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Thread: Difference between Polaris & Yamaha touring sleds

  1. #1
    Member trochilids's Avatar
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    Default Difference between Polaris & Yamaha touring sleds

    HI folks,

    After living in Alaska for going on 4 years, we're finally in a position to get serious about winter toys. I've been riding with friends locally twice -- once to Petersville, and once at Hatcher (skiing off snow machine trips, actually that time). I'm a novice when it comes to open country sledding.

    Wife and I are both in our mid to upper 30s with two kids (ages 6 and 8). We want to get machines for primarily trail riding/touring with the kids, but also have the ability to dance off trail once in a while and follow our church group over the river and through the woods, as it were. I'm probably more ambitious than my wife is, but I'm not a jumper or daredevil -- but playing off trail at Petersville on a friends Ski-doo (136, 1.5 track) was a kick in the pants!

    With that in mind, I think for the most part we're going to want touring-style sleds that we can take the kids on comfortably and safely. I also find appealing the 4-stroke fuel economy reported by many folks. So, I've found two used sleds that might fit the bill. Given your experience, and what I've written above about our intentions, what do you think of either of the following 2-up / 4-stroke sleds, perhaps for my wife (a more conservative rider) or myself:

    1) 2006 Polaris FS Touring. (136x15x1.00 track). About 750 cc engine.

    2) 2007 Yamaha Venture Lite (144x15x1.25 track). About 500 cc engine.

    The guy who owns the Polaris flat out says it sucks gas big time and Marita says nothing's wrong (less than 55 miles to a tank, apparently). Something is clearly wrong, so I'd have it looked at by another shop before buying. Otherwise, reportedly in great condition. Mileage not mentioned. The Yamaha has nearly 5000 miles on it, but was used in western Alaska as primary means of transportation and was reportedly treated with kid gloves.

    Prices for both are within $500 bucks of each other.

    I use a 2008 Yamaha Venture Lite as a ski patroller at Hillberg Ski Area (Elmendorf AFB), and frankly it purrs like a kitten but is as unstable as )@#)( on a steep groomed slope... I haven't the foggiest idea why they bought this model for our use, other than it looks good and they had the money to burn at that time. The tippiness concerns me a bit if I were to get this for my wife and she ventured off trail... Any other experience with this sled?

    Being new, would I find a significant difference playing in Petersville powder with a 136 x 1.00 (Polaris) versus a 144 x 1.25 (Yamaha). Is engine size worth choosing between???

    Thanks for any thoughts and advice. I'll gladly follow-up with any questions you may have. This is a kick-in-the-pants sport, and I look forward to enjoying it more.

    Cheers,

    --Stacy
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

  2. #2
    Member Trail Boss's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Yamaha!

    Get the Yamaha, it will last longer and save you a ton of gas money! Try riding in Willow amd get use to it. Then try the Peterville's krud.
    And it sounds like you need a little supension ajustments.
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  3. #3
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default skidoos?

    Yamaha's have great engines. Hands down nice and smooth and relaiable. 5000 clicks is a lot of miles on a sled, the engine may be sound but especially if it came from W AK, keep a close eye out of Rust problems if it came from anywhere close to Saltwater.

    Have you thought about a late model Tundra LT the V800? Doo has worked the early kinks out of this engine and it is a torqe moster. To top it off if you are looking at new sleds many dealers are letting 09s go for cheap right now.

  4. #4
    Member trochilids's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
    And it sounds like you need a little supension ajustments.
    Trail Boss -- I admit to being a bit confused. Are you referring to the gas mileage problems reported for the Polaris? Or something more personal?

    Willow looks like a tremendous place to learn a new sled, and I look forward to doing so.


    Quote Originally Posted by byrd_hntr View Post
    ...if it came from W AK, keep a close eye out of Rust problems if it came from anywhere close to Saltwater.

    Have you thought about a late model Tundra LT the V800? Doo has worked the early kinks out of this engine and it is a torqe moster. To top it off if you are looking at new sleds many dealers are letting 09s go for cheap right now.
    Thanks for that advice, too, byrd_hntr. Hadn't considered many other sleds. Saw some sweet looking newer Skidoos at the Iditarod restart in Willow. Just hadn't known where to concentrate my efforts looking... What do you like best about the V800?

    Cheers!
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

  5. #5
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Me Im a 2stroke junkie

    trochilids,

    Im a 2 stoke junkie so Im not goin to beat the 4 stroke drum too much. I have rode a few V800 machines and they are smooth, quiet, and have more torque that just about anything Ive ever rode. The one thing that I really like about the V800 is how quiet it is, not high pithched the 2 stroke whine. What I hate about it, HEAVY and you have to be careful with very cold temperatures. South of the AK range you may not have a problem but if you live up here with all us wackos (of course I only speak for myself), I would think twice about going overnight anywhere with a 4 stroke unless you are prepared to warm it up some how.

    There is much better knowlege over at dootalk.com, Im only a novice. Those guys over there bleed ski doo yellow.

    My 2 cent.

  6. #6
    Member Trail Boss's Avatar
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    On the yamaha to make handle better!!!
    Trail Boss
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  7. #7
    Member trochilids's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Boss View Post
    On the yamaha to make handle better!!!
    Whew.

    Looks like some good options and things to consider out there. Thanks a lot for the insights. I'm assuming that "now" is as good a time as any to purchase new or used, right? I had thought that this summer might be a good time to start looking as the military folks learn they're transferring to south Mississippi or Texas for 4 years and want to unload their winter toys before they leave. But then you always run the risk of the "wrong" machines being available.

    Cheers,
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

  8. #8
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    I've only owned Polaris-but you couldn't give me(well maybe give) that Polaris 4-stroke. I've heard nothing but horror stories about it and Yamaha only-besides the Bravo-builds 4-strokes. Yamaha is known for building quality-long lived machines. 5000 miles is a quite a few for any snowmobile-but I wouldn't worry about the motor-it's the suspension-bearings that I'd be looking at. I'm leaning hard towards a Yamaha for my next ride.

    KK

  9. #9
    Member trochilids's Avatar
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    Default

    Thought I'd post an update to my original post. Thanks to all your comments, and a ton of reading on this and other snowmachine sites, we decided to buy the 2007 Yamaha. It has a factory warranty good through 2011, and has been kept up fairly well. The previous owner was injured last spring and hasn't ridden it since. The oil was changed last spring, but has been sitting for a year. Before I do much riding, would you recommend taking it to a Yamaha shop (perhaps Mike's in Big Lake is closest?) and getting the fluids drained and replaced?

    Looking forward to meeting some of you on trail.

    Cheers,
    Palmer, Alaska
    "There are some things money can buy. For everything else, there's ALASKA!"

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