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Thread: Recommendation of a snowmachine

  1. #1

    Default Recommendation of a snowmachine

    I have been wanting to buy a snowmachine for years. My family owned snowmachines when I was a kid, but I confess I am not much of a rider. I would like to own one mostly for accessing remote lakes for ice fishing and for predator hunting. Also, I would like to buy some remote property someday and build a cabin, so the machine would also be used to transport lumber and materials. Could anyone recommend to me what type of sled I should look for? I have looked on Alaska'a list, but I am not quite sure what to look for. My budget is somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000-$3,000 and I do not want a racing sled. If you could just give me some pointers of where to start that would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Maybe an Artic Cat 600? Those are in your price range, aren't terribly fast but enough power to play in the deep snow.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  3. #3
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I would mainly look at the utility line of Sleds.
    Forget the mountain or powder sleds as they are usually geared too high for good towing.
    A skidoo Tundra or Scandic would probably work good. Also Arctic Cat makes the Bearcat witch has positive reviews.
    The older Skidoo tundra 2's or Elanns and yamaha bravos would work ok if you are a lighter guy but they do have smaller engines if you do decide to haul building supplies any distance they may be a little too small. Might be worth a look though.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    Back in the day I had a Polaris 440 long track that took me to all sorts of places. IMHO, that was the best back country machine I've owned.
    What I would look for is:
    1. Light weight – you will be man handling the machine, some days a lot.
    2. Longest, widest track you can get – The only way to break new trail.
    3. Midsize to small engine – Don’t’ want to be in the middle of nowhere and run out of gas. With a little skill and planning you can do a lot and don’t need mega-horsepower.

    You want utility, the less bells and whistles to break the better. For me an exception is the EFI engines, no carbs to adjust. I owned an Arctic Cat with EFI and no battery. It always started on the second pull and not worrying about a dead battery was a good safety feature.

    I found a good set of snowshoes to be very handy. I had a set that stayed attached to my 440.

    I was going to talk about survival gear, but realized exploring the remote places may not be what you have in mind. If you do plan to get off the beaten path take a good Arctic Survival course and ALLWAYS, ALLWAYS bring your survival bag.

  5. #5

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    Thanks a lot guys for all the recommendations. I appreciate it. Very helpful information. Kelvin G, I know what you're saying is true. Actually I have taken an Arctic survival course before. I also used to be a guide and I feel fairly confident in my survival skills in the remote wilderness. But I definitely agree with you about being prepared. Probably if there is an area I am weak in, it would be my lack of mechanical expertise. I can perform basic maintenance on automobiles, but I would love to learn more about how to perform repairs in a remote situation. If it were me, and I was stranded, I would probably just have to survive and wait to get rescued or hike out.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelvinG View Post
    Back in the day I had a Polaris 440 long track that took me to all sorts of places. IMHO, that was the best back country machine I've owned.
    What I would look for is:
    1. Light weight – you will be man handling the machine, some days a lot.
    2. Longest, widest track you can get – The only way to break new trail.
    3. Midsize to small engine – Don’t’ want to be in the middle of nowhere and run out of gas. With a little skill and planning you can do a lot and don’t need mega-horsepower.

    You want utility, the less bells and whistles to break the better. For me an exception is the EFI engines, no carbs to adjust. I owned an Arctic Cat with EFI and no battery. It always started on the second pull and not worrying about a dead battery was a good safety feature.

    I found a good set of snowshoes to be very handy. I had a set that stayed attached to my 440.

    I was going to talk about survival gear, but realized exploring the remote places may not be what you have in mind. If you do plan to get off the beaten path take a good Arctic Survival course and ALLWAYS, ALLWAYS bring your survival bag.
    Kevin G, forgive the ignorance here, but what exactly is an EFI with no battery? Does this stand for electronic fuel injection? I like the idea of a snowmachine with no battery to go dead. That seems ideal. I just never heard of one before.

  7. #7

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    Alright, here comes the next dumb question? Again, forgive my ignorance, just looking for some advice here. What constitutes a long or short track? In other words, where is the cut off? Is 120" a short track and 140" a long track? And what exactly is the measurement, the total length of the sled or what? Again, I am new to snowmachining, so bear with me here. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Member franklinfleagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Alright, here comes the next dumb question? Again, forgive my ignorance, just looking for some advice here. What constitutes a long or short track? In other words, where is the cut off? Is 120" a short track and 140" a long track? And what exactly is the measurement, the total length of the sled or what? Again, I am new to snowmachining, so bear with me here. Thanks.
    a long track is typically 144 and larger, 120-128 are considered short tracks and in the 136-141 range is typically considered crossover/intermediate, it is the total length of track measured by circumference, in the old days a 136 was considered to be a mountain sled and long track, but it isn't so anymore. an old 440 fan cooled rig might be exactly what you're looking for, i used to use my tran sport, sport sks and cheetah all the time back in the day trapping and hauling wood, they all lasted a long time, cheetah one the longest but i rebuilt it a couple times crank up, got over 20,000mi the speedo cable was broke for years so it has way more than that, tran sport has over 14,000 miles and still runs to this day, its out at the homestead still, and sport sks ran over 12,000 miles b4 we sold it... if you could find an old tran sport or super jag or sport sks or cheetah or bearcat or panther, or indy trail touring or skandic or something like that u shouldn't have to pay more than 1500 bucks for it and those old 440 or 488 fan cooled sleds ran forever, i'd give the edge to the fuji motors in the polariss back in the day, they were pretty much bulletproof, just had to put a new clutch on once in a while and could find cheap comet clutches online for like 100 bucks back then... old widetrack gt lasted a long time too and hauled a butt load of wood.... u should be able to find something for cheap enough to go hunting and fishing and do a lil work on.. if you get something and decide you want to tow a lot of weight and stuff you might consider dropping a couple teeth up top on ur gears also... bravos and tundra IIs were good sleds also if you want something even smaller and lighter but they won't haul nearly as much of a load either... good luck with your decision, they all made good sleds back in the 1990s, they weren't trying to crank out 50 percent more power per liter than a nascar engine back then, they were all building them to last... if you get something and use it alot especially towing and stuff, make sure you change your chain case oil at least once a year and check your chain tension often like every 500 miles, i've seen way too many people blowing up chain cases this year because they don't ever maintain them...

  9. #9
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Hello Jack,
    It sound like a used utility machine might be best for yah.

    An older Bearcat 440, or 340 might be ideal for yah. It's a good compromise of an all-around sled.

  10. #10
    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Kevin G, forgive the ignorance here, but what exactly is an EFI with no battery? Does this stand for electronic fuel injection? I like the idea of a snowmachine with no battery to go dead. That seems ideal. I just never heard of one before.
    Exactly right. I had never heard of it either until I bought the Cat.

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