Yamaha Nytro Tow Bumper for Backcountry Skiing


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | July 31, 2009      

Your “high performance” versions of snowmobiles don’t have much in the way of utility for backcountry skiing. Cargo/ski racks, tow hitches, stuff like that; too much weight. Our Yamaha Nytro 4-stroke needed a tow hitch. It also needed a rear bumper that did something more than look okay. I ordered up some 1 inch x .095 wall tubing from ThyssenKrupp Metals (that’s the thinnest wall tube they can bend down at CODE 4×4, where master fabricator Chris Overacker made the tubing do his bidding).

Backcountry skiing snowmobile sled.

Hitch bumper on Yamaha Nytro snowmobile.

After drilling a few holes and getting the bumper powder coated, installation was a snap, utilizing three stainless steel fasteners per side. I ordered up a basic snowmobile hitch, modified it to fit the tubing, and we’re off and running with our MountainSmith Sled (for a current line of sleds, see this.)

We’ve also got a steel framed Colorado Cargo Sled for hauling large loads, but the MountainSmith sled is my favorite as it’s easy to drop from the snowmobile, attach the harness trace rods, and man-haul it. The snowmobile hitch adapter in the photos is something I made years ago. It includes a shock absorbing spring and rubber bumper system to minimize stress on the sled and bumper.

Backcountry skiing snowmobile sled bumper.

Bumper, with MountainSmith cargo sled attached.

As for the bumper, not much to the design except I extended it out about 10 inches farther than stock. This gives more leverage when picking the snowmobile up from the rear to get it unstuck. More, I tilted the extended bumper down a bit, so the hitch ends up being several inches lower than the stock location, for a better tow angle.

The new bumper adds a few pounds weight to the snow machine, but it’s worth it for the type of riding we do. Oh, and it’s also an attachment point for towing those needy skiers we meet once in a while on the trail (grin).

Next mod: I’m gonna’ go for it and do a homebrew version of a tunnel dump for the exhaust — then we’ll be ready for the big winter!



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Comments

11 Responses to “Yamaha Nytro Tow Bumper for Backcountry Skiing”

  1. john Gloor August 1st, 2009 1:22 pm

    Lou, I like the shock absorber hitch. Is there a stop so the towed sled will not tip over on whooped trails? The only sled I have towed was a kids sled for Christmas tree hunting and it was very tippy As for the bumper, I hope the slotted screws and round tubing works, but I’d be leery of the small contact patch where the tube is bolted to the tunnel. Your bumper sticks 2-3x further back than stock so there could be some leverage issues. Plus you lost your reflector!

  2. Lou August 1st, 2009 8:44 pm

    John, thanks for the thoughts, there is a good backing plate that was used for the previous bumper, though I might go to a larger diameter fastener for the rearmost one. Thing is, I wanted those to be a fuse, so the fastener would break or bend before I damaged the tunnel. Even so, the shear strength on those fasteners is pretty huge so long as they remain tight. And I’m not planning on towing huge loads.

    No rotation stop on the hitch as is, good idea!

    I’ve not had too much trouble with the sled tipping, though more resistance to that would be good, but it needs some rotation freedom to prevent stress on the sled yoke.

  3. john Gloor August 1st, 2009 10:13 pm

    I should have known you would have given it a thorough looking over. Do you tow skiers from the rack or the bumber?

  4. Jeff Hood August 27th, 2009 9:38 am

    Lou,

    I’m in the market for a sled this year and have been leaning towards the exact snowmobile you have; the Yamaha FX Nytro MTX.

    I’ll be using it mostly in Summit County and the surrounding areas and will probably be applying it very much the same way you do. Basically, it will be a way to transport me to harder to reach tours with the occasional day to help lap smaller lines or simply just to get out and ride a little.

    I was just wondering if you’ve been happy with its performance and reliability overall. Its not a small purchase for me by any means, so I want to make sure I make the right decision. Have you ever regretted getting a snowmobile? Is there another make/model you wish you had gotten instead? And lastly, I’ll be riding mostly with a couple of buddies towed behind, but without another sled in case it breaks down. Do you ever worry about being caught way out there without a working sled to get you back?

    A lot of questions, I know. But any advice you could provide on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Best Regards,
    Jeff

  5. Lou August 27th, 2009 10:00 am

    Hi Jeff, I’m pretty happy with the Nytro, though I wish I’d waited a year or two for the purchase because they did improve the suspension and also got rid of the jerky feel of the drive by letting it “freewheel” a bit more when you let off the throttle. The above tunnel exhaust is the most bogus thing about it. Plan on doing a tunnel dump modification if you’re going to be using it as a utility sled. You also may still need to do some suspension mods to make it less tippy. I’d get the longest track it comes with, another mistake I made was getting the slightly shorter track to save some money. You may also end up with aftermarket skis. If you’re 6 feet tall or more, you’ll immediately need a handlebar riser. You may also need to do the catch-can modification to the oil reservoir, which in my model dumps directly into the air cleaner and then on the ground if the sled is inverted or on its left side for any length of time. Plan on removing the windshield. It does nothing below 60 mph and just catches branches.

    I also removed the parking brake because it is too easily left employed during night missions when you’re tired in the middle of a storm (don’t ask me how I know.)

    The engine, quiet, and lack of bad exhaust are amazing. Only defective thing we’ve had so far was the starter solenoid, which began to work intermittently during a trip and almost stranded the sled, but luckily kicked over (I know how to bypass that, but didn’t think of it as I’m so unfamiliar with snowmobile mechanics.) I replaced myself, very easy fix.

  6. Jeff Hood August 27th, 2009 10:42 am

    Lou,

    Thanks for the info!

    Would you want the longer track simply for more float when it gets deep?

    Planned on doing the handle bar riser and the oil-catch-can sounds like a must-do mod.

    Sounds like Yamaha got a lot right with this sled with only a couple minor tweaks that need to be made.

    I guess my last question is the toughest….

    Would you say the purchase was ‘worth it’? Has it truly improved your winters and the type of terrain you can access?

  7. Jeff September 1st, 2009 12:30 pm

    Lou,

    Any thoughts on the above?

  8. Brad Noble October 12th, 2009 10:15 am

    Have you guys seen the Powderack for snowmobiles. It is all aluminum and works for skis or snowboards. There is a quick release option which allows you to remove the rack from the sled quickly when not being used. Check it out at Powderack.com, there are a couple of videos to show how it works…..

  9. Lou October 12th, 2009 11:14 am

    Brad, we were checking your rack out a while ago. Looks really good. Want to advertise on Wildsnow.com? :angel:

  10. Brad Noble October 12th, 2009 11:23 am

    Please let me know how I can advertise on Wildsnow! :w00t:

  11. Lou October 12th, 2009 11:36 am

    Support appreciated, email on the way. Thanks, Lou

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