Part 2 of 4 of our Big Bore trail performance review – On Snow editors give their take on the 2013 Yamaha Apex SE:
Bourgeois’ View - In the words of Butthead, Uh… this sled looks old and stuff. Ok, I admit that the Yamaha Apex SE is the furthest thing from a poser rocket in the group. The paint is simple, the graphics are non-existent, and the bar riser is covered up with a tidy chrome cover. I’m sure a bored high-school freshman could transform the big four-cylinder Apex into a pseudo-banger with bolt-on wing, 10-inch riser, and a 22-inch tuning fork decal, but why would you? Truth is, I dig the Apex, especially its yawner looks and hushed exhaust note. The Apex SE is the kind of sled you show up with on a “guys ride” and everyone chuckles, but you have the last laugh after you knock-out 200 trail miles at days end. Air shocks on all corners is bad ass, and twirling the included pump like Neil Peart at the fuel pump is worth bonus points.
Erickson’s View – I share opinion with my elder colleague that there’s little about the Apex that triggers testosterone production on looks alone – especially when you’re his age. But there’s something about the sound and thrust of Yamaha’s Genesis 150FI that kicks testes’ production into overdrive, no matter your age. There is a level of potency under its sleek, subdued skin that comes alive when the engine is awake and eager to respond. Though getting long in tooth, and with sporty ride and handling performance that isn’t category leading for the youthful-feeling crowd, the Apex remains a splendid canvas of art, adorned with bits of Japanese over-engineering and comfort features that appeal to a wide audience. The power steering was exclusive (and tech that works) and the technology in the engine exhaust management alone is worth getting excited about, and the quick, no-learning-curve-required suspension adjustments is bonus material. The culmination is a sled that is the most civil of these machines – in a BMW M5 gentlemanly, banker’s hotrod kind of way. That’s plenty of excitement, and also like the Beemer, it comes at a premium.
Urquhart’s View – Ditches are like Kryptonite for this buggy, but on the trails the Apex SE is like a retired terrain racer who shows up to the big race just to have fun, proving he can still take the young kids to school. Flat handling, pillow-like all-air suspension, and power only matched by Cat’s barely-rideable Turbo, the Apex more than holds its own in this group. You never think you’d thank Yamaha for adding weight to this sled, but the electronic power steering really puts the Apex into a class of its own. The Apex is hands down Yamaha’s best trail sled, and even after seven years in the lineup, it continues to amaze and impress me. Typical Yamaha, they’ve got every aspect of this sled so dialed in there’s really no place else they can go with it. And typical Yamaha, it flies below everyone’s performance radar. Maybe they should stick a full-wrap of skulls and explosions on it or something? Or tack an R onto the name? Post that on Facebook and count the likes.