There have been strong rumors and a lot of inquisitors about Yamaha coming with a new from top-to-bottom snowmobile for the 2014 model year.
Probably the most-asked question we get centers around whether the new snowmobile will be modeled after the Nytro, the Phazer or the Apex. Our best guess says none of the above.
We think Yamaha is coming with a single platform that will carry a selection of different 4-stroke engines ranging from 80-hp to 160.
The reason we think this is a possibility is due to the fact Yamaha needs to rationalize its manufacturing for more cost-effectiveness.
Simply stated: It’s a lot more profitable to invest in one platform and add the engines you’re already having success with. Ask Polaris, Ski-Doo and Cat.
Does Yamaha need to re-tool new 4-strokes? We absolutely doubt it. The existing menu of Yamaha snowmobile powerplants is extremely good and customers are very satisfied with their power output at all levels, plus they’ve proven to be bulletproof reliable.
Does Yamaha need to develop new skidframe technology? Nope. We think they can and will stick with what they’ve got. Any one of three different rear suspensions already being used are entirely competitive delivering ride quality at or near the top of the biz.
Frankly, we think it’s all about weight and there are several places Yamaha can carve out some without messing with the skid or the engines already in use.
We think a redesign of the A-arm front end, particularly in the spindles and control arms, could drop some weight. We could also see a change-up in the rear-exiting exhaust system Yamaha has hung its corporate hat on for the last decade. A move away from the overbuilt front bulkhead design used on the Apex-Venture-Vector could also drop weight and maintain strength.
We’re anxious to see what’s coming and are pretty sure it’s going to be good. We’re betting on a 60 to 70 lb. weight drop with a new Apex.