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Supercharger Or Turbo?

Published in the January 2012 Issue Published online: Jan 28, 2012 Blog

Mountain Performance turboTwo years ago, when it came to 4-stroke mountain sleds, you had a couple of choices: the Yamaha Nytro MTX or Yamaha Phazer MTX.

Then, a year ago at Haydays, Yamaha unveiled a bombshell of sorts when it announced you could buy a supercharger or turbo and install it on your Nytro. Of course, there were several companies already offering turbos and superchargers for Yamaha sleds, but this was the first time you could buy compressed air units right out of the Yamaha catalog. That was quite a breakthrough for Yamaha.

Now, for 2012, you can still buy a supercharger or turbo for your Yamaha right out of the catalog but the vendor has changed on the turbo. As we shared with you in the October issue of

SnoWest, Yamaha announced it was going with the Mountain Performance turbo as its official vendor. MPI was already supplying the supercharger.

Arctic Cat, on select 2012 M 1100 sleds, is offering a turbo, which comes stock with the machine. Yamaha's turbos and superchargers are aftermarket products. Yamaha snowmobile product manager Rob Powers stressed that the turbo and supercharger are not factory-approved components and are aftermarket products, although MPI is an approved vendor. We should also point out that while Yamaha only warranties the snowmobile, MPI does offer a warranty on its turbos and superchargers.

So you're leaning toward a Yamaha and want the added horsepower so you're thinking of purchasing the MPI turbo. Or do you want the supercharger? Which one is a better fit for you?

As was pointed out in the main 4-stroke article in this issue, "2012 Mountain 4-Strokes," the supercharger creates between 170-175 hp (compared to the stock Nytro at 135 hp), while the turbo creates 180 hp. That's at about 10,000 feet and those numbers will change a little depending on elevation.

Here are a few differences between the supercharger and turbo:

 The MPI supercharger uses the stock Nytro exhaust.

 The supercharger relies on engine rpm for boost, which is why the throttle response is more crisp. However, as you gain elevation, you lose rpm and thus, you lose boost and throttle response.

 There is no turbo lag with a supercharger.

 Superchargers are more involved (read: labor intensive) to install than a turbo.

 Superchargers are harder to ride through trees and technical terrain because of the instant boost.

 The weight of the supercharger is added to the nose of the sled, next to the engine. The weight of the turbo is added over the rear of the sled.

 Turbo lag lets you roll into your line before the power comes on, where the supercharger power is on whenever the throttle is on.