The RTX SE is to Yamaha what the F-150 SVT Raptor is to Ford: a civilian version of its top-of-the-line off-road racer. Although in this case that racing is Snocross.
The 2009 Yamaha FX Nytro RTX SE is bad. Not bad like spoiled milk or bad like Nissan's horrible attempt at stealing away our xB-lovin' hearts. Bad like the way you feel while tearing down a ski slalom in a fresh Audi S4 or hauling hard on an impromptu dragway riding the back of a 400-some-odd horsepower unicycle with nothing more than a torn Skynyrd tee to save your hide. Hot, naughty, evil.
The RTX SE is a rough and tumble war sled. It's classified "rough trail," which is a generalized way of saying you can take it off of huge jumps and it won't bat a single muscular eyelash. The technology used to design the 2009 model is derived directly from Yamaha's snow racing team. The 121" long track, which is the shortest of the three lengths available on Yamaha sleds, lends itself to wicked turn-in at the slightest twitch of the bar, whereas the longer 136" and 144" tracks on the poof-grade sleds are designed to bridge bumps and float on deep powder. Being a racer replica and not a true race sled, you've got the convenience of grip heaters, squishy seat and wide running boards. This all adds up to a fast, nimble machine that tries to kill you every turn in sweet, warm comfort.
With the RTX SE being totally geared towards big jumps, sharp turns and other Snocross-flavored bits, we promptly took it through the extremely deep powder offered only by northern Michigan's outback fields in the dead middle of January.
A quick aside regarding traction: Among knowledgeable car aficionados, it's widely agreed that tires are the most important feature on a race car. A simple change between tread patterns or compounds can make the difference between a winning effort and a hot trip to Armco Town, USA. Much of the same goes for the rubber track situated underneath all snowmobiles. Yamaha decided to name their new multi-use tread pattern, co-developed with Canadian plastics company Camoplast, the "Camoplast® Rip Saw™." We think it sounds more like how you'd describe a naked, bloodied Christian Bale running full tilt down an apartment building corridor wielding a screaming chainsaw while chasing after his rented lover just after she discovered his collection of fractured bodies, but it's not a bad name for a tread, either. What we'll now call the Christian Bale® Death Tread™ enables you to do is tackle far more diverse snow types than previously thought possible. This marketing hype actually plays out true, for once, as the RTX SE doesn't bog once through the insurmountably deep powder, even after multiple stops and reversals. This is generally impossible for a 121" tracked sled as they usually sink far quicker than they can propel themselves forward.
The ergonomics of the RTX SE are purposefully designed to keep the rider in a standing position over the engine during all aggressive riding. This perfectly balanced arrangement leads to unparalleled rotation and control in exactly the direction of your lean. Control doesn't mean invincibility, as an improper shift towards the outside of the turn will flip your entire show over with rabid efficiency.
The 130HP three-cylinder four-stroke engine promptly shuts up any two-stroking fanboys stuck in the smelly past. We actually witnessed a couple of supposed gas-oil mixing die-hards converted on the spot once they played with the gobs of torque provided by the new fuel injected mill. With the proper lean and a willful twist of the throttle, one can pull a full drift from barely a crawl. Added bonus: When you flip a fuel injected sled, it doesn't piss gas all over itself, unlike those rocking a carbuerator. Ask us how we know. Better yet, ask Kyle and Alex down below in the photo credits about their personal inverted experiences.
At a hefty $11,599, we find it hard to justify any new snowmobile when the window of usable winter is so short. The money would be better spent on a 2009 Zero X that you can enjoy all year. For those in the far north (We're looking at you, Canada) that enjoy snowmobiles as necessary transportation for most of the year, the fresh line of Yamaha four-strokes simply can't be beat. The RTX SE, while still commute-ready, offers a raucous and ripping ride on just about any surface.
Photo Credit: Alex "Cat Lady" Conley and Kyle "Dangerzone" Conner