Entering the utility segment, Yamaha is asserting itself with the Transporter 600. Many wanted a brand new two-stroke engine from the Japanese company; an engine that once made the reputation of the manufacturer. Some people are probably disappointed to see that the engine of the Transporter 600 is actually the result of the manufacturer of another brand.
And yet, the machine offered by Yamaha still lives up to the expectations for which it was built. The utility touring vehicle is very well suited for Quebec. The remote chalet owner should be pleased with the functional advantages offered by the entire machine. The small 125-horsepower engine has plenty of power to haul this seemingly rather sturdy machine. In fact, I firmly believe that this is not only the most powerful 600 engine but also the strongest 2-stroke engine on the market today. Although the C-TEC 600s (Arctic Cat version) tested in the past have proven to be somewhat fuel-hungry for sporty driving, the type of user of the Transporter should be able to enjoy reduced fuel consumption as the vehicle should be used in a Utility or Touring context. Oil consumption is minimal, i.e. 800 km to 950 km for a full reserve. Once again, the layout of this mill and pulleys Team goes very well and requires very little maintenance. The user will not feel like they’re being transported by a 600 cc, although the 15” x 153” x 2.25” Power Track looks huge. Standard equipment includes an electric and manual start, a convenient 12-volt outlet, a sturdy rear equipment rack, a large 52-litre fuel tank and a windshield suitable for this type of snowmobile. In addition, the Transporter is equipped with the rear track hinge system. This feature is very useful for this type of utility vehicle.
What about the driving experience and performance of the Transporter? It was in the aftermath of a storm, leaving more than 45 cm of powdery snow that our collaborators found out.
From the outset, the vehicle handles well in very deep snow, but once underway, the ride remains stable and maneuverable. The small 600 cc is surprisingly powerful enough to propel the machine as if it were an 800 cc. The clutch system is precise so that there is little or no lag in the recoveries. The top speed is excellent for a utility Touring vehicle. The Transporter was tested in a short-term trial context of about 150 km, in difficult winter conditions where it was easy to get stuck. In fact, all of the vehicles tested that day got stuck. The only negative point found for this model was when it was time to stop the machine in deep snow. As a matter of fact, the Transporter requires special attention so that the total stop location must be provided to leave the front of the machine flat or at least in a slightly sloping position. The 2.25” heel track combined with the flap rear suspension is very useful for both forward and reverse travel. The mountain skates are precise and can even execute tight 360° turns. I enjoyed the comfort of the seat as well as the driving position, both sitting and standing.
All in all, we believe that the Transporter is an excellent addition to Yamaha. The vehicle should satisfy and fulfil all the functions of a real Touring utility vehicle. Having personally ridden the C-TEC 600 in another long-term trial context, I feel that Yamaha responded to a growing market demand by combining a quality engine with an improved and adapted chassis. I would like to thank Yamaha Canada, P. Labonté & Fils of Mont-Joli and Domaine Lac St-Mathieu (St-Mathieu-de-Rioux) for allowing our testing activities to take place.