Alaska SnowRider staff
When it comes to snowmachining, there is no better place to be than in Alaska. Our snow comes earlier (usually) and lasts longer (always!), and is deeper and fluffier than anywhere else on earth. At least that’s what we tell ourselves, because we Alaskans know there is also no better place to live than here in the 49th state.
So, as we anticipate another season of great snowmachining and adventures, we can also look forward to what the industry’s best snowmachine producers are showcasing. Arctic Cat, Polaris, Yamaha and Ski-Doo have once again outdone themselves in engineering and advancement of the sport. Read on for some of our favorites of the 2014-2015 season, and see how you can get your hands on some of the hottest sleds going.
SKI-DOO Summit X With T3 package
Starting at $13,649
Ski-Doo started with the most nimble mountain sled and took it to great lengths with three inch lugs and either 163 or 174 tracks that can take you to places you’ve never been. They also added new technologies and weight-saving measures to push what a mountain sled can do and be. The T3 Package adds even more capability to Summit X models with standard lugs (the tallest ever offered by a manufacturer); 174-inch track length choice (the longest ever offered by a manufacturer); and numerous weight-saving modifications, including a lightweight muffler and optimized heat exchangers.
TheFlexEdge Track flexes when you carve the sled, making boondocking and sidehilling easier. It provides the flotation of a 16-inch wide track with the maneuverability of a 12-inch track.
Ski-Doo further sharpened the industry’s best handling snowmobile with new geometry and lighter components, which increases precision, especially in extreme bumps. The tMotion Rear Suspension flexes laterally, reducing the effort to initiate a roll, due to a ball joint at the center hinge between the rear arm and drop link and split flat-tube front arms.
The Pilot DS 3 Skis are designed to work in tandem with the deeper and longer T3 tracks. It has a .47-inch deeper keel and holds a side hill better and offers great control. Narrow ski tips cut through crusty shallow snow; wide easy-to-install extension widens the tip for added flotation in deeper powder. REV-XM running boards keep footing solid with running board snow evacuation holes increased by 87 percent over the REV-XP. The running board edge extrusion – with aggressive boot grips – is three times stronger than the REV-XP.
The ROTAX 800R E-TEC Engine is a revolutionary direct-injection two-stroke featuring a stunning combination of 163.9 horsepower, up to 19 mpg and up to 30 percent less oil consumption than the 800R PowerT.E.K. And thanks to proven E-TEC technology, it has virtually no smoke or smell – especially at start and idle – and starts on the first pull, every time.
POLARIS 550 INDY Voyageur 155
Starting at $7,999
The INDY is built on the proven PRO-RIDE chassis that is 300 percent stiffer for precise, intuitive handling. The ideal choice for a nimble handling sled that’s fun to ride. The new 155-inch rear suspension features an articulated rail for the best off-trail snowmobility and to prevent trenching when backing up. The rail tips up at the rear so the track can ride over obstacles and is easier to back up. New for this sled is the 15-inch by 155-inch by 1.6-inch Cobra track which features deep lugs with a cupped design to deliver outstanding off-trail performance. The lugs provide great deep-snow traction and their stiffness ensures great on-trail performance as well.
The new strong, lightweight PRO-Float Skis provide outstanding off-trail flotation and unmatched on- and off-trail steering and control. PRO-Float skis are 9.5 inches wide and offer a combined surface area of 410 square inches, more than 45 percent greater than Polaris PRO-STEER skis. These skis feature a unique dual, stepped keel design that provides more responsive deep snow handling as well as outstanding handling on the trails. The upturned rear edge accommodates backing up over obstacles, and the serrated top of the ski provides traction for a rider’s boot.
YAMAHA 2015 SRViper M-TX 162
Starting at $13,349
At the heart of Yamaha’s lightweight and aggressive SRViper model family is the SRViper M-TX 162 LE. With its high-performance Genesis four-stroke engine, it pulls consistently hard from takeoff to top end. The three 41-mm throttle bodies deliver strong performance from idle to wide open. The Genesis motor uses Yamaha’s advanced fuel injection system for spot on throttle response and an engine-braking reduction system for that off-the-throttle “coast” feeling.
Yamaha is known for legendary clutching, and this sled is no exception. You can count on the YVXC clutch to engage without incident to transfer power to the snow. For the deep stuff, Yamaha has chosen the 15×162 Power Claw track with a 2.6-inch lug that will move a lot of snow, and its floatation ability is second only to larger mountain tracks. The durable, yet lightweight design offers performance and efficiency. For riders who are serious about their deep-snow riding, the Power Claw is the ace up your sleeve.
