The intro of more Yamaha branded, 2-stroke sleds built in Thief River Falls, Minnesota has deep and far-reaching implications. From our vantage point, we think all those options are good!
Less than five years ago the thought of Yamaha allowing its world-renowned brand to be attached to anything with a 2-stroke engine would have been, well, unbelievable.
Yet, here we are staring at two more 2-strokes festooned with bright and bold Yamaha insignias everywhere! This, my sno-mo-friends, is bonafide news!
My focus here isn’t so much on the two capable 800 SDI powered single-slide-rail suspended Mountain Max rides but more on what this means for Yamaha, its dealers and customers.
It’s no secret the deep-snow, vertical sled market is the hottest place to do biz right now. Once considered only a sales volume sliver with a weird bent, the mountain specific marketplace represents at least 25-percent of the total snowmobile industry and arguably as much as 30 percent for some OEMs.
Yamaha’s entry into this market with two exceptionally capable 154 and 165 inch variants means Yamaha dealers no longer have to show the door to so many potential customers.
We’re standing and applauding this move. We think there’s been a deliberate strategy in play for a couple years at the Big Y – all while targeting this move for MY 2021.
Two years ago Yamaha pulled out of the mountain market and retired 4-stroke models in this segment. That was the easy part. The trick was to clear the decks of too many unsold vertical 4-strokes before jumping into the 2-stroke mountain market.
Yamaha was bold when it swallowed the bitter pill and cleared non-currents by limiting production the past two years of almost all its models.
By patiently clearing the decks of unsold units and in particular, unsold 4-stroke mountain rides, Yamaha has virtually guaranteed a successful launch of its new 2-stroke Mountain Max sleds. With showrooms cleared out, Yamaha dealers will order-up these new 2-stroke verts – and we think they should.
Yamaha didn’t just toe-test the 2-stroke Mountain Max with a scaled back intro of current, deep-snow tech. Instead, the company went to the top drawer and brought the latest, most innovative, single slide rail, side-hilling suspension to the party.
Let me put it this way: In virtually every comparable way, the new Mountain Max products are not just competitive but are exceptionally capable. As a result – these sleds are worthy of a serious look by any skill level mountain pilot.
There’s something very interesting about the single beam design from a marketing standpoint. According to our capable staff riders and other vert specialists we trust, the single beam design has the broadest range of appeal among all OEM competitive rides. Simply put, a single beam skid can take a neophyte to hero status faster and easier than competing designs.
While the competition has bigger displacement engines in MY 2021, the Mountain Max line up uses a capably potent, 800cc semi-direct injected (SDI) powerplant boasting oh-so-close-to-165 horsepower. So, you ask – is the engine 165-hp or not? We suspect “or not” but only by a very small margin.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Yamaha isn’t messing around with the intro of two new 2-stroke mountain specific rides. When the history of snowmobiling is written, model year 2021 will need a full chapter on Yamaha and its determination to shoulder into the full-on, lucrative and serious vertical marketplace!