What style of snowmobile should I buy?
Nov 05, 2015
There are over 160 models of snowmobiles offered by Ski-Doo each year plus all the other brands out there. How do you know what type of snowmobile is right for you?
Let's break it down starting with the 4 main categories: Trail, Crossover, Mountain and Utility. To break it down even further you have the High Performance, Touring and Enduro sub-categories. Let's take a look at what the differences are:
- Great for Beginners
- Reasonably Priced
- Flat Land Riding
- Excellent handling in the turns
Snowmobiles set up for trail riding are generally short track (120/129) with medium to short lugs(1.25") to ride on light snow but also get you through some of the heavy stuff as well. Their handling is superb in the tight turns and nimble feel on the trails. Horsepower ranges from 60 - 165, so they are no slouch in the snow if you want a fun experience. Great for all around recreational use and beginners who want to get a taste of the snowmobile experience. If I was a first time buyer this is the sled I would be most interested in.
- Great for on & off the trail
- May require a little more experienced snowmobiler
- Still reasonably priced compared to Trail Sleds
- Fun to venture off in the fresh snow
Crossover snowmobiles allow you to ride the trails with great handling but still have the bite to go off trail and be adventurous. You'll be able to stay on top of the snow a little better because of the longer track (137/146) therefore making it easier to ride in the deeper, softer white stuff. Still sporting the 1.25" track lug keeps the trail riding smooth on a crossover sled. This is a great sled to buy because it gives you a little of the best of both worlds. The longer track will make riding a little smoother but if you are inexperienced it's best to stay on the trails until you've put some miles on your tracks and understand terrain and how it affects a snowmobile.
- Experience a must
- Strictly designed for deep snow on an incline
- Price goes up due to the design of this sled
- Excellent for someone who is bored with the trails and ready for big adventure
Mountain snowmobiles are very unique to the terrain they are designed for. You'll be standing up on this sled a lot so the seat is narrow to allow body positioning while riding the side of a mountain. The ski stance is also narrow, the running boards have large openings to allow snow to fall through them and the suspension is specifically designed to help this sled hug the mountain. The track length can be as long as 174 inches with the lugs being as long as 3 inches. This machine is built for heavy deep snow that a mountain graciously gives us. I would buy this snowmobile if I had a lot of experience with sleds already and possibly after I had went out west to rent one with an instructor leading me all the way.
- Great for work, towing, hauling items
- Usually a 2-up snowmobile
- Price depends on accessories
- Generally low speed applications
Utility snowmobiles are great for farmers, ranch hands, people who have a lot of land in snow covered areas. These machines were designed to pull sleds, carry a lot of supplies and travel long distances. You can add a multi-mount winch to use in the front or back and stores on the side. Because most of these sleds are 2-ups they can be as long as 156 inches with 1.75" lugs. Utility sleds are also used for search and rescue teams. But, don't let that fool you they are still a lot of fun to ride with the added benefit of a work machine. I would buy this snowmobile if I lived in an area where there was a lot of snow during the year and I needed to take care of my land.
High Performance Sleds
- Designed for racing
- Experienced riders
- Trail, Crossover or Mountain Riding
- Most expensive due to high performance parts
High Performance snowmobiles from Ski-Doo come with an "X" in their name although there are some other models that are just as mean and fast. Most performance models are 2-stroke but Ski-Doo does offer a 1200 4-stroke that will still put you back in your seat. These machines are for the thrill seekers and those who want superb handling at a faster pace, especially in the corners on the trails. High Performance comes in the trail, crossover and mountain snowmobiles so you're still able to choose your style of riding and increase the thrills. Tracks and lugs differ between the performance models. I would buy this type of sled to impress my buddies but also to enjoy the handling that these types of sleds provide. To even get one of these sleds from Ski-Doo you need to spring order it ahead of time.
- 2-up rider sleds
- Great for family riding
- Comfortable luxury trail riding
- Reasonably priced depending on options
Touring sleds are mainly designed for trail riding with two people. Many times they come with air ride suspension, 4-stroke engines and a quieter drive system. I like to think of this sled as the taxi cab of snowmobiles. It's perfect for 2 riders because of the comfort it provides. These machines have up to a 137 inch track with 1" or 1.25" lugs to keep the ride smooth. I would buy a Touring Sled so I could ride the trails and enjoy the scenary with my family that I took along with me.
- Fits trail, crossover & utility
- Great all around sled
- Reasonably priced
I put Enduro in its own category simply because this year Ski-Doo came out a model of that name. I liken this sled to a great trail rider, a get off the trail and get into the woods rider and somewhat of a workhorse. This sled comes with a front bumper, the new adjustable pilot TS skis, rMotion suspension with air ride and a yearning to go just about anywhere (outside of hugging a mountain). If I were a beginner I wouldn't be afraid of buying this sled, there are several engine options to fit your liking and it's versatile enough to keep you interested for years to come.
I hope this helps you understand some of the different and unique features & benefits that each of these snowmobiles provide. Make sure you are informed before you make a purchase, owning a snowmobile can provide many years of enjoyment as long as you get what fits your needs (and wants).
We are more then happy to help you find the right sled for you, just give us a call here at Lithgow Motor Sports - 217-283-5171.