The more things change, the more things stay the same. And in today’s changing times, it’s great to have something constant that you know is reliable, well-designed and worth its price tag. The 2009 Yamaha Phazer MTX has proven that once you build something that works just right, it’s best to leave it alone.
Now we know change is good. But not all change can be good. And if you have something that’s good, why change?
The Genesis 80FI 4-stroke engine that’s found in the Phazer is a good thing. It’s proven itself not only in the snowmobile industry, but also in the highly competitive motorcycle industry, originating from the YZ250F. And if one YZ250F engine is good, then two is better. Yamaha engineers combined two 250s to get the 500cc engine that features fuel injection and a five-valve head, which makes its peak power at over 11,000 rpm.
Fuel injection combined with an advanced electronic system delivers the precise fuel flow to the engine where you need it and when you need it. Combine that with a durable, lightweight, counterbalanced crankshaft and you get the instant response you’ve come to expect from Yamaha performance. In fact, you may have to keep peeking under the hood to convince yourself that you are indeed riding a four-stroke and now a torquey two-stroke performance sled.
The most significant change for the 2009 Phazer was to improve its handling by changing the valving in the shocks to eliminate the bottoming out of the suspension. It’s not that the original setup was bad … it’s just that Yamaha miscalculated the size of rider that would be buying a Phazer. The Phazer was positioned to be an entry-level snowmobile. Usually, entry-level riders are younger and less aggressive. So the suspension was set up to provide a soft ride.
However, the reality of the customer proved that a lot of Phazers were going to older and more aggressive riders who were looking for a lightweight four-stroke. So Yamaha has adapted the Phazer to better accommodate these types of riders.
Another change for ’09 is Yamaha closed the hole on the tunnel that allowed snow to cool the exhaust pipe. The main purpose of cooling the pipe was to prevent the heat from causing damage to the snowmobile seat. However, what was happening was that the snow was doing its job cooling the pipe … but when it hit the pipe and melted, it was creating an ice buildup on the side of the tunnel at the back end of the running boards.
To alleviate the heat problem, Yamaha added more heat shields around the seat.
The one thing that has never changed about a Yamaha Phazer is its lightweight demeanor. The challenge of building a four-stroke is to make it durable to sustain the power without making it so bulky that it slows it down. Yamaha utilizes a lightweight rear-exiting exhaust that accomplishes three important functions: It keeps the exhaust heat away from the engine bay; it allows the engine to breathe efficiently through a cooled exhaust pipe; and it maintains a center balance which allows the rider to easily control the direction of the sled.
To keep the Genesis 80FI functioning at optimum performance, Yamaha engineers designed a cooling system to utilize a radiator and front extrusion. The small radiator is positioned on the right hand side of the engine cab and the extruder is positioned in front of the track.
Speaking of the track, the Phazer uses a 14 x 144 x 2 Camoplast Maverick track that features a lightweight design for deep snow handling.
The chassis features a rider-forward position that allows the rider to be more upright and in control of the sled. A narrow seat and higher handlebars (similar to the YZ dirt bike) allow the rider to stand or sit while maintaining good balance on the sled. The handlebars also feature a mountain strap for sidehilling.