Long-Term Test: 2016 Yamaha SR Viper L-TX LE Turbo

This sled revs more than just your heart, and it hooked us from 'hello'
2016 Yamaha SR Viper L-TX LE Turbo snowmobile review
You want it all? Acceleration, smooth handling, raw power - it’s all here in the Yamaha L-TX LE with MPI Turbo. There weren’t many sleds shining brighter on the trail than this one!
Ryan Thompson – RLT Photos
Winner of AmSnow’s “Best 4-Stroke” award for MY2016, we were looking forward to having Yamaha’s SR Viper L-TX LE Turbo in our demo fleet from our very first pre-production rides.

We felt the sweet combination of big power and handling was the best trail sled from Yamaha in years. Yamaha’s new tagline is “Revs your heart.” Well, we think that is just the beginning of the revving!

Smooth through corners, capable and fun through rough terrain, and gobs of power just waiting to be squeezed on each throttle pull from the MPI turbo kit. This sled seriously gives you tingles down to your toes! We couldn’t find enough good things to say about this ride after our first taste. The shock calibration was as near perfect as you can get. The ability to predictably transfer weight from nose to tail and side to side was dialed in, which is no easy feat when you add a turbo to a 4-stroke. If you can’t tell, we were smitten with this sled from the first date.

Those strong feelings remained after nearly 1,000 miles of riding less than perfect snow conditions and rocky, rutted out trails, where we discovered the benefit of Yamaha’s chassis performance damper. What seems like a slight improvement during quick test sessions really amplifies into something you appreciate during long days in tough conditions.
2016 Yamaha SR Viper L-TX LE Turbo snowmobile review
Flying 4-stroke! The MPI Turbo Kit adds plenty of power to get the L-TX LE airborne, and the FOX QS3 shocks come with a near-perfrect calibration for just about any trail terrain.
Ryan Thompson - RLT Photos
We’re sure many considered this a big, overweight 4-stroke without so much as placing a boot on the running board. We’re here to tell you that impression is wrong. It wasn’t even the heaviest sled in our demo fleet – not by a long shot.

Yes, the turbo adds power and weight, but there is a playfulness to this sled that is missing from the standard Viper models. Wheelies are fun and races are won while riding this sled! Every test crew member complimented its comfortable ride and polite trail manners. But, it wasn’t all rosy.

Moving too fast
Maybe we were a little too smitten, as we requested the exact prototype we rode during our spring test rides. There are always a few extra flaws to work out between the prototype builds and full production builds.

First, there were a few times when the heat warning came on during our trail rides. While we were riding in above-normal temps with below-normal snowfall, it wasn’t anything a trail sled shouldn’t be able to handle. We haven’t heard of rampant overheating issues, though, and for the most part, it was a blast to ride. It’s certainly the smoothest Yamaha in the trails we’ve ridden in years.

Second, a consumer turbo sled needs some sort of windshield. It doesn’t have to be huge, but at least enough to duck behind when you unleash the horses across a frozen lake. And the placement of the key in the narrowest of openings between the windshield and the dash still baffles us.

All things considered, when it’s running right, the SR Viper L-TX LE Turbo is an exhilarating ride! But aftermarket turbos – whether 2-stroke or 4-stroke – can be finicky, and the sea level calibration only came out a year or so ago, with just a handful getting into consumers’ hands last year and the year before.
3 Takeaways
  1. A big 4-stroke turbo that can handle the rough trails? It’s here!
  2. The 137-inch length balances the sled perfectly, and the accessory chassis damping kit helps.
  3. Invest in a good pair of handguards with this one, or you’ll find out very quickly what -20 F feels like at 100+ mph!
Engine: Genesis 1049cc triple 4-stroke Drive: YVXC, Variable Ratio / Electronic Shift Reverse / Magnesium Chaincase & Cover HP: 168.8* Exhaust: 3-1 stainless steel w/MPI Turbo Brake: Disc brake Ski Stance: 42-43 in. adj. Front Susp.: SRV w/ FOX piggyback clicker w/ coil spring shocks (10 in. travel) Rear Susp.: Dual Shock SR 137 w/ aluminum HPG center shock, aluminum HPG w/ piggyback clicker rear shock (13.5 in. travel) Track: 15x137x1.25 in. RipSaw II Fuel Tank: 10 gal. Rec. Fuel: 91 octane Wet Weight: 630 lbs.* Price: $13,599 (+$2500 for MPI Turbo) US / $15,749 (+$3000 for MPI Turbo) CA Real World Stats*: Top Speed:  102.2 mph 1/4 mile: 13.30 sec.
*AmSnow tested
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