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April 19, 2016

Simply Searching

Sled Talk has been a terrific project which has enabled me to share many experiences and insights, which I have been privileged to be a part of, during my career with Yamaha. It has also demonstrated the opportunity and value for large corporations who engage their customers on a more personal, transparent and conversational plane.

The social sphere has changed a lot since I started and things are moving forward at a frantic pace. Connectivity and the flow of information is expanding at an unbelievable rate with the internet taking over the number one position as your primary purchase influencer.

Marketing agencies and big corporations (including our governments) are scrambling to monetize the web and control the content. Companies like Google and Facebook are writing programs to track and profile our every move online. Whether you know it or not, your on-line experience is being tweaked closer to your ‘hot buttons’ with every click.

Part of this transition is the ‘opening-up’ of the corporate marketing process to social networking. The integration of blogs, forums and friend sites into their traditional vehicles is making more and more information available to you and on a more personal level. I see it as a kind of global ‘coming of age’, for the social inter-web.

So where does that leave Sled Talk and me? Good question. There are new ‘apps’ and opportunities for engagement on the horizon that quite frankly, I find overwhelming.  Remember the scene where Indiana Jones is running out of the cave with the huge boulder rolling on his heels…

I’m told in the new social world, people no longer want to read more than a couple of lines. It’s all about ‘rich content’ / video. This presents an entirely new challenge – how to ‘video’ blog. I realize it’s hard to sort through my archive to find old stories of interest. To make things a little easier, I have re-categorized all the posts on Sled Talk and changed all the titles from the ‘creative’ tongue-in-cheek to words that better reference the content.

It is quite apparent from the comments I have received, the most popular posts have been the model development stories of the different sled projects I have worked on. They are all filed together now and will be easier for visitors here to find, just scroll down the right column to ‘categories’. The stories, like the sleds, remain timeless.

 

cheers  cr

 

 

 

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Posted @ 2:50 pm in Yamaha Insights   

April 6, 2016

Spec Update

I need to do a little house cleaning this morning. The Sidewinder gearing specs that were posted here (with the disclaimer ‘subject to change’) have been tweaked recently. The latest numbers I have been given are as follows:

129-137= 9T x 2.86 @ 21/41 gear.

141 x 1.6 & 153 x 1.75 = 8T x 3.00 @ 21/41 gear.

141 x 2.25 & 153 x 2.25 = 8T x 3.00 @ 24/50 gear.

162 x 3.00 = 7T x 3.00 @ 21/49 gear.

Our engineers plan to continue testing and development well into spring in the quest to produce the best performing sleds possible. I wouldn’t be too surprised if there are additional updates into production. I have asked a couple of senior engineers if the new turbo will deliver the same horsepower and torque as we have seen in the validation units. The answers have been quite positive with no changes indicated that would affect the performance.

If you have any questions on anything I post here or on the new sleds in general, please don’t hesitate to post in the comments.

cheers cr

 

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Posted @ 8:26 am in Yamaha Insights   

March 11, 2016

SCUD Due

This post contains no mechanical details on the new sleds. It is simply dedicated to making me feel better.

When we pulled the sheets off the new Sidewinder I read more than one comment to the tune of ‘interesting sled but whats with the name?’ Well  ‘supposen I am more qualified to answer this than anyone at Yamaha and at the end of the day, I quite like the name for reasons I am about to explain.

Whenever we decide a new name is required a process referred to internally as a ‘name chase’ ensues. Now you might think it’s easy to come up with a cool handle but trust me – it is not. First we have to pass international trade mark registrations which are open to interpretation and vary from country to country. Yamaha, being very global minded, has a policy that any name we intend to register must be applicable in every country, wherever in the world we do business. Ever wonder how the NA companies seem to be able to share names with other vehicles? There are multiple vehicle types called Frontier, Explorer, Tundra, Commander, Expedition, Crosstrek etc. Well the off-road vehicle makers on this continent aren’t too concerned with snowmobiles infringing on a car trade-mark in southern Italy. They will use a name provided it clears the TM regulations in North America which pretty much say if its not the same kind of product, you can use it.

