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Thread: Will snow machine companies ever bring back 250-440 cc snow machines?

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Will snow machine companies ever bring back 250-440 cc snow machines?

    For regions of Alaska where fuel is insanely expensive, the 340 and 440 polaris's won't last for ever. I notice a lot of folks buy these from Anchorage and get them shipped remote.

    I've watched these hard working gems disappear over the years:
    250 tundra long track
    377 rotax powered skandic
    277cc tundra ll
    340 bear cat with wide ratio clutch
    440 bear cat with wide ratio clutch
    340 indy lite gt (long track
    440 trail long track

    It saddens me that these companies have let go some of the most fuel-efficient and reliable work horses ever made. It seems like all the machines have a preference towards high power, no simplicity in the designs, and overly expensive. you pay more money for fuel economy too. I worry about people who live remote and how this effects their dailey lives with the cost of fuel and the extra expense of getting things shipped.

    When will we ever see a simple little fan cooled, carburetored, light weight, and easy to work on machine?

    The used gems will eventually wear out, so when will we ever see these smaller utility machines again? How do you approach the sled manufacturers?

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    Member cjustinm's Avatar
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    there are still a few options out there but i hear ya. i dont own any of the said machines but i do think there is definately a place for them in the bush. tundra 300's still sell quickly up here although discontinued and there always the Bravo some of my favorite machines to ride are my buddys elan's. nice to have small lightweight machines that are fuel efficient. the new 600 skidoo 4 stroke is a 65 hp (i think) machine that has a little more heft than the machines you noted but probably the same efficiency although the 10k price tag isn't so nice. im sure the big companies would rather sell one expensive machine instead of making the same profit on three cheap ones.

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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    I believe the Bravo is now gone too. If my info is correct 2011 was the last year Yamaha produced it.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I watched the value of my 300cc Tundra exceed the purchase price after they discontinued it a couple of years after I bought it.

    I sold it to a friend to run on his trap line after his Tundra II caught on fire- his 550 was eating him alive in fuel. Those little workhorse machines are certainly popular now that they're discontinued. I think the Bravo has been an "on again, off-again" model for a few years now.

    Its a shame- the 300cc Tundra was excellent in its class and I think the fuel efficient 4 stroke version won't really replace it. 4 strokes get good fuel mileage but are expensive, more difficult to repair and more finicky in the cold.

    Basically- manufacturers are making sleds for recreational riders, not the handful of guys working in the Bush. When you say "work sled" a manufacturer points to big SWTs, Vikings and Bearcats- not the little light trail bombers.

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    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    I loved my Polaris 440 long track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Basically- manufacturers are making sleds for recreational riders, not the handful of guys working in the Bush.
    The "handful" is the answer, there simply isn't enough current demand to justify a change in production.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjustinm View Post
    im sure the big companies would rather sell one expensive machine instead of making the same profit on three cheap ones.
    You're confusing retail price with profit margins. Profit margins are usually a similar percentage, regardless of the base price of each model. It's the fancy options, rather than the base price, that usually raises the margins.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    The "handful" is the answer, there simply isn't enough current demand to justify a change in production.
    .
    Yep, like it or not the market for snowmachines has switched to higher powered sleds that are bigger with more features. In many areas the 2 strokes have fallen out of favor over pollution concerns. I believe the Bravo was only available in limited markets for the last four or five years and will now likely disappear altogether- if I'm not mistaken it was the only 2 stroke Yamaha left in their line.

    I miss my Tundra and hope that BRP will develop something to replace it with. I'm looking at the 600 4 stroke LT and it seems like a good machine but its something over double what I paid for my 300 and much heavier.

