Inside Yamaha’s Cross-Country Race Sled

Ben Lindbom was one of a handful of Yamaha racers to find success on a re-worked Nytro last season.

Last season Yamaha came out of the gate at the first USCC cross-country race and claimed a win in the Pro Open class aboard a Nytro optimized for terrain racing. But was it a stock or a mod sled? And was the front suspension kit legal? That’s where the drama ensued as the other manufacturers put it up for a vote in an ISR conference call and shot it down. Deemed not legal for USCC stock class racing, it was, however, deemed legal for stock class racing on the Cor Powersports circuit where it swept the Pro points and won Semi-Pro Sprint. It also won Semi-Pro Open at the USCC Oslo race with Ben Lindbom behind the bars, took second in USCC Pro Open points under Ross Erdman and Erik Frigon used one to run the table in the USCC East Semi-Pro Improved class, going unbeaten in races and claiming the points. Erdman also raced this same basic sled at the Soo I-500. Follow along as we go inside what makes this Nytro special.

The Nytro and Phazer do not have a bulkhead per se, they use a bolt on suspension module much like an ATV. The suspension on the Nytro race sled bolts in and uses stronger a-arms with optimized geometry.

It's also optimized for ground clearance and strength. Notice the sway bar has been moved up inside the chassis.

Here is a closer look at the sway bar setup. It is stronger and packaged better for racing use.

The suspension is optimized to reduce bump steer and scrub, two things that heavily plagued the original Nytro and were somewhat fixed on later Nytros but never really went away. OK for trail use but not OK for racing use.

Out back the skid is relocated to lengthen the "wheelbase" of the sled. The Nytro is a really short sled which helps for maneuvering in tight trails but isn't so good for blasting down a ditch.

Yamaha's Race Manger Eric Josephsen points to the coupling setup used on the race sled. Instead of the strap the production Nytro uses, the race buggy uses coupler blocks. The holes are already in the rails so they bolt right in.

The rest of the skid is all stock Nytro except for the shocks, which are top-of-the-line Fox reservoir units. The track is a 128 taken out of the Yamaha parts catalog. It's one that comes stock on an Apex.

The tunnel is braced up with a part that was originally developed for the snocross version of the Nytro. The Yamaha racer pictured is demonstrating how not to check your studs.

Here you can see how far the front arm (and the rest of the skid) is moved back.

Racers like clear tanks because you can see how much fuel is in them. This tank holds 10-gallons vs. the stock Nytro tank which holds 7. Gotta make sure you don't run out of fuel in races such as the I-500.

Here's another look at the tank. Trail Tank makes these and they are nice pieces.

The sled uses a Dyno Jet Power Commander engine controller that allows the team to essentially "re-jet" the engine. The stock Nytro calibration is intended for consumer use so it is richer than it should be if you're trying to make optimum power. The controller allows the team to squeeze every last pony out of the Genesis 130FI engine.

A homemade brake duct routes air to the stock brake. Pretty much everyone's brakes fade at some point in cross-country, the game is to see how long you can hold it off.

There are a few other little secrets the Nytro has, such as reinforced oil tank mounts.

All this adds up to a sled that allows Yamaha cross-country riders to lay down some pretty fast times on the lakes and in the ditches. Apart from the stuff called out in this story the Nytro is pretty much stock. Yamaha's original intent was to get the parts approved for stock racing and to sell them as a kit and, in the process, build a race program. But until the kit is approved by ISR the parts will remain available only to factory racers.

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