Top Navigation Snowmobile Review – 2012 Yamaha Apex SE

The Yamaha 4-Stroke models are the epitome of smooth, clean and arm-stretching performance. In fact it was Yamaha that put the words “high performance” and “4-Stroke” together in the same sentence for the first time. For the past 10 years, Yamaha’s have been on the leading edge of technology and the Apex SE is no exception–it is the first-ever trail sled with EPS and EXUP.

Yamaha Apex Snowmobile

EPS is the Electric Power Steering introduced in the 2011 Apex models. For those that do not think power steering is necessary in snowmobiles, those are the people that haven’t tried it on a 300-mile day. This is the only machine made that can be ridden all day with no arm fatigue. The system totally isolates the rider from trail feedback and greatly reduces the effort to turn the bars from the low end up to trail speed and then seamlessly tapering off.

EXUP is a Yamaha exclusive feature that controls the exhaust pressure waves. It increases the exhaust and intake efficiency to add even more mid-range torque and overall performance to the 4-cylinder Genesis engine we’ve all grown to love. The exhaust pipes were also widened to 38mm for greater pressure wave efficiency. The system sounds awesome and is very, very fast!

Even though the 998cc 4-stroke engine is physically the same, the valve timing, intake tracts, and airbox are all recalibrated for optimum performance. From the moment it is punched, you can feel the stronger pull and hear the deeper growl of the familiar 4-lunger, but this Yamaha is not just about going fast in a straight, smooth trail.

Ski lift has been minimized by offsetting the ski mounts by 15mm. With the short, compact exhaust layout, the mass of the Apex SE is centralized, achieving extremely crisp handling on the twisty trails as well. It feels incredibly light and nimble and fully masks the increased weight of the 4-stroke powerplant.

Yamaha’s have also been known for their smooth rides and easy adjustability for varying riders and trail conditions. For 2012, the tunnel mounted preload adjustment has been replaced by a small hand pump for the new Mono Shock II Air rear suspension. When dialed in, it soaks up the moguls with ease, while keeping full control. This is one of the best-riding machines for a full day’s ride. The seat height and firmness is nearly perfect.

If destination snowmobiling is your type of riding, you cannot beat the 2012 Yamaha Apex SE. The ride will be extremely smooth and fast all day long, with minimal fatigue. Add to that, the economy and dependability of the 4-stroke Genesis and it is my top pick for my next trip from Ironwood to Paradise—and back!


In case you missed it, Yamaha updated the Apex last season. Here’s our review video from 2011.

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