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The next big difference is the use of the Performance Damper kit on the Yamaha Viper. This debuted last year as a Spring Power Surge extra for Vectors and Apexes. The only way to get the Performance Damper is to put a deposit down on a spring-buy 2016 LE model, but if you still want one, there might be a few LE models lingering at dealerships. All spring-buy LE packages, including Vipers, got one of these mounted in the back across the bumper and up front under the hood on the frame.
There’s a little difference in the shock names on both the Cat ZR turbo Limited and the Yamaha L-TX LE, but make no mistake, these both have FOX QS3 shocks up front. These are the new coil-over HPG rebuildable shocks with three easy-to-adjust compression damping settings. The rear shocks are also FOX QS3 shocks, and the front track shock is an HPG. The naming is different on the specs, but don’t be confused. Naming is also different on the front and rear suspensions, but they both have Cat’s Arctic Race Suspension with sway bar up front (Yamaha calls it the SRV) and the Slide-Action rear suspension with tri-hub rear axle system, coupling blocks, torque-sensing link rear arm and adjustable torsion springs (Yamaha’s Dual Shock SR 137).
Another small difference is in the skis. Yamaha uses its new Tuner 2 skis, which have two deep keels, two carbide slots and allow the use of many different carbide length combinations for more or less aggressive turning bite. Cat uses its ProCross-6 ski with a dual deep split runner with carbide. Both work well, and the stock Cat ski is a little more aggressive than the stock Yamaha ski for cornering, until you start working your way up the carbide ladder to longer, more aggressive carbides on the Tuner 2 ski. Finally, the Cat has a taller 11-inch windshield on it that looks great and actually helps shield a little, while the Yamaha has a “sport” windshield.
Both sleds have incredible power that is smooth and usable. Both have heated seats, the new QS3 shocks, and lots of storage standard. The Cat gets the nod for probably being the most trouble-free, as we still aren’t 100% sure that an “aftermarket” turbo is right for people looking for longer, more comprehensive warranties. However, this Viper LE is the smoothest trail sled Yamaha has made in years, and of all of the current Yamaha sleds, it’s most fun on the trails. Maybe it’s because the L-TX is the “new kid,” but we got off this sled with only good things to say about it. It’s also close to the most expensive sled on the market when all is said and done. Both sleds are ridiculously expensive, but we all like dreaming about Ferraris, even if we can’t afford them!