AmSnow.com is now SnoWest.com
Yamaha offers just their 1050cc triple Genesis motor in their SR Viper, and all Yamaha sleds come from the factory naturally aspirated. However, many of these Yamahas end up being turbocharged via the dealer before they are delivered to the customer. There is an agreement with the turbo company MPI that allows their turbo kit to enjoy a “Yamaha OEM approved” status, and many are sold through the Yamaha accessories department. It is especially heavily incentivized during the spring buying season.
The good news for buyers in the mountain segment is that this one chassis received a pile of updates for 2016. The front end of the machine has been completely redesigned with new spindles, a-arms and skis. The result is a narrower 34.5-38.5-inch ski stance, a 2.4-pound weight reduction and a significant improvement in sidehill handling. In addition to the front end, there are small changes to the rear suspension to make it function better.
While many parts cross over between the Arctic Cat and Yamaha models, there are a few unique components that differentiate them. The Yamaha has different clutches and slightly different-shaped plastics, but for all intents and purposes, they are nearly the same thing.
Navigating the vast number of models and different configurations offered between Yamaha and Arctic Cat is no easy task. Multiple track lengths are available, but the engine choice is really the biggest factor, and the major debate in that decision is whether to ride a turbo sled or a naturally aspirated machine. Everyone loves the power of a turbo and thinks they ABSOLUTELY NEED a turbo, but the reality is not every rider belongs on a turbo. It is really important to note that the performance difference between a turbo and non-turbo is around 60 hp, which is a huge difference. To put it bluntly, a naturally aspirated 4-stroke is not the kind of sled you are going to use to go climb glacial chutes in Revelstoke, British Columbia.
Pros and cons of different 4-strokers
Each of the powerplants has its own strengths and weaknesses. The stock Yamaha (or 7000) engine only produces around 125-130 hp, but it will run forever and is the most affordable. The Cat Suzuki 9000 engine makes good power, but it isn’t quite as refined as the Yamaha engine, yet it does offer the reliability of a factory turbo. It’s expensive though, and the accessory turbo version of the Yamaha actually makes a little more power. In our experience, the factory-approved turbo kit from Yamaha has the most scope for tuning, but it’s truly an aftermarket turbo, so it’s not quite as easy as the other two options. Plus, it’s the most expensive option.