Boondocking Made Simple
It’s been a while since I have written about Yamaha’s Phazer MTX. It’s time.
I’m not going to whip up a wild-eyed frenzy with fist pumps and growls to loudly declare: “The Phazer MTX is the hidden secret to total mountain dominion.” But, what I will write, with quiet assurance, “The Phazer MTX is a fun little pocket rocket that will delight many who have little desire to hit the steep-and-deep with the 600s and 800s. But, who want to experience the snow-dressed Rockies, both on and off trail, with a little power, little weight and whole lotta grin.”
The Yamaha Phazer MTX, since its introduction, has remained as since Day One. Over its production years however, the little wonder sled has received a few reliability updates (not that the Phazer had any serious issues), but what was designed and built almost a decade ago, remains as is. It is reliable and does not beckon for a game change.
Here is the Phazer MTX. At a MSRP of just US$8,599.00, the Phazer MTX comes fully equipped with the following:
- Engine —Two cylinder liquid cooled four stroke with a displacement of 499cc, and bore and stroke of 77 X 53.6
- Fuel delivery — Two 43mm fuel injectors, one per cylinder
- Ignition — Digital with throttle position sensor
- Exhaust valves — Two at rear dump
- Clutches — YVRC
- Disc brake — Two-piston hydraulic with lightweight ventilated disc
- Front suspension — Independent, double wishbone
- Front shocks — Gas cell
- Rear shocks — 36 mm High Pressure Gas
- Rear Suspension — ProMountain® 144
- Track — 14 x 144 x 2-inch Camoplast® Maverick™
The Phazer MTX has just enough power to spin the 14-inch wide track with its two-inch tall lugs. The 144-inch long track makes the Phazer MTX playful in the snow. The near 600cc twin cylinder four-stroke will not break the track loose from any powder condition. This allows the driver the assurance the sled will always hook the snow and move forward.
The Phazer MTX is the most agile sled we’ve ridden in a long time, purely due to its lightweight, narrow track and overall vehicle length of 125.7 inches. The ProMountain rear suspension gives the Phazer MTX big mountain control, just like its sibling, the FX Nytro MTX. Big riders will find the light Phazer MTX to be comfortable, be it on the trail or off trail.
Just as all Yamaha four-stroke snowmobiles do, the Phazer MTX comes equipped with electric start, and it snaps to life within a one second roll of the key. Also, surrounding the rider is a friendly cockpit that provides good wind and snow protection; note that the windshield rotates with the handlebars. The runningboards are wide giving ample territory for a wide boot fella.
The motor has ample torque to carry the sled and its rider, but it is no monster sled; Yamaha knows this and the manufacturer does not promote the Phazer MTX as a kill hill sled. Yamaha does promote the Phazer MTX as a boondocking mountain sled; which it is.
There are different levels of boondocking for riders at different levels. I would regard the Phazer MTX as a beginner boondocker to just below mid-level boondocker. I am not saying the Phazer MTX is a crossover or trail snowmobile, it is not, it is a mountain snowmobile that works its way to the top of a respectful mountain without blazing speed; crisscrossing the powder in old school style.
But, will it run with the 600s and 800s as mentioned in the beginning? Not really. Will it play in the backcountry? Yes. Understand though, the Phazer MTX has limitations, due to motor displacement and track width. Keep the Phazer MTX in its deep-powder and mountain-element, riding with those who have similar snowmobiles, if not the same, and you will enjoy nature’s best wintertime beauty with great satisfaction. This is the snowmobile I would start a beginner on, when teaching them about backcountry riding.
At our annual powder test session, the Snowmobile.com crew found ourselves enjoying the break the Phazer MTX gave us, meaning we did not have to heavy-lift a mountain snowmobile through the powder. Oh, we did spur and coax the little motor to give us more when snow-and-slope challenged the vehicle, but overall, we enjoyed our little java machine and the nice little froth it gave us.
For me, the highpoint of my ride is when I found a wide-open meadow stuffed with three-feet of fresh powder — untracked it was. With a pocket full of gumption, I carved and sashayed through the powder until no snowflake was left unturned. It was sweet, simple magic, kind of like stopping to smell the roses as the busy world rushes by.
Why you want it? Because you are a simple rider with no complications in your life to unravel, and the only thing you want to prove is that Rocky Mountain snow can be enjoyed with little cost and weight.
|2013 Yamaha Phazer MTX Specs|
|Engine||Yamaha Genesis liquid-cooled, 499cc 4-stroke triple; 43mm electronic fuel injection|
|Drive||Yamaha YVRC variable ratio drive and driven|
|Front Suspension||Yamaha double wishbone; 8.7-inches maximum travel; Gas cell shocks; plastic mountain ski|
|Rear Suspension||Yamaha ProMountain 144; 14.3-inches maximum travel; 36mm High pressure gas shocks|
|Brake||Yamaha 2-piston hydraulic with lightweight ventilated disc|
|Ski Stance||38.6 in|
|Track||14 x 144 x 2.0 Camoplast Maverick|
|Fuel Capacity||7.0 US Gal (Regular fuel)|