The Yamaha RX-1 was the first 4-stroke snowmobile in Yamaha’s fleet, marketed from 2003 through 2005. This revolutionary sled shared many advanced technologies with the famous Redline 800 Revolt like a 4-stroke engine, double-wishbone front suspension, mono-shock rear suspension, and dual rear exhaust. The RX-1 replaced the retired Yamaha SRX 700 and was the forerunner to the Yamaha Apex.
If you want to find out more about this iconic Yamaha sled, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled the key specs of this machine into our Yamaha RX-1 review!
Yamaha RX-1 Review
There’s no question that the vintage Yamaha RX-1 was one of the most famous models of this well-known Japanese powersport manufacturer.
The RX-1 was not only the first 4-stroke Yamaha snowmobile, but it also featured many advanced technologies like the all-new Delta Box chassis and the rear exit exhaust system.
However, the key feature of the Yamaha RX-1 was arguably its 145 HP, 4-stroke power source. The 998cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-cylinder engine was borrowed from the YZF-R1 supersport motorcycle.
However, some parts like the lubrication system, crankcase, gear shaft, cylinder head, and cooling system were adjusted to fit the all-new RX-1.
Thanks to this unique power source, the top speed of the Yamaha RX-1 was about 110-115 mph on radar.
Besides the engine, the RX-1 utilized many other revolutionary technologies.
For instance, the machine was built on an all-aluminum Delta Box frame, which was designed from scratch. Compared to the competitors’ chassis, this new structure provided a lot more torsional rigidity.
In this new design, the steering column was relocated, which allowed the engine to sit lower, resulting in a lowered center of gravity.
The independent double wishbone front suspension offered up to 9 inches of travel, while the Pro-Action SXV rear suspension utilized an adjustable gas shock with 11.5-inch travel.
Standard features included hydraulic disk brakes, LCD gauges (speedometer, tachometer, tripmeter, odometer, fuel gauge), industry-first hand and thumb warmers, easy-pull throttle lever, and electric start.
What’s more, thanks to 4-stroke technology, the RX-1 not only had more horsepower than rival 800cc sleds, but it also produced 65% more low-end torque.
Besides the engine, virtually every part of the sled was designed for the highest possible performance. Despite this outstanding power, its 10.4-gallon fuel tank provided a range of about 200 miles.
Each model utilized a 15”-wide fiberglass-reinforced molded rubber track, which was 121”-151” long depending on the model.
Yamaha RX-1 History
The history of the Yamaha RX-1 started around the millennium when sledders were already aware that EPA regulations would soon be tightened.
Unfortunately, at that time snowmobiles were exclusively powered by 2-stroke engines that didn’t entirely meet the new regulations.
Therefore, many performance-minded riders were nervous about the future of snowmobiling, as were the manufacturers.
Because of this, Yamaha decided to move towards 4-stroke technology. According to SuperTraxMag, the Yamaha RX-1 was designed to meet the new standards as well as the expectations of the horsepower-hungry buyers.
And the Japanese manufacturer did a great job!
The Yamaha RX-1 was introduced in 2002 and was sold from 2003 through 2005. This model replaced the high-performance Yamaha SRX 700.
The 2002 Yamaha RX-1 line featured three models, the RX-1, RX-1 ER, and the RX-1 Mountain.
The RX-1 was considered to be the base model, while the RX-1 ER featured reverse. Both models utilized a 121” track with 1.25” lugs.
Keeping the more adventurous riders in mind, Yamaha also released the RX-1 Mountain. As its name suggests, this machine was designed for off-trail conditions, and unlike its trail counterparts, it utilized a 151” Camoplast track with 2” lugs.
By 2004, the RX-1 line had received countless improvements like the advanced rings and a “breather tube,” which helped reduce oil consumption, an issue that plagued the ‘03s models.
What’s more, the family was expanded with the new RX-1 Warrior, which was marketed as a crossover sled.
This machine was basically a base SX-1, but it featured a 136” track and lower gears. This resulted in a slightly slower top speed but more low-end torque. It also came with reverse as standard.
Like its smaller brothers, the Warrior was known to be a great trail sled, but it couldn’t handle any type of terrain very well.
For the 2005 model year, all models, namely the RX-1, RX-1 ER, RX-1 Warrior, and RX Mountain, received many significant upgrades like lighter components and new suspension systems.
The most significant upgrade on the trail models was the advanced Mono Shock RA rear suspension, which featured more adjustment opportunities. This mono-shock suspension system did an excellent job on groomed trails but did not prove to be the best in the ditches.
