The 2-stroke Yamaha Phazer 500 was a popular budget sport snowmobile marketed from 1999 through 2001. Unlike the more powerful liquid-cooled SXR 500, the Phazer 500 was powered by a 485cc, fan-cooled twin engine. If you want to find out more about this famous entry-lever sled, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know into this Yamaha Phazer 500 review!
Yamaha Phazer 500 Review
The first Yamaha Phazer was revealed in 1984 and instantly became popular in the marketplace. This lightweight nimble sled was also known for its reliability and durability.
In 1999, Yamaha completely redesigned this iconic model from scratch and introduced the fan-cooled Yamaha Phazer 500.
In the following years, the family expanded with two new models. The sleds in this series were as follows:
- Yamaha Phazer 500 (PZ500) – Manufactured: 1999-2001
- Yamaha Phazer 500 Mountain Lite (PZ500ML) – Manufactured: 2000-2001
- Yamaha Phazer 500 Deluxe (PZ500DX) – Manufactured: 2001
The base model was marketed from the 1999 model year, followed by the Mountain Lite in 2000 and the Deluxe in 2001.
The standard Phazer 500 and the Deluxe were basically the same models, except the latter came with reverse, an electric start, and the “Deluxe” decals.
As the name suggests, the Phazer 500 Mountain Lite was designed for off-trail rides. Therefore, it featured a longer 136” x 15” track and a 38.6” ski stance.
In contrast, the two trail models came with a 121” x 15” track and a 42.1” ski stance. All of these molded rubber tracks featured fiberglass rod reinforcements and a slide rail suspension.
Compared to its predecessors, this new Phazer line had a much stronger, fan-cooled power source.
To be more precise, the Yamaha Phazer 500 engine was an axial fan-cooled, 485cc, 2-stroke twin that pumped out about 58 horsepower. This single-piped power source had many advanced features such as:
- Two Mikuni B38-32 carbs
- Stronger crankshaft
- Cylinder-mounted reeds
- Relocated oil pump (closer to the center of the engine)
- Yamaha Energy Induction System
- Peak power at 7250 RPM
- Clutch engagement: 4000-4100 RPM
The outdated front telescopic strut suspension was also replaced with the more advanced independent trailing-arm suspension system that offered a travel of 9 inches.
This sled also had Yamaha’s unique adjustable ProAction Plus rear suspension with 11.5 inches of travel.
Thanks to this engine and other features, the Phazer 500 was easy to ride, even for beginners. Unlike later Phazer models, which were famous for poor suspension performance and unpredictable handling, the ‘99-‘01 Phazers handled like a dream.
As reported by SnowGoer, these sleds were known to be highly reliable and dependable machines.
The steel skis of the ‘99-‘00 models were replaced with all-new “rocker shaped” skis for the 2001 model year. These plastic skis not only improved the riding experience but were also eight pounds lighter compared to their steel counterparts.
Other updates on the newer models included a tunnel reinforcement, a different lug pattern, and adjusted suspension calibration for easier cornering and more comfortable rides.
Therefore, if you are in the market for a lightweight and easy-to-handle second sled, you can’t go wrong with a vintage Yamaha Phazer 500 from the ‘99-‘01 model years.
Thanks to its low-powered engine and simple features, this sled is a low-maintenance machine that might be a great choice for beginners or yournger riders on a budget. What’s more, this tiny trail sled is also known as a great wife’s sled as well.
According to Snowmobile.com, the best choice from these models is the 2001 Phazer 500 Deluxe.
By 2001, these fan-cooled sleds were slightly outdated, and to the greatest regret of many fans, the Phazer family was discontinued after this model year.
Yamaha Phazer 500 Problems
Every sled has its weaknesses, and the Phazer 500 was no exception.
Many riders say that one of the biggest drawbacks of the Yamaha Phazer 500 was its low-performance, 58 HP engine. Its performance was far behind its liquid-cooled counterparts like the SXR 500, not to mention the 600 and 700 models with triple engines.
