Just needing a little info.
Alright, I hate asking the same questions as everyone else so I tried to read up on this before posting. I guess I'm just looking for some confirmation that I'm trying to choose the right sled with the right options.
I live in Cordova (no groomed trails) and I'm looking for a sled that I can ride for hunting and exploring. I'm not into the jumping and 100mph stuff, but I do need a sled that will do some powder riding. Also not interested in high marking.
What I've been looking at are 2002 or newer sleds that aren't all modded up with less than 1000 miles on them. I'm assuming that for riding any kinda powder I need a 144 or longer track with a paddle track being preferred. Most of the bikes I'm seeing that fit that profile are 700 or 800 RMKs. Most of them fall between $3000-$4000 which I'm comfortable with.
My three questions are as follows:
1. Does that price range sound about right for what I'm looking for?
2. What's the advantage or disadvantage of going with a liquid cooled machine over a fan cooled?
3. What kind of durability can I expect out of a snow machine?
I have ridden quads forever, but have no experience with snow machines. This will be my first and only one as I have only 2 years left in Alaska before I move south. I'm not looking for any high performance race sled, but rather I'd just like to have something to ride when the snow is too soft for my quad to go on.
I am new to sleds as well, and here is what I am finding real quick. I bought a 04' 800 efi mountain cat. I am tall so bar risers are a must for riding bumpy trails and powder. I got mine with under 300 miles for 4500. I have a 159" track but would probably be better served with a 136-144. They are easier to turn in the deep stuff and more manuverable on the trail. I like liquid cooled and efi, arctic cat uses a batteryless efi which is a bit safer in the bush. Fan cooled usualy means less HP but I have an old 96 couger 2up 550 air cooled runs great and gets me to where I hunt for cheap.
Since you're in Cordova you really need to decide whether a liquid cooled machine will be right for you. I've known too many people over the years from Cordova that have problems overheating when the wind scours the snow turning it into concrete. At the very least install a set of scratchers on a liquid cooled sled. I've used 600, 700, and 800 class machines over the years for hunting and exploring but nothing beats a good utility sled for these uses. If you need to get over some hills in the deeper snow then a mountain type sled is in order.
I'll share my .02 cents worth.
For a background. I've done a lot of riding, family, hunting, and highmarking. You asked great questions.
I'll hit price first. You are in Cordova, you know best what sleds go for there. If you are going to get the sled in Anchorage price might be different. Craigslist is a great place to see what the market is.
Liquid vs. fan. First, liquid has more power. Now snow conditions. What is the majority of your riding going to be on, ice or powder? Powder can be 2 inches. If ice is the majority, get a fan, but if ice is a small portion get ice scratchers for the times you need them. They work real well. I believe you will only find a fan in the 500 class sleds, however.
CC's for the type of riding you stated you will do: A 600 would work fine. If you can get a 800 for the same price or close as a 600 I would go with the 800. You don't have to squeeze the throttle, it's an option. It is nice some times to have the power though. A 144" will do everything you will need. You can get a 156" stuck if you try. 136" is to short to be able to slowly putz around through alders looking for ptarmigan after a good Prince William dumping.
Durability? The sleds have changed dramatically in the last few years. They are tougher, more reliable and a lot lighter. You can not go wrong with a moutain sled. I tow a sled (large) with my mountain sleds. Pack my dog in a box mounted on the back of the snowmobile for ptarmigan hunting. Have carried dead wolves on the back. I take it all off and go play in the moutains.
So here is my opinion: Go with a 144" 600 (7, or 800 if same price) mountain sled. Put a hitch on it, install eye hoops on the tunnel extension (watch for coolers), install ice scratchers and be ready to have a great all-around sled.
Hope it helps and have fun.
Just the kinda info I was looking for.
I have an awesome quad that I love to ride on the snow once it gets packed down hard enough. It's actually pretty capable even in some decent powder, but I was looking for a sled to get me around during the rest of our snow season when the snow is simply too soft. I think the liquid cooled machines would work for what I'm looking for. Especially with ice scratchers. Most of the guys in Cordova that I see riding are on liquid cooled machines. I've been following craigslist pretty closely and will probably end up buying somewhere other than Cordova. Anchorage or Seward would be best for me.
