The 2016 Yamaha snowmobile lineup includes several new models and surprising changes to brand-exclusive machines that haven’t been updated for some time.
The SR Viper M-TX line of mountain machines gets new a new front suspension, new skis and new track options for better backcountry handling, while the Vector and Venture snowmobiles share a new engine setup that includes throttle-by-wire input delivery plus three driving modes. Those machines plus the Apex line also get a simplified, lighter single-shock rear suspension.
Also, fresh approaches and unique twists are taken in several different market niches, including altered adventure-touring machines, a redesigned utility sled and several new Limited Edition (LE) models for spring buyers.
2016 Yamaha Snowmobiles: New Life For Vector, Apex and Venture
A new, lighter and simpler rear suspension design and a technologically advanced engine package highlight a year of notable changes for Yamaha’s traditional snowmobile model lineup.
The new SingleShot 129 rear suspension is 10 pounds lighter than the Mono Shock II 128 it replaces, and the SingleShot 146 is 9 pounds lighter than the shorter Mono Shock II 136. Compared to the Mono Shock, the new suspension’s arms and rails are smaller and more tapered and redundancies have been eliminated.
Also, the layout of the SingleShot is more traditional, with a traditional coupling block system replacing the rod-and-piston system on the old Mono Shock design. For ride quality, Yamaha went with a Fox FLOAT 3 XV – an air shock with an auxiliary air chamber. Wade West, Yamaha’s snowmobile marketing manager, said the suspension “felt like it had better anti-bottoming and was a little bit more plush, particularly in the continuous chop, where it’s real buttery.”
The SingleShot 129 is found in 2016 Apex, Apex LE, RS Vector and RS Vector LE models, while the SingleShot 146 is in the Apex and Vector X-TX models.
Meanwhile, the mid-performance 1049cc fuel-injected triple found in Vector and Venture machines has been redesigned with a new crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and castings, plus a new fuel and air management system that utilizes technology similar to what was first introduced to snowmobilers in Ski-Doo’s ACE engines.
The new engine utilizes two new engine management systems – the Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle (YCCT) and the D-Mode fuel delivery system – that send and receive information to and from the sled’s ECU. This allows Yamaha to pre-program three different driving modes. In the Vector Sport mode (indicated by an “S” on the gauge), the sled feels most felt like a throttle cable. In the Vector Touring mode (T), the rider still can utilize the engine’s full powerband but the delivery is more smooth and subtle. The third choice is the Vector Entry mode (E), which limits the top-end and seriously evens out the powerband for casual touring, new riders or rental fleets. Modes can be changed by pushing a button on the gauge, but the changes can only be made when the sled is stopped.
The RS Venture 2-up touring models have their own modes. According to West, the Venture Sport (S) mode is about equal to the Vector Touring (T) mode; the Venture Touring (T) mode is milder still and the Venture E is “dialed down even more.”
2016 Yamaha Snowmobiles: M-TX Models Get New Suspensions, Skis, Tracks
A year after introducing its best four-stroke mountain sleds to date, Yamaha is upgrading the front end and adding a new ski to its SR Viper M-TX lineup for 2016.
The new SRV-M front suspension features new spindles that start tapering inward just above the lower A-arm and more closely follow the lines of the body work. This gives the sleds more clearance when the sled it thrown on its side in powder, meaning the body panels, not the huge spindles, are the first thing to encounter the snow. Also, revised geometry with more caster angle should allow the front end to carve better in powder, the sway bar was removed and Yamaha went with a narrower, 36-inch ski stance – 2 inches narrower than 2105 models, and it can be set as narrow as to 34.5 inches by moving spacers on the ski saddle mount.
Also, the M-TX sleds benefit from new track options, including some with 3-inch lugs. There’s also a new ski that’s an inch wider for better flotation and features a deeper keel.
In standard form, the SR Viper M-TX 162 and 153 base and SE models all come with Power Claw track with 2.6-inch lugs. Special spring-order LE models are available with 3-inch lugs, plus a heated seat, Fox FLOAT Evol shocks and a storage bag.
One new model in the Yamaha mountain lineup is the SR Viper M-TX 141 SE, featuring the new front end geometry set at 40 inches wide with a sway bar, plus a 2.25-inch Power Claw track. This machine is set up for big launches and hard landings similar to Polaris Assault and Ski-Doo Freeride models, Yamaha says.
2016 Yamaha Snowmobiles: New & Revised SR Vipers
Yamaha’s popular line of SR Viper trail machines mostly go through modest changes for 2016, with more of an adventure/crossover twist on select S-TX DX models and shock changes elsewhere.
Within the 129-inch SR Viper lineup, the R-TX SE opts for coil-over Fox piggyback shocks in 2016 over last year’s Fox FLOAT air shocks. A new, 2-inch Fox piggyback shock is also found on the rear arm. Other than colors, the R-TX DX returns unchanged, as do the 137-inch, trail-oriented SR Viper L-TX DX and SE models.
The SR Viper S-TX DX splits into two models for its sophomore season and is more aimed at adventure touring. Gone is the 141-inch track on last year’s model. Now buyers can choose an S-TX 137 DX with semi-hard saddlebags, a 137-inch Cobra track with 1.6-inch lugs and a modular bumper. Or choose the new SR Viper S-TX 146 DX with a 146-inch RipSaw II with 1.25-inch lugs, a tall and wide window, mirrors, a heated seat and a large rear trunk behind the seat that houses an auxiliary fuel tank that’s plumbed into the main tank.
The other Yamaha sled that has been significantly overhauled is the VK Professional II, a utility machine with a large international following. Yamaha officials turned largely to the Russian market for feedback in developing a replacement for last year’s RS Viking Professional. The new VK gets fuel injection on its 1049cc triple, a bigger fuel tank, larger windshield, a new seat, new mirrors, completely updated bodywork, improved skis and other features.
2016 Yamaha Snowmobiles: Spring Power Surge LE Models
Yamaha is upping the ante on its spring Power Surge program by introducing five new LE (Limited Edition) models and bringing back five others, all with exclusive features and benefits.
Seven models come with the Performance Dampers that Yamaha introduced in its spring lineup a year ago. The small, dual shock absorbers hard-mount to the chassis and move in microns to absorb subtle vibrations and harmonics.
The SR Viper M-TX LE models get the 3-inch track mentioned earlier, plus a heated seat and upgraded shocks. Other LE package upgrades include:
- The aggressive SR Viper R-TX LE gets Fox FLOAT 3 Evol RC shocks up front, a Dual Shock SR 129 Race rear with Zero X shocks, a heated seat and the Performance Dampers as a dealer-installed kit.
- The cruising SR Viper L-TX LE has coil-over Fox piggyback shocks up front, a new 2-inch Fox piggyback clicker shock on the rear arm, Performance Damper kit, plus a rear storage bag and heated seat.
- The trail-crossover SR Viper X-TX LE gets Evol shocks, a rear storage bag and heated seat.
- The Apex LE and Apex X-TX 1.75 LE models get Fox FLOAT 3 XV shocks plus factory-installed Performance Dampers.
- The RS Vector LE and RS Vector 1.75 LE models also get factory-installed Performance Dampers and Fox FLOAT 3 shocks.
- The new RS Venture TF LE touring model also gets factory-installed Performance Dampers.
The April 2015 issue of Snow Goer magazine includes more quotes from Yamaha officials, photos and further model information – plus a complete list of the 2016 Yamaha snowmobiles.