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WHAT'S YAMAHA'S NEXT 2-STROKE STEP?

WHAT'S YAMAHA'S NEXT 2-STROKE STEP?

Hmm, that's a tricky question. Just to be clear, we'll phrase it another way: "Will Yamaha offer more 800 2-strokes in other categories?"

There. That says it better. Our best answer is this: It depends.

It really depends on how Yamaha customers adapt to the 2021 800 2-stroke mountain sleds already in the stable. If sales are good, we're certain the company will smell blood and start the ball rolling toward offering other 2-stroke models - Trail sleds, Crossovers, FreeStylers, to be exact.

If sales do not meet expectations, there could be a "Full Stop" put on the possibility of more 2-stroke X-TX models or maybe B-TX 800s.

Hey, what am I talking about? Just slipped those in and wasn't sure you'd notice.

An X-TX 800 could be based on Cat's baseline RIOT using a dual rail skid and the trail front end assembly found on the SnoPro. With it's QS-3 shocks, plush, uncoupled 146-inch skid and a 1.6-inch track this is a really good sled both on-trail and off, and is perfect for comparisons to Polaris' Switchback Assault. It's a true crossover sled.

Maybe the B-TX 800 would scoop some attention in the harder-core FreeStyle market. This sled would mirror the RIOT X and use the single rail skidframe along with softer spring and shock calibration (compared to a mountain sled), the skinny spindle mountain front end and a 2.5-inch or deeper track.

Yes, unfortunately, these sleds would likely be exact copies of Arctic Cats. Clutches, bodywork, ergonomics - everything the same. Insert upside-down smiley face here.

It looks like Yamaha is pretty much on course to fill showrooms with models that are technically the same as Arctic Cats except for paint and graphics.

Somewhere in the corporate world a decision has been made along these lines and it looks like that's what Yamaha customers are going to be dealing with.

The upside is, these sleds are really good snowmobiles and feature very cutting-edge technology – besides looking fantastic in Yamaha blue.

It's fun to let the imagination go wild about this, but everything hinges on the success of the new M-TX 2-stroke mountain program.

Keep in mind, if Yamaha only sells two 800 mountain sleds this year, that will be two more mountain sleds than it sold last year. The sales numbers don't need to be stratospheric, but they do get Yamaha into a market it hasn't been competing in for a while.

Come to think of it, using the 800 2-stroke in any market puts Yamaha into a category it hasn't been competing in.

Sounds like a win-win!