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Thread: "New" Snowmachine Recommendations

  1. #1
    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default "New" Snowmachine Recommendations

    I need some recommendations for a "new" used snowmachine. Our "newest" snowmachine is a '96 A/C 580 EXT EFI Deluxe (wife's ride) so I don't really know what to look for regarding the nomenclature of the different brands on used machines.

    I was hoping I could list the features I'd like and you guys could recommend machines that fit the bill. I'd like to spend $2,000-$3,000 and I'd like to get something in the 200-2004 model range.

    Wish List:
    Engine size: Greater than 500cc
    Track length: I'd like something 136"-145"
    Lug depth: Don't care
    Electric Start: Must have. Makes starting a breeze for the wife & kids.
    Reverse: Desirable, but not necessary.
    Rack/hitch: Preferable, but not a deal breaker.
    2-up seating: Would be nice, but not necessary.
    Fan or liquid cooled: Don't know if it matters?

    The machine will be used about 90% of the time for trail riding with the family and the remainder hot doggin' with my buddies. I definitely don't need a super fly-weight mountain sled.

    I thought a Polaris Trail RMK may fit the bill, but don't know if they have electric start.

    Any recommendations?

    Tim

  2. #2
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    01-04 RMK 700 144 or 151 inch track--yes, it's a mountain sled but with good trail manners. Aftermarket hitches available for it.

    Ski-Doo Summit in either the S or Rev chassis.

    All available used in your target price range.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    01-04 RMK 700 144 or 151 inch track--yes, it's a mountain sled but with good trail manners. Aftermarket hitches available for it.

    Ski-Doo Summit in either the S or Rev chassis.

    All available used in your target price range.
    What's the difference between the S and Rev chassis?

    I heard the mountain sleds will overhead trail riding-they need powder to keep 'em cool. Is that true?

    Tim

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I would steer you back toward Cat, but then I'm biased. A Panther 550 fits your bill perfectly. Electric start, reverse, 2-up, 136" track, liquid cooled, and racks are available (if the used one you find doesn't already have one on it).

    Liquid cooled is generally better than air cooled. A little heavier, but more HP and will operate in a wider range of temperatures.

    Cooling can be a problem with mtn sleds if you're running strictly on hard-packed icy trails without access to loose snow. It is a 2 part problem. One is that you're not kicking enough snow up into the heat exchanger to cool off the engine coolant. The other half is that you're not getting enough snow on the slide rails, so they overheat and melt. These problems can plague any sled, not just mtn sleds. However the longer the track, the longer the skid frame, the more slide rail you have to keep lubricated. The taller the paddle, the further the slide rail is from the much-needed snow. Both problems are easily solved by breaking off the trail and busting through fresh snow every so often when you're trail riding.

    The biggest problem I've seen with the big paddle tracks is their relatively short life span. An old 136 by 3/4" track can run for decades without much wear and tear. The new 150+ by 2-3" paddles seem to only last a few years before they are missing paddles, paddles are permanently folded over, and they are generally trashed.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Both problems are easily solved by breaking off the trail and busting through fresh snow every so often when you're trail riding.


    That's what I thought....


    The biggest problem I've seen with the big paddle tracks is their relatively short life span. An old 136 by 3/4" track can run for decades without much wear and tear. The new 150+ by 2-3" paddles seem to only last a few years before they are missing paddles, paddles are permanently folded over, and they are generally trashed.

    Yep. My old '90 Indy 500 still has the original 3/8" track on it.

    Thanks for the recommendations, keep 'em comin'!

    Tim

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Tim,
    The REV Ski-Doos have rider-forward ergonomics and are comfortable and manueverable. The S was Ski-Doo's copy of the Polaris Indy chassis.

    I suggested a mountain sled only because so much of Alaska riding involves deep snow which is where these machines really shine, and because you want to go "hot dogging" with your friends at some point, which I took as playing in the powder not cooking wieners on the trail.
    You can rides trails with a mountain sled but you're pretty much limited to the trails with a trail sled.

    Overheating on hardpack is a concern but there are ways around that. Ice scratchers for one. Basically spring arms that bolt to the skid rails. when you encounter hardpack you release them and they bite into the trail alongside your rails throwing a spray of snow/ice onto the skid.

    JOAT's advice is solid but I would caveat his comments on paddle tracks with "It depends on the rider". I have 2,500 miles on my RMK and I just recently noticed a few of my lugs beginning to tear.

    BTW I didn't comment on AC or Yamaha b/c I really don't know anything about these brands.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help. I've always liked the Polaris' and they have a great service department at Marita.

    Are the S and Rev chassis mountain machines too? I think I'll take your advice and stay away from a straight trail machine.

    Tim

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