It is a renowned fact that the two most significant predictors of a snowmobile performance are its weight and horsepower. The performance of the sled is very likely to increase if its weight is decreased and power is increased. Since snowmobiles have been evolving over the years, features such as bigger tracks, larger engines, independent and long-travel suspensions, and more advanced engine management systems have all worked together generally to add weight to snowmobiles. These improvements have made riding our sleds more enjoyable. Many riders would not trade all this modern technology for a snowmobile that is just simply lighter but doesn’t have the features that we are all accustomed to. However, it should be remembered that building lighter versions of snowmobiles allows them to perform better and are more fun to ride. It is not only possible to climb higher and go beyond before getting stuck, but most of the snowmobile riding can be performed with considerably less effort as compared to your friends riding heavier vehicles.
There have been efforts made over the past decades to bring lightweight snowmobiles to the market. In 1980s Yamaha brought its 80cc SnoScoot design but the market was not tuned in to a small displacement snow vehicle derived from a motor scooter. Hence, it was abandoned because Yamaha couldn’t make any money on this scooter and dealers did not understand the product and did not see any profit being made on the sled.
In the mid-1990s, Ski-Doo challenged the market and tried to capture the imagination of snowboarders and winter sports enthusiasts with its lightweight Freestyle snowmobile. It featured a 300cc single-cylinder engine and was of low price under $4,000. It also failed, however, its design remnants were carried over in the guise of utilitarian backcountry models.
Since then considerable attempts have been made over the years by Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, and Yamaha, the major snowmobile manufacturing brands to build lightweight snowmobiles to improve their performance and provide greater efficiency while riding. Let us take a look at some of the lightest sleds manufactured by each one of these leading snowmobile brands.
Polaris 800 PRO-RMK 155
Polaris has learned to manufacture lighter snowmobiles with positive inertia that can be easily maneuvered. Polaris 800 Pro-RMK comes in wide options of track lengths like 155, 163 and 174 inches. However, Polaris 800 Pro-RMK 155 is the lightest in weight among all these other track lengths Polaris sleds having a dry weight of 408/185 (lbs/kg). The 800 PRO-RMK 155 is the lightest and one of the most strongest and flickable deep snow family on the market. It offers the best mountain snowmobile features with the industry’s quality power to weight ratio providing the rider the instantaneous lift and an immediate response simultaneously. It is paired with an excellent AXYS frame. This AXYS frame provides a good advantage to the sled by providing rigidity, making them lightweight and specifically it offers the general balance to the snowmobile making it perfect for all sorts of terrains. Its lightweight and rigid rear suspension design offer adapted geometry to control pitch which improves the weight transfer giving better control and even a more compliant ride.
Ski-Doo MXZx 600RS E-TEC
Ski-Doo BRP introduced MXZx 600RS E-TEC racing snowmobile this year 2019. This lightweight sled with a dry weight of 488/221 (lbs/kg), a longer track and a new look is ideal for snocross racing across North America. This snowmobile that is based on the REV Gen4 platform for a greater ride ergonomics and handling on rough terrains offer better race starts, better bump absorption, faster turning, and a weight reduction. It also features lighter LED headlights, 137 inches track length, a lightweight hood and Kashima coated KYB Pro shocks. Chassis include a lightweight Lexan hood and an LED light with engine mounts and a lighter belt cover that provide better airflow. Its driveline consists of a lighter drive axle, adapted slip gear that offers greater durability and pDrive calibrations that are ready for snocross track. All these features make this snowmobile one of the lightest weight on the market.
Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha One
Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha one is also one of the lightest and durable snowmobile on the market with a dry weight of 437/198.2 (lbs/kg). This sled comes in 154 inches and 165 inches lengths with standard 3” lug and 3.5” pitch. Alpha One sled does away with the old two-rail skid and has replaced it with a single beam in the middle of the track. This single reinforced beam rear suspension is stable and easy to handle and works perfectly with front suspension making it one of the most responsive rider-to-chassis sleds. It has reduced vehicle weight, track inertia and track rotating mass which are all dialed into the Ascender chassis. Also, it requires less energy to turn into an aggressive rider and that too in a controlled manner. The Alpha One’s skid frame follows the principle that a deep snow skid does not require two rails. As a replacement, there is a single, rigid rail that runs down the center of the track which allows more turning flexibility from the track, better sidehilling, quicker pivots, and reduced weight. The suspension is paired with a new track which is 11 lbs. lighter than the compared two-rail suspension which is 4.5 lbs lighter in the skid frame with the new 6.5 lbs lighter track.
Yamaha Phazer harks back to 1984, and the line has strengthened since then. This specific product line of Phazer was introduced to revive the initial idea while remaining lightweight and affordable at the same time. The new Phazer comes in an estimated dry weight of 487 pounds making it one of the lightest manufactured four-strokes. This Yamaha snowmobile offers you a reliable performance on any sort of trail for a decent low cost. Its engine is based on the company’s successful and dependable YZ250F dirtbike engine. Yamaha engineering is one of the top notches that includes clutching that can withstand the great force of the engine. This sled is powered by an 80HP 499cc fuel injected, liquid cooled twin engine that produces its peak power at 11,000RPM.