We've seen a steady increase in e-mail over the last
year since we started the Project Vipers project with a pair of
model year 2002 SXVipers, one red and one blue. We loved the sleds
stock and then we started tuning the performance with the help of
Bender Racing, USI, Camoplast and a few others. We built the
engines up a bit (a lot) and the sleds really came to life. For a
reasonable amount of cash, we really made the Vipers venomous and
an absolute rush on the trails.
One thing was a bit weak and it quickly became a sore
point, literally, with the SXViper owners. The ride was a bit shall
we say harsh. Even on the pristine trails around Montpellier Quebec
Canada, the ride was tiring and made you wish for an M-10 or Expert
X. We did just that and installed an Expert X in the Viper ER and
the ride became a joy immediately. We still might try the M-10 too,
that's another story however. That's a pricey solution and
something the average owner may not want to endure.
Yamaha heard the owner's complaints thru the dealer
network and calls directly to Yamaha's customer service line. They,
being Yamaha Motor Company US and Canada, made a decision to do
something that no other manufacturer has done to-date. Offer a
complete shock replacement program for all four shocks and springs.
For $189.00 USD your dealer will replace all four shocks with four
shiny new Kayabas shocks and springs. Installation is included in
the price too!
Since we wanted to make sure we had this straight, we
decided to get the low down directly from Yamaha's Greg Marier
Greg Marier stated that, "If you are a 2002
SXViper or SXViper ER customer from the United States looking for a
softer ride, go to your dealer and he will confirm the current
adjustment level of your suspension. If the adjustment range is not
enough to fit your weight and riding style, you may decide to take
advantage of our shock absorber replacement offer.
The offer consists of four new
spring and shock absorber assemblies
and different control rod calibration installed on your 2002
or SXViper ER in exchange for $189.00 USD plus your old
There is a similar program for our
2002 SXViper or SXViper ER customers in Canada - please see your
local dealer for the Canadian costs and details.
The program is specifically designed
to increase customer satisfaction among 2002 SXViper or SXViper ER
ustomers looking for a softer ride to match their specific weight
and riding style. For these customers, the nominal cost of $189.00
plus the old shocks should be very attractive to them."
This is one heck of a good deal when you consider
what the retail price is on for Kayabas shocks - somewhere north of
$1300.00 USD. The new shocks will have a much softer compression
damping (the rear arm being the most drastically changed) and
improve overall ride immediately.
Yamaha has also announced that the 2003 SXVipers with
electric start and reverse will come from the factory with the new
valve shocks. The SXVipers without reverse and electric start will
also have shocks with a new valve damping settings that are firmer
than the 2002 replacement shocks, but slightly softer than the
original 2002 shocks.
We've finally received one set from
our local dealer; the container strike causing some of the delay,
and had our blue Viper outfitted with the new shocks. The new setup
only has 100 or so miles on it, but the initial seat of the pants
feeling is simply - great. Yamaha should have done this from the
start is the next thought we had. Yamaha did the consumer good on
this one and they do deserve a star and a plus mark on the report
card. We'll post an update after we get more miles on the ride and
get a chance to fine tune the settings. We're not sure how long
this sweet heart of a deal will last, but I would expect Yamaha to
pull the plug at the beginning of next season.