In 2018, Yamaha will celebrate its 50th anniversary of snowmobile manufacturing. Of course, 50 years of existence is a major event for any company, but in the snowmobile industry, it is quite an achievement. Let’s go back in time…
The first model produced by Yamaha is the 1968 SL 350; 300 units have been manufactured and 270 were sent in America (re : Histoire de la Motoneige, Pierre Pellerin, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 2005). During the following years, the Japanese manufacturer expressed his leadership by introducing many technological innovations. For example, right on the second year of production, Yamaha introduced the oil injection system that soon became the standard of the industry.
Yamaha SL 350 1968 (Source : Yamaha Motor Corporation)
Of course, the snowmobile market has really evolved since that period… Effectively, at the end of the 60’s, about 100 snowmobile manufacturers were competing for a share of the market, with a peak in 1971 when almost half a million units have been sold. Times have changed a lot and fortunately for us, snowmobilers, there have been major technological advances since that era. So, for 2018, Yamaha celebrates its half-century in the snowmobile market by presenting a new technology in the industry, by expanding its mountain snowmobile lineup, by introducing a new 2-up touring model and by resuscitating a name from the past to baptize a new snowmobile category. Let’s take a closer look…
Last hurrah for the Apex
During the last 12 years, the Apex has been the flagship model of the Japanese manufacturer. Effectively, it has been during all these years, the most powerful snowmobile with 4-stroke naturally aspirated engine on the market. Over the years, the Apex, despite its more traditional riding position, has aged well because Yamaha brought many technological improvements to it. We only need to think about the Electric Power Steering, the EXUP system (engine), the introduction of the 4-in-1 exhaust, the modifications to the Deltabox chassis, …
Yamaha Apex LE 2018
With the new Sidewinder lineup introduced in 2017, it was obvious that the Apex lifetime was coming to an end. Last year, we were even surprised to see it beside the Sidewinder in the Yamaha lineup. The manufacturer takes advantage of this 50th anniversary year to put an end to the Apex era by making a last “special event”.
Effectively, Yamaha introduces this year a brand new design of front suspension installed on both 2018 Apex models : the YSRR (Yamaha Reactive Suspension System).
This system is designed to reduce the lateral roll of the snowmobile without compromising comfort in bumpy trails. Thus, the YRSS allows the oil of front shocks to be transferred from one side to the other. Without this system, when we negotiate a curve, the pressure on outer ski increases and the snowmobile tends to roll sideways towards outside, thus lifting the inner ski. With the YRSS, the center of gravity of the snowmobile front end is lowered since forces are shared from the outer shock to the inner one. Both skis then remain in contact with the trail.
Yamaha Responsive Suspension System (YRSS)
This system also provides a better absorption of bumps mainly when they are located in curves.
Along with the YRSS system, the Apex is equipped with new Fox Float XV (eXtra Volume) shocks, with performance dampers and of course, with new “50th Anniversary” colors and graphics.
Yamaha Performance Damper
According to Yamaha, the Apex LE and X-XT LE models will be available during Spring Power Surge only and in very limited quantity.
A new 2-up touring model
In 2018, Yamaha introduces the SRVenture DX. It is a new 2-up touring model that takes advantage of the same SRV platform than the Viper models. This is a full-comfort model for both the pilot and the passenger. Among other features, there are the extra tall windshield with built-in mirrors, the heated seat, the hard saddlebags, the cargo box and the auxiliary fuel tank at rear.
Yamaha SR Venture DX 2018
There are independently controlled hand and seat warmers for the passenger who can adjust them as needed for optimal comfort.
Also, the auxiliary fuel tank is directly connected to the fuel system. The combined capacity of both tanks is 53,74 liters.
Storages on the Yamaha SR Venture DX 2018
The SRVenture DX is equipped with the triple Genesis engine of 1049cc renowned for its performances, its fuel economy and its reliability.
The number of 2018 M-TX models is doubled for more choices offered to buyers. Thus, the M-TX are offered in base packages, SE and LE and this, with track of 388,6 cm/153 in. or 411,5 cm/162 in. All SE and LE models are equipped with the Power Claw track of 7,6 cm/3 in. while base models are delivered with the Power Claw track of 6,6 cm/2.6 in.
All M-TX models are now equipped with the 8-tooth track drivers (7 last year) and it has been lowered by 2,54 cm (1 in.) and relocated backward by 1,9 m (3/4 in.). This allows the chassis to receive a track of 7,6 cm/3 in. Also, this reduces the angle of attack of the track, thus allowing the snowmobile to climb more easily on top of snow.
The running boards are also narrower by 2,54 cm/1 in. for easier maneuvers in deep snow.
The LE, SE and base models are different by their colors/graphics and shocks. Effectively, the LE models are equipped with the Fox Float QS3 at front and at rear. The shock at rear of the skid is a Fox Float QSL equipped with a lock-out circuit for extreme climbing.
The SE models are equipped with Fox Float 3 shocks at front. The rear suspension combines a HPG shock of 3,8 cm/1.5 in. in the middle with a Fox Float 3 shock.
Finally, the M-TX base models are equipped with HPG shocks of 3,8 cm/1.5 in.
The M-TX LE edition of 411,5 cm/162 in. is offered with the special 50th Anniversary styling.
Return of the SnoScoot
Among the mythical models launched by Yamaha over the years, the SnoScoot is without doubt one that brings back lots of memories and stories to those who had piloted it. So, it is no coincidence that Yamaha has decided to resuscitate the name SnoScoot exactly when they celebrate their 50th anniversary in the snowmobile industry.
Meant as an alternative to youngsters aged 6 to 12 who want to discover the wonders of snowmobiling, Yamaha introduces a vehicle designed to meet standards to be recognized as a real snowmobile. Headlight, brake light, … It has everything! However, for the Québec market, to comply with the Act respecting off-highway vehicles, the manufacturer will have to add an odometer. Maybe next year?
Another obstacle to its use in the Province of Québec is that to pilot a snowmobile, you must be at least 16 years old. For most teenagers of that age, the SnoScoot is probably too small and they will be more attracted by a “full-size” snowmobile.
Even if this snowmobile is not ready for the Québec market, we applaud this nice initiative from the manufacturer because it is meant to attract the next generation of snowmobilers.
And now ?
During the coming weeks, we invite you to read the articles to be published here about our first impressions following our trials of these 2018 Yamaha models in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Have a great end of season!