Yamaha has been putting a lot of emphasis on aftermarket turbo and supercharger kits for its Apex and Nytro sleds the last couple of years.
There’s no question the power potential of these bulletproof engines is torqued up to the max by adding blower and compressor systems.
We’ve seen Apexes with dyno readings reaching over 200 horsepower and beyond and these sleds are actually able to live a long life without damage. Amazing – and a clear comment on the durability of what Yamaha builds.
A big question, however, is whether or not the average performance buyer really wants to invest thousands in a turbo or blower for their sled.
Further to this, is the extra weight of this equipment and the plumbing it requires a compromise the hardcore rider is willing to make?
A good reference is Cat’s fairly large selling line of 177-hp turbo sleds in the Procross, Procross XF and ProClimb chassis.
If you’ve ridden these sleds and then jumped on the same sled with an 800 2-stroke under its hood, although very fast, you won’t be long noticing the difference the increased weight makes right over the skis.
Even Polaris has cut short the use of its IQ-based turbos; engines that were strong performing and very reliable (especially in their maturing years) in lieu of promoting its durable 800 2-stroke.
Although the turbocharger has proven to be a great way to get power up into the stratosphere, it appears to be somewhat like putting a band-aid on the issue.
Naturally aspirated 4-strokes weigh more but have the potential to deliver horsepower close to what 2-strokes do. Yamaha has proven this for sure. However, in order to compensate for the extra weight, you need to add another 40-50 pounds of charger mass.
The result is a fast sled that weighs over 100 lbs more than a 2-stroke. How much power does it need to make to balance out the extra weight? Sounds like a dog chasing its tail.