Yamaha Motor spotted a hole in its lineup-not a big, gaping
hole, mind you, but more of a niche the company felt it could go after more
Yamaha is aiming to grab a bigger piece of the pie in the
crossover segment. What, you say, but Yamaha already has sleds in that segment,
with its Apex LTX and Vector LTX., both with 136-inch tracks. Or go farther
back and Yamaha offered the Rage and Attak. This is where the narrow niche
comes into play. It's all about track length in the crossover segment these
It's an especially popular segment for those snowmobilers
who live in the Midwest but frequently travel
to the West to ride. In the minds of those riders, a crossover sled is just
about the best of both worlds. They can trail ride at home and still enjoy the
deep snows of the West . or the deeper snows off trail where they live when the
white stuff piles up to decent depths.
Sledders know the crossover segment isn't new to
snowmobiling. You can give Polaris credit for starting the crossover phenom
with the introduction of the SKS several years ago. Yamaha is the latest of the
Big Four to jump into the fray, at least with the longer track, with the new FX
Nytro XTX. The first X in XTX stands for crossover. The XTX fills a hole in
Yamaha's lineup between the Nytro LTX (136-inch track) and Nytro MTX (153-inch
The FX Nytro XTX could become a real contender in a crowded
market. That's thanks to the longer 144-inch (a Camoplast 15 wide by 1.25-inch
deep Ripsaw) track, which will help the sled have a bigger footprint (read:
better flotation) off trail in the deep snow, regardless whether that snow is
in the woods of the Midwest, the Dakota plains or any western mountain range.
In going after that off-trail capability, Yamaha, which is
carving out a solid reputation in the flatlands with its worry-free line of
4-stroke trail machines, didn't want to sacrifice any trailability of this
That necessitated designing a new suspension, the Dual Shock
CK 144, featuring a tipped up rail (again, not new in the snowmobile business)
that should help in keeping both trail and off-trail characteristics of the
Nytro. The back few inches of the rear suspension is tipped up 6 degrees, which
means, when the sled is on the trail or hard pack, it handles like a shorter
trail sled. When you dive off the trail into deep snow, the entire length of
the track comes into play, allowing more flotation.
The rear shock is a 40mm clicker with compression adjustment
while the center shock is a 40mm HPG. The rear suspension is fully coupled and
has an adjustable control rod and tri-cam preload adjuster.
Yamaha also designed a new tunnel for the XTX, which sledders
will notice rather quickly a difference between this tunnel and other Yamaha
tunnels. The XTX tunnel is steeper (11 degrees vs. 9 degrees on the Nytro RTX) and
has some rather impressive and long awaited improved running boards. You won't
find the old star punched running boards found on Yamaha trail models like the
Nytro RTX, which offered okay boot traction but were fairly weak when it comes
to evacuating snow, which we admit is not usually a high priority for a trail
sled. But now that Yamaha is going for a more capable off trail crossover something
had to be done to help the rider keep the boards clean. The new design of
slashes should go a long way toward that.
Reworked Front Suspension
Another XTX exclusive is a totally reworked front suspension
geometry, aimed at better steering and reduced tracking, among other benefits.
Changes-10 in all-in the front include new ski rubber, new spindles, new tie
rods and new A-arms, to name a few. The A-arms are shorter and have a new look.
The shocks are GYTR dual clickers.
We took the XTX through the bumps during a January ride and
while it was only for a little while, we were impressed by how it handled the
whoops-we're talking the 1-3-foot moguls western riders sometimes face on their
way to the backcountry. We took the XTX through the stutter bumps too and liked
how it handled, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well it did in the
deeper bumps. Besides the better steering and reduced tracking, Yamaha was
aiming, particularly with the redesigned front suspension, for better
predictability and stability from the suspension, as well as flatter cornering.
We think the XTX is all over that, but a longer ride will shed more light on
that aspect of the sled.
The steeper tunnel should help in deeper snow, too, although
we didn't get a chance to test that particular aspect of the sled out-yet.
We'll do that in Grand
Lake at the annual photo
If we're allowed a wish list, we wish (and this comes
directly from our mountain roots) the XTX had a mountain strap. We think a
mountain strap just adds to the handling ability of any sled designed for
No surprises in the engine area. The motor is the same as
what's found in the entire Nytro lineup-the 130 horsepower Genesis fuel
injected three-cylinder four-stroke.
"We needed this model to expand our market share," Yamaha U.S.
snowmobile product manager Adam Sylvester said.
A season on the snow will tell us if Yamaha's move to
fill a hole in its lineup will pay off.