In what could be described as one of the biggest surprises ever in the snowmobile industry, Yamaha has just released details on several new...

In what could be described as one of the biggest surprises ever in the snowmobile industry, Yamaha has just released details on several new RS Viper models for 2014 that are all-new sleds for Yamaha, ranging from 129” short-tracked models to 137” Crossover sleds and a longer 141” deep snow shredder. Each one of them is powered by their now-famous Nytro engine, the three-cylinder rock-solid powerhouse with wicked-fast throttle response and hard-pulling midrange acceleration, boasting nearly 140 horsepower at peak.

Yet what makes the RS Viper models so novel is that they are being assembled right here in the United States, a first for Yamaha and a first for Arctic Cat. Arctic Cat? That’s where the 2014 Yamaha RS Viper models are all being assembled, featuring the Yamaha Nytro four-stroke engine and Yamaha clutches into Arctic Cat Procross (129” & 137” chassis sleds) or Proclimb (141” models).

We’ve got an in-depth report on this mutual supply agreement between the two companies in this issue of SnowTech Magazine, but suffice it to say that Yamaha is supplying Arctic Cat with engines and Arctic Cat is building sleds for Yamaha using their base chassis technology. Now you can buy a Yamaha with their legendary engine and clutching package, but get the ride and handling of an Arctic Cat. Almost a scary combination!

Yamaha is now offering five different versions of the RS Viper for 2014. We still find the familiar Apex and Phazer models, along with the super-popular RS Vector series, with the biggest news here being the addition of a 144” Phazer XTX fitted with a 14 inch wide x 1.5” lug height Freeride track for Crossover duty. With the introduction of the SR Viper series, Yamaha has dropped several of their previous FX Nytro models, but not all of them. We still have the 153” and 162” MTX mountain sleds, an XTX with the 1.75” track and a base FX Nytro.

While Arctic Cat is assembling the SR Viper models for Yamaha, they are not exactly the same as the comparable models from Arctic Cat. The Yamaha versions have different styling, most obviously found in the windshields, hoods and side panels, snow flap and ski tips. Most importantly, we find the Yamaha’s High Performance 3-cylinder 1049cc “Nytro” 4-stroke engine with Yamaha clutches and drive belt. We also find a new intake and exhaust system for this engine and chassis combination, with the exhaust coming out the lower right side instead of exiting back under the seat. The exhaust header, collector and main pipe are still cooled by snow, but there will be far less ice (and weight) build-up. We’re told the new intake and exhaust is actually going to produce more power than before, along with more responsive handling due to the better centralization of mass.

SR Viper
In the “Groomed Trail” segment we find the new Yamaha SR Viper. This one is fitted with a Comfort-tuned Dual Shock SR 129 rear suspension and Fox coil-overs up front, so it is comparable to an Arctic Cat LXR calibration. Being a trail sled the SR Viper is fitted with a more functional mid-height windshield and a heated seat. This sled comes in one color, Black and Red.

This is Yamaha’s premier bump sled for 2014. We could compare it to an Arctic Cat Sno Pro model as the two share similar suspension packages. Yamaha calls this their “Performance-tuned Dual Shock SR 129” rear suspension” with Fox Float 2 shocks up front. Traction is provided by a RipSaw II 1.25” lug track. The RTX SE is offered in two color packages, Racing Blue and White or Vivid Red and Black.

SR Viper LTX
When we see the “LTX” tag on a Yamaha, it means crossover length and the new SR Viper LTX is fitted with a comfort-tuned 137” Dual Shock SR rear suspension. This is a torsion-spring rear with coil-over shocks up front, traction provided by a RipSaw II 1.25” lug height. This would be comparable to an Arctic Cat XF LXR calibration, better suited for trail riding and not as aggressive as the SE versions or a Sno Pro. Here we also find a heated seat and a highly functional yet stylish windshield for trail riders. This is going to be the best ride quality you can find in any of the SR Viper models, combining the torsion spring rear with the sliding front arm mount for superior bump absorption and skis-on-the-ground handling.

This new sled is fitted with a (coupled) performance-tuned Dual Shock SR 137” rear suspension and Fox Float 2 shocks up front, again similar to an Arctic Cat Sno Pro suspension package. If you do a fair amount of standing while riding or just like the more aggressive suspension calibration, this sled is for you. Think of it as a long track RTX. This one is also offered in two color packages, Racing Blue and White or Vivid Red and Black.

The most capable off-trail sled in the new SR Viper series is the 141” track length SR Viper XTX SE. Positioned as a “Crossover” sled, this one is fitted with a Performance-tuned Dual Shock SR 141 rear suspension that is uncoupled, comparable to the Arctic Cat XF models in the 141” track length. Fox Float 2 shocks front and rear, with a coil-over in the center provide the aggressive calibration. The XTX will be fitted with a 1.6” lug height Cobra track, which should make it an outstanding performer both on and off trail (we love the Cobra track). This is the only SR Viper with a fixed front arm mount, as all of the other Vipers have the sliding front arm mount (a.k.a. Slide Action) for better control of ski pressure. The XTX SE is intended for more off-trail duty, and the uncoupled rail gives you some ski lift to get up on top of the snow. Taller handlebars and a center grab bar give you the goods to tear it up.

This article was from the Spring 2013 issue of SnowTech – published in March 2013

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  • Greg F.

    January 15, 2013 #4 Author

    Yamaha has to bring weight down & will. They have done so in their marine outboards where they are as light or lighter than competeing 2 Strokes and outperform the 2 Stroke outboards in most areas. Yamaha will not compromise durability/reliability/resale, however. And, they shouldn’t. That is their reputation. A sled can be too light, too. Remember Polaris’s SnoX sled a few short years ago. It had to be beeded up because it was always breaking. Or the 2008 Doo XP. The current Polaris Pro R is having various issues & some are saying it’s because it’s build is too light. I hope Yamaha keeps the rear exit exhaust. They have a patent on it. It is heavier but sounds so great. A belly pan exhaust will not replicate that sound. 2014 sled news will be out soon & it sounds like a lot of great stuff is coming.

  • Yamahay

    February 14, 2013 #5 Author

    We are hearing here in the great white north that Yamaha bought Arctic Cat’s snowmobile devision. They will be using the Cat chasis with several engine options. Calling it the RS Viper. We will have to wait and see if the rumor is true or they are just trading motor technology for the chasis.

  • Akrider

    February 28, 2013 #6 Author

    Very good, constructive criticism about the Nytro and their other sleds. I will continue to suscribe to your magazine as I like reading the truth about a sled, good or bad. Great article!

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