Snowmobiles. Lighter, Sleeker Sleds for 2013
Last winter Mother Nature threw winter sports enthusiasts – especially snowmobilers – a sharp-breaking curve. Temperatures were warmer than normal for much of the season, and snow totals ranged from low to non existent across many parts of the northern U.S.
While no one can predict with any degree of certainty what will happen this year, the four major snowmobile manufacturers are gearing up for an old-fashioned, snowy winter.
All four are offering new models along with new features on rider favorites, and each is looking to capture a larger share of the growing deep-powder and crossover segments of the market.
For 2013, Arctic Cat is adding new wrinkles to its innovative and popular 2012 sleds, which saw Cat with five of the sport’s 10 top-selling models.
This year all Sno Pro and the HCR M models will offer the PowerClaw track with 2.6-inch lugs in the 153- and 62-inch lengths. Other changes include cutting some weight from the crossover and standard mountain suspensions by updating the Fox Zero Pro shocks on the rear arm. The Fox shock with coil-over springing replaces the previous dual rear torsion springs. Cat claims ride quality will be unaffected as the new shock was calibrated specifically to ride smoother than the previous air shock seen in 2012.
The changeover from Twin Spar to ProClimb chassis powder sleds continues this year. The ski stance moves in 2 inches to 38 inches center-to-center thanks to development of new, shorter upper and lower A-arms. The upcoming season sees all Sno Pro versions of Cat’s four-strokers (except the M1100) getting the same steering as the two-stroke sleds.
Cat offers two variations of its steering post, including one version that continues Cat’s exclusive and innovative telescoping design. Changes in the spindles should allow tighter turning and more adjustability.
A new model, Arctic Cat’s 2013 CrossTour, is based on the XF “mid-length” chassis and features a 141-inch track that can be powered by the turbocharged four-stroke or the popular 800cc two-stroke option. It also can be had with electric start, bags, cargo rack, mirrors and high windshield, and can be transformed from solo sport cruiser to touring duty by simply adding an extra seating option.
There’s also the High Country and High Country Limited that offer a choice of the turbo or 800cc engines.
The 2013 Polaris lineup embraces the company’s rich heritage while pushing forward with innovative technologies. This is embodied in the return of the iconic Indy line and the debut of the ultra-light, 417-pound 800 Pro-RMK 155. In all, Polaris’ lineup offers 27 models.
The Indy name has graced thousands of snowmobile hoods, and the Polaris Independent Front Suspension (IFS) drove Indy’s popularity with riders for decades. The newest Indy continues that smooth-riding legacy, with the proven PRO-RIDE chassis for precise handling, Enhanced premium features, such as FOX shocks and Pro-Steer skis, are available on the Indy 600 SP.
Five 2013 RUSH models – including one designed for youth riders – continue to offer features like the balanced PRO-RIDE chassis that places riders in the optimal position for balancing the sled and the PRO-RIDE progressive-rate rear suspension. New this year, RUSH models are outfitted with Pro-Steer skis to reduce steering effort, one-piece handlebar for more comfort and a wider seat.
A new QuickDrive Low Inertia Drive System integrates the drive and brake components in an efficient design that eliminates the need for oil or a tensioner system. Also new for this year are the PowderTrac running boards with more than 50 percent open area to reduce weight and optimize snow evacuation.
Also for 2013, a lightweight carbon fiber over-structure comes standard on the 800 RMK Assault, minimizing weight without sacrificing strength.
Each 2013 Ski‐Doo sled is designed for a specific riding style. If you mostly ride groomed trails but want to go off-trail sometimes, Renegade is a good choice. For cruising trails with a passenger, the Grand Touring model is the way to go, and for riding in deep powder, Summit is Ski-Doo’s top pick.
The 2013 Summit offers a new REV‐XM platform variation. Radical new rear suspension and major track innovation make mountain sled maneuvers easier for riders at all skill levels. Everything the driver interacts with is redesigned specifically for mountain riding.
A swiveling rear arm and split front arm allow the skid frame to flex laterally, reducing the sled’s resistance to banking. Fiberglas reinforcing rods are only 12 inches wide on the 16‐inch wide tracks, enabling the sled to have the maneuverability of a narrow track with the flotation and traction of a wide track.
With the REV-XM ergonomic package riders can place their feet 8 inches farther forward than on the 2012 model, making many powder maneuvers easier. Running board openings are 87 percent larger than the REV‐XP platform for better snow evacuation and grip.
Summit-specific handlebars don’t interfere with rider control and a rigid grab handle offers more leverage when side hilling. There’s a smaller seat (with storage), gauges are mounted flat for easier viewing when standing and a heated glove box under the windshield protects personal items.
The motion rear suspension, Ski-Doo’s new benchmark for comfort, capability and adjustability, is expanded to several more trail riding models this season. Most MX Z and Renegade sleds gain its supple ride in small and medium bumps with extreme capacity in large bumps.
It was just 10 years ago that Yamaha unveiled its first RX-1 four-stroke snowmobile. Over the past decade Yamaha has transitioned its line of sleds entirely from two-stroke to four-stroke engines. Although the sleds are somewhat heavier, Yamaha has been able to make the case they use less oil, are more fuel efficient and tend to be both more reliable and durable than two-strokes.
The new 2013 Nytro XTX 1.75 puts many of the latest Yamaha options into one model. Features include the 1.75 track, tuner skis and slick hyfax. Combine that with some eye-catching graphics and, of course, the performance Genesis triple powerplant standard on all Nytro models.
The Nytro XTX 1.75 is a crossover sled designed to appeal to on-trail and off-trail riders. It combines the everyday reliability of Yamaha power with an extended-length chassis and track to get riders in and out of fresh snow. Premium shocks and other features help riders smooth out pitted trails, hard turns and deep moguls Yamaha is also hoping to bring new, younger riders into the sport this winter with its all-new SRX 120, a good-looking youth sled. It’s powered by a smaller 123cc Yamaha four-stroke engine.
For 2013 Yamaha also offers a new RS Venture TF touring sled and returns its Apex series in a base short-track version, a stretch track XTX model and the premium SE version. Also back is the Vector in a base model with electric power steering and a luxury cruiser LTX with long track.