Yamaha Sidewinder Top Speed, Specs, and Review

People scoffed when the firm advertised the Yamaha Sidewinder to have 200 HP. They weren’t too happy knowing that Yamaha didn’t create a from-the-ground-up engine and had to partner with Arctic Cat to produce one for its 2017 series. It wasn’t until the Dyno test results came out, and they got a chance to ride the sled up the mountains and in powdery, deep snow. They soon discovered that the Sidewinder was, and still is, undoubtedly impressive.

Released in 2017, The Yamaha Sidewinder was the first snowmobile to sport a turbocharged 4-stroke engine with nickel alloy turbine triple throttle bodies. Its carefully planned segments were the best during its time, immediately exceeding consumer expectations.

The general public has always highly regarded Yamaha products for their reliability. The technological improvements reflected in the make of the Yamaha Sidewinder stayed true to that reputation. This article will let you in on these advancements and more, so read on to learn more.

Red and White Yamaha Snowmobile

About the Yamaha Sidewinder

The Yamaha Sidewinder is an 800-class snowmobile. It is partly a spin-off of the Viper series but with a different power plant released in the market in 2017. The lineup offered several sub-segments (limited edition, sport, and 50th in different track lengths) and six different trims, namely:

  • Yamaha Sidewinder B-TX – Backcountry
  • Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX – Crossover
  • Yamaha Sidewinder S-TX – Crossover (Turbo)
  • Yamaha Sidewinder M-TX – Mountain
  • Yamaha Sidewinder R-TX – Trail
  • Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX – Trail
Yamaha Sidewinder Snowmobile

Yamaha bested the competition with the Sidewinder’s all-new turbo engine, much to the pleasant surprise of testers and snowmobile magazine staff. Pre-release news articles underreported the sled’s capabilities, which were later proven otherwise by these same groups and with results from Dyno pulls. Individual segments perfectly catered to specific needs based on the sledder’s location. With a growing snowmobiling community hungry for faster and lighter skis, the Yamaha Sidewinder was an answered prayer for many riders.

The factory-fresh Sidewinder’s turbocharged 4-stroke Genesis engine and SRV chassis are a welcome configuration for the knowing consumer. This eliminated the need for adding on turbo kits to stock sledders. It also resulted in the snowmobile delivering close to 200 Yamaha Sidewinder HP (even registering 204 mph in the Dyno test), making it one of the most (if not the most) powerful snowmobile engines available during its launch.

Yamaha Sidewinder Top Speed

Supertrax Magazine tested the Sidewinder alongside the Arctic Cat and 850-class Ski-Doo in 2017 on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, where the Yamaha eclipsed 125 mph.

The 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder L-TX has a recorded top speed of 119 mph on the speedometer and 115 mph on GPS at 8850-8900 RPM. These L-TXs have 1.450 studs, 4th wheel kit, CAT skis, 9-inch deuce bars, and thunder products clutching but with stock tune, air box, and muffler. Others with full stock ones get 122 mph in bad weather (and even better in hardpack conditions), and even say that if you do not get this figure on the speedo, at least, then it could be due to a possible coil bind in the secondary clutch.

The general advice from snowmobile experts is not to have your skis carry too much weight as this will adversely impact your top-end mph. Despite the lightweight engine components, the Sidewinder is still a 1,000-class snowmobile. Carefully thought-of accessories go a long way in hitting optimal top speeds for your cold-weather transport. Getting weight off the front will surely help. To do this, lighten up your primary clutch, have your front center shocks cranked down, and take out pre-load of your front suspension. You could also let out that one hole in the front limiter and remove rear transfer blocks.

Yamaha Sidewinder Specs & Features

Engine

A four-stroke, liquid-cooled tri-cylinder DOHC Genesis turbo engine powers the sled. It has a bore-stroke ratio of 80 x 66.2 millimeters. The engine displacement is 998 cubic centimeters delivered by a fuel-injected 41-mm Mikuni, and its compression ratio is 9:1. Fuel tank capacity is 10 US gallons/37.9 liters for the 2017 models and 8.9 US gallons/33.7 liters for the 2018 models.

The ECU controls the turbocharged power mill. Data from its 9-point sensor measurement covering track speed, ambient air pressure, engine RPM, possible engine detonation, coolant temperature, throttle position, intake air temperature, intake manifold pressure, and boost pressure are all taken into account in regulating ignition timing, fuel delivery, and turbo boost pressure, to name a few.

