no tears or missing lugs.


    Thanks Tyler, I really like the BC track as well, they hold together really good. The 153BC on the B-TX might surprise you, the power really talks to it!! cr

  33. Lakercr says:

    Hey Chris,

    Couple more thoughts on the MY2017 launch and what’s ahead for MY2018.

    You’re no doubt aware that most states & provinces have detailed GPS maps/routes available for their trail system. Polaris has taken the lead on this by offering an OEM GPS display unit on some of their models, and Doo has an accessory pod that is designed to accommodate a Garmin Montana 600/650. Is Yamaha looking at anything on the unit or GYPA side for their customers that care about this? As an accessory, a new top pod (similar to the BRP product) with a plug/play 12v harness would have at least one customer, and I suspect many more.

    Also, where can a guy get some very detailed info on the Sidewinder ECU. Asking for a friend…

    I think the most detail you will find on the ECU is in the document I linked in this post. The mapping and software is proprietary and I can’t support any hacks. I’ll pass your suggestion on the the accessory team. Thx cr.

  34. Niklas says:

    Aha,found that Picture of the Four hole injectors tried to find out what the he’ll that was😀,you ‘ve made a very nice machine now I just need Rio win some money, although it seems the price is quite good for what you get.
    Looking forward on vk story to, got one -88,that has taken some serious abuse, but still outta going strong, only week point is steering post.

    LOL , that’s cool I was wondering if anyone would comment on my injector ‘leak’ good job Mr. Tracy 👍 cr.

  35. VNT says:

    Can`t see that you have replied regarding the week Viper rods? I hear Yamaha are denying there is an issue ( funny ).

    Grate job on the new 998T engine! Nice pice of art.

    But maybe to late. And with the MPI kit Vipers really the Sidewinder is no big news.

    Change the gauge and the hole handlebar with switches. It will make the quality feel 10x better. And an easy fix. Only for Yamaha models.


    Regarding the connecting rods in the 16 Vipers Vectors and Ventures I must refer to the rules of engagement on the home page. I am not prepared to tackle service related issues here.

    I agree with the controls, I personally like the feel of our throttle and brakes on the Apex.
    I don’t mind the gauge myself but all I ever use is the fuel data and odometer for the most part

    I may explain the new engine platform in greater detail in a future post now that the boosted version is released. cr.

  36. Mr T. says:

    The sidewinder doesn’t have a radiator? With that many more horses you have to be building way more heat than a viper! How are they keeping it cool, more heat exchangers?

    Yes larger, more efficient heat exchangers, bulkhead, tunnel and tail. cr

  37. JRT says:


    How do you see the YMC/AC marriage going forward a few years down the line? I believe it was mentioned by your people that you have an agreement of several years (5?) and MY17 marks the 4th of those. Where do you see Yamaha going next? It is evident that the current procross/climb chassis has maybe MY18 left in it, but not much more.
    Will there be a new, joint platform or does your relationship turn towards of an engine supplier and a customer, with YMC going back to Yamaha-built chassis?

    Good question. I can’t go into any great detail here due to the confidentiality required. I can say we are looking a long way down the path with Arctic Cat. This is not a flash in the pan or band-aid. The engine supply agreement is working well. Future chassis are sure to evolve one way or another. We are booking down the trail but like any good single track,you gotta pick the lines as you go. It’s going to be an interesting ride. cr

  38. Beyerman says:

    Hi Chris, I have noticed that all the major magazines have covered the Sidewinder, except , gasp, supertrax. I have read their musings for years and no doubt, those who read between the lines can see that they are very bias. Or put it this way-if Doo and Pol discontinued their large 2-strokes in favor of high performance four-strokes, Mark and Kent would go into cardiac arrest!
    Are you able to elaborate on why they have not covered this major new sled from Yamaha?
    Best Regards,

    I dunno, the ST crew were at Snowshoot and I spent a nice afternoon with Mark up at Deerhurst where he was able to get a good feel for the Sidewinder B-TX power. Hopefully they are just saving the best for last. 😉 I know they seldom settle for status quo reporting so – if the other mags are giving us cudos they may wait a bit so as not to be perceived as a ‘me too’ review. It will be interesting to watch. cheers cr

  39. Apex XTX/Viper LTXDX says:

    I assume the gearing is different on the 129 vs 137 Sidewinder and, if so, which theoretically will have the higher top speed and by how much. Years ago you reported the long track Apex was 1.9 km/h quicker than the shorty. Rode my wife’s Viper on the weekend for the first time and was absolutely stunned by the ride quality difference as compared to my ’15 XTX. My 55 year old knees and back appreciated it. Heading to dealer this aft. to likely trade for Sidewinder LE based on ride quality alone but also looking forward to your response.

    hey Steve, I will address this in a formal post today. Thx for asking! cr

  40. Gerry desjardins says:

    I have owned yamaha’s for 26 years,from vmax4’s SRX APEX!s wich I modified for my liking,
    The apex being my best sled, i purchased a sidewinder and got a couple hrs. On it and not sure yet I made a good decision!! The noises and jittery jerking at low speeds are anoying, if that dosen’t improve I may go back to my silky apex!! Nothing like it..

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