2016 Yamaha Apex XTX 146”
2016 Yamaha SR Viper S-TX DX 137”
2016 Yamaha 1049cc Engine
2016 Yamaha SRV-M Front Suspension
2016 Yamaha Lightweight SingleShot Rear Suspension
2016 Yamaha SR Viper MTX 153” & 162”
Out of all the snowmobile manufacturers, Yamaha was the one we really didn’t know what to expect to see for model year 2016. We can tell you that our 2015 Yamaha long term test sleds are working better for us than our 2014s did. This would be year three of their mutual supply agreement with Arctic Cat, so it was logical to see refinement of their popular SR Viper models, but would we see any new models along those lines? Would there be any different engines? Would there be any changes anywhere else in their line-up? We just didn’t know what to expect.
So when we caught wind that Yamaha was coming with three major technology projects for 2016 across twenty models, including fifteen new models and twelve improved models, we about fell over. Fifteen new models? Believe it!
Maybe even more surprising is the fact some of these new models are Japan-built Apex and Vector sleds. To that end, Yamaha is introducing an all-new rear suspension in the 129” and 146” track lengths called the “SingleShot” rear suspension fitted with a single Fox FLOAT 3 XV shock. This new skid frame continues the theme of a single shock with a simpler and lighter design. The 129” is ten pounds lighter, and the 146” is nine pounds lighter (than the previous 144”/137” skid). These suspensions are only found in Apex and RS Vector models for 2016. Now you can get an Apex (or RS Vector) X-TX with a 146” SingleShot with your choice of a 1.25” or 1.75” lug height. Apex and RS Vector short track models are now 129” track lengths, all with the SingleShot.
SnowTech test riders have already been on sleds fitted with these new rear suspensions and they are working very well. Our riders felt they were the best performing versions of these sleds to date, fun to ride with improved ride comfort and decent bump capability, considering these are trail sleds and not calibrated or intended for all-out cross-country applications. They definitely handled the bumps better than previous models. Most notable was how the machines slotted through the corners with excellent transfer and pitch control keeping the skis flat and in contact with the snow.
Adding more newness to the RS Vector and RS Venture models we now find a new version of the popular 1049cc “Vector” engine, the three-cylinder four-stroke. The new engine keeps the same general dimensions and displacement of the Vector engine but 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.
YCCT and D-MODE are two paired electronic engine management systems. This is basically a drive-by-wire technology that replaces the old-style steel throttle cable. The 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.
SnowTech test riders also sampled sleds with this new engine, and were able to experience the three modes of operation. Most notable was the much lighter throttle pull and a more responsive engine in the Sport mode. While you cannot change modes on the fly, the sled will restart in the mode it was turned off in. Similar to the electronic throttle control system found on the Ski-Doo ACE models, it opens up various possibilities where you get different kinds of throttle response for different riders.
Two new sleds you want to pay attention to are the SR Viper S-TX DX 137” and 146”. Both of these are going after the Adventure slice of the crossover segment, and the 137” is fitted with a Cobra 1.6” lug track (cheers!). 146” version gets a 1.25” Ripsaw II and has a 4 gallon auxiliary fuel tank in the rear for extended range that allows you to skip some fuel stations, and the trunk is large enough to take the kitchen sink with you. They were also equipped with a heated trail seat, nice for those cold days. This is in contrast to the 141” S-TX of 2015, fitted with the air shock instead of the torsion spring rear suspension on the 2016s.
Yamaha has again spent much effort working on their mountain sleds, evidenced by new mountain skis and a new front suspension design called the SRV-M. Yamaha had a great year out west with their M-TX sleds this past season, and they tell us the SRV-M front suspension is the last step in making the M-TX models the real deal when it comes to a truly capable deep snow 4-stroke mountain sleds. The narrower front end and redesigned spindles allow you to tip up easier and really get into a sidehill with less drag. 36” versions have no sway bar and shorter shocks, taking away from trail manners but really letting it work in the powder.
Another new model is a 141” SR Viper MTX, something riders were asking for. This is more of an Assault/HCR/Freeride style sled, fitted with a 40” stance and sway bar, replacing what used to be the SR Viper XTX LE from 2015. There’s also an M-TX 162” with coil-over shocks up front instead of FLOATs, another one riders have been asking for.
Spring Power Surge buyers will also be able to get a Yamaha Performance Damper for their SR Viper sleds for the first time, previously only offered on the Japan-built models. Spring-only LE models have unique color and feature packages, giving buyers even more incentive to get in on the early buy programs. There are nine different Limited Edition sleds to choose from. Most notable is the 3-position clicker Fox shock package on the SR Viper L-TX LE, and Fox EVOL shocks on many others, along with heated seats – even for the mountain sleds!
Make no mistake, Yamaha is in this for the long haul. The fact they are coming with new technology investments for 2016 is proof positive, and backs up their earlier claims of continuing to come with new models and technology each and every year.
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