Over the past three years, Yamaha has adopted a strategy to minimize non-current snowmobile inventories. With the arrival of the Covid-19 and its more than positive impact on snowmobile sales, we can now say that this mission has been accomplished. Indeed, finding a new Yamaha snowmobile early last fall was practically impossible.
As a result, Yamaha snowmobile sales jumped by approximately 22% compared to the same period last year. The value of used snowmobiles increased significantly due to the scarcity of supply. Thus, the manufacturer's objectives were achieved.
We can expect a significant, but cautious, increase in snowmobile production in 2022. Dealers' inventories will be revised upwards based on their sales volume in recent years. This is good news for both dealers and Yamaha product enthusiasts, as more units will be on display in showrooms next fall.
The Yamaha 2022 line at a glance
For 2022, the manufacturer removes the Sidewinder B-TX from its range, introduces a two-seater version of the Transporter Lite (400 cc) and adds new "flavors" to the Mountain Max LE 154 and the Sidewinder L-TX and S-TX. Indeed, these models will be equipped with the new technologies that I present in the following lines.
Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
Electronic power steering makes a comeback for certain models in the Yamaha range in 2022. In fact, in 2011, the manufacturer was the first to introduce this technology to the snowmobile industry. Over the years, power-assisted driving has been found on many Apex and Vector models.
This new generation EPS system is three pounds lighter than the previous one. This system detects the torsion induced when the rider turns the handlebars and the resistance exerted by the skis. It then sends a signal to the servo-motor to help the rider in his maneuver. This assistance is gradual according to the speed of the vehicle. At low speeds, it will be greater and will decrease as the snowmobile increases in speed.
When the skis hit an obstacle, the power steering will absorb it, reducing annoying hits on the handlebars. The ride is then more pleasant, easier and less tiring for the driver.
New trail models
Two models are now available with the EPS system, the Sidewinder L-TX GT EPS and the Sidewinder S-TX GT EPS. These models are also equipped with new dual-tension springs at the front and new ski chocks for an improved ride.
Other features of these snowmobiles are the same as the 2021 models they replace in 2022.
Sidewinder SRX LE
Surprisingly, the SRX's technical specifications remain unchanged in 2022. I was surprised that Yamaha didn't install power steering on the SRX. It is true that the driving of the Sidewinder SRX is very precise and the EPS system would probably not add any major benefits to it.
Thus, the changes to the SRX in 2022 are purely esthetic. Yamaha is once again opting for a color other than blue (see 2020 models). Indeed, the colors and graphics are inspired by the 1977 SRX, and it's very successful. A raised, gold badge and the seat embossed with the letters SRX complete the look.
The manufacturer still offers the SRX with a 1-inch track only. While this decision is only to optimize top speed, I believe buyers should be offered the option of a 1.25 inch track.
Sidewinder LTX LE
This model receives a new set of shock absorbers for 2022. It features Fox QS3-R 1.5-inch Kashima front, QS3 1.5-inch Kashima center and QDS3-R 2-inch rear shocks. The hood is painted and a new seat completes the set. The rest of the features remain the same as in 2021.
SR Viper LTX GT
This model, which is probably in its last days on the track, comes back to us practically unchanged. The only technical change is the new dual-tension springs at the front.
Mountain Max 800 LE 154 Super-Lite
The Mountain Max family is growing with the arrival of a lighter model. Basically, the electric starter has been removed, which eliminates about 20 pounds in weight.
In addition, all Mountain Max's are now equipped with a new set of clutch. These are not Yamaha nor TEAM clutch. They have the particularity of allowing the height of the belt in the driven (secondary) clutch to remain optimal as the belt wears. Apart from the clutch change, the changes made to the Mountain Max 154 and 165 are purely aesthetic. Yamaha presents a new model in the 400 cc family, the two-seater Transporter Lite. Although it is a Transporter lite, the two-seater version is not equipped with the same rails. Moreover, these new rails are not articulated like the others. However, they include load blades that can be easily put in place when riding in pairs and deactivated when riding solo. In addition, the two-seater version is also equipped with a stabilizer bar for better control in turns. This model, although utilitarian, should be a good entry-level touring machine. So, I expect it to be popular!
Aside from the change of clutches, the changes to the Mountain Max 154 and 165 are purely cosmetic.
Transporter Lite 2-up
Yamaha presents a new model in the 400 cc family, the two-seater Transporter Lite. Although this is a Transporter lite, the two-seater version does not have the same rails. In addition, these new rails are not articulated like on the others. However, they include charging blades that can be easily set up when riding two people and deactivated when riding solo.
In addition, the two-seater version is also equipped with a swaybar giving better control in the corners. This model, while utility, should be a good entry-level touring car. So I expect it to be popular!
The popular 800 Transporter is back with the same set of new clutch as the Mountain Max. It is also equipped with a new medium size tinted windshield. The rest of the changes to this model are in the color and decal.
Order your Yamaha 2022 online
Over the past 12 months, the majority of companies have developed and/or improved their online services. Yamaha is no exception. In fact, from now on, snowmobilers can buy online, choose their dealer and make their deposit on a new Yamaha 2022 snowmobile. This minimizes travel and encounters between people in this time of pandemic.
In closing, even if this launch leaves us again on our hunger, we must understand that the manufacturer preferred to opt for caution when planning its 2022 range. With inventories of new 2021 or earlier models at practically zero, a context where sales growth is unprecedented, Yamaha's people will be more inclined to "open the floodgates" in terms of developing new technologies. If we push the envelope, we can therefore hope to see a new platform and a new engine in the 140-160 hp market as early as 2023.
A 999-cc, two-cylinder engine was introduced to Yamaha's lineup of side-by-side vehicles last September. This one or a variant of it could offer an interesting option if combined with a new chassis… We just have to cross our fingers and hope that Yamaha people have thought about it or read these lines! Who knows?
To learn more about the Yamaha 2022 range, visit your nearest dealer or the manufacturer's website: https://www.yamaha-motor.ca/en/snow/snowmobile.
Happy end of season to all!