2018 SIDEWINDER S-TX DX 146

When an OEM intros a new top-of-the-market high performance platform, there’s a sweet spot in the sales window for the sled. In other words, when a new rocket lands, the faithful line up in droves to get a copy, the first year.

Clearly Yamaha does not want the SideWinder to be a here-today-and-gone-tomorrow sales story. The company has invested huge jing (in co-operation with Arctic Cat) to produce the most powerful snowmobile engine in history.

A one-year spike in sales is not going to pay for the development and tooling of the Sidewinder’s engine and driveline. This year Yamaha has upped the availability of the SideWinder to include a new segment – Sport Touring – and the timing may be perfect.

The new Sport Touring SideWinder is called the STX-DX. If you’re like many ultimate performance shoppers, you might confine your search for top performance to a 129 with no windshield, stiff shocks and loud graphics.

Fine, at the price level of a new SideWinder you’re entitled to show off when you pull into Larry’s Burger Pit and Poutine. However, there is a significant number of snowmobilers whose egos remain fully intact arriving on a less gregarious sled on which form follows function. Enter the new STX DX ‘Winder.

The Straight Goods

Get this: The STX-DX’s 146 x 1.25 track may make this SideWinder faster than the top-of-the-line RTX. Why? Traction. Among all the SideWinder variants I’ve ridden the past two seasons, this 146-incher is able to handle the imposing, relentless power of the 998 turbo best (excluding mountain variants).

From initial take-off to screaming past the C-note, the STX DX delivers an arm stretching rush that’s absolutely grin inducing. The best part might be how stealthy the sled presents itself. Coloration and graphics are understated and the jinormous windshield is actually a little humorous – not because it doesn’t look good but because it both looks good and works really well. How about that? You don’t have to freeze to look good.

Those concerned about understeer because of this long sneaker can take a deep breath. The STX-DX’s 146 incher steers predictably, turning-in with authority under virtually all trail conditions. We found the fore/aft weight balance was actually good.

Here’s what I mean: Put 146 inches under a sled with a 600 2-stroke and the predisposition to push might be more noticeable. However, the DX is not a light sled by virtue of that 180-plus-hp turbocharged and intercooled reactor out front. In short, there’s enough ski-pressure to completely erase understeer.

Check out the standard stuff the STX-DX includes: Example: a 4-plus gallon fuel tank, just what’s needed for transcontinental tours. The big turbo can achieve over 120 miles on a fill up.

The option of throwing a 2-up seat on the back means versatility. In this case it may mean purchase justification to your significant other. The other stuff on the STX-DX forms a list as long as your arm. Simply put, the sled is well equipped.

The Sidewinder STX-DX may be my fave ‘Winder this year because it not only provides all the amenities including the best trail ride compliance among all Yamaha sleds, but it also delivers mind-boggling acceleration and top speed.

The ultimate Sidewinder in MY18? Don’t bet against it.

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