But let’s face it, the Phazer wasn’t built for performance-minded riders, so it’s an apples to oranges comparison. Fan-cooled snowmobiles are always less powerful than their liquid-cooled brothers, as the heat robs a lot of the HP on these machines.
Although the Phazer wasn’t the fastest sled on the trails, its little engine was still quite thirsty as it only got about 10-14 mpg, depending on the rider’s style as well as the environmental conditions.
Another common problem with the Phazer 500 was the T.O.R.S malfunctions, but these could be fixed relatively easily.
Also, the 150-watt electrical system of the Phazer didn’t prove to be sufficient for night riding. In contrast, the more advanced sleds in Yamaha’s fleet featured a 300-watt magneto, which ensured a brighter headlight.
Finally, don’t forget that the Phazer was designed to carry only one rider, and only the Deluxe came with reverse and an electric start.
Yamaha Phazer 500 Specs Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the Yamaha Phazer 500 into these charts:
Yamaha Phazer 500 Engine Specs
|Engine type||Axial fan cooled two-stroke, 7-port|
|Cylinder Arrangement||Parallel 2-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke (“)||2.83 x 2.35|
|Idle speed (r/min)||1300 +/- 100|
|Carburetor||Mikuni B38-32 x 2|
|Engine oil type||YAMALUBE 2-cycle oil|
|Fuel type||Unleaded gasoline. Pump octane (R+M)/2; 88 or higher|
|Starting system (PZ500/PZ500ML)||Manual with recoil starter|
|Starting system (PZ500DX)||Electric and manual with recoil starter|
|Fuel tank capacity (gal)||11.7|
|Oil tank capacity (qt)||3.5|
Yamaha Phazer 500 Dimensions
|Dimensons||Phazer 500||Phazer 500||Phazer 500 Mountain Lite||Phazer 500 Deluxe|
|Ski tread (“)||42.1||42.1||38.6||42.1|
Yamaha Phazer 500 Weight Chart
|Dry weight (lbs)/Year||1999||2000||2001|
|Phazer 500 Mountain Lite||–||485||485|
|Phazer 500 Deluxe||–||–||485|
Yamaha Phazer 500 Track Features
|Track type||Molded rubber, fiber glass rod reinforced|
|Track Length PZ500/PZ500DX (“)||121|
|Track Length PZ500ML (“)||136|
|Track deflection PZ500/PZ500DX (“)||0.98-1.18/100 N (22lbs)|
|Length on ground PZ500/PZ500DX (“)||29.6|
|Track deflection PZ500ML (“)||0.79-0.98/100 N (22lbs)|
|Length on ground PZ500ML (“)||37.2|
|Suspension type||Slide rail suspension|
|Drive sprocket PZ500/PZ500DX||Double polyethylene, 9 teeth|
|Drive sprocket PZ500ML||Quadruple polyethylene, 8 teeth|
Yamaha Phazer 500 Electric Features
|Spark plug type||BR9ES (NGK)|
|Spark plug gap (“)||0.028 – 0.031|
|Battery capacity (PZ500DX)||YB16AL-A2/12 V 16Ah|
|Battery max. charge rate (PZ500DX)||1.6 Amperes/hr for 10 hrs|
|Headlight||12 V 60/55 W x 1|
|Tail/brake light||12 V 8/23 W x 1|
|Meter light||12 V, 1.7 W x 2|
|Indicator light||12 V, 1.7 W x 2|
Yamaha Phazer 500 Transmission
|Type||Automatic centrifugal engagement, infinitely variable 3.8:1 – 1:1|
|Sheave distance (“)||Approx. 10.57|
|Sheave offset PZ500/PZ500ML (“)||0.59|
|Sheave offset PZ500DX (“)||0.78|
|Engagement speed PZ500 99-00 (r/min)||3800|
|Engagement speed PZ500/PZ500DX 01 (r/min)||4000|
|Engagement speed PZ500ML (r/min)||4100|
|Shift speed (r/min)||7250|
|Drive chain||Silent chain enclosed in oil bath|
|Reduction ratio PZ500/PZ500DX||39/21 (1.86)|
|Reduction ratio PZ500ML||39/18 (2.17)|
Yamaha Phazer 500 Features and Accessories
|Front suspension type||Independent double wishbone|
|Suspension type||Slide rail suspension|
|Break type||Hydraulic disc brake (ventillated)|
|Track||Molded rubber, fiberglass rod reinforced|
|Break operation||Handle lever (left hand)|
|Throttle operation||Handle lever (right hand)|
Source: Yamaha Owner’s Manuals. These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.