Yamaha has continued with the lightweight, rigid SRV chassis that keeps the sleds weight forward and centered. The result is a quick-handling sled that’s fun in a wide variety of conditions. The SRViper’s SRV-M Front suspension with Fox Float 3 EVOL shocks will nail the corners with minimized bump steer. If aggressive riding is your specialty, this is the front suspension for you. Standard on this sled is the uncoupled Dual Shock SR 162 features a FOX FLOAT 2 air shock on the rear arm, a 10.6-gallon fuel tank, tall, sculpted seat, digital gauge, push-button reverse, and plastic mountain skis that offer extra width for excellent powder handling characteristics.
POLARIS AXYS Chassis
Starting at $12,299
The all-new AXYS chassis features 93 percent new parts, including a carbon-fiber overstructure. The new chassis structure and design makes it possible to change the rider positioning, centralize vehicle mass, redesign the rear suspension, add more power, remove weight, and evolve the rider’s riding experience. In short, it is the key to delivering rider-balanced control, unrivaled acceleration, and rider-centric comfort. When developing the AXYS platform, Polaris engineers minimized weight throughout the sled without compromising strength. The 800 RUSH PRO-S is more than 30 pounds lighter than the previous chassis and weighs at least 30 pounds less than a competitive trail performance model.
On the new AXYS chassis, the rider is moved forward to a more balanced position. The rider’s hands are moved 4.5 inches forward, the feet are 2 inches forward, the knees are 4.5 inches forward, and the seat is 4.5 inches forward. In the neutral riding position, the AXYS platform provides bite for flatter, positive cornering. When the trail gets rough or the rider jumps off into the powder, rider balance enables the rider to move back and make the front end light to climb up on top of the snow or the moguls.
The completely redesigned geometry of the all-new PRO-XC progressive-rate rear suspension is optimized for the best performance and Rider-Balanced Control. Through innovative Polaris engineering and construction, the suspension is both lighter and stronger, featuring a lightweight, forged aluminum rear crank; completely redesigned crank and pivot; and a front torque arm that was moved rearward to control pitch, increase travel, and improve the rail profile.
The all-new PRO-XC suspension delivers Active Pitch Control, which controls the pitch by suspension geometry and not simply by a high spring rate. This makes the sled less sensitive to adjustment while allowing optimal weight transfer.
Lynx 2000 Family Trail
Starting at $6,499
The Lynx is back. The all-new 65-horsepower introductory sled is as easy on the eyes as it is on the wallet. The value-focused 565cc, two-stroke, fan-cooled carbureted engine is powerful, durable and efficient. Push-button engine reverse is a favorite in the utility segment. This engine is revered around the world for its simplicity and dependability. The slide-action rear suspension maintains a free-acting front arm while coupling under torque over bumps, and during aggressive cornering and acceleration.
The Lynx is set on the Twin Spar chassis, which is synonymous for a body-saving ride. The design incorporates two box-aluminum spars triangulated with the steering supports. Tunnel spars are incorporated along with self-piercing rivet construction to ensure joint rigidity and overall strength. With a strong and legendary AWS VII front suspension and durable A-arms this cat should prove to be a winner on the trail. The Lynx comes standard with a 128-inch, push-button reverse, electric start and an easy-to-read digital gauge.
ARCTIC CAT ZR 6000 R XC
Not available to general consumers – yet!
Arctic Cat released its new race sled at Hay Days in September. The ZR 6000 R XC has a reinforced pro-cross chassis with many beefed-up components and is aimed at cross-country racers looking to make a name for themselves. This is not the ZR 6000 race replica of the past but a new breed of race sled. The new ZR has redesigned suspension geometry utilizing Fox EVOL RC air shocks and with a 43.5-inch ski stance it will be a force to be reckoned with.
Arctic Cat is sticking with their cat built 599cc C-Tec engine, Cat primary and Team secondary. This new Cat will be putting its power to the snow using a 15×129 Cobra track with a 1.25-inch lug.
Standard on this sled is a clear gas tank, tether cord, grippy seat, and new chain case gearing. The new Cat will only be available through the Arctic Cat race program, but look for the consumer model to hit the dealerships soon.