The 2005 Yamaha RX-1 Mountain also got a new rear suspension, called a “Pro Mountain Rear Suspension.” This unit utilized many new features, and it was 13 pounds lighter compared to its predecessor.
The Mountain also got a new rear heat exchanger, which ensured efficient cooling on hard-packed surfaces.
Thanks to these suspension upgrades and several new lightweight components, the RX-1 models dropped a couple of pounds for this season.
Finally, in 2006 the more advanced Yamaha Apex replaced the outdated RX-1 family.
Yamaha RX-1 Problems
Although the RX-1 was an amazing machine with countless advanced technologies, it had some weak points.
It’s safe to say that one of the most common complaints against the RX-1 was its weight. Because of its 4-stroke engine, the RX-1 was significantly heavier compared to rival 2-stroke sleds.
Despite the high power-to-weight ratio, this extra weight resulted in worse handling and a poorer riding experience, especially in off-trail situations.
Let’s face it, the RX-1 worked like a battleship, which could surprise competitor models on groomed surfaces, but it typically lagged behind in powder.
Because of this, the RX-1 was popular among trail riders but never became a successful off-trail machine. Surprisingly, even the crossover RX-1 Warrior was typically used as a trail sled.
As reported by SnowGoer, another problem with early Yamaha RX-1 models was a lack of harmony between their front and rear suspension systems.
Although the ‘05s mono-shock suspension helped a lot with these issues, the machine’s handling still wasn’t perfected.
Also, the handlebars proved to be too low, which was a drawback in fast corners. Finally, the footwells were too narrow and steep, making it hard to ride the sled in a standing position.
Fortunately, these week points were eliminated in the new Apex family, released in 2006.
One of the most well-known factory defects on the RX-1 series was a weak rear shock adjuster cable, which was prone to breaking over time. Yamaha released a service kit with a new cable that came with a protective cover to resolve this problem.
The 2003 models were also known for their high oil consumption, which was resolved by the breather tube on later models.
It’s also good to know that the RX-1 was designed to carry only the operator, as carrying a passenger would have caused handling issues on these sleds.
Last but not least, the side effect of 4-stroke technology was a completely different exhaust sound.
While the unique music of the RX-1 gained many fans, other riders missed the ordinary “braaap” 2-stroke sound and exhaust smell.
Yamaha RX-1 Specs Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the Yamaha RX-1 into these charts:
Yamaha RX-1 Engine Specs
|Engine type||Horizontal In-line, 20 valves|
|Cylinder arrangement||Parallel 4-cylinder|
|Cooling system||Liquid cooled|
|Bore x Stroke (“)||2.91 x 2.28|
|Idle speed (r/min)||1350 +/- 100|
|Starting system||Electric starter|
|Carburetor||Mikuni BSR37 X 4|
|Engine oil type||API SE, SF, SG or higher, SAE 5W-30|
|Oil capacity – total (qt.)||3.8|
|Oil change with filter (qt.)||3.2|
|Oil change without filter (qt.)||3|
|Fuel||Unleaded gasoline. Pump octane (R+M)/2; 88 or higher|
|Fuel capacity (gal)||10.4|
Yamaha RX-1 Dimensions Chart
|Model||RX-1/RX-1 ER||RX-1 Warrior||RX-1 Mountain|
|Ski tread (“)||42.0||42.0||38.6|
|Track Length (“)||121||136||151|
|Track Width (“)||15.0||15.0||15.0|
|Lug Height (“)||1.25||1.25||2.0|
Yamaha RX-1 Weight Chart
|Dry Weight (lbs.)||2003||2004||2005|
Yamaha RX-1 Electric Features
|Spark plug type||R CR9E (NGK)|
|Spark plug gap (“)||0.028-0.031|
|Battery capacity||YTX20L-BS 12 V 18 Ah|
|Battery maximum charge rate||1.8 Amperes/hr for 10 hrs|
|Headlight (Bulb x Quantity)||12 V, 66/55 W X 2|
|Tail/brake light (Bulb x Quantity)||12 V, 5/21 W X 2|
|Meter light (Bulb x Quantity)||14 V, 50 mA X 6|
|Indicator light (Bulb x Quantity)||14 V, 80 mA X 3|
Yamaha RX-1 Transmission
|Type||Automatic centrifugal engagement, infinitely variable 3.8:1-1:1|
|Sheave distance (“)||Approx. 10.57|
|Sheave offset (“)||Approx. 0.59 in|
|Engagement speed* (RX10/RX10S/RX10R/RX10RS)||Approx. 3,600 r/min|
|Engagement speed* (RX10M, RX10MS)||Approx. 4,200 r/min|
|Shift speed*||Approx. 10,250 r/min|
|Drive chain||Silent chain enclosed in oil bath|
|Reduction ratio (RX10/RX10S/RX10R/RX10RS)||38/24 (1.58)|
|Reduction ratio (RX10M, RX10MS)||40/21 (1.90)|
* Subject to change according to elevation settings.
