What we have here my friends could perhaps be best described as the pick-up truck of snowmobiling. Or, maybe we should call it the Ford Raptor of snowmobiling. The new-for-2016 Yamaha S-TX 146” DX takes sport touring sleds into new territory with even more fuel capacity, more range, more cargo capacity and an even longer track length that gives you incredible versatility with added ride quality, added flotation, better weight distribution, all in a high performance package that just begs to be ridden hard.
Back when Yamaha first came out with their first high performance 4-stroke, the 2003 RX-1, it was a 121” track length sled. Even with all of the high performance attributes of the wicked 4-stroke engine, all of the reliability, durability, fuel economy and consistent performance, the sled was too short. The 121” track length just wasn’t enough to properly hook up all of that torque, it wasn’t long enough to balance out the added mass of the 4-stroke engine.
We tell you this to help demonstrate the difference you will feel and the benefit you will realize when you hop on the new 146” track length SR Viper S-TX 146” DX. This is the longest track length ever offered in a trail sled, and the funny thing is Yamaha now offers this length not only in an SR Viper but also in RS Vector and Apex versions as well. In every case, the added length spreads out the vehicle mass and gives us a better balanced machine, one that diminishes the added mass of the engine, one that gives the motor enough track to properly hook up with the killer torque band, and face it, it gives us the all-around performance that better suits the typical 4-stroke rider – one that wants the best durability and reliability for thousands of miles.
The key difference between this sled and the other SR Vipers is the new Dual Shock SR 146 Rear Suspension. Based off the proven design of the SR 141 suspension, the Dual Shock SR 146 offers enhanced flotation and comfort thanks to its longer length and comfort tuned torsion springs and high pressure gas shocks at both front and rear arms. The lightweight suspension serves up excellent flotation off-trail but is primarily designed for on-trail duties with superior traction for exceptional acceleration and braking performance along with impressive bump absorption across a wide range of trail conditions, from freshly groomed to trail chatter to larger bumps and unpredictable terrain. We’re telling you, the ride comfort and capability is amazing with this arrangement.
Traction duty is provided by a 146” x 15” x 1.25” RipSaw II track. The super-durable Rip Saw II track is regarded as one of the most durable and best high-performance tracks available. The 1.25” lug height and design of the RipSaw II delivers incredible acceleration, braking control, and handling in a wide variety of conditions, while helping to keep the skis on the ground through the corners.
Another unique feature is the new Auxiliary Rear Fuel Tank and Storage Compartment. This is the ultimate solo long distance touring machine for riders who rack up the big miles. The main fuel tank holds about 10+ gallons, and there is an auxiliary fuel tank hidden in the rear cargo hold that houses yet another 4.7 gallons for right about 15 gallons of total fuel capacity. The rear tank is plumbed into the main tank, and it drains first, so you will be able to go further before needing to stop for gas, easily blowing by your riding buddies as they have to stop far earlier than you will. The cavernous trunk enclosure gives you plenty of room to haul whatever suits your fancy and features a quick latch cover to keep gear out of the elements while blending seamlessly with the overall lines of the snowmobile. Its sleek design won’t collect pounds of ice and snow like other cargo options can.
Fitting the long-distance touring and multi-day ride theme is a new Extra Tall Windscreen with Mirrors. The extra tall windshield offers premium protection from the elements and now incorporates mirrors (early photos do not show the mirrors) that effectively gives you a view of your riding partners without having to take your eyes of the trail that lies ahead of you. This is an extremely functional yet stylish windshield that actually deflects the cold wind, while looking stylish and not dorky, like so many functional windshields do.
A standard-issue Heated Trail Seat provides the ultimate in warmth and comfort on even the coldest of winter days. A simple flip of the dash-mounted switch allows you to choose from two settings of warmth allowing you to explore what lies beyond that next curve from sun-up to sundown in complete comfort. On those 200-300+ miles days at below zero temps, even the most hard-core riders will appreciate the warmth that can be saved with this feature.
High Pressure Gas (HPG) Coil-Over Front Shocks with strong 40mm bodies are calibrated to deliver consistent performance and comfort with excellent fade resistance. Plus, the shocks are truly rebuildable, ensuring you season after season of consistent performance with proper maintenance. These shocks are more compliant than the air-spring shocks found on the higher performance models, meaning they are tuned more for long-term comfort than they are ultimate anti-bottoming. Note: some of the early images of the S-TX 146” DX showed the sled with FLOAT 3 air shocks, but this has since been changed to coil-overs to better match the anticipated usage and rider expectations.
The 3-cylinder Genesis 1049cc High Performance Engine is been regarded as one of the industry’s best four-stroke engines, and rightly so. Featuring a sophisticated closed-loop fuel injection system and 4-valves per cylinder, the 1049 Viper engine delivers class-leading horsepower, instant throttle response and a thick torque curve that launches you from corner to corner in a damn hurry. All with great fuel economy and a reputation for bulletproof durability.
Unlike their Arctic Cat cousins, the SR Viper sleds all feature YVXC Clutching with familiar Yamaha-designed and built drive and driven clutches. The YVXC system delivers smooth engagement, instant acceleration, fast reacting backshift, and cool operating temperatures for a long belt life. The YVXC clutch system delivers Yamaha’s hallmark smooth power delivery, responsive engine feel and unmatched quality, and uses all of the Yamaha tuning components that Yamaha owners already have.
A dual-piston Hayes Performance brake caliper applies braking forces directly to the drive shaft and is mated to an oversized, lightweight drilled rotor. The unique radial brake master cylinder helps to deliver consistent “feel” in a wide variety of conditions while the oversized lever delivers greater braking force and feel with reduced effort. The long composite lever helps keep your fingers warmer than aluminum levers, while the length gives you plenty of lever to get your hands on when you need to bring the beast back under control.
One of the secrets to the incredible power delivery of the Yamaha 4-stroke engine is the High Flow Intake and Exhaust System. The forward facing design of the air-box and engine intake system on the Genesis 1049cc engine results in maximum airflow to the engine and no starvation. This ensures maximum power and throttle response. In addition, a high-flow, stainless steel exhaust header is cooled by snow for optimum performance without excessive heat and noise.
Back to the skid frame, Premium High Pressure Gas Shocks are found at both the front and rear arms of the rear suspension – tuned for premium control and comfort with incredible fade resistance. The shocks are also serviceable, allowing your authorized Yamaha dealer to recharge and refresh them for consistent performance season after season.
The over-structure design of the SRV chassis creates a rigid mounting point for the unique 30-degree swept design of the Lightweight SRV front suspension. The “angled” mounting design directs impacts back to the strongest points of the chassis, creating a more stable and predictable ride. Tall, lightweight forged spindles help to deliver an incredibly strong front suspension with controlled camber geometry for stability and light steering effort.
Add it all up and we have one of the most impressive 4-stroke trail sleds Yamaha has ever offered. The added length brings so many benefits to the table, and the resulting ride experience must be sampled to be appreciated. SnowTech test riders believe this sled will be a sleeper as it will exceed expectations and raise the bar of what a 4-stroke Sport Touring sled is capable of. Even the black coloration doesn’t quite give us a hint of what lies inside, looking more like a stealth rocket than a screaming look-at-me machine. Just wait until you are flying down a trail or ditch line and then you will be screaming “look-at-me”!
The 2016 Yamaha SR Viper S-TX 146” DX retails for $13,599 and comes in a Black/Gold coloration, available at Yamaha snowmobile dealers starting in October.
From the November 2015 issue of SnowTech Magazine. (September, 2015)
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