Yamaha Motor Corp. released its 2007 snowmobile lineup with one big surprise: the comeback of the low-displacement Phazer.
The Phazer, with its pod-like handlebars and pogo-stick front shocks, was a hit for Yamaha when it was introduced in the mid-1980s, and was a mainstay as the low-displacement offering until it disappeared from the lineup in 2002. At that time, Yamaha made it clear that lower-displacement machines, such as the 500cc Phazer, did not constitute enough sales to continue production.
Flash forward to 2007, and the re-introduction of a low-displacement snowmobile in the Yamaha lineup. The new Phazer, which comes in four versions, uses a new Genesis 80 FI two-cylinder, 498cc, 80 hp four-stroke engine. It’s fuel injected with a 12.4:1 compression ratio and a five-valve head. The bore, stroke and head design is the same as a Yamaha YZ250F off-road motorcycle — in fact, it’s two of these engines hooked together. This is also the first year that Yamaha’s snowmobile lineup is all four-stroke.
The Phazer wasn’t off the minds of Yamaha officials and engineers for long. Rob Powers, snowmobile marketing manager, said the company started working on the new concept Phazer in 2002.
According to marketing information, the new Phazers are meant to appeal to the Gen Y buyers, both snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers. They went for a radical-looking minimalist design, lightweight and a concept it calls “Pure Sports,” which involves styling cues from Yamaha’s YZ250F dirt bike lineup.
Yamaha puts the Phazer weight as comparable to the Arctic Cat F5, which is a claimed 447 pounds dry.
The Phazer comes in four versions aimed at four different market segments. The standard Phazer is geared toward the entry level customer.?The Phazer FX will be marketed to a rough-trail riders, Gen Y nontraditional snowmobilers, and buyers new to snowmobiling. The Phazer GT is for the traditional snowmobiler or a second-sled buyer, as well as entry-level and newcomers. The Phazer Mountain Lite is for the non-extreme mountain rider, a second-sled buyer or an entry-level/newcomer rider.
The Phazer models differ in their style, shocks and ergos. Electric start and push-button, electric-shift reverse are standard on all Phazers.
The Phazer shares its engine and some of its styling cues with a new 2-Up sled called the Venture Lite. This machine is also for the entry-level or new rider.
Yamaha Expands GT Lineup
Yamaha introduced its Groomed Trail (GT) version of snowmobiles in 2006, and the concept expands to three new machines for 2007.
The new models are the RS Rage GT, the RS Venture GT and the Attak GT. Yamaha classifies the RS Rage and Attak GT machines as “rough trail performance” and the RS Venture GT as “?luxury touring.”
Customer demand led to the Attak GT, Powers said. This machine will be sold as an ultra-premium rough trail performance machine. The rear suspension will be the Mono Shock EC with an Ohlins electronically controlled shock. Like the standard Attak, it will have a 15- by 136- by 1.25-inch Camoplast Rip Saw track. The Attaks use the Genesis 150 FI engine.
Yamaha views the Attak GT buyer as a 30- to 40-year-old with an average annual mileage of 1,694. For the standard Attak, the target market is the 25- to 35-year-old.
For the RS Rage GT, Yamaha sees the same type of buyer as the Attak GT. The RS Rage GT uses the Genesis 120, 120 hp engine, with the Mono Shock RA rear suspension with KYB remote-adjust shocks and GYT-R dual clicker front shocks. It has the same track as the Attak GT.
The RS Venture GT goes after the cruiser market. Yamaha’s aiming this machine at the 40- to 50-year-old age group with an average annual mileage of 1,570. It has the same target market for the standard RS Venture.
The difference between the two machines, though, are the differences in front suspension. The GT has the upgraded GYT-R dual-clicker front shocks. Both use the Pro Comfort rear suspension.
New Mountain Machines
In addition to the Phazer Mountain Lite, there is one more mountain newcomer to the lineup:?the Apex Mountain SE.
This sled uses the Genesis 150 FI engine, and has premium suspension parts such as Fox FLOAT shocks up front. These shocks cut 6 pounds off, compared to the Apex Mountain’s standard HPG shocks. The SE also has a sporty low windshield.
Yamaha’s target buyer for this new sled is 35 to 45 years old and rides 1,564 miles annually.
Suspension Changes For Apex RTX
Much of the remainder of the Yamaha lineup is nearly unchanged or back with minor changes. Gone are the remaining two-strokes from 2006:?the SX Venoms and the Venture Touring 600.
The Apex RTX, introduced in 2006, is the returning machine with the greatest updates:?it receives a major suspension change for 2007.
The sled will now use the Pro Active rear suspension, rather than the Mono Shock RA.
The Pro Active suspension uses a dual shock, torsion spring layout, which should work better in rough-trail conditions. The front suspension remains the same. psb
2007 Yamaha Lineup
Phazer Mountain Lite/Mountain/$7,199
RS Vector Mountain SE/Mountain Performance/$9,199
RS Vector Mountain/Mountain Performance/$8,299
Apex Mountain SE/Mountain Performance/$11,299
Apex Mountain/Mountain Performance/$10,799
Phazer FX/Rough Trail/$7,199
Nytro/Rough Trail Performance/$8,699
Nytro ER/Rough Trail Performance/$8,999
RS Rage GT/Rough Trail Performance/$9,199
RS Rage/Rough Trail/Groomed Trail Crossover/$8,899
Apex RTX/Rough Trail/$10,299
Apex RTX ER/Rough Trail Performance/$10,599
Attak GT/Rough Trail Performance/$11,499
Attak/Rough Trail/Trail Crossover/$10,499
Phazer GT/Trail Performance/$7,199
RS Vector GT/Groomed Trail Performance/$8,999
RS Vector ER/Groomed Trail Performance $8,699
Apex GT Groomed Trail/Rough Trail Crossover/$11,199
Apex ER/Groomed Trail Performance/$10,199
Venture Lite/2-Up Touring/$7,499
RS Venture GT/Luxury Touring/$9,599
RS Venture/2-Up Touring/$9,299
Copyright 2006 Powersports Business