Introduced as an accessory kit last winter, Yamaha has smartly made their dual keel dual runner skis as standard issue on a number of their FX Nytro models for 2013. We were so impressed with this new ski last season that we need to make sure each and every Yamaha owner knows about them, especially since Yamaha is offering them at such an incredibly low price.
These new skis were definitely one of the more impressive things we tested last winter. Officially the new dual-runner skis are called “Tuner Dual Runner Skis” and they work so good that we are stoked to see Yamaha has decided to add them as standard issue to many of their 2013 FX Nytro models. In fact, we’re now of the opinion owners of all 4-stroke Yamahas used primarily for groomed trail riding should consider installing a set, especially the non-power steering sleds all the way back to 2003 (RX-1). While they work just fine on the newer Apex and RS Vector models with EPS power steering, the improvement and benefit is most profound and appreciated on the models without power steering.
They made a significant difference in the handling behavior of the 4-stroke sleds going down the trail, but the FX Nytro was the current model series that benefits the most. The twitchy, nervousness that one can get when you let off the throttle on the Nytro is greatly reduced, and your confidence level riding this sled is way better. If you own a FX Nytro, you want a set of these skis, period. And yes, they also work on the Phazer models as well, but we have not tried them on a Phazer ourselves.
Maybe the best part is the great pricing on the Tuner skis, they are really inexpensive – $69.95 each! That’s under $140 for a pair of new skis! OK, you need some runners as well, but if you’ve ever bought a pair of skis you quickly see how inexpensive this is. The biggest question, or where many riders screw things up is when it comes to which combination of carbide runners to install.
For those not familiar with these new skis, they are a dual-keel dual-runner ski that reduces darting and steering effort, but enhances the handling and overall control of the sled. The two keels and two runners are pretty much centered in the middle of the ski bottom, with keels that are 20mm wide at their base. The key is the ability to run various combinations of runners, ranging from round 9mm runners with no carbide to square 11mm square runners with 6” of carbide. There are also round 11mm runners with 4” of carbide and 9mm round runners with 2” of carbide. This gives us many different combinations of aggressiveness that lets each and every rider tune their skis to the level of control, steering effort, pushing, ski lift and darting reduction they want.
Some riders who bought these skis started out with way too much carbide, or way too aggressive in their runner combination selection. This is very important – trail riders should start out with the round 9mm NO CARBIDE runners on the outside position and the round 9mm runners with 2” of carbide on the inside position. Many hours of testing and calibration went into these skis, and they will surprise the crap out of you. This combination actually provides what most trail riders are looking for.
If you want just a slight bit more bite for more aggressive riding, remove the 9mm runners with 2” of carbide from the inside position and install the 11mm round runners with 4” of carbide – trust us – and you will be pleased with the incremental improvement. Most everyone that went more aggressive than this combination came back down. They figure since they run single runners with 6” of carbide that no way would the sled work with only 2” of carbide on each ski. They forget that with two runners per ski you are going to have a lot of bite just from the runners alone.
Now of course if you have a fully studded sled with awesome bite in the rear, then you might be the candidate for sticking with a traditional single-runner ski as you are going to be less concerned with darting and steering effort and more concerned with ultra-precise cornering capability. You can still use the dual keel dual runner skis and go further up the chart on runner combination, but you are not the target rider this ski is ideal for.
Considering the low cost of these skis, we don’t want to hear anyone complaining about how their Yamaha handles unless they have tried these new skis and runners. It’s a case of “problem solved” at a modest expense. $140 for the skis, $41.95 for the round no-carbide runners and $54.95 for the round 2” carbide runners, or $59.95 for the square 4” carbide runners and you are still under $250 for a new set of skis and runners. This is outstanding! Once you ride one so equipped, you will know what we’re talking about. It is impressive, and so simple that you wonder why it took so long.
Originally published in SnowTech Magazine’s print version. SnowTech is published 5 times a year and is available as a subscription here, or available on your local newsstand.