Snowmobiles are an essential requirement for people living in snow-covered areas. Just as people in cities need cars for commuting and travelling, people in snow-covered areas depend on snowmobiles. There are different types of snowmobiles available in the market today. Their features and specifications depend on the purpose they are designed for. Some snowmobiles are used primarily as transport vehicles while others are designed for utility aspect. Here are the different types of snowmobiles depending on their intended usage.
Choosing the Right Type of Snowmobile
The right types of snowmobiles for a rider will vary based on their individual requirements. Here are a few factors that can assist them in choosing the ideal sled type for their needs.
Purpose of Buying a Snowmobile
The right type of snowmobile for riders will depend on their motivation or purpose for buying the same. Most individuals purchase a sled for traveling from one place to another in snow-laden areas. Trail snowmobiles are ideal for their needs. Others employ them as utility vehicles for delivering mail to remote regions as well as towing a sled and hauling cargo for professional or personal tasks. Utility models are the suitable types of snowmobiles for their use cases. Many people like to undertake cross-country tours to areas that are covered under a sheet of ice or powder throughout the year, such as Alaska. 2-up and touring sleds are designed specifically for this purpose. Then there are riders that crave an adrenaline rush and want the leanest, meanest machines. Performance-oriented snowmobiles are their preferred option. Therefore, the right types of snowmobiles for riders will depend on their individual requirements. They must choose a model that fits their needs.
Terrain and Trail Conditions
The kind of terrain and trail that a rider will primarily cruise on will be a significant factor when determining the right types of snowmobiles. Riders can face varying snow conditions. Most of them will ride on well-groomed packed trails with gentle elevation. Others prefer to visit ungroomed trails or ride on deep powder in the backcountry. They may have to face hard ice while crossing frozen lakes or navigating unchartered territories quite a few times. People living on the mountains and sportspersons such as skiers will climb steep powder-covered slopes on their sleds. There are different types of snowmobiles for varying terrain and trail conditions. Sleds for mountains have powerful engines, while those designed for deep powder are lighter in weight and have broader skis. Riders may consider variants that are suitable for the trails and terrains that they will navigate.
Experience Level and Age
Riders must choose a snowmobile according to their experience. Performance-oriented models are harder to control and suitable for riders who have years of experience under their belt. Beginners should consider basic models that have standard engines and are easier to maneuver and steer. There are special types of snowmobiles available for young riders, termed youth snowmobiles. They are designed for teens and young adults, come with smaller engines, and have compact chassis. These sleds are meant for teaching them how to ride snowmobiles. Hence, the right types of snowmobile will also depend on the experience and age of the rider.
Number of Riders
Based on the number of riders, the types of snowmobiles can be classified as single-seater and 2-up models. The former are designed for one rider and have their engine and specifications designed accordingly. Riders, especially tourists and trappers, who want to hunt or travel in pairs but don’t want to take more than one sled with them can consider 2-up models. They come with two seats and are designed for carrying two persons, the rider and a passenger. Additional features, like hand warmers, are also present for two individuals. People buying sleds may want to consider the types of snowmobiles suitable for their requirements according to the seats available.
Trail snowmobiles are one of the most basic types of snowmobiles. They are primarily meant for commuting and transportation. These models have narrow frames and small fan-cooled engines though they still have good acceleration and can reach decent top speed. Trail snowmobiles are lightweight and easy to handle making them the ideal choice for new riders or beginners. They are the most affordable offerings when compared to other types of snowmobiles.
A touring snowmobile is designed to carry a passenger in addition to the rider for long distances. They come with an extra seat, also referred to as “2-up”. They have comfort enhancing features to minimize fatigue on long rides. These features generally include well-cushioned heated seats, backrest for rear rider, heating rear rider hand grips and reverse gear among others. Touring snowmobiles are ideal for riders who often travel in pairs over significant distances.
Performance snowmobiles are designed for one thing – to deliver best possible raw performance. They have powerful engines with high displacement capacity and are tuned for maximum top speed and acceleration. Riders who take part in professional racing or enjoy the thrill of high speed prefer these models over other types of snowmobiles. Performance Snowmobiles should only be purchased by snowmobile riders who have plenty of experience.
Snowmobiles are not just used for commuting or racing. Some people also use them for carrying out work in the field and lugging goods. Utility snowmobiles are purchased by people who need the snowmobiles for carrying out their daily tasks. These snowmobiles have longer and wider frames than their counterparts. Their suspension is also designed for heavy duty workloads and can haul a decent amount of cargo. They also have a hitch for towing sleds behind them.
Crossover snowmobiles are designed to operate equally well on groomed trails as well as for off-trail exploration. Their main characteristic is their hybrid track that is longer and has medium-sized lugs (generally 1.25”). It yields excellent handling on groomed trails while providing adequate traction and power for off-trail riding. Crossover snowmobiles are a great choice for riders who love backcountry exploration.
Ascending a mountain slope with a snowmobile is harder than riding a snowmobile on a flat trail. Mountain snowmobiles are designed for specifically this purpose. They feature engines with high power output to provide adequate force for climbing inclined mountain slopes. The body of the snowmobiles is narrower for easy maneuvering on tight trails and their tracks have longer lugs for improving traction on slopes. They are not as comfortable as trail or touring snowmobiles and can’t reach the same top speed as performance snowmobiles. Mountain snowmobiles are not ideal for flat trails and should only be preferred by people who ascend and descend slopes regularly.
While trail snowmobiles are a great choice for adults who want to learn riding, they are not suitable for teenagers and young riders. Youth snowmobiles are designed specifically for teenagers and young riders. These snowmobiles have small frame and power-limited engines for ensuring safety of the riders. They are a great option for parents who want to take their children along with them on rides.