After months and months of speculation, the “ahem” cat was let out of the bag last week, as Yamaha announced their 2014 lineup with their first ever North American dealer meeting in downtown Minneapolis. In short, the speculation of Yamaha and Arctic working together in some capacity proved to be true, as Yamaha unveiled 5 all-new models (at least for them), which in simplest terms are Arctic Cat ProCross sleds with the Yamaha Genesis 1049 engine and clutching secured under hood.

By now, the Yamaha marketing machine along with “best ever” rants from the typical snowmobile enthusiast outlets have filled the screens of laptops and tablets for the past few days. Aside from the specifications of the new Viper models and smattering of photos of what is frankly one fine looking collection of Yamaha decorated Arctic Cat sleds, here are a few more details and insights you might not read everywhere else.

2014 FX Nytro 06

Say goodbye to the Nytro after this season. Held in the lineup as most likely a pacifier for Yamaha purists, the Viper will likely be the final nail in the coffin for the often trouble sled.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE brake lever

Unfortunately not everything will better, at least in our opinion. Arctic Cat’s Hayes brake system pales in comparison to Yamaha’s one-finger binder.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE clutch on bare chassis 3_4 L

In the works for less than two years, (the Yamaha 120 was the impetus for the relationship), the end result looks well buttoned up. No question one of the biggest fears of Yamaha loyalists is one of quality. Cat has been suspect in recent years, but Yamaha is standing firm in saying they won’t put their nameplate on the hood if quality didn’t meet their standards. The new YamaCats will receive the same industry leading 3-year warranty as other Yamaha buggies. As always, time will be the ultimate judge.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE coolant tank

A mixture of new and existing Cat components was melded together to complete the cooling and air-intake tract.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE gauge-intake air temp

Remember in the 1980s when automobile manufacturers looked to transform dash panels with futuristic digital displays? Yeah customers hated them… we suspect the same will eventually be said for the new dash pod on the Viper.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE oxygen sensor

Surprisingly, the new Viper buggies will utilize Arctic Cat’s closed loop fuel injection system…yeah we are still scratching our heads over that one too.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE slotted front arm

Yamaha fans… let us introduce you to the “Slide-Action” front arm, a unique piece of technology developed for Arctic Cat’s racing efforts that can best be described as a variable length front arm, allowing for greater control of weight transfer.

2014 SR Viper RTX SE YVXC clutches

Perhaps the most important attribute on the new Viper, at least as it pertains to past Yamaha customers and dealers, is the presence of Yamaha drive and driven clutching. At this writing, Cat is expecting to utilize their own CVT system on their version, giving the collaborative calibration effort an interesting set of circumstances and perhaps challenges.

2014 SR Viper XTX SE blue profile

Don’t think for a moment that mountain riders haven’t already penned plans for more track and turbo mods on the Viper XTX.

2014 SR Viper XTX SE Dual Shock SR 141

While Yamaha’s mountain dealers and customers received little from the big announcement, the Viper XTX YamaCat buggy features the traditional Arctic Cat XTX Dual Shock suspension and will undoubtedly become a modification candidate for more paddle and perhaps mountain skid-frame extensions before the snow flies next winter.

IMG_9070

While Yamaha and Arctic Cat calls the “relationship” a “Mutual Supply Agreement” there was and remains a significant amount of “Mutual Engineering Efforts” at work as the two companies work together to finalize the fitment of the 1049 Genesis into the ProCross chassis and subsequent calibrations that are happening right now.

IMG_9088_2

Without time to make significant changes with the ProCross chassis, the Yamaha/Cat collaborative team opted for a traditional exhaust exit location versus the Yamaha under-seat rear dump design. The change required serpentine plumbing from the backside of the 1049 Genesis.

IMG_9096

The easily visible list of items changed from Cat to Yamaha specs can be counted on one hand. They include the center hood section, windshield, ski-hoops, snow flap, and at this writing, clutching. Engines will be shipped to Thief River Falls, and the sleds will be built in Arctic Cat’s hometown.

Say goodbye to the Nytro after this season. Held in the lineup as most likely a pacifier for Yamaha purists, the Viper will likely be the final nail in the coffin for the often trouble sled.2014 SR Viper RTX SE 09Unfortunately not everything will better, at least in our opinion.  Arctic Cat’s Hayes brake system pales in comparison to Yamaha’s one-finger binder.In the works for less than two years, (the Yamaha 120 was the impetus for the relationship), the end result looks well buttoned up. No question one of the biggest fears of Yamaha loyalists is one of quality. Cat has been suspect in recent years, but Yamaha is standing firm in saying they won’t put their nameplate on the hood if quality didn’t meet their standards. The new YamaCats will receive the same industry leading 3-year warranty as other Yamaha buggies. As always, time will be the ultimate judge.A mixture of new and existing Cat components was melded together to complete the cooling and air-intake tract.Remember in the 1980s when automobile manufacturers looked to transform dash panels with futuristic digital displays? Yeah customers hated them… we suspect the same will eventually be said for the new dash pod on the Viper.Surprisingly, the new Viper buggies will utilize Arctic Cat’s closed loop fuel injection system…yeah we are still scratching our heads over that one too.Yamaha fans… let us introduce you to the “Slide-Action” front arm, a unique piece of technology developed for Arctic Cat’s racing efforts that can best be described as a variable length front arm, allowing for greater control of weight transfer.Perhaps the most important attribute on the new Viper, at least as it pertains to past Yamaha customers and dealers, is the presence of Yamaha drive and driven clutching. At this writing, Cat is expecting to utilize their own CVT system on their version, giving the collaborative calibration effort an interesting set of circumstances and perhaps challenges.Don’t think for a moment that mountain riders haven’t already penned plans for more track and turbo mods on the Viper XTX.While Yamaha’s mountain dealers and customers received little from the big announcement, the Viper XTX YamaCat buggy features the traditional Arctic Cat XTX Dual Shock suspension and will undoubtedly become a modification candidate for more paddle and perhaps mountain skid-frame extensions before the snow flies next winter.While Yamaha and Arctic Cat calls the “relationship” a “Mutual Supply Agreement” there was and remains a significant amount of “Mutual Engineering Efforts” at work as the two companies work together to finalize the fitment of the 1049 Genesis into the ProCross chassis and subsequent calibrations that are happening right now.Without time to make significant changes with the ProCross chassis, the Yamaha/Cat collaborative team opted for a traditional exhaust exit location versus the Yamaha under-seat rear dump design. The change required serpentine plumbing from the backside of the 1049 Genesis.The easily visible list of items changed from Cat to Yamaha specs can be counted on one hand. They include the center hood section, windshield, ski-hoops, snow flap, and at this writing, clutching. Engines will be shipped to Thief River Falls, and the sleds will be built in Arctic Cat’s hometown.