When it manufactured snowmobiles back in the day, John Deere was renowned for its superior and robust products. John Deere snowmobile were manufactured from the year 1970 till 1984 when the company sold its snowmobile business to Polaris. The company started as a novice in the snowmobile market and ended up producing some of the most formidable snowmobiles that competed in and won various races. Some of its snowmobiles are still popular today in the reseller market.
John Deere Cyclone 340 Snowmobile
John Deere Cyclone 340 Snowmobile was one of the sleds from the brand that solidified its reputation. It was a family-class sled that delivered the performance expected from a sports model. The sled was in production from 1976 to 1978 and utilized a front motor chassis derived from the JD340/S John Deere snowmobile. It weighed 395lbs and had exceptional handling and stability compared to the previous models with a mid-motor chassis design. Cyclone 340 had a Kiortiz KEC-340/22 2-cylinder, 339cc engine under its hood. It was accompanied by a slide suspension, Comet 102C power train, and mechanical disk brake. A Cyclone 440 variant of this John Deere snowmobile was also available with a more powerful engine.
John Deere Spitfire Snowmobile
While John Deere snowmobiles were highly valued for their performance, the company also marketed a few budget models. Its Spitfire sleds were a replacement for the value-oriented 300 Series. They employed a direct-drive system that eliminated the chaincase and reduced the weight of the machine to a measly 275lbs. John Deere Spitfire Snowmobiles were initially launched in 1978 with a 2-cylinder, 339cc Kohler engine that was replaced by the Kawasaki Fireburst TB340A Fire burst engine in the later variants manufactured in and after 1980. The track and aesthetics were overhauled as well. John Deere Spitfire Snowmobile remained quite popular throughout its lifetime, with close to 25,000 units sold over five years.
John Deere Sprintfire Snowmobile
Sprintfire was one of the John Deere snowmobiles that stayed in production for a very limited time. It was introduced in 1982 and discontinued in 1984. Less than 3,000 units were manufactured in total, with almost 85% percent (2400) of them in 1983. The main highlight of the Sprintfire John Deere snowmobile was the compact chassis and lightweight design, thanks to the direct drive system. Its specifications listed the overall weight at 330 lbs, which was quite impressive. Sprintfire employed the 2-cylinder, 339cc TC340E Fire Burst engine manufactured by Kawasaki. It was paired with a Comet 102C power transmission, slide suspension, and mechanical disk brakes.
John Deere Sportfire Snowmobile
John Deere Sportfire Snowmobile was a popular sled from the manufacturer during its last leg of sled production. It was first introduced in the 1980 lineup and was sold till 1984. Even though the models of Sportfire changed during this time, however, specifications remained the same for the most part. They all came with the John Deere Fire Burst 436cc, 2-cylinder engine (TA440B) manufactured by Kawasaki. It was fan-cooled and optimized for performance. A cleated rubber track was employed until 1983, when a solid rubber track substituted it. John Deere Sportfire Snowmobile used a slide suspension and a Comet transmission. The sled was well-received at launch, although the number of units produced declined over the years.
John Deere Trailfire Snowmobile
Trailfire was one of the last John Deere snowmobiles to be in production before the brand switched to tractors. The sled was initially launched in 1979 and was manufactured till 1984. It was available with either a 340cc TA340A engine from John Deere or a more powerful 436cc Kawasaki TA440A Fireburst engine. This John Deere snowmobile had a tube shock-assisted leaf spring front suspension and a parallel rail slide rear suspension. Trailfire was known for its exceptional handling and lightweight build, credited to its very low center of gravity. The rubber track used measured 15.75” x 116” and had riveted crossbars. John Deere Trailfire Snowmobile weighed around 381lbs and had a 7.76 US gallon fuel tank. It remained quite popular throughout its life.
The 295s was the first John Deere Snowmobile that was used by the company sponsored racing team. It was introduced in 1974 and built for cross country racing. It used the same chassis as the previous JDX series. There were different suspension options available for the buyers. It had aluminum skis that wouldn’t corrode easily. It came with a 2-gallon or a 5-gallon fuel tank. An aluminum bumper, shortened windshield, and a rear grab handles were standard features. John Deere manufactured a thousand of these and some of them are still seen on the trails.
The 340s John Deere Snowmobile was marketed as a premier model for cross country races. It had a two-cylinder fan cooled engine under the hood with a displacement capacity of 339cc. It had a dry weight of 385lbs and an excellent power to weight ratio, an aspect that John Deere paid heavy attention to. The hydraulic disc brakes used provided enough stopping power and were an ideal match for the engine. A 9-gallon fuel tank kept the rider going for miles without need for refueling. The 340s was in production throughout 1975.
The liquidator was the John Deere snowmobile that marked the arrival of the company on the big scene and earned it the respect it deserved from competitors. It was the model that won the International 500 snowmobile championship in 1976. Its lightweight chassis was an improved version of the 340s model and quite similar to the Liquifire one. The liquidator was powered by a Kioritz 339cc twin engine that was liquid cooled and had a big radiator. It had mechanical disk brakes, a slide suspension, and an eight-gallon fuel tank. A fiberglass hood with a huge scoop was the hallmark of the vehicle. The Liquidator was commercially available for one year – 1975. John Deere produced only 600 of these.
John Deere used its years of racing experience to design the Liquifire snowmobile. It had a 436cc 2-stroke Kawasaki twin-cylinder engine with an output that almost touched 70hp. Despite being at a significant disadvantage in the displacement and power department as compared to its competitors, the Liquifire still matched them performance wise. It was engineered to be lightweight and explosively fast without compromising on the durability aspect. This John Deere Snowmobile was agile and acrobatic and had the best handling among all competitors. As a result, it became highly popular on cross-country snowmobile circuits. The Liquifire is still popular on trails across the country.
The Snowfire was among the final models produced by John Deere snowmobiles. The engine driving the snowmobile was an air-cooled two-stroke Kawasaki TB340 twin with a power output of 35hp. It was one of the last snowmobile models to feature the free-air engine. It had John Deere’s direct drive system that made parts obsolete including the cross shaft and reduced the weight of the snowmobile for better power to weight ratio. It had a dry weight a little over 310lbs. The Snowfire was in production from 1982 to 1984. It is still sought after by snowmobile collectors.