When we say attitudes, it sounds a little negative. The fact is, there are hardcore Yamaha owners who would never consider the brand anything less than the absolute best. This a good thing for snowmobiling and brand loyalty is super-important.
What we’re getting at is this: Many of those same hardcore Yamaha owners are considerably miffed that the new 800 Mountain Max appears to be not just slightly like an Arctic Cat, but really, is an Arctic Cat with blue paint.
We’ve heard countless laments from long term Yamaha owners about how, since Yamaha is one of the best engine builders in the world, the company should be able to come up with a super EPA-clean 2-stroke of its own without using Cat’s SDI 800. Others are convinced Yamaha should come up with its own new chassis to house whatever 2-stroke it chooses to use.
We understand these cries for Yamaha-independence and can identify with the struggles some Yamaha owners are experiencing buying a product that is seemingly designed and built by someone who at one time was a fierce competitor.
What we’re wondering is this: As a good number of Mountain Max Yamahas hit the snow this winter (and we’ve heard they are really selling well at this point in time), and consumers start to enjoy the goodness of how well they perform in the mountains, if those laments from the faithful will die down.
The fact is, the Mountain Max is a very good snowmobile and utilizes some of the most unique technology in the business to satisfy the demands of an extremely particular market segment. Using a single rail skidframe, dry weight is under control, snow accumulation is very low, so running weight is low, the 800 SDI is exactly the kind of engine that performs strongly in powder and has plenty of climbing power – even considering the larger displacement of the competition’s 850s. Throw in the fact Yamaha has had a lot of input into the production and design process.
It’s highly likely this 2-stroke project started at least three years ago and Yamaha clearly knew then it would be offering a 2-stroke Mountain Max in the future. Well, the future is right now – and those sleds are in showrooms today.
You can almost look at things this way: Going back to the beginning of this mountain sled project, today there’s a strong chance there’s as much pure Yamaha in the Max as there is Arctic Cat. Remember, the switch to an SDI 800 from the original Cat Dual Stage Injected 800 only took place about two years ago. How much did Yamaha have to do with that decision? We think Yamaha had a lot of input into that choice – and it’s a part of this joint venture project that becomes more and more clear as time goes on.
It’s common knowledge Yamaha has completely streamlined and renovated Arctic Cat’s production and quality control systems. The fingerprint of Yamaha’s perfectionist demands in what is being built and what its customers are buying has rubbed off in the Arctic Cat production process and Cat is simply miles ahead of where it was six or seven years ago when it comes to offering a high-quality product.
So, Yama-fans, you can choose to look at the Mountain Max from a negative perspective – as though your beloved brand has been “invaded” by a competitor or you can consider all the behind-the-scenes work Yamaha has done to deliver the best mountain snowmobile it’s ever offered. Your choice.