Hands-On 2008 Yamaha Nytro MTX
First in a series of real-life testing
Yamaha’s new Nytro is without question the most capable four-stroke machine the company has ever built. The spec sheet alone for this machine is enough to convince almost anyone that it is far superior to the four stroke machines it supersedes, but the real question on my mind was how does it compare to the competition’s two-stroke machines? We got a sampling of what the Nytro offered on a pre-production machine earlier in the year at Snow Shoot.
At that time, time constraints and lack of good snow hindered us from giving the machine a thorough evaluation. As soon as there was enough snow to keep the runners lubricated we headed out on a Nytro to pound the Idaho snow.
The most impressive feature of this machine is the 130 horsepower three-cylinder engine. It has almost no vibration and is extremely responsive with very good top end power. This motor is so smooth and responsive it makes the competitions machines feel very harsh, noisy, and as if they are poorly jetted. It is very quiet and although the power is very smooth and linear it still has a little spike that makes it exciting. I really can’t say enough good things about this motor, and it is very clear that Yamaha was very conservative at rating the output at 130 hp. It is very hard to tell without a dyno but comparing it to other machines it feels more like 135-145 hp.
On paper the biggest drawback to the Nytro is its weight, although it is the lightest four-stroke machine (except for Phazer) Yamaha has built, it still is a bit heavy compared to the other machines in its class. Yamaha says it weighs 553 lbs (no rev.) dry and we weighed our machine completely full of fuel and oil at 620lbs. We also weighed a RevXP 800 163” and it weighed only 528 lbs. The Nytro definitely has some stiff competition in the mountain category this year but does very well considering its weight. The weight is so well centralized on this machine that you wouldn’t know it as heavy as it is. That is, until you get it stuck anyway.
The ergonomics of the Nytro are really nice, the bars are at a decent height for both standing up and sitting down riding positions and the running boards extend into the tunnel enough to stretch your legs out in front on the trail. The only complaint in this department is the lack of a pivoting bar riser. It would be nice to point the riser a few degrees towards vertical. The running boards are wide with very good grip, and even in deep powder they clear the snow well.
On the trail the Nytro requires a lot of leaning to make it turn quickly, and the inside ski has a bad habit of lifting and throwing the machine off balance. After a while, I found that I could modify my riding style by hanging off the machine to help counter this. Also, if you are accelerating through the turn you can lean the machine and steer it with the track. Obviously you can’t be too critical of a mountain sled for its trail manners but even the most extreme mountain riders have to ride a lot of trails so it is still a consideration. But as soon as you leave the trail the Nytro comes into its own. The Maverick 153” track is a good compromise between climbing and powder abilities but still short enough for the trail, jumping, and boondocking. The Rider Forward riding position works well in the powder and when climbing, it requires very little rider effort to make it change direction in the powder you can almost steer it with your head, just tilt your head in the direction you want to go and a slight lift on the bars and the machine will go exactly where you want.
The front a-arm suspension on the Nytro seemed to work very well, it would have been nice to have a slightly wider ski stance so for the next ride we will move the spacers on the ski and widen it to the maximum of 39.6”. The rear suspension was a little disappointing because it is sprung so soft, even with both torsion springs on H and the pre-load all way wound on the front track shock it still bottomed very easily. I know what you are thinking, that I probably weigh 300 lbs, but I am a fairly average 200 lbs (I keep telling myself this is average anyway). Hopefully, there will be some aftermarket shocks or updates from Yamaha available to firm up the rear suspension.
Overall the Nytro MTX is an excellent mountain machine that is very capable in stock form and has comparable performance to its two-stroke counterparts. The engine, ergonomics and weight are all right where they need to be. The only major drawback to this machine is the rear suspension. Based on the success of the Apex and RX-1 with some boost I am sure the Nytro will be just as good if not better. Even a mild 5-10 psi of boost will really transform this machine into the king of the mountain. Especially when you figure the weight advantage (a full mod turbo RX-1 weighs 684 lbs) it will have over the Apex with only a slight hp disadvantage. We are currently working on arranging a test of a supercharged Nytro from Mountain Performance so we will keep you posted on how it works.
Editor’s note: Special thanks to Mountain Performance for jumping through hoops to make this test a reality on very short notice. www.mountainperformance.com
This push bar comes in really handy when going through the trees, an accidental impact with a tree shouldn’t damage the hood.
This weight is plum full of fuel, coolant, and oil.
This is where the Nytro really shines; playing in the powder