Yamaha made big advancements last year by adding power steering and EXUP variable exhaust technology on its already-comfortable and powerful Apex lineup. The technologies helped the Apex SE earn Snow Goer magazine’s 2011 Snowmobile of the Year award, which goes to the sled that is the most innovative, trend-setting representation of the future of snowmobiling.
For 2012, Yamaha electric power steering (EPS) has expanded to other models. There are few other significant changes for Yamaha this year, but other minor updates have been made to improve handling, comfort, durability and serviceability.
Power Steering 2012 RS Vector, Venture
EPS is a welcome addition to an already-fantastic trail sled. We’ve long praised the machine for being an easygoing trail runner that makes it effortless for riders to log many miles in smooth, quiet comfort. Now it will get even smoother and more relaxing to ride now that it requires less steering effort and gives less feedback from the trail to the driver.
With the addition of power steering, engineers were able to get more aggressive with front-end traction, so the RS Vector gets an Apex-style ski that came out last season. The 2012 version, called 8HV, hasn’t been finalized, but we’re told the ski has a shorter keel than previous designs, putting more of it behind the spindle than 2011.
Revised suspension geometry has been employed, too. A new spindle that essentially mounts the ski farther back on the machine should provide more predictable handling, reduced ski lift for flatter cornering and less darting. Aluminum HPG shocks are bolted above these new spindles for 2012. A new windshield has been designed to increase wind protection without increasing drag.
The Mono Shock II rear suspension loses its RA (remote adjust) acronym in favor of a clicker shock. Yamaha officials said most people set the shock and forget it, so they went with a system that is simpler, more durable and costs less. The suspension has also been updated with a forward-facing track adjuster.Power steering makes its way to the Vector LTX and RS Venture, too. These machines also inherit the front suspension changes for better handling and go to a clicker shock in the rear suspension for more durability. Seat height on the Apex, Apex SE and Apex XTX has been raised about 2 inches and they get the 8HV ski.
2012 FX Nytro Updates
A few changes to the FX Nytro RTX were made to improve handling and durability, the most notable change being the Rip Saw II track. It has a new lug design with relaxed lug edges that will help the track slide around corners rather than catch and cause inside ski lift. Lugs are 1.25 inches tall. One-piece, eight-tooth Extrovert track drivers replace the two-piece design for less noise and vibration on the RTX.
Other changes are a more durable seat cover material that’s resistant to stretching and tearing, and new foam that resists sagging and will stay more consistent as the seat ages. The cushion keeps the same shape and height. All FX Nytro models use this new seat.
Yamaha is debuting another new track for 2012 on its FX Nytro MTX 162: the Camoplast Ascent. This track, described by Yamaha as an “all-around, deep-snow track” has a wide, 3-inch pitch designed to deliver more lift to get the nose of the sled up and improve forward acceleration.
Durometer of the rubber is consistent through the entire lug, but the way it’s constructed allows the top third of the paddle to flex. The MTX 153 sticks with the Maverick track.
New MT9 blowmolded skis weight 1.9 pounds less than the skis they replace; these new skis are standard on the MTX 153 and 162. It’s a one-piece design with serrations on top to serve as foot traction for the rider when digging out the front end. Both models get the new one-piece track drivers.
For more photos and information about the 2012 Yamaha snowmobiles, pick up the Spring 2011 issue of Snow Goer magazine on newsstands later this month.