this isn't a biology lesson for the sledding community, it's about
where the Project Viper snowmobiles came from. The off-road.com
Vipers are my babies, and I wanted to talk about how we bought
them and why we chose to buy them where we did.
dealer is like a marriage in that you hope the relationship lasts
a long time and its mutually beneficial for both parties. That's a
key point for someone looking to buy a sled. You want the dealer
to be around and benefit you as a consumer. The point of sale in
most cases being the point of service and the point of accessories
too. As such, you should check out the service department and the
parts & accessories departments.
think that since we're an e-zine, that we don't use a local dealer
for anything and that we only buy from the Internet. While we live
on the Internet and we do buy some items from the web, we're
primarily dependant on our local dealers to support us and the
Off-road.com Snowmobile Online snowmobiles. The local dealer will
always be the purest form of support for your sledding needs. The
dealer is also the one who is going to help you on a Friday night
when you have a weekend ride planned too. Remember that one.
talk about who we selected for the dealer to sell and support our
2002 Project Vipers, lets talk about why we selected them. The
same guidelines we used should help you also. Here's a few points
that are key, any dealer that doesn't have all of them, should be
passed by. Only six points, but they're six key points.
Dealer Key Factors According to Snowmobile Online @ Off-road.com
the dealer doesn't have a showroom, he's either not really
a dealer or he's not large enough to be able to afford a
floor plan of snowmobiles. Chances are he wont have a
service department either. It's nice to be able to 'kick
the tires' of any new sled that you might want. This isn't
likely however, since the real popular sleds seem to run
out the doors.
service department, means RUN out the door and find
another dealer. This guy is a disaster waiting to happen.
More than anything, a good service department will
separate an OK dealer from a truly great dealer. Keeping
your sled properly serviced is the key to more hours on
the trail and not on your sofa. I truly believe that no
one should do their own service unless they have the
experience to do so. Basics are OK, but you should visit
the dealer at the start and end of each season to make
sure everything is in running order.
Parts & Accessory Department
going to need parts sooner or later, so a nicely stocked
one is a real plus. The same goes for accessories, since
we all like to make our sleds personal. We need helmets
and clothes too. Don't be upset if he doesn't stock all
the aftermarket items, no one does, it would be inventory
suicide. The ability to get what you need quickly is more
is a very subjective item, but its still important to
mention. If everyone you talk to refers to the same dealer
in a negative manner, this could be a red flag. You need
to make a judgment call, are they just upset customers
that no one could make happy, or do they have a legitimate
beef with the dealer. Remember, don't believe everything
that you hear. But word of month is more often true than
Well Stocked Vending Machine
always on a diet at home, so a good fat and sugar filled
vending machine is key to a happy dealer visit. They need
to sell Coca-Cola too, I just hate Pepsi. The Sticky Bun
is also vital to a good vending experience.
like to have a dealer who has a bit of personality too.
Staff that have a good disposition and are easy to deal
with, can be the most important aspect of a dealership.
Again, it can mean the difference between an OK experience
and a great one. People are after all, the real key to a
dealers eventual success or failure. The sales staff is
the dealers litmus test too.
compare any dealer to these six points,maybe only five if you're
not a vending machine connoisseur, you should be happy with your
decision. If you haven't noticed, PRICE was not on the list. Let
me explain why, like everything, we are dealing with a zero-sum
game. A dealer has 'X' amount of money to run his business with.
If he puts his margin in one location, he has to remove it from
another. An example is that one dealer is say $250.00 USD cheaper
than all the rest in his area. He is dealing with the same general
cost of labor as everyone else and his cost of goods is set by the
manufacturers. How does he do it? He provides a bigger discount
since he is taking that money from somewhere else in the
dealership. That could mean that parts and accessories are more,
or he hires one less mechanic so repairs take longer or cost more.
What seems cheaper, may not be cheaper in the long run. No one is
cheaper because they're great guys, they're cheaper because they
can make the difference up in other areas of the dealership.
That's why the cheaper dealer is not always the better dealer. Be
leary of the dealer who is just a sled pusher, unless that's all
you want your dealer to be. Something to think about.
you've selected the dealer, signed on the dotted line, and it's
time to pick your new sled up....
signed on the dotted line and the wait for the snow checked sled
is over. You have to venture back to pick up your baby. It's like
bringing home your first kid home from the hospital. You drive
twenty-five the whole way and annoy everyone. By the second or
third you're doing seventy-five down the highway to get home
before the start of the game. But not the first tow home. You
avoid every pot hole and manhole cover. You don't want her jostled
around on a trailer. You can't wait to get home and have the
buddies over and go Ooooh. You're so proud. I sat on my new Viper
every night just dreaming of snow.
