The spring ordering period is winding down, and people are in the position of having to make some quick decisions. With that in mind, this week’s Friday Fast Five is dedicated to folks who are considering going into a Yamaha dealership and placing money down on a 2014 Yamaha snowmobile.
Here are five photos the Snow Goer team took at the 2014 Rode Reports testing event this spring, along with quick thoughts on each machine. Enjoy.
2014 Yamaha SR Viper RTX SE: All the buzz this year is about the SR Viper Lineup featuring a combination of Yamaha’s 1049cc four-stroke triple in the Arctic Cat ProCross chassis – called the SRV chassis by Yamaha. The most notable change for Yamaha customers will be the roomy ergonomics. With a narrow seat, minimal front body work and wide handlebars, machines in this chassis give riders all sorts of room to crawl all over the machine, and the spread of the driver’s knees at the tank is more comfortable than on any current Yamaha. It is a massive improvement, in our book, and that, combined with upgraded suspensions, made the SR Viper models some of our very favorites to ride at the Rode Reports event.
2014 Yamaha FX Nyto: One commonly heard question this spring has been, “If Yamaha is going to make the Nytro engine available in the SR Viper line, why bring back the Nytro?” To answer the question, we took the Nytro and the Viper out together, and will have a story next fall describing the differences between the two machines. The chassis are very different, but for some reason so are the powerbands between the two sleds sharing the same engine. The Nytro hits a little harder off the bottom end and is “poppy,” meaning it’s easier to stab the throttle and pick up the skis on Nytro models than on the Viper models. The Viper models, however, are far more stable and predictable, making them superior trail machine, times two. One interesting note: The sound of these two machines is incredibly different. The Nytro still has a sport bike snarl with its rear-exiting exhaust. Most of that sound is gone from the SR Viper models, which feature a more muted and traditional sound quality coming out of the exhaust that dumps near the driver’s right foot.
2014 Yamaha Apex SE: Now the old man in the Yamaha lineup, we were wooed again by the Apex’s unique appeal. Wow, what a cruiser, with such a wonderful engine that loves to wind up and sing its own unique, sweet song. The addition of Tuner skis helps the front end with both stability and less darting – finally the right match for EPS-equipped machines. The ergos aren’t for everybody, but if you’re a stay-in-the-seat-and-ride kind of sledder, they aren’t bad. Given how long the DeltaBox base has been around, it’s sometimes easy to mentally write off the Apex models, but our ride a month ago reminded us how much fun this machine can still be.
2014 Yamaha SR Viper XTX: Even though it has the XTX moniker, our test riders felt this model is still a much better trail machine than off-trail playmobile. With its 15- by 141- by 1.6-inch Camoplast Cobra II track, it definitely has some floatation in the rear, so it’ll get a rider around just fine in most conditions. The wide running board cutouts, easy-to-step-over seat and center grab strap provide decent off-trail ergos. But like other four-stroke crossovers from all brands, its powerband and relative weight in the nose make it more work to toss around and play off trail than two-stroke crossovers. If you do plan to get one and spend a decent amount of time off trail, get some wider skis so the front’s floatation is closer to that of the rear.
2014 Yamaha FX Phazer XTX: We were a little bit stunned when we saw how many 550s Polaris unveiled for 2014, but our biggest shock at the new sled announcements this winter was this: A 144-inch Phazer. We weren’t really sure who the customer was for this machine. It was an interesting machine to ride, however. Almost like a utility sled, it floated well on the surface of the snow thanks in part to its light weight but also due to the fact that the engine doesn’t have enough power to break the track loose and causing trenching – a problem experienced by folks who have tried powder riding Apex or Cat 1100 Turbo machines in the past. Still, the 500-class four-stroke engine found in Phazer models is far from being responsive, especially at altitude, and the front end remains a bit too twitchy in this elongated version of the FX chassis.