The way it worked with the Sidewinder started with product planning (in this case me), sending out a ‘name chase’ notification with some 2003-Yamaha-SX-Viper-Profilebackground logic and suggestions to stimulate the creative juices of our development team. The logic was simple enough. We have a snake theme opportunity with the SRViper. The path of least resistance: call it the SRViper T or Turbo. Done deal, we already own the SRViper name. But let me digress – what the hell is an SRViper anyway? It was brought forward because we still owned the trade mark from the original 2-stroke SXViper. It required the SR/SX prefix to distinguish it from the four wheeled Vipers sold here and that, we gambled, would not draw too much attention from Detroit, considering the vehicles were quite different in application. This is what the lawyers and courts consider in dispute. If I recall we did get a letter from a European motorcycle company claiming infringement but that went away in a hurry. We considered using SRX but that was never a family of snowmobiles, it stood alone as a top dog muscle sled and remains pure to its roots. Come to think of it, the SRX 120 kids sled name originated from my desk. Anyway, just think of the acronym soup. ‘How do you like my new SRX LTX LE package?’ It’s got the SRV-T front with QS3R, Gen3T’s /  RS2 with QS3’s in back. ughhh.

So, anyway, the sled really deserved better distinction than a Viper with a T but worse case we could use it as default. I went to my good friend Google and searched ‘names of snakes’. Couple of hours later I had a list of about ten that might work for a snowmobile. For the record; Asp, Garter and Boa were not on it. I sent the list to the team for feedback and votes which, in due process, we ended up paring down to three. These names were submitted first to our trade mark attorneys in the USA who quickly nuked one. The final two were sent to our planning group in Japan to seek legal approval globally, which can take up to six months. I was actually shocked when Sidewinder came back as available and even more surprised to find we could use it without the need of a pre-fix. It is almost impossible to find a new name these days.

ViperNext step was to justify the name to internal stake-holders with some background so I went about doing research on Sidewinder’s. I checked with Arctic Cat and at the time they intended to keep the ‘9000’ series with no special names, so no conflicts there The Thundercat came along later in what I think is a really good move on their part considering the power we made.

The more I leaned and thought about ‘Sidewinder’ the better I liked it for marketing. The first analogy came from the product plan to build some new models (B-TX) that were well suited for deep snow riding, carving nice sharp turns with the skis pointed at the sky and winding through the back-country – carving the meadows, kinda like a Sidewinder.sidewinder

Back to Google and another interesting twist (pun intended) emerged. The latest bird in the F-16 family of fighter jets is the F-16 ‘Viper’, a state of the art, mach 2 plus aircraft. It is often outfitted and deployed with the most advanced infrared tracking air-to air and air-to -land missile in the world, the AIM 9X ‘Sidewinder’. OK so how cool is that? The Viper is used to deliver the Sidewinder, both state of the art, technological marvels that command more than a little respect.

The last abcanalogy was found in the layout of the turbo on the Sidewinder. It is side mounted and the vanes of the compressor and turbine can be described as winding up to create boost – ok, its a bit of a stretch but it does work. It’s a long story to justify a simple comment but considering the number of models and what this new engine represents to our company, securing the Sidewinder handle was a bit of a coup IMHO and one that I believe will grow on people in time. Thinking about it creatively, between jets, missiles, fire breathing turbos and venomous snakes, there is potential for some wild and crazy artwork here…

I’m off to the airport in the morning for a grand tour of the Islands. In case you missed it, Amsnow got the hole-shot and has published an interesting article on the Sidewinder’s bite. I only point it out because its all over the web and Sled Talkers should be in the loop. I wasn’t there and have no comment on their findings but I will say my jaw is getting sore from the spit eating grin I’m sporting. Thinking  I’m ‘due’ for a large ‘hoody’ with a tracked ‘missile’ on the chest.

cheers cr

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Posted @ 11:38 am in Yamaha Insights   

March 8, 2016

The Color Purple

Hot off the press

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.

VK540 Com Blog V

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 37858C77-080D-4398-BF72-AFCC9D1D8A2Bnothing 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!

cheers

cr

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Posted @ 11:21 am in Yamaha Insights   

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.

IMG_2894

Hot-Dogger??

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.

sw1

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.

sw2

Gid’y’up!

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

sw3

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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Posted @ 4:45 pm in Yamaha Insights   

February 22, 2016

Gotta Be Quick

We spent most of last week preparing for our upcoming new product launch. Our strategy is simple – select a few dealers we know and trust that are well respected for their experience and credibility. Assemble them together with a film production crew and some prototypes to experience the new machines, talk about what they discovered and capture it all to share on the big day. It was a lot of fun watching the reactions to the new sleds from the initial walk around to the interviews at the end of the test track. Needless to say, some were more surprised than others but all were smiling without exception.

IMG_8140We had dealers from Norway, Finland, Sweden, Canada and the US. I really enjoyed the time spent after the work was done, chatting about the various markets and snowmobile lifestyles. There were lots of interesting nuggets exchanged over some  locally brewed IPA. It was a short event with everyone in and out within 48 hours. I stayed back to meet up with an old friend to do some additional filming and tech briefing which will hopefully be part of the MY17 preview on SnowTrax TV. Mark had a pretty good grasp on what our new sleds were all about but I think I was able to surprise him on a couple of points.

