Even though the winter of 2023 has been a long time coming, we can still enjoy our favorite activity. Mother Nature has been capricious this season, but the snow cover was finally sufficient to cover our entire playground.
As for us, we received the delivery of our 2023 Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX GT a little late. We have to be honest; we were a bit impatient to put this trail beast to the test.
The Sidewinder name is synonymous with envy among snowmobile enthusiasts. It also commands respect with its high-performance turbocharged engine which has made it famous since its introduction in 2017.
My 1sr Ride:
To give you some context, when we took possession of this Sidewinder, we were experiencing the 2 coldest days of the winter of 2023. The thermometer was reading below -30 degrees Celsius. What better way to destroy a myth that circulates about Yamaha snowmobiles regarding their difficulty starting in very cold weather? However, despite a bit of a rough start, our test snowmobile did very well despite feelings of -41. So, the first test passed and it put the doubt we had in the closet.
On the trails, I found that it did wonderfully on hard snow and I must admit that it even exceeded my expectations. Its overall configuration shined in this very chilly environment in hard-packed snow conditions. Its high windshield was also a great help to counteract the Siberian cold. To tell you the truth, I was ecstatic and my face was smiling with satisfaction.
Quickly… I have to go for a ride again…
As we all know, winter is a constant yo-yo and temperature variations from one day to the next are a daily reality. A few friends and I had planned a ride that would end up at the Relais de la Station in St-Séverin-de-Proulxville. If you have never been there, I strongly recommend it, because it is a must in the Mauricie region.
This day was in stark contrast to the previous days, as the temperature this time was close to freezing. In fact, it was the most perfect day as we like them so much. The sun was blazing and the sky was almost immaculately blue.
The trails to get to our favorite spot were mostly long straight lines in an environment of large market gardens. What better way to exploit what this Sidewinder had in its belly? Everything was going well until…
An Alarm Message on the Screen!
At one point, my excitement of the moment was quickly dampened when I saw an alarm message indicating SD 26. I quickly stopped the snowmobile to do some routine checks. Since I was at the back of our group, I was getting snow from the snowmobiles ahead of me. We noticed ice piled up on the front of the snowmobile. It matched exactly with the inlet of the turbocharger intercooler. Was the cooling not working properly?
I made a call to a local Yamaha dealer and finally assumed that there was simply moisture in the piping leading to the turbo. I should mention that the snowmobile was not in protection mode and I was enjoying full power. Having deduced that this error message would have no serious consequences on the mechanics of the vehicle, I decided to continue my adventure while keeping an eye on this possibly problematic aspect.
Autonomy to be Reviewed!
There’s no doubt that this beast has a very powerful engine that requires a lot of fuel to power it. I won’t go into precise figures, but remember that saving money at the pump should not be a priority for the owner of a Yamaha snowmobile powered by this 998cc turbo engine developing 200 HP.
The fuel tank capacity is only 33.6 liters (8.9 gallons). This is simply not enough for this snowmobile! The range suffers quite a bit and it adds to the stress of having to plan frequent stops at gas stations. I don’t think it bothers me too much to spend a lot of money on fuel when we have a high-performance machine that gives a great feeling. However, the range should be reviewed on this one among others.
For comparison, the Sidewinder S-TX GT (2-seat touring) has an auxiliary tank with a total capacity of 50 litres (13 gallons). The latter certainly offers more frequent stops and fewer headaches. Nevertheless, the designers should rethink the capacity of the regular Sidewinder models.
A very Appreciable Comfort!
We are noticing a trend in the configuration of the new solo snowmobiles, with very short seats. In the case of the Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX GT 2023, the seat is long and very comfortable. It has nothing to envy any manufacturer in this regard.
Moreover, it offers the possibility, by the simple use of a switch HI/LO, to grant additional comfort by heat to our buttocks. To be honest, its effectiveness is beyond what was previously offered to me and even in a LOW position, it was sometimes difficult to bear so much its effectiveness is lightning.
The high windshield on my tester also offers excellent protection and visibility. The optional mirrors, which were installed by the Desjardins Marine team in Sainte-Adèle, are positioned at exactly the right height. Moreover, they don’t vibrate, allowing me to see my fellow passengers.
All the controls on the handlebars are very well-positioned and easy to use. The switching of the different heat levels of the grips and the heated thumb is done by the left thumb and is visually accessible through the digital dial.
The only point that is lacking concerning driving ergonomics is the annoying way my knees are in contact with the side panels. It’s a point that annoys me and takes away from the overall ride quality. At least, pads would have been appreciated to preserve the integrity of my kneecaps.
Conclusion of my First Impressions of the 2023 Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX GT Snowmobile
In conclusion, this is only my first impression of this 2023 Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX GT snowmobile. At the end of the season, I will give you a more exhaustive and complete review. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Yamaha Canada who went out of their way to allow us to test this snowmobile on a long-term basis.