Last December 6, the Web portal motoneiges.ca proudly announced a new partnership with snowmobile manufacturer Yamaha. The portal team will test the all new 2005 RS Vector. This article presents the general features of this surprising sled. The articles that follow focus on the suspension, steering, engine, and overall driving experience.
Announcing the RS Vector ER!
And now, a look at the 2005 RS Vector. This four-stroke performance sled is the lightest in the industry—and that’s something to brag about!
The 2005 RS Vector, built on the new RS chassis, is equipped with the new Genesis 120 engine. This three-cylinder, four-stroke, dual overhead cam engine has twelve valves (four per cylinder) and churns out 120 horsepower. With three cylinders, this engine is narrower and more compact than the RX-1’s. The way it is mounted in the chassis lowers the center of gravity, improving its cornering stability.
The front suspension with independent A-arms and shorter spindles for the skis, helps maximize cornering bite.
The new ProActive torsion spring rear suspension offers a multitude of settings to adjust for desired riding style and comfort level. Both the rear spring preload and central shock absorber are adjustable. The rider can also increase or decrease weight transfer to boost acceleration.
Our First Impressions
In our first round of tests we drove about 900 km under widely varying conditions. More than 250 km were off-trail in powder, and 400 km were early in the season on graded trails (unhardened). The remaining tests took place on extremely icy trails.
The suspension was a real gem! No modifications or adjustments were made during this phase of the test. All settings were at “medium.” The sled handled moguls very well and responded quite nicely to rough patches on the trails.
Off trail, the sled delivered very satisfying performance. Some of the tests were carried out on about 60 cm of powder. When the driver shifted all his weight toward the rear, the RS Vector responded perfectly. The 1¼” Rip Saw track and the excellent weight transfer during acceleration played a major part in this performance!
The ride was very aggressive, our test team was pleased to note. The way the sled handled was impressive. On hard surfaces, the RS Vector responded with precision to the slightest movements. On very soft surfaces, the driver had to shift position to negotiate corners smoothly. Some sharp turns caused one of the skis to leave the ground. As mentioned above, no adjustments were made during this first round of tests, so it is likely that this can be corrected before the next tests.
The engine—ah, the engine!!! After completing the breaking-in phase (500 km), we were at last able to taste the full power of the new Genesis 120 engine. Accelerations were nimble and sustained at all speed levels. The engine was very quiet and didn’t cause vibrations, regardless of the throttle setting.
And the overall riding experience was very enjoyable. All the gauges and indicator lights were very easy to see both day and night. The controls on the handlebars were very well placed and allowed the rider to keep both hands on the grips at all times. The driving position was pleasant and comfortable. The meticulous finishing and the attention to detail make the 2005 RS Vector an excellent snowmobile.
Data thus far is not conclusive since the testing conditions weren’t those typically found in winter, especially not for trail riding. Yet they still provide some idea.
We compared the fuel efficiency with another three-cylinder Yamaha—the 1999 Venture 600—and noted a great improvement. Regardless of the conditions encountered, we found the fuel economy to be about 35% better for the RS Vector.
During the first phase of testing (0–550 km), we encountered difficult snow conditions for fuel consumption. Average consumption was 18 MPG. Throughout the remaining phases, trails were overhard, even icy, which is probably ideal for fuel economy. We found consumption under these conditions to be about 22 MPG.
Other fuel consumption tests will be conducted during the snowmobile season, under all types of conditions. We’ll then have a better idea of this sled’s performance.
The next article in this series looks more closely at the suspension’s various settings and features.