Our next step is to bring in all our field staff from across Canada which is happening as I write this. The initial plan is to make some time for everyone to pull the trigger on the prototypes between meetings and training sessions. That said, I need to get up to the test site as soon as I post this to see whats left after a freak rainstorm took out most of our trails on Saturday. My fear is what little is left maybe reduced to a skating rink. This is the most depressing, un-cooperative winter I can remember in southern Ontario…

While all this is going on, our big rigs are rolling into West Yellowstone for the annual media Snow Shoot where all four manufactures get with the sled journalists to get briefed on all the new offerings. I am not sure at this time if I am required to head down there. We have had to shuffle the deck a bit with respect to staffing and I am still waiting to find out if I am heading north or west. And on that note, I gotta get my butt in gear, shut down and hit the road.

 

cheers cr

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Posted @ 10:47 am in Yamaha Insights   

February 14, 2016

Bolt-on Smiles

I awoke to minus 32C this morning, second day in a row of Arctic air at the cabin. On my second cup as the sun breaks through the trees, reading the comments, speculating on what would be our next big thing in snowmobiles.

Snow bikes seem to be getting a lot of traction in the rumour mill. Let’s imagethink about that one for a moment. Here’s a couple of facts you should know. The total market today is approximately 10K units sold. This is the entire history of SB sales. Timbersled is by far the largest player in the kit game, holding several key patents on the conversion. Polaris recently acquired Timbersled in what some consider a block play and now possess those patents. SB don’t work worth a damn on hard pack (current technology and design). SB kits require a host motorcycle on which to install them. In addition there will be political hurdles to overcome as they become more mainstream, definitions, compliance, regulations etc..

Now all that said, many guys are choosing Yamaha YZ’s as the bike of choice. One could say we are already in the SB business by Ascension. But if we really wanted in I suppose it would be best to build a complete SB just like our friends at AC have proposed. Nice way to skirt around the patents and save the consumer the cost of wheels and rear suspension they don’t require. That would require significant investment and if based on a YZ would open a Pandoras Box of liability and risk exposure in breaking new ground or snow as is the case.

End of the day, the SB market is currently planted firmly in the Rockies. It’s cool, it’s growing but its niche. If I had to draw sales projections over three years for a new SB project, it would be a single K digit (note: I’ve been wrong before!). We could build the best SB ever considering our wealth of MC and SMB engineering, or we could sit back and enjoy a few extra sales in the already very healthy off-road motorcycle world…. March 1 will tell all.  cr

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Posted @ 8:40 am in Yamaha Insights   

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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Posted @ 7:00 am in Opinions and Insights,Yamaha Insights   

February 4, 2016

Depends

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

YXspy

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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Posted @ 2:28 pm in Yamaha Insights   

February 2, 2016

if a tree falls in the forest

I am not sure I know why today is the day any more than I know why it took this long. But its high time I came back to Sled Talk to reflect a bit on the past few months.’

First off I want to apologize for not posting an update at least acknowledging my sabbatical from blogging. Truth is, it was never really intentional. I have just been so caught up in my new world of organizational reform and change that Sled Talk has almost become part of a former life. Tim K dropped into my office this morning with an invoice for the web hosting of Sled Talk asking me if it was still alive. I did not know how to respond. After a little chat and show of support, he left me to ponder the fate.

A few visitors still come to the blog to read some of the old development stories and ramblings but the fact is: ‘content is king’ and as many of you have pointed out, I haven’t posted diddly squat in some time. It was never my intention to ignore things this long, it just happened, a product of my ever evolving environment.

So, yes I am good and still here. On the other hand, the snowmobile

Feb1 20% of normal

Feb1 20% of normal

industry is not so fortunate. The lack of snow in the key central markets, the warming effects of El Nino and the grinding halt to sales after Christmas is not what any of us needed this year. I am embarrassed to say I have not stuck my trail permit on my sled yet. Thinking it may well end up a sad reminder of the season that wasn’t, by adorning my beer fridge.

What makes things worse is the fact we, as an industry, are coming off a great year past and as a company are working hard on some new products for model year 2017 that I am positive will turn some heads. BUT all that said, it is not over yet and it wouldn’t take but a few cold days and some snow to get us back in the game.

Kind of like me, all it took was the timely threat from Tim to pull the pin on Sled Talk accompanied by a good hug to get me back on the key board. There are some things I would really like to share and speak to here in the near future. March 1 is our next embargo and there are sure to be some questions, so here’s my commitment to finish up this season with some regular posts and we’ll see where that goes.

 

think snow!!! cheers cr

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Posted @ 9:01 pm in Yamaha Insights