Let’s face it, the 2024 vintage at Yamaha will be a year where the status quo is the order of the day. The last 2 years have been difficult in the delivery of its models and they are betting on a conservative strategy. As a result, color changes on the majority of its models sum up the new features for the coming year.
Therefore, there is nothing new for us, the specialized journalists, at this Japanese manufacturer. However, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a model that I really like from Yamaha. The Sidewinder S-TX GT is definitely a safe bet in the 2-up touring snowmobile category.
Is the two-seater snowmobile about to disappear?
Over the past few years, I have noticed a growing number of couples who each own their own snowmobile. It’s a growing trend. I’m certainly not going to complain, as women are taking their place at the helm in the recreational vehicle world. As a result, although I don’t have the statistics in hand, I believe the percentage of passenger-carrying snowmobiles sold is decreasing.
What makes the Yamaha Sidewinder S-TX GT stand out?
In 2017, Yamaha released its first Sidewinder powered by the Genesis 998cc. From that point on, the comparisons were quickly blurred with anything that had been presented before in terms of a hyper-performance engine in a snowmobile.
Presented as developing 180 HP at its launch, this figure was quickly raised to 200 HP by the testers. It made it the undisputed queen of the trails by this 200-horsepower barrier. Since then, it has earned the respect of enthusiasts. Ski-Doo’s answer was long overdue in this category with the introduction of the 900 ACE Turbo R only in 2022 in the legendary Mach Z.
Despite its proven efficiency, this 3-cylinder Genesis engine from Yamaha has had its heyday for ages. Its heavy weight gives it the necessary poise in corners and acceleration that requires you to be on your toes. It’s amazing how much this engine roars even at high rpm.
The great ”LUXURY”
My favorite version of the Sidewinder is the S-TX GT EPS. It is the version that offers the maximum equipment to face hundreds of kilometres daily.
First of all, its two-seater declination allows us to bring a passenger in all comfort.
The space for everyone is more than acceptable and it offers a good clearance to stretch the limbs during the ride. The wide passenger backrest offers a lot of comforts and highly appreciated support for long rides. Also, the heated handles and deflectors are a must for this type of vehicle.
In addition, the heated seat is, in my opinion, the best on the market. I rarely use the HI function because it becomes almost uncomfortable after a few kilometres The LOW setting is the most frequently used, although I do have to use the offsetting occasionally. The only recommendation I would like to make on this subject is the positioning of the switch. In the future, for safety reasons and to prevent taking your left hand off the handle, I would like to have the switch installed on the handlebars.
Secondly, the electronic variable power steering offers just enough assistance without being excessive. I sometimes forget about its assistance when riding on a trail until I stop for a moment to notice its ease and agility in tackling a series of curves. It’s really too easy to be carried away by so much power and a ride that almost takes you to heaven.
Its auxiliary fuel tank gives it greater autonomy. Combined, the two tanks add up to 50 litres of fuel for a longer range. However, you have to be aware that this gluttonous engine will quickly exhaust the capacity of these tanks. It is important to keep in mind that refuelling must be done frequently.
Protection against the cold
The pilot of this luxury Sidewinder is very well protected from the frontal cold by a high windshield. The deflection is perfect and we did not feel any vibration in the helmet. This aspect is a point in favor of this snowmobile and it greatly reduces the fatigue factor during long rides.
It’s possible to go on a trip for a few days!
The Sidewinder S-TX GT EPS 2024 comes standard with 3 rear storage compartments to carry everything you need for a few days of riding. In addition, the 2 side cases are removable for easy removal and transport to a hotel, lodge or cabin.
Nevertheless, for our part, we hope that this was just an isolated event. One side case came off on the trail and we couldn’t get it back on during our test drive in Montana. However, we had just taken possession of the snowmobile. The Yamaha people there took care of this inconvenience and we continued on our way. The moral of the story is to make sure the cases are securely fastened before departure in case they show signs of failure.
A simple suspension adjustment
I love the FOX QS3 shocks; as luck would have it, this Sidewinder has one. It offers the ability to choose the perfect adjustment for the terrain with its 3-position selector. This is done in seconds and drastically changes the ride and absorption of trail imperfections.
My biggest wish:
In the very near future, I fervently wish Yamaha would look at designing and replacing their digital dials. While they provide all the necessary information in a clear and precise manner, we are far behind the competition in this regard. An update is necessary and it’s urgent! This is a subject that keeps coming up in discussions and it is embarrassing for a manufacturer of this size.
In conclusion, without being perfect in my eyes, I sincerely believe that the Yamaha Sidewinder S-TX GT EPS has all the assets to please. Moreover, its blue color scheme for 2024 gives us no doubt about its origins. It’s a sure bet for nature lovers who want to ride as a couple!