IDENTIFICATION 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments) 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments)
BASE MSRP (U.S.) $15,499.00 (L-TX)
$15,599.00 (X-TX)
$16,099.00 (S-TX)
$16,599.00 (M-TX/R-TX)
$16,949.00 (B-TX)
$15,699.00 (L-TX)
$15,799.00 (X-TX)
$16,199.00 (S-TX)
$16,699.00 (R-TX)
$16,799.00 (M-TX)
$16,949.00 (B-TX)
ENGINE:
ENGINE BRAND NAME Genesis
ENGINE TYPE Horizontal In-line
CYLINDERS 3
ENGINE STROKE 4-Stroke
COOLING Liquid
VALVES 12
VALVES PER CYLINDER / CONFIGURATION 4 / DOHC
BORE (MM/IN) 80 / 3.15
STROKE (MM/IN) 66.2 / 2.61
DISPLACEMENT (CC/CI) 998 / 60.9
STARTER Electric
FUEL REQUIREMENTS Premium Gasoline
TURBOCHARGED Yes (not supercharged)
CARBURETION BRAND Mikuni
CARBURETION TYPE & BRAND Fuel Injected, 1 x 41-mm Mikuni
SPEED GOVERNOR No
KILL SWITCH / TETHER CORD Standard
EMERGENCY ENGINE SHUT-OFF Standard
SOUND REDUCTION Standard
FUEL CAPACITY (GAL/L) 10 USgal / 37.9 L 8.9 USgal / 33.7 L

Drivetrain

The Yamaha Sidewinder snowmobiles continue to use the low-maintenance YSRC clutch system first introduced in 2016. The primary clutch is more robust, efficient, provides better cooling, and is better for more powerful engines. The secondary clutch has new plates with different angles and rollers replacing the pads, letting the Sidewinder stretch its legs on long frozen lake runs.

TRANSMISSION: 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments) 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments)
TRANSMISSION TYPE Continuously Variable (CVT)
PRIMARY DRIVE (REAR WHEEL) Belt
PRIMARY DRIVE (ENGINE / TRANSMISSION) Belt
REVERSE Yes
CLUTCH BRAND YSRC
THROTTLE TYPE Thumb
STEERING TYPE Manual
STEERING CONTROL Handlebar

Suspension

Only the R-TX, B-TX, and X-TX models have a rear stabilizer bar, which provides steadiness during off-camber turns and makes these sleds a preferred choice among more skilled riders. Furthermore, most of the Yamaha Sidewinder models use Fox Float 3 or Kashima front and rear shocks to provide the snowmobile more lift. The L-TX (trail) and S-TX (crossover-turbo) are the only ones fitted with HPG or high-pressure gas shocks. The front suspension of M-TX and B-TX allow shorter inches of travel – 7 inches for M-TX and 8 inches for B-TX – but permit the longest distance for rear suspension travel – 16.5 and 15.5 inches, respectively.

SUSPENSION: 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments) 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments)
FRONT SUSPENSION TYPE Independent Double Wishbone
FRONT TRAVEL (IN/MM) 10 / 254
7 / 177 (M-TX, B-TX)
10 / 254
7 / 177 (M-TX)
9 / 228.6 (B-TX LE 153 50th)
FRONT SUSPENSION BRAND NAME SRV
FRONT STABILIZER BAR Yes
ADJUSTMENT TYPE Spring Mounted Adjustment
REAR TRAVEL (IN/MM) 13.5 / 343
15.5 / 394 (B-TX)
16.5 / 419 (M-TX)
13.5 / 343
14.5 / 368 (X-TX)
15.5 / 394 (B-TX)
16.5 / 419 (M-TX)
NUMBER REAR SHOCK ABSORBERS 2
REAR SUSPENSION BRAND NAME Dual Shock
REAR STABILIZER BAR No – except for R-TX, B-TX & X-TX
FRONT SHOCK ABSORBER BRAND HPG – L-TX, S-TX
Fox Float 3 – X-TX, M-TX
Fox 1.5 Zero QS3R Kashima – R-TX
Fox Float 3 EVOL – B-TX
HPG – L-TX, S-TX
Fox Float 3 – X-TX, M-TX
Fox 1.5 Zero QS3 – B-TX
Fox 1.5 Zero QS3R Kashima – R-TX
COIL OVER SHOCK Yes – except for X-TX, M-TX, B-TX
REAR SHOCK ABSORBER BRAND HPG – L-TX, S-TX
Fox Float 3 – X-TX, M-TX
Fox 2.0 Zero QS3R Kashima – R-TX
Fox Float 3 EVOL R – B-TX
HPG – L-TX, S-TX
Fox Float 3 – X-TX, M-TX
Fox 2.0 Zero QS3 – B-TX
Fox 2.0 Zero QS3R Kashima – R-TX
FRONT & REAR SHOCK ABSORBER TYPE High Pressure Gas – L-TX, S-TX
Air Shock – other segments
CENTER SHOCK ABSORBER BRAND HPG – other segments
Fox 1.5 Zero QS3 Kashima – R-TX
Fox Float 3 EVOL – B-TX
HPG – other segments
Fox 1.5 Zero QS3 Kashima – R-TX
Fox 1.5 Zero QS3 – B-TX
CENTER SHOCK ABSORBER TYPE High Pressure Gas – except for R-TX, B-TX

Dimensions

Mountain-trim Sidewinders have the longest track length and is a perfect choice for less experienced boondockers. They buy riders the advantage of flotation and allows for making turns without having to step on the gas. Backcountry and crossover ones fall somewhere in the middle, while the trail and crossover-turbo come last in the list. It makes sense for the trail and crossover-turbo segments to fit with shorter tracks as more skilled riders often go for these rides.

