It is a renowned fact that the two most significant predictors of snowmobile performance are its weight and horsepower. The performance of the sled is very likely to increase if its weight is decreased and the 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 be more fun to ride. It is not only possible to climb higher and go beyond before getting stuck, but most snowmobile riding can be performed with considerably less effort as compared to your friends riding heavier vehicles.
Efforts to Build the Lightest Snowmobile Ever
There have been efforts over the past decades to bring lightweight snowmobiles to the market. In the 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 cost under $4,000. It failed, however, its design remnants were carried over in the guise of utilitarian backcountry models.
Recent Efforts by Manufacturers to Make Lightweight Snowmobiles
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 snowmobile 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 snowmobile and one of the strongest and flickable deep snow families 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. It’s a lightweight snowmobile and its 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 snowmobile 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 is based on the REV Gen4 platform for greater ride ergonomics and handling on rough terrains offer better race starts, better bump absorption, faster turning, and 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 weights on the market.
Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha One
Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha one is also one of the lightest snowmobiles (and most durable) 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. All of these modifications to decrease the weight of the sled help to make this lightweight snowmobile part of our list.
The 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-stroke snowmobiles. 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 top not and that includes clutching that can withstand the great force of the engine. This lightweight snowmobile sled is powered by an 80HP 499cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled twin engine that produces its peak power at 11,000RPM.
Polaris 600 PRO RMK 155 Snowmobile
The 600 PRO RMK 155 is another sled from Polaris among the lightest snowmobiles ever made. It is a 2021 model and suitable for buyers who want a brand new option. Polaris 600 PRO RMK 155 snowmobile is designed for mountains and is lightweight and super responsive. Its 414lb (188kg) dry weight makes it one of the lightest snowmobiles ever made. The sled has a 2-cylinder, 599cc engine paired with the QuickDrive2 system and Series 8 track to facilitate superior maneuverability and ultimate control. Its AXYS platform reduces drag, while the rear suspension facilitates better weight transfer. Riders who navigate deep snow on steep slopes will find Polaris 600 PRO RMK 155 Snowmobile to be an excellent lightweight snowmobile option.
Polaris 850 PRO RMK QD2 165 2.75” Snowmobile
Polaris 850 PRO RMK QD2 165 2.75” is a high-powered option among the lightest snowmobiles ever made. The sled features in the 2021 lineup from the brand and is readily available in the market. It uses a 2-cylinder engine with a displacement capacity of 840cc, making it more powerful as compared to the 600 Pro model. Polaris 850 PRO RMK QD2 165 has a dry weight of 415lb (188kg), which is almost the same as the lower model. Riders searching for the lightest snowmobile ever made will find it ideal. It features the QuickDrive2 system and AXYS RMK suspension, offering superior performance and flick ability with minimal effort and maximum response.
2008 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 500 SS
When it comes to the lightest snowmobile ever made, the 2008 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 500 SS sled is a model that stands out. Its highlight is its 399lb dry weight, making it one of the rare models to be marketed under 400 pounds. It came with a 2-stroke Rotax engine that had a displacement capacity of 597cc. CVT transmission with reverse and a Rev XP frame complimented it. The 2008 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 500 SS snowmobile featured in the Trail lineup of the brand. It is one of the lightest snowmobiles ever made. New and experienced riders found this lightweight snowmobile equally appealing.
2010 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 550F
Ski-Doo launched another lightweight snowmobile and improved variant in their MX Z lineup a couple of years later, the 2010 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 550F snowmobile. It had a dry weight of 411 lbs, which was slightly more than the 2008 model but still relatively low, placing it among the lightest snowmobiles ever made. The sled had a 2-stroke Rotax engine with a displacement capacity of 553cc. It was paired with a CVT transmission and had a Rev XP frame, Brembo hydraulic disc brakes, and HPG shocks. The 2010 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 550F snowmobile was marketed as a Trail model. It is one of the lightest snowmobiles ever made.
2009 Ski-Doo Summit X 154 600 H.O. E-TEC
The 2009 Ski-Doo Summit X 154 600 H.O. E-TEC snowmobile is another model that features on the list of the lightest snowmobiles ever made. Many brands were experimenting with lightweight models for trail riders who wanted performance and maneuverability around those years, and the 2009 Ski-Doo Summit X 154 600 H.O. E-TEC was one of them. It featured a powerful 594cc, 2-stroke engine that was paired with a CVT transmission with reverse capability. The 2009 Ski-Doo Summit X 154 600 H.O. E-TEC snowmobile has an aluminum Rev Xp frame that makes it one of the lightest snowmobiles ever made.
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