March 8, 2016
The Color Purple
Thinking now is a good time to address some of the questions I have been getting on the Sidewinder and also elaborate a bit on our new 2-stroke – The VK540V.
Steve inquired this morning about SRS gearing so here is what I have (insert disclaimer – ‘specifications subject to change’). RT and LT 129 / 137 inch track, XT and BT 141 x 1.6 /153 x 1.75 all use 9T drivers with 21/41 gear ratios. XT and BT x 2.25 Power Claw uses 8 tooth drivers with 24/50 cogs and the MT uses 7 tooth driver with 21/49 gears.
I’ll save you the math and give theoretical tops speeds for these ratio formulas: 21/41 9T = 120mph / 24/50 8T = 105mph and 21/49 7T = 82mph.
The new YSRC roller secondary increases the overdrive to .91 : 1 where the old secondary fully shifted out, offered .98 : 1. this can be added to the top speed equation to explain why we were seeing over 120 mph on the LT version in testing.
Now the chain case has also been questioned – is it the same as the Viper? Yes and no. The chain case received a major redesign for the Viper to meet our QA. The spring loaded tensioner was changed to a fixed bolt adjuster, the jack shaft was changed to accept our secondary, the gear / chain supplier was changed to Borg Warner and various bearings, faces and bits addressed. For the Sidewinder, further upgrades have been made. The top gear material has changed from a powdered metal to forged machine sprockets for additional strength and the chain width is increased to 15 link (plate) from 13 link. We have had no failures during our durability and calibration testing. Zero. I didn’t attend the recent Arctic cat dealer meeting but a little birdie told me a slide was presented that showed some very significant decreases in their warranty costs since 2014. Make of that what you will.
The maximum boost pressure in the system is limited to a conservative 12 lbs. and surprising to me is the fuel range has not suffered significantly compared to Viper. I am waiting for some actual data from testing to elaborate on this before you cry foul, but the general consensus is the consumption throughout all testing combined is significantly less than what I was personally expecting. That’s good news!
I have been asked directly and am still reading speculation on our supply agreement with Arctic Cat and future model development. I met some guys at a watering hole on the weekend that told me we are done building snowmobiles as of 2019. Only one word to say to that. WRONG. There is a big ‘meeting of the minds’ this week between Cat and Yamaha top management and a few of us are heading to the airport Saturday to attend another series of meetings in Japan. Our product plan is already extended well beyond 2019 with plenty of blue and green dots on the matrix.
And now for a quick break. I spotted this very impressive edit by Rick Dobson shot at Snowshoot. The filming, riding and production are all top shelf.
Getting back to the present, although far from being the ‘belle of the ball’, the new VK540 holds great significance for certain people in certain market areas. The sled went away from North America due to the cost of meeting EPA regulations but lived on as our best selling snowmobile due to high demand for Yamaha quality in the Russian markets. We never gave up on our request to clean up the engine and finally convinced our friends in Moscow that a more efficient motor would also use less fuel, make less smoke and offer greater dependability which are all good things in their market. Combined with the many features that were improved there while in hiatus here, it’s safe to call the VK540V a new model. Here is the background document on the vehicles history and evolution.
Looking at the extended weather forecast in Ontario, I am saddened to kiss this season good-bye. By the time I get back from Japan there will be nothing left. I hear there is lots of snow in Shibetsu so that’ll likely be the last ride of the season for me. I hope you get some more saddle time wherever you are – this year has definitely been one for the books!