BRAKES: 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments) 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments)
BRAKE BRAND NAME Hayes
REAR BRAKE TYPE Hydraulic Disc
DIMENSIONS:

TRACK BRAND Camoplast Cobra – X-TX, S-TX
RipSaw II – L-TX, R-TX
Power Claw – M-TX, B-TX
Camoplast Cobra – X-TX
Camoplast Ripsaw – S-TX
RipSaw II – L-TX, R-TX
Power Claw – M-TX, B-TX
TRACK LENGTH (IN/MM) 129 / 3276.6 – R-TX
137 / 3479.8 – L-TX, S-TX
141 / 3581.4 – X-TX
153 / 3886.2 – B-TX
162 / 4114.8 – M-TX
TRACK WIDTH (IN/MM) 15 / 381
LUG HEIGHT (IN/MM) 1.25 / 31.8 – L-TX, R-TX
1.6 / 40.6 – X-TX, S-TX
2.25 / 57.1- B-TX
3 / 76.2 – M-TX
1.25 / 31.8 – L-TX, R-TX, S-TX
1.6 / 40.6 – X-TX
2.25 / 57.1 – B-TX
3 / 76.2 – M-TX
NUMBER OF TRACKS 1

Technical Specifications

The M-TX trim has the narrowest ski stance than all other models, ranging between 42 and 43 inches. This makes the mountain-trim Sidewinder more agile and easier to layover.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments) 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments)
MAXIMUM SKI STANCE (IN/MM) 38.5 / 977.9 – M-TX
42.5 / 1079.5 – B-TX
43 / 1092.2 – other segments
36 / 914.4 – M-TX
42 / 1066.8 – other segments
42.5 / 1079.5 – B-TX
MINIMUM SKI STANCE (IN/MM) 34.5 / 876.3 – M-TX
38.5 / 977.9 – B-TX
42 / 1066.8 – other segments
36 / 914.4 – M-TX
38.5 / 977.9 – B-TX
42 / 1066.8 – other segments

 Electrical

The Sidewinder requires a 12V, 310-CCA (Cold Crank Amp) battery with an assembled dimension of 6.9 in x 3.4 in x 6.1 in (L x W x H – not including wire harness and mounting accessories). 12V plugs located at the front and behind the seat and an RCA plug allow riders to charge their electronic equipment and heated visor.

Exterior

All segments had heated seats except for X-TX and M-TX models. Handguards were only standard with a select few of the 2017 models and became optional for 2018. If your snowmobile is LED-lighted, veteran sledders recommend either the Powermadd Sentinel with Hayes brackets kit or Cat Procross LED handguards. They pair best with a high windshield if this does not already come stock with the sled.

Backcountry and mountain trims did not come with a snow guard, had plastic handlebar hooks, and were the only ones with side covers. The reverse is true for all other segments. Hence, the snow guard was made standard, and the side cover was entirely removed for all 2018 models.

SEATS: 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments) 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder (Trail, Crossover, Crossover-Turbo, Backcountry & Mountain Segments)
SEAT TYPE One-Piece
ADJUSTABLE No
SEAT MATERIAL Vinyl
SEAT LOCATION Driver
FOLDING No
NUMBER OF SEATS 1
HEATED SEAT Yes – except for X-TX, M-TX
EXTERIOR:
FRAME Aluminum
BODY MATERIAL Plastic
FRAME BRAND SRV
FLOOR BOARD LOCATION Driver
SKID RESISTANT Yes
HAND GRIPS Standard
SADDLE BAG GUARD No
BELT GUARD Yes
HAND GUARDS Yes – only for M-TX, R-TX, B-TX No
CLUTCH GUARD Yes
SNOW GUARD Yes – except for B-TX, M-TX Standard
SIDE COVER Yes – only for B-TX, M-TX No
HANDLEBARS Standard
HANDLEBAR PADS Standard
FRONT BUMPER Standard
REAR BUMPER Standard
SKID PLATE Standard
HANDLEBAR HOOKS Standard (Plastic for B-TX, M-TX) Standard
SKI MATERIAL Plastic (Standard for B-TX, M-TX) Plastic
SKI HANDLE Standard (Carbide for B-TX, M-TX) Standard
SKAG MATERIAL Carbide /Dual Carbide
MOUNTAIN BAR Standard for X-TX Standard for X-TX, B-TX, M-TX
PAINT & FINISH:
METALLIC No
DECAL KIT Standard
GLASS:
HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE No
TINTED No
HEATED No
HEIGHT High – L-TX, S-TX
Mid – X-TX
Low – other segments
High – L-TX, S-TX
Low – other segments
CONVENIENCE:
HEATED HAND GRIP LOCATION Driver
ADJUSTABLE Yes
POWER OUTLET Standard
ADJUSTABLE SKI STANCE Standard