Yamaha Phazer 500 Top Speed
Under ideal conditions, the top speed of the Yamaha Phazer 500 was about 75-80 mph on GPS/radar. In contrast, the more powerful SRX 600 hit 105-110 mph, while the flagship SRX 700 reached a whopping 110-115 mph.
Yamaha Phazer 500 vs. SXR 500 Comparison
Let’s compare these iconic 500cc Yamaha trail sleds head-to-head!
|Engine specs||SXR 500||Phazer 500|
|Engine type||Axial fan cooled two-stroke, 7-port||Sinlge-piped, parallel 2-cylinder|
|Cylinder Arrangement||Parallel 2-cylinder||Parallel 2-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke (“)||2.83 x 2.35||2.68 x 2.68|
|Horsepower||85 (Approximately)||88 (Approximately)|
|Idle speed (r/min)||1300 +/- 100||1600 +/- 100|
|Carburetor||Mikuni B38-32 x 2||Mikuni TM36 x 2|
|Fuel tank capacity (gal)||11.7||11.7|
|Oil tank capacity (qt)||3.5||3.2|
Vintage Yamaha Phazer 500 For Sale
If you’re considering buying one, you can find a vintage Yamaha Phazer 500 for sale on Craigslist, eBay, Snowmobilesoup, Snowmobiletrader, Sledswap, and other dedicated snowmobile ad sites.
Also, you can’t go wrong by visiting some Yamaha Phazer snowmobile forums and FB groups!
Takeaway – FAQs About the Vintage Yamaha Phazer 500
What year did the Yamaha Phazer 500 come out?
The Yamaha Phazer 500 was introduced in 1998 and was marketed from the 1999 model year.
What years was the Yamaha Phazer 500 made?
The base Yamaha Phazer 500 was manufactured from 1999 through 2001, the Phazer 500 Mountain Lite from 2000 to 2001, while the Phazer 500 Deluxe was only made for the 2001 model year.
What size was a Yamaha Phazer 500?
Regarding dimensions, the 1999-2000 Yamaha Phazer 500 was 108.7 inches long, 47.2 inches wide, and 48.4 inches high, whereas the 2001 Phazer 500 and Phazer 500 Deluxe were 109.4 inches long.
The Phazer 500 Mountain Lite was 116.9 inches long, 44.1 inches wide, 481.4 inches high, and its ski stance was 38.6 inches.
What was the track size for the Yamaha Phazer 500?
The track sizes of the 1999-2001 Yamaha Phazer 500 models were as follows:
- 1999-2001 Yamaha Phazer 500 track: 121” x 15” x 0.92”
- 2000-2001 Yamaha Phazer 500 Mountain Lite track: 136” x 15” x 1.5”
- 2001 Yamaha Phazer 500 Deluxe: 121” x 15” x 0.92”
How much did a Yamaha Phazer 500 weigh?
The 1999-2000 Yamaha Phazer 500 weighed 465 pounds, while the 2001 model was 459 pounds. The Mountain Lite and the Deluxe both were slightly heavier, as these sleds weighed 485 pounds.
What kind of engine was in the Yamaha Phazer 500?
The power source of the Yamaha Phazer 500 was a fan-cooled, 485cc, 2-stroke, 2-cylinder engine featuring two Mikuni B38-32 carburetors.
How much horsepower did a Yamaha Phazer 500 have?
Powered by this fan-cooled, 485cc engine, the Yamaha Phazer 500 offered about 58 HP.
How fast did a Yamaha Phazer 500 go?
The top speed of the Yamaha Phazer 500 was about 75-80 mph under ideal conditions.