2004 Yamaha SXVenom 600
A good buy with a tidy engine package
Yamaha's SXR 600 may be gone, but its heart lives on in Yamaha's new-for-2004 Venom 600. As the bridge to Yamaha's higher performance SX Vipers, the Venom picks up a lot of the Viper package in styling, suspension components, digital gauges and more. Its power remains similar to what you had in the previous 600 sports model. Bottom line to all of us is simple: think of the Venom as a smaller displacement, less potent Viper 700.
As the entry point into Yamaha sports sleds, the Venom is a terrific blend of on-trail competence, very good dollar value, and steady, everyday performance. But, don't kid yourself. Yamaha does not offer this sled as a serious speed challenger to any of the "hot" 600s- such as Ski-Doo's Rev MXZ 600, Arctic's Firecat F6 or Polaris' ProX2 model. If anything, based on price and performance you would better think of the Venom in terms of a head-to-head performance counterpart to Ski-Doo's REV 500SS, which is actually a 594cc liquid-cooled twin.
At last year's American Snowmobiler/PortaTree Shoot-Out, the Venom's predecessor, SX600R, with a similar drive package turned the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 82-plus miles per hour. The Ski-Doo REV high output 600 twin was quicker out of the box at 14.4 seconds and a four-mile per hour top speed of 86.2 mph. The point is, Yamaha's 600 triple is no slouch. For last year's Shoot-Out, the Yamaha triple was dyno-tested at 97.3 hp.
That compares to last year's Ski-Doo 600 HO that registered 117.3 horsepower.
The standard Yamaha SX Viper 700cc triple that we dyno-tested for last season's Shoot-Out registered 117 hp. If you simply do the math, divide the displacement of the Viper (700) into the displacement of the Venom (600), you will find that the Venom has 86 percent of the displacement of the Viper. Multiply that times the Viper power rating and, all things being equal (which they aren't!), you can approximate the Venom's power number of about 100 hp.
Interestingly, the DynoPort dyno testing session brought the new Venom 600 in at 98.6 hp at 8500 rpm. So, in this case, our little rule of thumb works out, despite the fact that the Viper motor uses power valves which the Venom "6" does not.
Nonetheless, the dyno shows that this "little" 600 is a very well mannered engine, showing torque of 60-plus lbs-ft from 90.3 hp to the power peak. This all happens from 7800 rpm through 8500 revs.
Being a lower-priced, smaller displacement entry, the Venom breathes through three smaller Mikuni TM 31 carbs and does not share the "forced air induction" of the 700cc Viper. Both engines do feature case reed valves for efficient intake.
All in all, the Venom 600 rates as a strong "buy" for all around snowmobiling that you will enjoy weekend after weekend. Good, not sensational, power is a strength of this trail performance machine.
This story ran in the January 2004 issue of American Snowmobiler magazine