Down through the history of snowmobiling there have been snowmobiles built that fell short of expectations. At that time, the idea behind them seemed good – but the execution just didn’t pan out…
We don’t mean to limit the creativity that got snowmobiling to where it is today but some sleds were so unconventional they just couldn’t inspire love.
In the early 1980s Yamaha had hit a sales homerun with the Phazer and was coming off a 5-year run of market dominance with the ET and EX series. Everyone believed they could do no wrong. Then came the Inviter.
It was targeted at the entry-level market and was designed around a new ergonomic package that supposedly made it more comfortable for novice riders.
You sat low-rider style with your torso laid back like you would on a Harley cruiser bike with your knees up high. Your arms were stretched out in front of you and you pretty much rode on your tailbone. Really, does this seem right to you?
Like pretty much every Yamaha built, the Inviter was beautifully crafted and detailed but from the side view it looked like Jiminy Cricket. The very market it was targeted at, women, pretty much rejected it.
We recall showing it to some of our wives and girlfriends and suggesting they ride it for a season. Their response was: “You’re kidding, right?”
Herein was the problem – and a lesson the industry needed to learn. You can build something really well, make it with perfect engineering and great fit and finish but if it lacks that sexy, abstract snowmobile image we have implanted in somewhere in our psyche, it just isn’t going to work.