Yamaha RX-1 Features
|Models without reverse transmission||RX10, RX10S, RX10M, RX10MS|
|Models with reverse transmission||RX10R, RX10RS|
|Front suspension type||Independent double wishbone|
|Suspension type||Slide rail suspension|
|Break type||Hydraulic disc|
|Break operation||Handle lever (left hand)|
|Throttle operation||Handle lever (right hand)|
|Frame brand||Delta Box|
Source: Yamaha Owner’s Manuals. These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, refer to the factory manual.
Yamaha RX-1 Top Speed
How fast is a Yamaha RX-1? The short-track Yamaha RX-1 could go as fast as 110-115 mph. However, the Warrior and Mountain models were slightly slower due to their longer tracks and different gearing.
Yamaha RX-1 For Sale
Surprisingly, the iconic Yamaha RX-1 is still a popular choice, especially for younger riders. These aged machines are not only far more affordable than new sleds but also much easier to work on.
If you’re considering buying one, you can find a vintage Yamaha RX-1 for sale on Craigslist, eBay, Sledswap, Sowmobilesoup, Snowmobiletrader, and the other snowmobile ad sites.
You also can’t go wrong by visiting some Yamaha RX-1 snowmobile forums and FB groups. Besides some good deals, you can also find a lot of helpful information on these machines!
Takeaway – FAQs About the Vintage Yamaha RX-1
What year did the Yamaha RX-1 come out?
The legendary Yamaha RX-1 made its debut in 2002 and was marketed from the 2003 model year.
What years was the Yamaha RX-1 made?
Yamaha RX-1 was available from 2003 through 2005. The line was replaced with the Yamaha Apex in 2006.
What models were included in the Yamaha RX-1 line?
The Yamaha RX-1 line included four different models, which were as follows:
- Yamaha RX-1 (2003-2005)
- Yamaha RX-1 ER (2003-2005)
- Yamaha RX-1 Mountain (2003-2005)
- Yamaha RX-1 Warrior (2004-2005)
What is the difference between Yamaha RX-1, RX-1 Warrior, RX-1 Mountain, and RX-1 ER?
In a nutshell:
- RX-1: base model without reverse, 121” track
- RX-1 ER: the base RX-1 with reverse, 121” track
- RX-1 Warrior: the “crossover RX-1”, equipped with reverse and a 136” track
- RX-1 Mountain: the “off-trail RX-1”, equipped with reverse and a 151” track
What size is a Yamaha RX-1?
Each Yamaha RX-1 model was 47.6 inches wide, but their length varied depending on the track. The short-track RX-1 models (RX-1, RX-1 ER) were 108.5 inches long, while the RX-1 Warrior was already 118.1 inches long. The biggest sled in the family was the RX-1 Mountain, with a length of 125.4 inches.
What is the track size for the Yamaha RX-1?
The stock track size of the Yamaha RX-1 family was as follows:
- Yamaha RX-1: 121” x 15” x 1.25”
- Yamaha RX-1 Mountain: 151” x 15” x 2”
- Yamaha RX-1 Warrior: 136” x 15” x 1.25”
How much does a Yamaha RX-1 weigh?
The weights of the Yamaha RX-1 models changed slightly over the years, but as a rule of thumb, the short-track Yamaha RX-1 sleds weighed about 545-560 pounds while the long-track models weighed about 580-589 pounds.
What CC is a Yamaha RX-1?
The Yamaha RX-1 featured a 4-stroke 998cc engine borrowed from the Yamaha R1 sportbike.
How much horsepower does a Yamaha RX-1 have?
As a rule of thumb, all Yamaha RX-1 models produced 145 HP, regardless of the model year:
- How much horsepower does a 2003 Yamaha RX-1 have? 145 HP (Approximately)
- How much horsepower does a 2004 Yamaha RX-1 have? 145 HP (Approximately)
- How much horsepower does a 2005 Yamaha RX-1 have? 145 HP (Approximately)