So far in this multi-part series about the 2012 Snow Goer demo sleds, I’ve written about about the Polaris 600 Switchback Adventure, Arctic Cat ProCross F 800 Sno Pro and Ski-Doo Renegade E-TEC 800R Backcountry X, so naturally you’d think I’m going to write about our 2012 Yamaha demo sled here. Big Blue does things differently, though, so we don’t know which machine we’ll be riding this winter.
The other three brands allow us to peruse their brochures and select two machines — Polaris gives us three — we’d like to run all winter. We order those sleds in the spring and usually pick them up from the dealers in November. After not participating in the demo program for model year 2009 and 2010, Yamaha rejoined the party for 2011 and provided us with an Apex last winter, a machine its people selected for us. In fact, we didn’t know until about December which specific model the brand had chosen. A few months ago we ordered 2012 sleds from all brands except Yamaha.
We made a three-day field trip to Yamaha’s snowmobile headquarters in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, last week and based on conversations there, the company is going to hook us up with at least one machine for 2012, but we don’t which one it will be. We’ve long been fans of the Vector platform, so we’re hoping Yamaha has ordered an RS Vector for us. It’s a fabulous machine with smooth middleweight power from the 1049cc, fuel-injected, four-stroke triple engine and for 2012 it sports the wonderful Electric Power Steering (EPS) that made Apex models so silky smooth last year and helped the Apex SE earn the 2011 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year honor.
I test drove an RS Vector LTX in March at our annual Rode Reports and found the engine and steering package let me daydream even more than could before it had EPS. It’s a really smooth, comfortable sled with “buttery” acceleration, says my notebook. “I feel like I’m on a really high-quality vehicle.” Hopefully we’ll clicking off many more miles on a classy RS Vector in a few months.
— Andy Swanson, Snow Goer magazine managing editor