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By its own admission Yamaha is first and foremost an engine company.

Not hard to see how this is true. In its $15 billion annual profile Yamaha outboard engines are the largest group of products the company builds. We’ve often said Yamaha will forget more about 4-stroke engines than the other guys will ever know.

So here’s what I’m thinking. Why doesn’t Yamaha build a 95-hp 4-stroke variant to compete with Ski-Doo’s wildly popular ACE 900?

For sure Yamaha’s 1049 triple is a credible competitor against the legion of 125–130-hp 2-strokes out there but Yamaha is definitely leaving market share on the table by not addressing this important 95-hp 4-stroke segment carved out by Ski-Doo.

Hey, wait a minute! The gone-but-not-forgotten 80-hp 500cc Phazer 4-stroke twin would be the perfect match for the ACE 900 if it had a small uptick in horsepower, wouldn’t it?

Okay, here’s another twist. With Ski-Doo hooking a hairdryer to the ACE 900 and boosting its output to 150-ponies there could very well be an opportunity for Yamaha to do some head-to-head warfare with the market leader.

Let’s be honest, we’re all big boys and girls and no one really believes the current 998cc Yama-turbo puts out a mere 180-stallions. That engine is so convincingly, overwhelmingly fast it has to be closer to 200-hp.

Here’s what I’m putting down if you’re picking it up: There’s room for Yamaha to offer a 150-hp version of the current 998 turbo and mow some yellow grass.

Yeah, we know the cost to produce a 150 versus a 200-hp 998 turbo would be virtually identical. If that was the only way of thinking, no one would ever build variant output powerplants on similar platforms.

Why not do a 150-hp turbo and take some sizzle off Ski-Doo’s steak while potentially selling more sleds? Hey wait – I think that’s called capitalism, isn’t it?

Are there opportunities for the Big Y in the current ultra-techy, high horsepower sno-mo-marketplace? You bet there are!

Mark Lester
Mark Lester
Mark Lester is Co-Publisher of SUPERTRAX Magazine and a regular Host on SNOWTRAX TV, which can be seen on Sportsman Channel across America and in Canada on OLN, Sportsman Channel Canada, Wild TV and REV TV and globally on our YouTube channel.

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