In 1978, a few days before Christmas, my father purchased a shiny 1979 Yamaha Enticer 340. That day changed the course of my life because all the time spent behind the helm of that snowmobile gave birth to a passion that has become, nearly 30 years later, my full-time job.
Like many teenagers at the time, I started practicing our sport with the family snowmobile and then, a few years later, bought my first one. Over the years, I have had other sleds, and they have become more and more technologically advanced, but the fun and passion are just as intense.
Last spring, Yamaha introduced a new snowmobile line: the SX Venon, SX Venon Mountain and Transporter Lite. These snowmobiles, equipped with a 397cc engine, are aimed at the adolescent, young adult and/or non-initiated market. With 65 horsepower, a slightly smaller size than full-size models, a less sophisticated suspension and fewer gadgets, these snowmobiles are decidedly less intimidating for the uninitiated.
One of the main challenges for the players in the snowmobile industry is to attract new riders. Until now, Yamaha has offered models for children or young teenagers, and there was a “void” in the line-up when making the jump to full-size snowmobiles. It’s this void that this new family of snowmobiles fills.
Right from the first morning of testing at the Snowshoot last February, I was able to try out the SX Venon. I was impressed by this snowmobile, and our team members were literally tearing it apart because of the fun it offered its driver.
Both fairly high performance and easy to drive, it’s fun to ride. Of course, one should not expect the Sidewinder’s performance, but the 65 HP allows you to reach and exceed Quebec’s trails’ maximum speed. The suspension is basic, and I wish Yamaha had added gas shocks to improve comfort. For me, driving this snowmobile allowed me to return to basics and strangely enough, I rediscovered the pleasure of riding a snowmobile, and this without any frills.
For a person who wants to learn how to ride a snowmobile on trails, the SX Venon is an excellent choice. Whether it is a teenager, a young adult, or any other uninitiated person, they will be able to discover the pleasures of riding a snowmobile effectively.
I took full advantage of the time I was able to spend at the helm of this model. For the pleasure that the SX Venon gave me, I am adding it to my candidates for my Yamaha favorites.
Here is the context… My group has been gone for about 40 minutes when I can finally leave to join them. I arrive at the place where the snowmobiles we have reserved are parked. There’s only one left, and it’s the Sidewinder SRX that’s waiting for me. Needless to say, I thanked my colleagues when I joined them.
As you can guess, I really got to try out the SRX from every angle. With more than 200 HP, there’s no need to talk long about the engine. You press the accelerator, and off you go. The pulleys work very well, and the starts, accelerations and recoveries are smooth. The handling of this snowmobile is very impressive, and the new Stryker skis are no stranger to improving the SRX at this level. Driving is lighter and requires less effort on the driver’s part.
The iQS adjustable suspension allows you to change the firmness of the shocks while riding quickly. You can see the difference between each of the modes. The lowered position of the SRX keeps the center of gravity lower and keeps the snowmobile in the desired trajectory in tight turns. The ergonomic seat design allows easy position changes for the driver when negotiating a series of tight turns. You press the throttle at the exit of the turns, and a broad smile is stamped on your face as the snowmobile takes off more and more beautifully.
For me, only one element bothers me… It’s regarding the track. I think the manufacturer should offer a track choice of maybe 1.25 inches like its twin, the Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Thundercat. For the rest, this snowmobile is at the top of the ultra-sporty snowmobiles that come standard with the Thundercat. They are, for the moment, almost untouchable!
You may have guessed that the Sidewinder SRX has been added to my list of candidates.
Another new model I particularly liked during our tests was the Transporter 800. I say “new” because it replaces last year’s 600cc version. Although the Transporter 600 is a good snowmobile, it lacked a bit of punch and the 800cc engine addresses this shortcoming. The Transporter 800 is an all-purpose snowmobile. As a matter of fact, it can be used for work on the farm, at the cottage or on a wood-lot. You can then go for a ride on or off the trails. It is well suited for all these uses and more.
Its 15x153x2.25 in. track offers good flotation and traction in deep snow.
The tunnel’s rear tubular storage area allows you to attach tools or other luggage securely.
In short, the Transporter 800 is very versatile and is well adapted for the Quebec market. It’s therefore added to my list of candidates.
My Favorite 2021 Yamaha
Although all the models on my list could easily be my favorite, I have chosen the Sidewinder SRX. The fact that I could really push it to the limit during the Snowshoot probably explains my choice.
This snowmobile is Yamaha’s top-of-the-line trail snowmobile. It will be difficult for Yamaha engineers to develop a snowmobile that combines the power of its turbocharged engine with its ease of handling and behaviour.