2011 Yamaha RS Vector GT

Long Distance Cruiser

Yamaha has cultivated a loyal following with their popular RS Vector models ever since its introduction. Over the years, the Vector has earned a reputation as a turn-key snowmobile, just like an automobile or truck. Gas and go is about the extent of it, and trail riders everywhere love it.

For 2010 the RS Vector GT was fitted with a new fuel-injected 4-stroke, the Genesis 120 FI. This is a larger displacement 3-cylinder, now up to 1049cc for even broader torque and slightly more horsepower, yet it weighs over two pounds less than the previous (carbureted) Vector engine. The new 120 FI was a hit last year; better running quality, easier starts, more power (now up to 126 HP), with 15 more ft/lbs of torque! And, there’s more juice with a high output stator that cranks out an additional 70 watts of power.

The shocks up front are trick; GYTR dual-clickers give you the most tunability on the market with 12 clicks of compression AND 20 clicks of rebound damping. Ride it the way it comes stock, or set it to your liking. In the rear is the dial-adjust single KYB shock fitted into the comfy Mono Shock 2 suspension. Get the spring set for your weight, and then use the dial on the side of the tunnel to tweak the shock as needed. (If you have found the KYB too soft in the past, you can now install a new Fox Mega FLOAT for added capability – this won’t make it a Nytro, but it broadens the range of the suspension by adding even more resistance to bottoming via the progressive spring rate. You would lose the remote dial adjust, however.)

Forget what the specs say on paper; this is a premium snowmobile that will last for years of use. On groomed trails this set-up is dialed; It is stable and consistent, an all-around well-balanced sled with outstanding ride quality and predictable steering. This is the sled of choice for long-distance riders who log thousands upon thousands of miles on groomed trails each winter all day long, day after day. The new engine is about as bullet-proof as you will ever find in a sled – would you ride a two-stroke for 30,000 miles without opening it up? Of course not. With a Vector, it is more the rule than the exception. This is it; the 2011 RS Vector GT with a retail price of $10,799.


2011 Polaris 600 WideTrack IQ

Powerful New Utility Sled

Riders who use Utility snowmobiles have a powerful new option to consider: The new 2011 Polaris 600 WideTrak IQ, which combines numerous utility features with the smooth, efficient and powerful Liberty 600 HO Cleanfire engine. This engine is a performance leader in the 600 class, and it infuses the 600 WideTrak IQ with power and versatility not previously available from a Utility model.

The new 600 WideTrak IQ is first and foremost a Utility sled. It has a high-flotation long track, seating for two, ample cargo space, a protective high windshield and a large-capacity 14.3 gallon fuel tank. But with its powerful engine, the 600 WideTrak IQ will definitely see time on recreational rides, on and off trail.

Electric start is standard, as is PERC (Polaris Electronic Reverse Control) and an engine block heater that will ensure starting in extreme conditions. The 600 HO engine’s power is efficiently managed by the “P2” driven clutch. This clutch is engineered to deliver optimal performance while minimizing belt heat and wear. It maintains ideal sheave alignment, and it has a patented Flow-Through Cooling design that directs air through the clutch during operation, lowering belt temperatures by up to 25 degrees.

The 600 WideTrak IQ has a 20” wide, 156” long high-flotation track with 1.25” lugs, and the sled rides on the Utility/Tipped rear suspension, which provides a smooth, comfortable ride on the trail and excellent flotation off-trail. This suspension ensures that the sled maintains outstanding traction whether it’s carrying one or two riders and whether it’s hauling cargo or not. The rear suspension has a pair of gas shocks and 11” of travel.

The IQ IFS (Independent Front Suspension) provides a 600 WideTrak IQ rider with easy, responsive handling. The IQ IFS has Nitrex shocks and 10” of travel to soak up bumps and keep the ride smooth.

The 600 WideTrak IQ has a comfortable 2-up seat with an adjustable backrest that can be used by the driver when riding solo. Under the seat is a roomy storage compartment, and at the rear of the sled is a cargo rack with a 13-watt work light and tow hitch.

The passenger has heated handgrips and the driver has thumb and handwarmers. Plus, the 20″-high clear windshield protects the riders from the wind, the elements and trail and woods hazards.

The driver is kept abreast of the sled’s performance by the digital MFD (Multi-Function Display), which provides info from a speedo, tach, fuel gauge and temp/low oil light. A 12v DC outlet is ready to provide power to accessory devices. A heated, in-dash glove box conveniently holds and keeps warm items such as gloves, goggles, a GPS or cell phone.

The 2011 Polaris 600 WideTrak IQ comes in blue and retails for $10,999.


2011 Ski-Doo GSX LE

Luxury Performance

Just because riders want razor sharp handling and blistering acceleration doesn’t mean they must give up high tech luxury features. The GSX LE models are an MX Z sled at heart, but with some additional features – things like mirrors, electric start, multi-function gauge, larger windshield, and 12V accessory outlet. As always, push-button reverse is standard.

