2014 Yamaha Snowmobiles Unveiled
For 2014, Yamaha will have five snowmobile models assembled by Arctic Cat on Arctic Cat’s ProCross chassis — called the SRV chassis by a Yamaha — but utilizing the Yamaha-built 1049cc liquid-cooled, 135 hp triple-cylinder engine previously only found in FX Nytro models.
The two short-tracked models are the Yamaha SR Viper and SR Viper RTX SE, each with 15- by 129- by 1.25-inch RipSaw II track. The more aggressive Yamaha SR Viper RTX model gets Fox FLOAT 2 shocks up front, performance settings in the rear suspension and a short windshield, while the base Viper gets comfort-tuned suspensions, coil-over shocks up front, a mid-height windshield and a heated seat.
SR Viper LTX and its SE version follow a similar pattern, except they house a 137-inch RipSaw II track and have a longer tunnel. A mid-height windshield, comfort-tuned shocks, heated seat and larger behind-the-seat storage bag come on the base model; performance tuning, Fox FLOAT 2 shocks and a short windshield are on the SE. The LTX models are truly just bump-bridging trail sleds. True crossover riders should be drawn to the SR Viper XTX SE, with a 15- by 141-inch cobra track, wider mountain skis, taller handlebars and performance-based suspension settings. These models will also spin Yamaha’s own clutches.
For 2014, Yamaha also returns with three Apex models, four Nytros, four Ventures, two Vectors, three Phazers, a VK Pro and the SRX 120. So 2014 for Yamaha is not all about the new SR Vipers, but that’s definitely what will drive the chatter.
2014 Yamaha SRV Chassis
The base of what Yamaha is calling the SRV chassis is mostly aluminum, though the bulkhead is steel for added rigidity. A stripped chassis exposes a triangulated subframe, with structural crossmembers that connect at the center, just below the handlebars, and reach forward and out toward the corners of the bulkhead, and back toward the center of the tunnel. That tunnel features a tapered design above the driver’s ankles, with large triangular cutouts on the stiff running boards.
Super-tall forged-aluminum spindles create a huge gap between the two A-arms on the front suspension. The spacing of the A-arms and the way they attach to the bulkhead is said to reduce weight, lower the center of gravity and move forces deeper into the chassis, while the geometry controls camber and bump steer.
The rear suspension will be a re-named version of Arctic Cat’s FasTrack Slide-Action, called the Dual Shock SR 129 in a Yamaha. It’s a coupled design, with a front arm mount that floats to control ski lift during hard acceleration. The exhaust dumps out the bottom near the driver’s right foot, in a traditional spot for all other snowmobiles, but not Yamaha four-strokes, which have run the exhaust beneath the seat and out the back.
Yamaha SRV chassis sleds get push-button-activated reverse, a magnesium chaincase, Hayes braking system and a 10.6-gallon fuel tank. The 2014 Yamaha SRV models will also feature a new, two-screen, all-digital gauge and a redesigned seat.
Yamaha Tuner Skis Expand
Yamaha has expanded the use of Tuner dual-keel skis to all three Apex models, both RS Vectors, all four Ventures and the Phazer RTX for 2014. Each keel measures .82 inches deep and each carries a wear bar. There is a 1.3-inch channel between those keels. In stock form on last year’s Nytro, the Tuners came with 2 inches of carbide on the inside keel’s wear bar and no carbide on the outer bar.
The Deltabox chassis that is the foundation of the Apex and Vector models doesn’t have the same tippy problem that affects the FX Nytro machines, but the skis, especially on the Apex sleds, needed attention. When Yamaha added power steering, it got more aggressive up front with the 8HV ski, but that setup found many Apex owners dealing with excess darting.
2014 Yamaha Phazer XTX
Yamaha is adding a crossover XTX to go along with the returning Phazer RTX and Phazer MTX. Like the XTX siblings (Nytro and Apex), the Phazer XTX will come with 144-inch track, but it gets its rear suspension with HPG shocks from Yamaha’s mountain lineup. From the Phazer line, it gets the 80 hp, 499cc four-stroke twin-cylinder engine and a 14-inch wide Freeride track. The Phazer MTX and Phazer RTX return, with ther RTX getting Tuner skis for 2014. g
2014 Yamaha And Arctic Cat Snowmobile Partnership
Rumors have been floating for awhile about a possible Yamaha and Arctic Cat partnership. Yamaha officials stressed, however, that this is a supply agreement only — the companies are not combining the majority of their snowmobile efforts, there’s no stock swap or other behind-the-scenes, high-finance mumbo-jumbo.
In fact, Yamaha officials said this is the start of a bold new future for Team Blue in the snowmobile market, not the end of the line.
“Today is just the tip of the iceberg of where we’re going and of our long-term plan,” said Peter Smallman-Tew, the vice president of Yamaha Motor Canada and the lead North American snowmobile contact to the parent company. “We’re more committed today than we ever have been in the snowmobile business. We’re here, and we’re going to be in the snowmobile business for a long time.” Promises of new chassis and emerging, Yamaha-specific technology were hinted at, as several different Yamaha officials stressed that this is not a sign of weakness for the brand, but rather a sign of a new strength.
Yamaha has been an engine supplier to many companies — including Ford, Lexus and Toyota in the automotive market. In the ATV market, Yamaha has supplied ATV engines to competitors and had some competitors build low displacement ATVs for it. Even in the snowmobile market, if you look back to the 1970s, you’ll find Yamaha engines in competitors’ equipment.
But one does have to look back into the 1970s and early 1980s to find this level of partnership between brands in snowmobiling — other than the Cat-built, Yamaha-powered SRX 120 Yamaha introduced last year. That arrangement was the start of this new ProCross/SRV chassis and Nytro engine sharing relationship, Yamaha officials said. Snowmobile Product Manager Rob Powers said he knows exactly how some Yamaha snowmobile customers are going to feel when they first hear the news.
“I mean, we’re a proud company. You can imagine the feeling in the board room when this was brought up. It takes a little time to digest this,” Powers said.