Did you give
any thought to what the dealer actually did once he unloaded the
sled? More than you think. The Viper's come pretty much assembled
less the skis, windscreen, and removing some suspension braces on
the skid. The dealer doesn't have tons of parts to put on, but he
does have a 1/2" thick six chapter assembly manual from
Yamaha. You can buy one by ordering part number 8EK-28107-01.
doesn't have to assemble, he has to check the adjustment of just
about everything from the carburetion settings, throttle cable
tension, track tension, power valves, oil injection, ski
alignment, and anything else you can think of.
It's all set
at the factory, but the dealer is supposed to check it all again
to make sure it's delivered as expected by the manufacturer to the
consumer. The trip from Japan via cargo container and truck to the
dealer can be rough at times.
does the dealer perform all the adjustments, he needs to give you
a tour of the sled in detail too. All the basics, how to start and
stop the engine, break in periods and procedure, oils to use, and
any special features like reverse need to be covered. These are
all the things that a good dealer does. It's doing these types of
services that we selected the dealer we did. We watched them do
just this for a customer picking up a new Polaris. It nice to have
a dealer do more than hold the door for you after you've just
forked over seven to eight thousand dollars for a new sled.
truth is that most dealers don't do much pre-delivery adjustments
or go over a new sled with a customer. We still like these
services and you should make sure you're dealer does them before
you buy. If they don't, maybe they shouldn't be your dealer any
longer. The manufacturers all tell the dealers that they should be
did Off-road.com and Snowmobile Online decide to go and buy the
Project Vipers, we had planned on the sleds being on the east
coast and wanted to keep them at the upstate NY office. OK, its a
big garage that we hide toys in. As such, we started looking at
dealers in the upstate area around Old Forge, Speculator,
Johnstown, and a few other area towns. We wanted the dealer to be
close to our remote office during the winter and all the
requirements mentioned above had to me met. We wanted this to be a
location that we could deal with, we're not always the easiest to
deal with, and needed an overall great dealership to meet our
visiting several dealers and looking at all the variables and even
price. We selected where we'd get our new babies, I mean Vipers,
you enlarge the image you can see Dave Waters all the way
in the back at this desk. He's normally there and he's the
secret weapon at Fast Forward. Also a major reason we
selected Fast Forward. Remember the Personality factor for
Click picture for larger image
Forward Motorsports of Cobleskill New York was our choice
and it was not an easy one. We visited more dealers than we wanted
to, but we felt we needed to go to extremes. Overall, Fast Forward
was the obvious choice and they met all the requirements that we
had set and then some.
was perfect and only a short distance from our offices, OK garage.
The location was also right off the Route 88, which is my
commuting route to the snow in upstate NY.
also had one of the largest service departments that we've seen.
With several full time mechanics on staff we knew that we wouldn't
be waiting for a repair when we needed to be out on the trails.
They can also service any brand snowmobile, which was good since
we never know what we'll find in the Snowmobile Online trailers.
The service department is so large because the location was once a
car dealership. The showroom is equally large with more than
enough room for not only snowmobiles, but dirt bikes, street
bikes, ATVs, a gas powered bar stool (a future test is sure to
follow), and even Yamaha jet boats. A man's paradise no matter the
also mention that Fast Forward sells Polaris ATVs and snowmobiles
too, so maybe next years Polaris project sleds will come from the
couldn't be happier with our choice and we've even sent in our
Snowmobile Online contributors as spy's to check them out.
Sometimes we get better treatment as the editors of a enthusiast
site (yes, we occasionally get some respect because of what we
do), but they all reported back with two thumbs up and one
actually received a better deal than us! We'll be talking to Mr.
Water's about that.
forward to continued work with Fast Forward and once the Project
Vipers are done, I'm sure they'll be on display for their annual
open house and a few other events. We'd also like to host a dealer
ride and bring along some great toys for the customers of Fast
Forward. We'll keep you posted on that and when the open house is
Water's is on the left with the Editor in the middle. One
of Dave's sales team joined us for the picture. The day
was rainy, but picking up our Vipers made the sun come
Click picture for larger image
show room was still filled with bikes and the gas powered
bar stool. The sleds had just started to arrive and we got
the first two Yamaha's out of the crate.
picture for larger image
Vipers were flanked by ATVs, motorcycles, and a boat. All
we needed was snow, but it was 70 degrees and I was in
shorts. Winter was a long way off and I wanted to tear up
Click picture for larger image
brother Tom was also along for the pickup. Tom is also the
care taker for the remote office, the garage, and my
wrenchman. I may be faster, but I'm no mechanic. :)
picture for larger image
can contact Fast Forward and Dave Water's for your next baby at:
P.O. Box 340
Cobleskill, NY 12043