The only thing I've heard of so far to beware of it that Polaris had some issues with the 700 and 800 RMK crank shafts in 2001-2002. Something about having too much torque for the design of the machine. Apparently there is a wide bearing kit that can be added to take care of the issue, but I don't need to buy someone elses problem sled if you know what I mean.
Thanks for the advice and I'd appreciate anymore opinions that might be out there.
You heard correctly on the Polaris 8's. I did not know of anything bad on the 7's. I know skidoo 7's are hard on fuel. The 8's are far better on fuel.
The four brands make fun machines. Who is the best dealer with the best service in your town. That is the brand I would go with. They all run good when they run and they all suck when they break.
My personal preference is a Skidoo but I have friends that ride the other three brands. The Polaris and Skidoo are more nimble (easier to carve and other sporty stuff). I've owned all four brands.
For what you've said, go with your favorite dealers brand. You'll have fun no matter what you are on. Only when it comes to competeing for the highmark are you going to want to really research, but even then "a rookie on the best sled will be outdone by a pro on the worst sled".
Got that right
I have a summit 670 and it definately is a hog when it comes to fuel. Skidoo is my personal preferance, but Polaris makes a darn good sled as well.
Originally Posted by ltsryd
I wish I had a local dealer to go with for brand choice. Unfortunately Cordova has little to offer for maintenance and up keep other than turning the wrench myself. That's why I went with a Honda ATV. They make the most reliable machines! Not necessariliy the most comfortable, but when you live in the middle of no where reliability is what counts most.
Try B4 Buy
All good questions... As a manager and guide for Alaska Snow Safaris, my best suggestion (if @ all possible) is to try b4 you buy. We offer the Alaska experience from mild to wild on guided day & multiday tours including unguided "rentals."
Originally Posted by Ring King
The Snowmobiles we use in our flleet are:
2008 SkiDoo Summit XP 800R 154" & 146", Renegade XP 600SDI 136" (these are liquid cooled) Summit 550 Fan 136" and Tundra 550 Fan 136"
2008 Polaris RMK 600 & 700 155" (these are liquid cooled)
2008 Arctic Cat M8 in 153" & 162", the 660 Turbo BearCat & 570 BearCat
We are working with Eagle River Polaris Arctic Cat and Alaska Mining & Diving on Try B4 You Buy guided trips and rental program.
Reason I am sounding a bit advertisement-like is that many folks ask the same questions, get a whole lot of opinions... but let's face it - a new or good used snowmobile (with maintenance) over time is an expensive prospect! It would be reasonable therefore to take some of the great tips/info other posters are contributing to this thread and go for it on a Sled (or a few) prior to the big purchase.
If you asked my opinion on what to get...
I'd have to relate that all the snowmobile brands are good. You really can't go wrong based on Brands.
On the types of uses and terrain you described - I would opt for the 600-700 cc mountain sleds & not the 800+ cc machines. If you are out about ALL day, exploring, hunting birds, riding by yourself quite a bit, etc. the 600-700 mountain sleds w/ 140somethin" to 150somethin" is perfect.
Your... Price range in my estimation is on the low side by 1-2K on good used w/ some kind of warrrrrranty snowmachines for dependable Alaska backcountry use, and 3-6k low ball figuring onNew.
Advantages to Fan vs. Liquid... not a whole lotta need to go here on +s/-s most of the Fan sleds are not up to multi-task deep snow and hills unless you make some modifications to them and frankly that's not worth it in general. Liquid is your choice on the 600-700 cc mountain Sleds!
On Durability - they are all pretty much user subject to the uses and abuses.
Feel free to drop me a line http://www.snowmobile-alaska.com or in Anchorage, Girdwood, & Valdez at 907-868-7669 with any questions as well as info on riding conditions. We do trips Statewide so we may be at sometime in your neck of the Prince William Sound.