Yamaha has learned that riders are looking for a sled that gives them the ability to be a good rider wherever they go. Maybe it is on a groomed trail. Maybe it is through a foot of fresh snow. Maybe it is in even deeper snow off trail. The secret to having a sled that can do it all well, within reason, is a combination of both track length for flotation and track lug height for moving the snow, propelling the vehicle forward. Yamaha has also learned that with the inherent added weight of their durability-superior engines that having a longer tracked sled also balances out the extra engine mass, resulting in a better balanced sled that masks the engine mass very well.
So while Arctic Cat has pretty much closed the book on their 141” sleds (except for the XF High Country) Yamaha continues to offer their popular SR Viper X-TX SE in the 141” track length with the Cobra 1.6” lug height. This track has emerged as one of the most capable 50/50 crossover tracks as it is very capable in loose or fresh snow, but with enough lug flex that is hooks up well on packed trails and can be ridden hard and provide excellent performance there, as well. That is the trick, as most tracks that work well off trail do not work well on packed trails. The Cobra 1.6” gives us the broadest range of capability. We are speaking from thousands of miles of experience over the past several years with this track. We know how good it is, first hand. Yes, it is a softer lug that does wear faster, but it works better across a wider range of snow conditions. Not as good as a 1.75” off trail, but far better on trail. Not as good as a 1.5” on trail, but far better off trail. Think of it like a set of all-season tires, works good across a wider range of conditions.
It is interesting that Yamaha has torsion spring 137” L-TX models, then the 141” X-TX air shock models, along with the 137” and 146” S-TX models, all powered by the exact same SR Viper 3-cylinder 4-stroke. Make no mistake, this is a different beast from the 137” track length LTX models. The rear suspension itself is where most of the difference is found, fitted with a Fox FLOAT 3 airspring shock for lighter weight and better resistance to bottoming than the torsion-spring equipped SR 137” suspension. On the 141” the shock and spring are moving at the same motion ratio, where on a 137” the spring and shock are moving at different motion ratios. By this virtue, the 141” is not going to be as smooth on the little bumps motoring down a groomed trail, but it is going to be more capable in the bigger bumps riding harder, and it isn’t going to bottom anywhere near as easily with the air spring. Thus, the 141” is also better suited for more aggressive riders or those catching air on occasion that need to control the landings.
The 141” suspension actually works better than it did a few years ago, with the revised bleed shim valving starting in 2015, found in all three of the Fox FLOAT 3 shocks (rear and front). This bleed shim valving works incredibly well and really took away some of the firmness that the 141” was known for, making it perform even better on the trail and through the chop. That said, if you do more riding on groomed trails then you’d be better suited with the 137” L-TX simply due to the better handling and smoother ride quality. If you do equal amounts of on and off trail then the 137” S-TX would be a better match. If you do more off trail than on trail then we would steer you into the X-TX. We are kind of splitting hairs here, as all of them are going to work very well in most conditions, but there are these functional differences from the different features that should be considered.
We know from experience that the even longer track length that gives you incredible versatility with added flotation, better weight distribution, all in a high performance package that just begs to be ridden hard. Fox FLOAT shocks give you that added capability with their rising rate air spring that is extremely difficult to bottom out hard. As the air spring shock compresses, the spring rate rises exponentially so it takes a huge amount of force to fully compress the shock, and reach the point of bottoming. This is why this rear suspension is better suited for the more aggressive rider, and those catching air. In any 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 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.
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.
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.
Add it all up and we have one of the most impressive 4-stroke 50-/50 crossover sleds Yamaha has ever offered. The added length brings so many benefits to the table, and the resulting versatility in such a wide range of conditions must be sampled to be appreciated. SnowTech test riders believe this sled will exceed your expectations.
The 2017 Yamaha SR Viper X-TX SE retails for $13,499 and comes in White/Yamaha Blue coloration.
From the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of SnowTech Magazine (December 2016)