Yamaha Enthusiasts Gather to Celebrate 50 Years at Yamafest 2017
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Mountain Sledder | June 21, 2018

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Yamaha Enthusiasts Gather to Celebrate 50 Years at Yamafest 2017

Yamaha Enthusiasts Gather to Celebrate 50 Years at Yamafest 2017

| On 08, Dec 2017

When the sun finally came out, there they were. On every hill and around every corner. Guys riding Yamaha sleds. A group of four of them, sitting atop a hill here. Two buzzing by at top speed. Five others, peering over a cliff there. Hundreds of them. Everywhere you turned, there were sledders sporting blue, black and red. It was almost like the other snowmobile brands had ceased to exist that day on Boulder Mountain. The world had been conquered, and the day was called Yamafest 2017.

 

Yamafest 2017

 

 

Yamaha Enthusiasts Gather to Celebrate 50 Years at Yamafest 2017

Each spring, Yamaha snowmobile enthusiasts flock to Revelstoke, BC with their four-stroke steeds for a one day celebration of power and refinement. For Yamaha, organizing the event is a way to say “thank you” to the brand’s loyal customers. And for snowmobile enthusiasts, it’s a rare chance to connect face-to-face with the industry people who develop and build the machines they ride. It’s also an opportunity to test-ride Yamaha prototype sleds in the very environment for which they were designed.

 

Yamafest 2017

 

MY2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Yamaha-built snowmobiles, but that major milestone isn’t the only reason for Yamaha enthusiasts to be excited about their favourite brand for 2018. Steady refinement and a few key factors have made the latest Sidewinder M-TX the best mountain machine that Yamaha has ever produced.

 

Yamafest 2017

 

“The Sidewinder’s 998cc Genesis turbo-charged engine puts out far more horsepower than any factory two-stroke sled, even at sea level.”

Since the Sidewinder was released in 2016, power has been a real selling point for the manufacturer; its 998cc Genesis turbo-charged engine puts out far more horsepower than any factory two-stroke sled, even at sea level. The company claims 180hp, although most sledders who have ridden it point toa number closer to 200. Add some elevation, and the horsepower gap between the Sidewinder and two stroke mountain sleds widens.

Perhaps it’s the well-known dependability of the brand that makes riders so passionate about their Yamaha sleds. There’s no doubt that a Yamaha snowmobile is more reliable day-in, day-out than any of the other modern mountain snowmobiles out there. That is in part due to the steadfast durability of the four-stroke engine, but also comes thanks to the incredibly calculated engineering on which the brand has built its reputation.

Reliable though they may be, four-strokes are typically criticized for their weight, which unfortunately comes part and parcel with that particular engine technology. Ultimately, weight affects the handling and manoeuvrability of the machine, and in an era in which riders are increasingly drawn to challenging terrain it becomes too easy to criticize the capability of a sled based on the numbers and without ever having actually ridden one.

2018 Sidewinder Chassis Changes on Trial at Yamafest

But key changes to the Sidewinder chassis for 2018 work to address this issue. First, the running boards are narrowed by 1” and the body panels have been streamlined by 10%, making it significantly easier to hold a steep sidehill.

 

Yamafest Yamaha Sidewinder

 

Second, the chaincase has been dropped and rolled to accommodate an 8-tooth extrovert driver. The resulting attack angle of the track has been decreased by 10%, which drastically improves the ability of the sled to pop up on top of the snow, especially at lower speeds. It also creates room to stuff a 3” lugged Power Claw track under the tunnel, which really helps translate power from the Genesis triple into forward momentum on snow.

 

Photo: Ryen Dunford Rider: Brock Hoyer

“The changes to the Sidewinder SRV Mountain Chassis for 2018 are amazing, making for better handing in the trees. With the new drop and rolled chain case, it handles the deep days way better. And narrower side panels make it much easier to get it on sidehills.” – Brock Hoyer

 

Other small changes include revised intake venting with pre-filter and updated “mountain-friendly” ergonomics. Although not new, Fox FLOAT 3 shocks are still available on Special Edition models, making it easy to adjust pre-load and spring rate to help dial in specific suspension preferences for mountain riding.

 

Yamafest 2017

 

“Here’s where the Sidewinder really shines: a place with open alpine, steep hills and deep snow—where a rider can grab a fistful of throttle and carry speed through varying terrain.”

And what better place to try out the new performance characteristics of the 2018 Sidewinder M-TX than Boulder Mountain? It’s got every kind of imaginable terrain from open bowls and hills to monster chutes and tight trees. The rolling nature of the mountain makes it easy enough to get around to see it all. And it is blessed with regular, deep snowfall.

 

Yamafest Yamaha Sidewinder

 

Here’s where the Sidewinder really shines: a place with open alpine, steep hills and deep snow—where a rider can grab a fistful of throttle and carry speed through varying terrain. For that, there isn’t a better spot to unleash the Sidewinder than Boulder Mountain on a sunny afternoon after a storm breaks.

 

Yamafest 2017

 

There will always be a place for four-stroke power in the mountains. All riders want a reliable sled, and in this department the Sidewinder has no equal. It offers hairstraight- back thrills you won’t find riding another platform. And with each new model year, the chassis becomes that much easier to manoeuvre.

It’s easy to feel that passion runs deep with this crowd. Sledders are an enthusiastic bunch to begin with, but Yamaha riders seem to have an extra connection to one another and their machines. Maybe it’s because they spend less time wrenching and more time riding than everyone else. But whatever the reason, it’s clear that 2018 won’t be the last gathering of the Yamaha faithful.

 

– MS

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