Throttles in snowmobile are usually thumb throttles which are intended to provide better control of the sled, that too without affecting the maneuverability. Many riders have claimed thumb pain when using them. Also those with smaller hands find it difficult to reach them at times. Even if they reach the throttle, it might turn a hefty task to have proper grip. So there are many options in the market available to addresss the issue. Before moving on let’s have a basic idea of throttles and how they work.
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What is a throttle?
Now, many vehicles have these throttles and they allow you to have control over the flow of fluid towards the engine of the vehicle. It is like, when you add more throttle, the engine receives more power. And if you add less throttle and thereby restrict the fluid flow, the engine runs less powerfully.
Now, most ATVs as well as snowmobiles feature a thumb throttle. What it does is that the thumb finger is used to adjust the power the engine receives.
The thumb throttle is usually made of a material that is comfortable on the hand. Plastic material is chosen over metal. A lever is provided at the end of the throttle, which can be pressed to shift the throttle whenever needed.
From the basics, the thumb throttle seems to be very beneficial. But that cannot be true in every case. Many riders who use thumb throttle regularly on their sled have expressed their discomfort when using thumb throttles.
Drawbacks of thumb throttle
If you are someone who rides on straight trails then you would be using the same throttle settings for the most of the day. In that case you won’t observe much of a downside of the throttle. Now for all those active sledders rides over different terrains in their quest to explore the snow, a lot of throttle adjustment comes as a necessity. And it is your thumb that is doing all the work in these adjustments. By the end of the day, there is high chance that your hands may feel tight, achy and sore. Now, there some hand exercises which can have a positive effect on hand pain and make you comfortable.
Even if you have found a way to deal with hand pain, the other problem associated with throttles is they can make your hands cold. This is because if you wear thick gloves then it can make it hard to feel the throttle through your gloves. And if you use thin gloves, they won’t protect your hands much in the cold weather. Some riders may use the thumb throttle bare handed to achieve better control. Again, this can make your hands freeze.
Another complaint is associated with the rigidity of the handlebar grip required to operate the throttle In case of thumb throttles, for quick adjustments, you need to have your thumb near the throttle lever. There is not much scope for position change throughout those long hours of your ride. As the fingers sit inflexible for hours, this can aggravate the hand pain which can even extend to the wrists.
All the above mentioned problems make the riding experience of riders with small hands even worse. They are the ones who find it extremely difficult even to have a minimum control over the throttle. And riding for long hours and that too in extreme weather conditions requires utmost comfortability in terms of anything and everything that we are in control of.
Now, in the search to have better options of control, many new throttles with new technologies have made an entry into the market. Let’s have a look at them and which will address our problems and suit the snowmobilers with small hands.
Alternatives o thumb throttles
For those riders with without good mobility with their fingers, twist throttle can be a good option. It can also be advantageous for those with small hands. Also, you won’t be hurting your one thumb as you are using your hands to twist the handlebar to control the power to the engine.
However, twist throttles are not considered as safe as thumb throttle. In case of a thumb throttle, your hand is always over the throttle or somewhere near, so you can boost or cease power to the engine in quick notice. However with twist throttle, it can be difficult to escape danger quickly, and you may be prone to injury. Also, using twist throttle for longer duration can hurt your wrists. Also, better control is achieved when your hand is bare.
A good alternative to the twist throttle is the half twist. With half twist throttle, you don’t need to twist the throttle as much as the twist throttle to control the power requirements of the engine. As a result, you won’t be hurting your wrist much.
Your hand still has to be bare to control the half-twist throttle. As a result of less throttle movements when compared to a full twist throttle, the half-twist may be more sensitive even to slight twisting leading to major throttle changes.
We have seen both full twist throttle and half twist throttle. They both have disadvantages in their part which can sometimes make the riding experience more difficult for the riders with small hands. An overall good option to look for will be the finger throttle.
The Munster Finger Throttle is a good option. It replaces the factory thumb throttle by providing better grip and enhancement in the rider experience. They come with an integrated finger heater element with plug and play connectors. The throttle guard protects you from outside elements.
Munster Canada Finger Throttle
Another option for those riders with small hands is the throttle flare like Snobunje Throttle Flare. They are basically thumb throttle modifiers. It is installed over the throttle thumb lever. The throttle flare increases the amount of control surface for the riders throttle hand. With the incorporation of several new throttle hand positions you can achieve quick and consistent throttle responses.
Snobunje Throttle Flare