Most importantly, their suspensions are calibrated more for trail comfort and less for big air landings with a position sensitive HPG-VR rear shock that soaks up the ripples and stutters. For long days or high-milers, these sleds will give you the perfect balance of performance and comfort, with that touch of luxury. Think of them as giving you MX Z performance with a smoother-yet ride.  For 2011 you even get a set of straight aluminum handlebars with integrated J-hooks.

Two cutting-edge, fuel efficient Rotax powerplants are available: the 600 H.O. E-TEC and 1200 4-TEC. Actually, each one has their own distinct body and chassis variation, so these are two very similar yet different machines here under the GSX LE badge. The two-stroke E-TEC gets the REV-XP body where the 4-TEC gets the REV-XR body, slightly wider to accommodate the four-stroke engine. Both are based on the truly light REV-X platform, with a flexible riding position for both more relaxed and performance riding styles.

The wind protection is enhanced with the added wind deflection (larger cab with REV-XR, added deflectors with REV-XP and generous but not too tall windshield.). The standard tunnel bag is weather-resistant and adds 5.5 gal. (21 L) of storage on the tunnel. There’s also a 12V power outlet for powering for GPS receivers, cell phones, etc. along with a heated visor outlet. A trail rider’s delight.

The 2011 Ski-Doo GSX LE E-TEC sells for $10,549 U.S. and the GSX 4-TEC sells for $11,499 U.S. Both models come in a white-black-yellow coloration that reflects the MX Z heritage.


2011 Arctic Cat F8 Sno Pro

Powered Up High-Performance

Quicker. Lighter. More aggressive.That sums up the F8 Sno Pro, courtesy of the powered-up (and lighter) 800 H.O. engine and more aggressive, lighter skis. A revised seat cleans up the clutter at the rear and, in concert with an open-hole pattern on the running boards, adds to their more aggressive look and feel.

Introduced for 2010, the 800 H.O. (High Output) batteryless EFI engine revs instantly and delivers class-leading 160 HP.  The new exhaust system plus changes to the piston, cylinder porting, APV electronic exhaust valves, reed petals and EFI calibration increased the horsepower by 10 percent over the already-outstanding 800 twin. With the crankshaft now 4.3 pounds lighter (that’s a lot of rotating mass) and multiple improvements throughout, the F8 is a force to reckon with on the trail or at the strip. In short bursts or long pulls, the F8 Sno Pro will not be denied. This is a most impressive package.

A new rear tunnel section with a more durable heat exchanger eliminates the plastic storage compartment in favor of a new zippered rear seat pouch, improving the aesthetics while retaining much-appreciated storage. It’s complemented by new, open-hole running boards, an LED taillight and new snow flap. The ACT Diamond Drive gearcase now has splined sun gears for improved durability.

Containing the potent new engine is the ultra-stiff Twin Spar aluminum chassis which, in concert with revised suspension geometry in 2009, delivers precise corner-carving performance and its remarkable body-saving ride. New for 2010 plastic skis are wider and stiffer with a deeper keel that translates into even more positive cornering.

The F8 Sno Pro now comes with lightweight, aggressively-calibrated Fox FLOAT 2 ski shocks, a 2-in. diameter rear shock, IRP handlebars/seat, lightweight 15 x 128 x 1.25-in. Cobra track, a taller handlebar riser (5-in. instead of 3-in.), clear-coated plastic and a low windshield. And to add insult to injury on the competition, the front wheels on the rear suspension have been moved inside the rails for even more top speed.

This is arguably one of the best all-around performance sleds available and a SnowTech staff favorite. Ride one for a couple hundred miles on rough trails and you will quickly learn why it is so popular. The 2011 Arctic Cat F8 Sno Pro retails for $11,499 and comes in Arctic Cat Green or Orange.


Jan/Feb 2011 Issue released

The January / February 2011 issue of SnowTech was put in the mail on December 15th, 2010.  This information packed issue contained a Features like: A Dyno Test on the 2011 Polaris RMK 800 CFI, An extensive write-up on modifying the Rotax 4-TEC 1200 (modifications that can be made with a small budget), and A special ROX Sno Pro 500 Project sled.  This issue also included Tech Previews on Custom Axis shocks from Hygear Suspension, and Aerocharger Turbo Kits for the Polaris 800 from HM Turbos.  New model reviews on the Z1 LXR,  Renegade Backcountry, Phazer GT, Rush, Pro-R, 600 Shift 136″, Grand Touring SE, Apex SE, and Z1 Sno Pro.  The Jan/Feb was also filled with the usual goodies like Dear Ralph, Tech shorts, Service and tuning notes, etc . . . Look for it currently on the newsstand or subscribe here on www.snowtechmagazine.com!