Technology
March 9th, 2020
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Who Is the Mid-Sized Yamaha SXVenom Mountain Sled For?

Yamaha has identified a void in the snowmobile market between their youth sleds—SRX120R and 200 cc Snoscoot—and their full-sized snowmobiles.

To provide their customers the chance to fill the gap with a Yamaha sled, the manufacturer has brought three new, mid-sized models to market for 2021. These are the SXVenom (trail), Transporter Lite (utility) and SXVenom Mountain.

Because we’re Mountain Sledder, we’re going to focus on the SXVenom Mountain, which is the model best outfitted for what we do.

 


Yamaha SXVenom Mountain

Before we get into who, exactly, the Yahama SXVenom Mountain sled is for, let’s take a look at what it is. The 2021 Yamaha SXVenom Mountain is a 7/8th size snowmobile that aims to provide a mid-sized option that doesn’t compromise on performance.

Yamaha SXVenom Mountain Studio_

SXVenom Engine

The all three Yamaha mid-sized models are powered by a modern, 2-stroke, single cylinder engine. Despite its diminutive displacement, the technology built into this engine is pretty impressive:

  • 397 cc displacement (65 hp)
  • Liquid-cooled
  • Computerized ignition
  • 3-stage exhaust power valve
  • Batteryless fuel injection
  • Electronic oil injection
  • Electric start
  • Push button reverse

 

A big displacement, single cylinder engine can have a tendency for vibration, but a counter-balanced shaft is used to effectively eliminate annoying vibration.

Suspension

The suspension on the SXVenom Mountain is really quite impressive. Naturally, It’s been softened to improve handling for smaller and lighter riders, but it works well even for fully-grown adults.
In a serious attempt to provide capability in the mountains, the SXVenom Mountain features a single-beam rear suspension with an impressive 12” of travel. Power is put to snow by a 146” x 2” Camso Challenger track.
Up front there is 8.3” of travel dampened by HPG shocks all-round.

Performance

The SXVenom Mountain uses the Yamaha Mountain ski, which in part helps separate the model from Arctic Cat’s Blast 4000 M sibling.

 

The handlebar features a mountain strap and a 4.5” riser block.

The early prototype we rode did not yet have a mountain strap attached, but one will come as standard equipment.

 

CVTech clutches are used, which offer easy engagement for less experienced riders.

The SXVenom Mountain features a 38” ski stance. In our opinion, this is the only major flaw of these fun little sleds. A 36” stance would allow easier sidehill initiation and control, which as we know is a crucial skill to develop if you want to get where you’re trying to go in the mountains.

A full-sized, 44 L fuel tank means the SXVenom won’t be limited by range.

In terms of speeds, Yamaha says the SXVenom reached 112 km/h (70 mph) in their internal testing near sea level. At a horsepower-robbing elevation of around 2100 m (7000 ft), Mountain Sledder found top trail speed to be around 80 km/h (50 mph).

The little SXVenom Mountain rips pretty good on the trails. You can really drop a knee and rail the corners with the throttle taped. It’s very fun.

As for up on the mountain, the single-beam suspension does help to get this sled on its side. The track is great for ripping through settled powder and tracked up snow.

Likewise the little 397 cc powerplant is fun to rip around on. As for power, the numbers pretty much tell the story in this case. It’s 65 horsepower. That’s slightly more than half of a modern 600 cc powerplant. Unfortunately, that means your aspiring mountain shredder is going nowhere fast uphill on a deep snow day. But chances are they’re not experienced enough for that anyway, and that’s why they are on this sled. They’re confidence builders.

Yamaha SXVenom Mountain_-3
A simple gauge does the trick with all the info you really need including engine temp, hours and more.
Yamaha SXVenom Mountain_-2
The SXVenom features a standard tether, keyed electric start, push button reverse, independent thumb and hand warmers and high-beam/low beam switches in the cockpit area.

Yamaha SXVenom Mountain

So who then, exactly, is the SXVenom Mountain designed for? Well, there’s no precise answer to that question, because there are several possibilities.

With this sled, the intention was to provide a smaller vehicle that is still fully-featured. Yamaha didn’t want to slam it to the ground and lose out on suspension performance, just to get the overall feeling and size down. As you can read in the specs, the suspension travel is impressive, and that can be backed up by our experience riding the SXVenom Mountain.

With these mid-sized sleds, Yamaha is targeting a market void somewhere between the older Bravo LT and Current VK540. The Bravo LT is known to be simple, lightweight, manoeuvrable—that’s the vibe Yamaha wanted with this sled.

In part, yes, it’s to fill a gap for young, developing riders who have outgrown their Snoscoot. Yamaha families won’t have to go out and track down out a reliable, used 600 cc sled that’s probably still too big for their growing youngster. It’s true that aggressive teenage shredders who want to be like Cody Matechuk will need to make the jump to a full-sized sled for mountain riding at some point—when that happens will depend on their ability and confidence level. But this one plugs the hole in-between nicely.

Yamaha SXVenom Mountain_-9
Mountain Sledder test rider Sean is in fact a fully-grown, hairy chested man.

Yamaha is also pitching this sled (and the other mid-sized models) to smaller adults as well. They can feel more comfortable learning on a vehicle better sized for their body weight and dimensions. However, if that adult’s intention is to eventually shred the hills in earnest, then a 400 cc powerplant won’t do it for long. For a casual user though, it will certainly allow them to get out and enjoy the hills from time to time when snow conditions are not too deep or the riding too technical.

And, there are those who just want to putz around. The Transporter Lite is an example of a utility sled that might very well suit a fisherman or outdoors-person who wants to get from A to B reliably and comfortably without scaring the bejeezus out of themselves with too many ponies on tap.

Yamaha SXVenom Mountain_-6
The Transporter Lite is a more versatile option for those less focussed on technical riding.
Yamaha SXVenom Mountain_-7
A 146" x 1.6" Camso Cobra track propels the Yamaha Transporter Lite.

In the end, regardless of who exactly finds the SXVenom, SXVenom Mountain or Transporter Lite to be the right fit, the fact that they exist is fantastic. These sleds will act as a gateway to allow young, new and smaller people to reliably gain the confidence they need to turn snowmobiling into a lifelong passion.

 

– MS

 

Stay tuned to www.sleddermag.com for our video ride report of our experience on the 2021 Yamaha SXVenom Mountain to come!