The hottest new sled from Yamaha for 2009 is the crossover-class FX Nytro XTX. Based on the all-new-for 2008 FX Nytro, the XTX comes to the plate with an unusual combination of features that place it in a class of its own when it comes to a sled that will perform well across the widest range of conditions.
The secret to the FX Nytro XTX is in the combination of front and rear suspensions and the 144” track length on tipped up rails. Don’t get excited at the 144” length. SnowTech test riders found this package to act way shorter than the number 144” would indicate, at least on packed trails. With the tipped up rails at the rear of the track, the effective wheelbase on packed snow is the same as a 121” sled. The cornering effort and character is very much like a 121” FX Nytro (2009 version). Through the bumps, the sled is going to act more like a 136” tracked sled, bridging the bumps and smoothing out the ride quality better than a short wheelbase 121” track sled. But when you get into snow of any substance or depth, the entire track length is presented to the snow and you get the benefit of the footprint and flotation of a 144” track. This lets the FX Nytro XTX float through the powder like the 144” tracked sled that it is. Short tracked cornering, mid-length bump bridging, and long track flotation, all in one sled. Cool, huh?
If it seems like you’ve heard this argument before, you’re right. Polaris made their Switchback sleds famous with this basic formula, using tipped up rails and a 144” track length, only to go back to a 136” track length in the past couple of years. Yamaha looked at what Polaris did and didn’t do with their version, and took it to the next level by tipping the rails up further to a six-degree angle. They felt the Polaris version didn’t have enough rail angle and still had too much track on the ground to really act like a 121” sled on hard packed trails.
Yamaha didn’t just want another “me-too” crossover sled, they wanted something unique and different. Simply being an FX Nytro with a long track would have done that, but they really wanted to bridge the gap between their 121” corner-carvers and their deep-lug mountain sleds. Here at SnowTech we’ve been pretty vocal over the past couple of seasons on how we have found the 144” track length to be the better deep snow sled for those looking for a true crossover, and Yamaha agreed. They also found the added length really makes a difference when you get a couple feet of fresh powder, as they do a large amount of their Midwest deep snow testing in the same area we do (western upper Michigan lake effect snow belt, down wind of Lake Superior).
But when the snow got hard and the best riding went to the groomed trails, they didn’t like how the added length of the 144” handled, as it really took some muscle to get the beast around a corner. Thus, the exaggerated tipped up rails. This let them have a true rough trail and off trail sled in one, as good as could be.
The new dual-shock CK 144 rear suspension in the XTX is the heart of the difference, fitted with a remote reservoir clicker compression-adjustable 40mm rear shock and a 40mm HPG at center. You know this sled is serious about taking on the bumps and terrain. This is a two-way coupled suspension, so it isn’t a ski-dangler like the uncoupled rails used on the Polaris Switchbacks when they were at 144” (ala RMK). Being coupled, the suspension provides excellent pitch control and reduced kickback, meaning when you hit a bump with the front arm the suspension communicates the bump to the rear arm and it starts to get out of the way, minimizing the angle of the rails as the bump moves though the suspension. This really goes back to the FAST M-10 and the original Polaris XTRA-14 designs, and has been proven effective ever since. It also allows the shock and springs of each suspension arm to work together, instead of independently, for improved resistance to bottoming. Adjustable control rods let you set the moment of coupling and amount of transfer, so if you like less coupling and more transfer for deeper snow you can quickly set it that way.
Traction is provided via a 1.25” lug height Camoplast Ripsaw track, 15” wide. For the track to live on the hardpack at high speed, this choice was logical. A 1.5” lug height would be a good option if you ride out west or despise packed trails, but that would take away from the top speed capability and makes the hyfax temperature more of an issue at speed on minimal snow. With the 144” length, the lug height is less of an issue.
Don’t think this is simply an FX Nytro with a longer track, especially a 2008 FX Nytro. Many changes have been made, so the XTX acts and looks very different. Even compared to the 2009 FX Nytro RTX, the XTX has a tapered tunnel, better suited for deep snow operation. The running board angle is steeper as well, letting this one get down into the powder instead of being held up to cavitate in the snow. It looks WAY better in our opinion, as well.
One sore spot we had with our 2008 FX Nytro short trackers last season was the front suspension; more accurately the handling character. You had to be on your game at all times, which made it difficult to sit back and relax during a ride of much length. Yamaha heard this from a number of their riders, so they quickly went to work and made a new front suspension that is far more to our liking. Ten changes to the geometry and components include new (shorter) a-arms, tie-rods, spindles with new ski mount points and new ski rubbers. They also added 15mm of “trail” (less upright spindle) and reduced the caster angle by four degrees. Basically, the new front suspension has much less bump steer, which was what we were feeling as the sled wanted to wander through the bumps. The steering response is now slower and not as twitchy; far more stable and predictable is how we describe it. Steering is more consistent, cornering is flatter, it darts less, tracks straighter, and now you can ride it faster with more confidence (fewer white knuckle rides).
Bolted to this new front end we find dual-clicker front shocks with 12 clicks of compression and 20 clicks of rebound damping adjustment. Piggyback reservoirs give the shocks increased fade resistance, well matched to the rear suspension. We’re telling you, this thing can handle some fairly rough terrain.
No discussion of a FX Nytro would be complete without talking about the Genesis 130FI 4-stroke engine. The fast-revving, high torque three-cylinder is a screamer with unreal throttle response and acceleration. This smooth-running 1050cc uses Yamaha’s highly advanced fuel injection technology and spools up quickly thanks to a lightweight crankshaft to deliver razor-sharp throttle response. And unlike it’s four-cylinder cousins in the Apex models, the Genesis 130FI features a unique Engine Braking Reduction System (EBRS). This technology keeps the clutch slightly engaged to give the sled a “coast” feeling when the throttle is released, instead of the typical 4-stroke compression braking followed by the clutch disengaging. Dare we say, this is likely the best engine in snowmobiling.
The FX Nytro is still a Nytro, so it gives you the rider forward seating on a tall and narrow seat, so long-ride comfort is not a strong point. Suspension capability is, as is engine performance and durability. Despite the engine being centered, you can still tell it is a (542 pound) four-stroke as it places more weight on the skis than a two-stroke sled does. The 7.4 gallon fuel tank is really small, but stellar fuel economy pretty much makes up for it. Wind protection is minimal, but with this kind of world class engine and do-all capability, it should run like a top for way longer than any two-stroke could hope to. That’s what Yamaha is banking on. Of all the FX Nytro models, this is what we will be riding this year.
The 2009 Yamaha FX Nytro XTX comes in your choice of traditional Yamaha Blue with white graphics, or a unique White with silver graphics. It retails for $10,549.