If you believe all snowmobiles are the same, think again. While all snowmobiles basically do the same thing, there are distinct differences. Certain snow machines are best for different terrains, disparate types of riding, and sleds are certainly built for various budgets. Knowing which snowmobile model will best suit your needs is a smart first step.
Type of Snowmobile Riding You Will Doing
There are many different types of snowmobiles designed for different winter time riding pursuits. Snowmobiling enthusiasts often debate whether there are 5, 6, 7 or more categories of snowmobiles out there. In order to help you choose the best snowmobile for you, we are going to talk about the five major types of snow machines and the some of the variations within those categories.
Touring snowmobiles are designed to carry two passengers and are thus often referred to as “two ups.” Touring snowmobile models are perfect if you seek a comfortable ride and you are not too concerned about speed nor performance. The touring category of snow machines feature heavy frames and long tracks to offer a smooth ride and many touring sleds come with other creature comforts such as backrests and heated seats. These models are ideal if you're going to spend all day on the sled but don't need much speed. Due to their long frames the touring snowmobile group is intended for straight line travel with passengers, but the machines can corner at slower speeds also.
Given that these snowmobiles are designed to give people a comfortable ride over long distances it is not uncommon for touring snowmobiles to come with electric start, side-mounted mirrors, reverse gear and larger windshields. Some of the higher-end touring snowmobiles feature other amenities like MP3 players and high tech communication systems.
Trail snowmobiles are often considered the entry-level snowmobile model. This group of snow machines is typically light weight and thus maneuverable. The trail category often features easy-to-use electric starters and can also be equipped with electric reversing. As the name suggests, trail model snowmobiles are designed for groomed trail riding, so you should avoid rough terrain, large climbs, and deep powder.
The light weight and easy maneuverability of trail snowmobiles make them a great choice for snowmobilers new to the sport. Trail snowmobiles can easily be found for an economical price. Trail model snowmobiles accelerate faster than a touring snowmobile and they usually offer a bit more comfort than a performance style sled.
After getting accustomed to your trail style snow machine you might want to try the “sport” trail model as the sport trail snowmobiles provide a bit more speed but still carry a relatively small engine so you won’t be over-powered on the trails.
If you like the challenge of climbing vertical slopes in deep snow and the words “mountain side snowmobiling” don’t cause you to pause, then a mountain style snowmobile may be for you. Mountain style snowmobiles are equipped with high horsepower engines in order to perform well in higher elevations, are narrower than other snowmobile models, weigh less, and utilize longer lugs on their tracks. Mountain snowmobiles are the best at handling difficult vertical climbs. Don’t be mistaken though, mountain snowmobiles are powerful machines, but they are not considered the most comfortable ride on the snow.
The utility snowmobile is the workhorse of the bunch. Also referred to as the working snowmobile, this category of sleds will typically have a wide track and plenty of power. Working snowmobiles are longer, wider and heavier than recreational snowmobiles. The utility snowmobile group is designed to pull heavy weight and carry a good load at the same time. These sleds work well on trails and in heavy snow conditions and generally come equipped with standard electric start and reverse gear features. The snowmobile rider who is looking for an all-around snowmobile to work with should choose a model from the utility sled category.
Working snowmobiles are used by a wide range of snow riders. Snowmobile club members groom trails and carry food, tents and other supplies to the far reaches of the trail network with them. Commercial utility snowmobiles are used for multi-person transport at ski areas, for rescuing injured people, for locating trapped riders on a mountain side, and some working snowmobiles even deliver scientific equipment to hard to reach polar locations.
Performance SnowmobilesPerformance snowmobiles, as the name suggests, are designed and built for speed and handling. These are the snowmobiles for aggressive, adrenaline seeking riders who want to fly around tight corners and cruise into the air over the jumps. The engines installed are usually 85 horsepower or larger, but the sled frame is light weight with advanced suspension systems for nimble and precise handling.
The performance sleds are not designed for comfort, but are perfect for zooming across a frozen lake while participating in a snowmobile drag race event. Performance snowmobiles are recommended for experienced, expert snowmobilers. If you want to go fast and stay ahead of the pack, the high performance snowmobile is the model for you.
You Want To Enjoy Yourself While SnowmobilingAt the end of the day remember that you are buying a new snowmobile because you love to plow through the powder in your sled. Don’t get overly analytical with the process. If you can afford it, buy the snowmobile you want. If you have to watch the budget like most of us then identify a few key points, find some sleds that fit your criteria, and then buy one so you can stop analyzing which snowmobile would be the best and you can start enjoying your new snow machine.
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