    All recreational equipment is going this way though...I bought an ATV this year and my Can-Am compared to the Honda I bought 6 years ago isn't even close to comparable. Lots more technology and features going into all machines these days.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I've never wanted or needed one of the little bush sleds, but it saddens me that the entire mid-size class is gone. Arctic Cat has now shaved their product line down to a couple 570cc utility sleds, a handful of big 4-strokes, and an assortment of high-end 800 and 1100cc 2-stroke power sleds for mountain climbers and track racers. They used to have the best mid-class boondockers on the market. That entire lineup is now gone.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    I think some enterprising company could come up with a basic, no-frills machine just for the trapper/hunter/ice fisherman. Perhaps something built from other machines. It would have few components that would break down and those which did would not cost an arm and a leg to replace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I think some enterprising company could come up with a basic, no-frills machine just for the trapper/hunter/ice fisherman. Perhaps something built from other machines. It would have few components that would break down and those which did would not cost an arm and a leg to replace.
    It certainly wouldn't be hard for someone to come up with such a sled. But without the efficiency of a factory infrastructure, it would cost more to produce them then the larger recreational sleds. And without a marketing channel like big name dealer networks, it would be difficult to get the machines to consumers. None of this is impossible, merely expensive. How many trappers, hunters, and ice fishers would actually buy a little bush sled, without a well known brand name and dealer network?
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    True, but there are no entry level machines around anymore. The outdoorsman (in the sense of hunting/trapping/fishing) is not being served. Neither is the family who would like to break their children in on a simple machine (other than the kiddie variety). How about the folks who want to haul their wood or get stuff to/from the air strip?

    Perhaps the market has moved too far from the utility or all-purpose machine to performance machines. I have always been a sucker for basic, no-frills machines that do the job.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Not entirely true.

    Here's your entry level family sled... http://www.arctic-cat.com/snow/sleds/modelviewer/F570

    And the 2-up variety of the same... http://www.arctic-cat.com/snow/sleds/modelviewer/T570

    And your entry level utiliy (aka wood gatherer)... http://www.arctic-cat.com/snow/sleds...wer/BEARCAT570

    And the "frills" model of the same... http://www.arctic-cat.com/snow/sleds...r/BEARCAT570XT

    You can't get much more basic than a 2-stroke, fan cooled, carbed engine with traditional clutch drive running gear.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Depends on what your opinion of "entry level" is. I bought my first machine for $1700, a Bravo, right off the show room floor, and it was used by one member of the family or another for 10 years for just about everything. If you are rolling in dough, those Cats might be the ticket. I'm not going to be buying one for my kid anytime soon.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Depends on what your opinion of "entry level" is...
    I hear you... my Tundra cost $4300 new. That Bearcat cost upwards of $10K.

    Besides price theres the weight, my Tundra weighed 300lbs and would fit on a dogsled trail- that Bearcat is considerable heavier, wider and longer.

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    The end of the best was 2008. After that, the Bearcat went to the tank. Now if you live where it is relatively flat, room, and want to pull a great deal, the big machines from AC, Ski-Doo and Pol will work great. But when you are in the trees and the snow is deep, the lightweight longtracked machines really go well.

    AC quite making any 2-strokes over 800 cc. They are now the leadsled 4-strokers. Even the mountain sleds over 800cc went 4-stroke.

    Just learn to rebuild your sleds, that's what I do and what many people are learning to do. $13k for a new Pol? Forget that.
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I like your mindset Nitro, the old machines were never too terribly hard to rebuild because that's when they were easy to work on. I worry about parts availability in the future though.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    The end of the best was 2008. After that, the Bearcat went to the tank. Now if you live where it is relatively flat, room, and want to pull a great deal, the big machines from AC, Ski-Doo and Pol will work great. But when you are in the trees and the snow is deep, the lightweight longtracked machines really go well.

    AC quite making any 2-strokes over 800 cc. They are now the leadsled 4-strokers. Even the mountain sleds over 800cc went 4-stroke.

    Just learn to rebuild your sleds, that's what I do and what many people are learning to do. $13k for a new Pol? Forget that.
    I'll be fixing/rebuilding my old sleds for as long as I can. Money doesn't come as easy in this economy for a vehicle I only use on weekends, 5 months of the year, and for trips to lakes and such. If I still lived in the bush I'd be looking for a small, used 4-stroker to save gas.

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