Ever since Yamaha’s introduction of the RS Vector it has been powered by a 1049cc Genesis 4-stroke three-cylinder engine. In the beginning it was...

Ever since Yamaha’s introduction of the RS Vector it has been powered by a 1049cc Genesis 4-stroke three-cylinder engine. In the beginning it was a carbureted engine, and then evolved to electronic fuel injection. During this time it has rightfully gained a reputation as one of the (if not the) most reliable and bullet-proof engines ever found in a snowmobile, with excellent torque and fuel economy, low noise levels and turn-key operation. Where many 2-stroke engines require major service every several thousand miles, the Yamaha Vector engine will run reliably for tens of thousands of miles, if not longer, never missing a beat.

2016 brings a new version of this engine. Yamaha wants us to think of it as a new engine, which could easily be argued, as this new version, while similar, does have so many new components that we can call it a new engine.

This multi-year engine technology project had the design goal of enhancing smooth and linear engine characteristics, in line with the Vector and Venture models it would be used in. Yamaha also wanted to offer engine characteristic variability for different users on the same machine (think rentals and families).

So while this engine keeps the same general dimensions and displacement of the previous 1049cc Vector engine, it features a new crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods, along with optimized casting shapes and materials, PLUS it gets new electronic technology in the form of a Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle (YCCT) and D-MODE.

Yamaha Chip-Controlled Throttle (YCCT) and D-MODE are two paired electronic engine management systems. YCCT manages air flow. It senses and processes throttle lever position and uses a servo motor to achieve optimum throttle valve opening for conditions. This is basically a drive-by-wire technology that replaces the old-style steel throttle cable and replaces it with a rheostat on the throttle level that electronically senses the throttle position, sends this data to the sled’s computer and it in turn electronically opens the throttle bodies a specified amount, based on a host of variables and settings.

D-MODE manages fuel flow. It pulls data from throttle position, throttle valve opening and engine RPM to deliver the correct amount of fuel injection. A user can select from 3 different modes to suit his or her preferences; there is Sport (S) mode, Touring (T) mode and Entry (E) mode. The active mode is displayed on the sled’s LCD display (just to the right of the speed indicator) as one of these three letters.

Sport mode is designed for sporty riding enjoyment, bringing out maximum performance from the engine for a strong and direct feeling of acceleration from low speeds and up. This is going to be very similar to the standard performance mapping that we would be used to.

Touring mode provides smooth power in the low- and mid-ranges, and full enjoyment of the engine’s performance in the high-speed range. Particularly, in the mid-speed range that is important in touring and other longer runs, the engine character is set to provide an enjoyable feel to the ride that reduces fatigue, while also achieving good fuel efficiency. This mode could best be described as being not as jumpy, and “stretching” the throttle response.

Entry mode settings prevent sudden strong responses from the engine, while also limiting vehicle speed in order to ensure comfortable, low-stress touring. It also reduces fuel consumption. Even if you stab the throttle, this mode will keep the engine response smooth and predictable, making it perfect for novice riders. This mode tends to make the throttle feel like it has a rubber-band for a throttle cable instead of a steel cable. The response is mellowed, and top speed is reduced slightly, but not regulated down to 25 or 45 mph like the Ski-Doo ACE 600/900s.

Regardless of the mode selected, the rider will instantly notice a much lighter throttle pull. The mode can not be changed on the fly, only at start up, and the sled will re-start in the mode that it was turned off in.

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