Yamaha pulls plug on Bravo snowmobiles
Slow but reliable, Bravos are one of Nunavut's most popular snowmachines
It's small, it's slow, and it's one of the most popular snowmobiles in the North, and now it won't be made anymore.
For decades, the Yamaha Bravo was the snowmobile of choice for many hunters in Nunavut but now the humble Bravo is riding off into the sunset as sales have been drying up and the company has stopped making them.
"They're not very fast," said Eemeelayou Arnaquq, who bought one of the last new models.
"You could actually go behind the caribou as it gallops about 45 km/h. These are about 30 at least."
What makes it popular in the Arctic? For one thing, it's affordable — retailing at about half the price of most other new snowmobiles.
But more importantly, it's renowned as a tough, reliable workhorse of a machine — the kind you could trust your life with out on the land.
Eddie Keel at Iqaluit's Sikitu Sports said the shop has sold a lot of Bravos over the years. And once they leave the shop, they rarely come back for repairs.
"If you sell all these you won’t see them back. They're unbelievable," he said. "There is no maintenance. Spark plugs and a drive belt, that's about it."
And for Yamaha it's been a winner as well — the company's best-selling model, ever. But as the snowmobile industry moves towards faster, cleaner machines, the slow little Bravo, with its two-stroke engine, is being left behind.
"I heard they’re not gonna make them anymore. Why?" said Arnaquq. "(They’re) so popular in the North."
"They're light, easy to move around in the springtime, especially if you're going to go out on the rough part of the ice with a heavy load, like with a boat on top of the qamutik [sled]."
Nunavut may be the Bravo's last remaining stronghold. There are Bravo clubs in the territory, and Bravo races in Arviat. So though some of the last Bravos are now being sold off, used ones should be around in the North for years to come.