The EPS system used on the Apex is an active power steering system. This means it is fully operational all the time and is not reactive.
Some electronic PS systems actually utilize sensors to respond in milliseconds to trail inputs. However, Yamaha’s EPS is a variable system that regulates the amount of assist as demand is increased.
Simply stated, there’s more assist at low speeds and much less at higher speeds so the rider doesn’t lose any “feel” up through the bars. A bypass system eliminates the possibility of overloading the EPS when the sled is static or not moving.
Keep in mind, as power steering setups go, EPS is a pretty light one. There’s no fluid, no pumps and it has a benefit that is really a breakthrough.
It helps eliminate negative feedback coming up from the skis into the handlebars. This is a particularly good thing for any snowmobile and it’s the reason we found the Apex was not only a better handler but, without the feedback as we rode over trail junk, the sled was much more settled and predictable.
We think this is the primary reason all snowmobiles are candidates for this great technology in the future.
A couple of other items we left off the list was the 2011 Apex’s use of a longer track and the fact it utilizes ‘extrovert’ drivers in the tunnel to eliminate track ratcheting.
The standard track length has been increased to 128-inches from 121 and along with a 1.25-inch lug depth, the net result is a big improvement in traction – something Apex customers have been wanting for a long time.
The base model Apex is equipped with the tunnel adjustable Monoshock skid while the upscale SE comes with Fox Float Air suspension front and rear.
The air combo significantly reduces weight by eliminating all coil springs in the suspension. This is a good feature if you’re concerned about weight because the addition of the longer track, the EXUP valve and the EPS has added some additional poundage – something the 4-cylinder 4-stroke could ill afford to compromise.
The net result, however, is really positive. As groomed trail sleds go, the new Apex is a fabulous ride. There’s a difference here that goes far beyond appearance or just one dramatic feature like power steering.
The whole package works great and we’d recommend this sled in a heartbeat.