After shocking many of us last winter with the announcement of the “partnership” between Yamaha and Arctic Cat and the subsequent launch of several all-new Viper models, it should come as no surprise the relationship will continue to bear more fruit in 2015. With the mountain segment being nearly forgotten for several winters, despite the addition of a turbo boosted power-up for the Nytro MTX, it is here where much of the “new” emphasis is placed for 2015.
The new SR Viper MTX series picks-up where the Viper of 2014 left off, combining the stable and refined Arctic Cat chassis with the Nytro 1049 three-cylinder four-stroke in three mountain specific models. The SR Viper MTX 153, MTX 153 SE, and 162 SE, are all-based on the SRV Mountain Chassis (read Arctic Cat ProClimb) with a stretched tunnel, open running board design, and key areas of weight reduction including the elimination of the rear heat exchanger.
The goal of the new MTX Viper according to Yamaha brass wasn’t to simply “blast straight up the hill”. Instead the focus was clearly on making the machine balanced, significantly lighter, and maneuverable. Unique features include a narrowed and adjustable 38” to 39” ski stance and wide single keel mountain skis; a Viper unique vertical steering post design; and a new mountain seat that is shorter, narrower, and was designed to accept the unique fuel tank and exhaust arrangement of the 1049 engine.
Of course the big change is out back, where a Power Claw track with 2.6” lugs will generate the lift necessary to provide motivation and “float”. The track wraps around a new rail profile that is also unique to the Viper MTX. The profile is said to greatly assist in the balance of the Viper and provide additional lift and “pop” out of the snow, greatly eliminating the “nose-dive” past four-stroke mountain sleds were known for.
The SE designator swaps out the coil-over shocks found on the pure black base model, and replaces them with FOX Float 3 dampers up front and a FLOAT 2 at the rear, along with two in-your-face color schemes: Yamaha blue and white, or dynamic red and white. Just like 2014, all Viper MTX models will feature Yamaha drive and driven clutching.
Check out a new vid of the MTX buggies in action
New SR Viper STX DX – Yamaha told us the new SR Viper STX DX (yeah that’s a lot of letters) is their “most versatile snowmobile in our lineup.” With the crossover segment continuing to gain momentum, we continue to see further segmentation within the category. Following this trend, Yamaha inserted another Viper into the fold and it should be an immediate hit. When it comes to the newest Viper crossover think trail calibrations, all the bells and whistles, with the ability to rally on-trail, off-trail, or two-up with a few simple tweaks.
The big differentiator with the latest Viper crossover sled is found at the rear where a modular rear bumper can accommodate a standard rack, additional accessory storage, or a quick-change passenger seat. Supporting the load is a 141” x 1.352” Cobra track that delivers bite for on-trail acceleration, flotation off-trail, and bump-bridging capabilities when riding two-up.
Another significant change for 2015 for the STX and all trail oriented Viper models is the introduction of Yamaha’s Tuner ski. You’ve heard us gush about this ski in the past when affixed to an Apex or Vector, now we hope to experience more of the same goodness with the Viper in 2015. The ski has been tweaked via a deeper keel, revised keel approach angle, and geometry changes to the mount.
Much of the remainder of the Yamaha line-up returns unchanged for 2015. The Viper mix from 2014 is back, with some bad-ass color choices and the Tuner ski mentioned above. The Apex, Vector, Venture, and Phazer models all return with new paint. Oh, and the Nytro is history, both in trail trim and deep snow, and the 120 is back with bold new graphics.
Spring Exclusives – One other big bit of news for 2015 is the introduction of exclusive spring only models during Yamaha’s Power Surge program. While Yamaha has often offered exclusive programs and even accessory bits of hardware including turbo and supercharger choices during the spring early buy, this is the first time they will serve up spring only models.
The bold orange and blue color scheme found on all four LE models won’t be hard to miss, but the spring only offering is more than just paint and graphics. The Viper XTX LE touts a mountain seat, vertical steering post and 141”x 2.25” track; the Viper MTX LE receives FOX EVOL front shocks; the Viper LTX SE will spool up a 137” x 1.75” Back Country track; and the Viper RTX SE will conquer the big bumps with FOX EVOL front shocks, a new Dual Shock SR Race rear suspension, while a new 129” x 1.7” snocross inspired track provides plenty of traction (a 1.25” Rip Saw offering may also be in the works). Yamaha insists they have developed several methods to control the ordering process, ensuring these limited edition models truly are spring-only.
Turbo Power and Chassis Dampening – Of course news of the Viper MTX will quickly be followed by an obvious question…what about a turbo? Yes you can. Yamaha set the precedent when they partnered with the aftermarket to offer factory-backed turbo and super charger offerings that are dealer installed along with a significant discount. The response to the program thus far has been off-the-charts, and with Mountain Performance Incorporated (MPI) serving up yet another turbo kit for the new Viper MTX under the same Yamaha program with a rumored 185-plus horsepower on tap, it should only get bigger. While details including pricing are still being sorted out, Yamaha plans to offer the turbo kit to both mountain and trail Viper customers.
Another new addition to the spring Power Surge program is a Performance Damper kit for all Apex, Vector, and Venture models. While we won’t get into great detail on just how the Performance Damper works (there’s some chassis voodoo science at work here kids) here’s the Cliff Notes version.
Two Performance Dampers (that look very similar to a small, low grade shock) are mounted to the chassis; one across the rear bumper and another under hood across the shock towers. In essence, the Performance Damper, helps to control the energy and high frequency vibration and flex that occurs within a chassis when it encounters rough terrain. It’s a technology that automotive engineers have been experimenting with and implementing for more than 40-years, and Yamaha owns the patent behind the technology. In short, the Performance Damper improves the ride and handling of the vehicle when pushed in rough terrain and cornering. We hope to give the Damper a first-hand, seat-of-the-pants try this winter; look for our thoughts in the spring issue of OSM. The Performance Damper will be offered to spring Power Surge customers who choose a new Apex, Vector, or Venture models.