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!
I 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.
UPDATE: 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.
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.
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! 😉