Yamaha: How Is It Better Than Last Year?

Published in the September 2013 Issue
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When you look at Yamaha’s moun­tain roster for the 2014 season, it might look hauntingly similar to what you saw in 2013.

Both the FX Nytro MTX and Phazer MTX return basically the same with just a handful of changes since the introduc­tion of the FX Nytro in 2008. Neither the Nytro nor Phazer has been freshened up with any major upgrades, as Yamaha has basically come out with more subtle refinements throughout the years.

So, in answering the question, “How is this better than last year?” we say, look to the future.

We can’t help but think that Yamaha’s new vision and direction of entering into a “mutual supply agreement” with Arctic Cat to build the 2014 SR Viper, a new ride from the ground up with the old “Viper’s” namesake (that would have been SX Viper), bode well for the company. The 2014 SR Viper lineup includes a crossover model which is a bright ray of sunshine for those of us who love to speculate about new iron for the snow. Perhaps that hope will be realized for those Yamaha jockeys want­ing just that: A totally new and lighter weight pony for the mountains.

We know there are a lot of Yamaha faithful out there who see this new “mutual supply agreement” as a glim­mer of hope that Big Blue will once again be competitive in the mountains.

We too are optimistic, especially after hearing Yamaha Motor Canada vice presi­dent and North American snowmobile leader Peter Smallman-Tew say, “We will develop a new snowmobile each year for the next five years.” We have to believe that includes a new mountain machine.

And just in case you are unfamiliar with the mutual supply agreement that resulted in the new 2014 SR Viper, this is a well thought-out combination of an Arctic Cat rolling chassis and body, mated up with the complete Yamaha Genesis/Nytro engine package deliver­ing the three-cylinder 4-stroke power through Yamaha clutches.

Hey, the way we see it, if you are ready this year and don’t want to be pa­tient, a little bit of creativity could turn the 2014 Viper XTX into much more of a “mountain-minded” snowmobile than it already is. The bulkhead clear­ance on the XTX chassis will accom­modate up to a 1.75-inch paddle track and Arctic Cat makes rear suspension rails up to 163 inches so ... .

Or you can watch and see what hap­pens over the next two or three seasons.

Model year 2018 will be Yamaha’s 50th anniversary so if the company has an “absolute commitment to the snowmobile industry” like one Yamaha official claims, then indeed we can expect big things from the company.

For now, you’ll have to be con­tent with Yamaha features such as the 15x162x2.25-inch Ascent track, ProMountain Air rear suspension with its Fox Float shocks, digital gauges and new mountain skis, which are saddleless and extra wide with a deep keel.

The prices for the 2014 mountain models are the same as the 2013s.

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