Snowmobile Magazine

5 Things to know about the new 2018 Yamahas

Yamaha’s snowmobile product line turns 50 this year. While many expected the moon for this auspicious event, the 2018 offering takes a more nuanced approach in true Yamaha style. Here are 5 things you should know about Yamaha’s 50th Anniversary year:

#1. Yamaha intends to spark a small sled war with SnoScoot 200

The marquee model for the 50th Anniversary season is the new SnoScoot 200. It’s nearly identical to Cat’s ZR 200, save skis, windscreen, paint and stickers. Yamaha’s take on the new tweener sled is that it hopes the 2018 Scoot will accomplish what the original ’88 model couldn’t: spark a trend in the industry toward developing step-up snowmobiles to bring young riders into the sport until they’re experienced enough to handle a full-sized machine. We have high hopes that this comes to fruition and that we see 350-sized and 450-sized models in the near future so that a new generation of sledders can enjoy the sport on sleds that suit their size and skill.

#2. The Red filmstrip returns.

Yamaha buyers can opt for the Mitch Sebastian racing blue version on many LE models.

Yamaha fans will quickly recognize the red filmstrip graphics package of a milestone anniversary. The red and white heritage colors are back to mark the company’s half century in the business, just as they have the 40th and 45th birthdays. If you love it, you’ll need to order before the end of the spring deposit program on April 15. If you’re not in love with the red heritage edition, Yamaha also offers the Mitch Sebastian racing blue color scheme. Regardless of the color you choose, once the date passes, so does your chance to own one. These sleds are truly built to order.

#3. Yamaha Makes Last Call for Apexes!

Yamaha has announced that this will be the last call for the original trail missile, the 4-cylinder Apex. It will only be available during the spring order period, so if you think you may ever want one, you should get to your Yamaha dealer before the end of the program.

Yamaha is offering buyers a few extra reasons to make that last Apex LE purchase, instead of keeping what you have or opting for a non-current at the dealership. First, the SingleShot rear suspension gets a new Fox FLOAT XV shock with larger air tanks for better ride comfort. The shock also offers compression and rebound damping clickers.

Interestingly, the 2018 Apex models are the only models to have brand new to snowmobiling reactive suspension technology from the automotive world. The new components, dubbed “Yamaha Reactive Suspension System” ties the two front shocks together by valved hydraulic lines. We’ll dive deeper into this new system in the coming weeks, but Yamaha says the overall benefit is greater bump compliance, reduced ski lift and flatter cornering.

#4. Turbos everywhere

Yamaha rolled out the 998 Turbo engine package last year in the Sidewinder models. 2018 sees a propagation of the 204-horsepower spaceships deep into the lineup.

If you’re a mountain rider, Yamaha is giving you more options for factory boost in 2018. You’ll have the opportunity to order an LE, SE or base model Sidewinder MTX in either 153 or 162 track lengths. You choose the component level.

Imagine a passenger on the 204 HP Sidewinder STX 146. You can do it with the accessory seat!

There are also new Sidewinders in the STX packages, with at 137 and 146. What’s cool is that you can add an accessory passenger seat to the STX 146 and have the highest performance two-up machine in the club. Imagine the helmet swat you’ll get when you achieve ludicrous speed with your partner on the back!

#5. A new power steering model

The 2018 VK Pro II gauge shows all of your data, plus it has a new green eco light to how when you’re achieving the best fuel economy.

If you like the VK Pro II, you’ll like it even more with its new Electric Power Steering system. This seems like a no-brainer for a slow-motion, solidly build utility machine. Remember, the EPS system adds maximum assistance when the sled is rolling from a crawl until about 35 MPH, then it tapers down from there as you get moving faster. So if you’re a heavy load puller, you’re going to consistently be in the sweet spot for the system.