Skag or ski runner material for 2017 models was predominantly dual carbide but was changed to carbide the following year (except for trail and crossover-turbo trims). There is not much difference in steering control or when pushing in turns between the two. However, as soon as the sleds’ weight transfers forward on deceleration, slowdowns off the throttle will be noticeably quicker.

Mountain bars only became standard with the 2017 X-TX (crossover trim) – backcountry and mountain segments were included the year after.

Instrumentation & Lighting

All Yamaha Sidewinder segments had full digital instrumentation and complete fuel and temperature indicators. 2017 models initially had Halogen lights, which later changed to LED.

Sidewinder Pros & Cons

The 2017 Sidewinder lineup did not disappoint in balancing excellent handling and boosting rider confidence when on the mountains or in deep snow. The backcountry and mountain segments do not take away from horsepower with elevation gain, unlike many 4-stroke and boosted 2-stroke counterparts. The Yamaha Sidewinder’s stability and gnarly speed will make newbies feel at home in the hills. Its extra weight aids in holding a good sidehill, which is surprising for a big machine.

Yamaha made the right choice to fit the snowmobile with Fox shocks, which enabled the sled to handle bumps with ease once properly adjusted. The segments with 153-/162-inch tracks handled almost as well as the short-track ones in tight turns – thanks to adjustable ski stance. To add, the Sidewinder’s wide and deep keel design makes it the ultimate crossover ski. Most of all, its track speed, precision, and wicked sound are intoxicating, making riders gravitate towards it.

However, the Sidewinder series does have some minor drawbacks. Although the crossover, mountain, and backcountry segments navigate well through tight trees, you should care not to give these sleds too much throttle as they tend to wash out. Except for the S-TX trim, the other segments offer little storage. It is likewise a tad heavier than its counterparts of the same size. Yamaha Sidewinder reviews reveal owners struggling to get past the 105-mph mark stock. And lastly, the Yamaha Sidewinder comes with a hefty price tag for its class.

FAQs & Common Issues

  • How much does the Yamaha Sidewinder weigh? The Yamaha Sidewinder weight is 671 pounds (only for the L-TX trim). Refer to your owner’s manual for other segments.
  • What causes a blown belt? The absence of the washer or shim behind the secondary clutch causes this problem. The fixed sheave receives too much pressure and heat. To resolve it, do the correct offset for belt alignment – 58.1 mm to 61.1 mm.
  • How do I fix a leaking tank? Leaks come from the seal between the oil tank and chaincase. Taking the tank off and resealing it usually solves the problem. If it does not, it could probably be due to a malfunctioning rollover valve. This is expected as silicone seals do not handle pressure well.

About Yamaha

Yamaha Motor Company Limited is a world leader in the production of water vehicles, motorcycles, and other motorized goods, and is the maker of the Yamaha Sidewinder snowmobiles. Since its beginning in Shizuoka, Japan, this multi-national Japanese firm has continued to produce quality multipurpose engines and intelligent machinery. In recent years, Yamaha has participated in developing tourist businesses, recreational and leisure facilities, and services.

Blue and White Yamaha Snowmobile

Conclusion – Yamaha Sidewinder Review

The Yamaha Sidewinder’s versatility and its different trims’ preciseness are close to unparalleled in the snowmobile market. The S-TX is considered ideal for long trail rides. Many regard the B-TX as the perfect hybrid/crossover sled. The L-TX and R-TX models provide the most comfort when riding on hardpacked snow days on end. The X-TX and M-TX rip through snow and ride uphill like nobody’s business.

These snowmobiles do not need an i-500 or Hay Days trophy to prove that they are worthy (but it would be a lot better if they did). They are also not picky about location or trail conditions. You can race them on grassy asphalt strips or rattle your bearings loose on steep, icy inclines. Whether you’re in the hilly Dakotas, Canadian frozen lakes, or snow-submerged Minnesota, the Yamaha Sidewinder lineup will last for more years to come as a formidable snow-ripper in every respect. Once again, Yamaha has taken another step in the right direction.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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