With all the different brands, models, and makes of snowmobiles available in the market nowadays, many first-time buyers are often stumped when it comes to buying their first machine. Learning how to choose a snowmobile requires looking at several factors, from the type of terrain you plan to ride, the type of engine and suspension, and others. This snowmobile buying guide will help you navigate through all these obstacles so that you don’t end up wasting your hard-earned money on the wrong machine.
What Type of Rider Are You?
The first step on how to choose a snowmobile requires you to think about what type of rider you are. This alone will help you decide what type of sled you want and what you required from it in terms of performance.
Just like snowboards and skis, snowmobiles also come in different types, each of which is designed for specific types of riding.
- Trail-riding Snowmobiles. As the name suggests, these types of snowmobiles are designed to ride only on groomed trails or tracks. Don’t even think about riding them in deep powder because they are pretty heavy and will sink or get stuck on soft powder. Trail-riding snowmobiles are great for taking on corners and are available in single or two-person seating capacity.
- Deep-powder Snowmobiles. Deep-powder snowmobiles are used for deep-powder adventures. They are lightweight to keep them from sinking, but at the same time carry plenty of power for a more aggressive (and enjoyable) ride. These types of snowmobiles also have longer tracks which give them better flotation in deep snow conditions.
- Crossover snowmobiles. As you may have already guessed, crossover snowmobiles are a cross between trail-riding and deep-powder machines. They take the best and worst of both types of snowmobiles and combine them into one great package which can be used in a variety of trails and tracks. For instance, they have longer tracks than trail riders but shorter than those of deep-powder machines. Their suspension systems also accommodate both on-trail and off-trail riding conditions. If you can only afford one type of snowmobile but want to ride across different terrains, then these are for you.
There are several other types of snowmobiles out there depending on which manufacturer or snowmobile buying guide you check. In any case, make sure that you buy the right type of snowmobile that suits the type of riding that you intend to do. If you’re undecided, crossover snowmobiles are excellent options as they work well in both on-trail and off-trail tracks. Also, regardless of what type of riding you do or whatever environment you’ll be riding in, be sure not to forget to wear a snowmobile helmet.
Different models of snowmobiles have different suspension systems, and it is best to choose one that suits the type of riding you do and your weight. That is because a properly adjusted suspension system can affect how much you enjoy the ride, from smoothness to steering capabilities and other riding factors.
When you buy your first snowmobile, be sure to ask about the suspension system and if any available adjustments can be done with them. If you have the budget, you may also want to consider replacing the stock suspension systems with aftermarket parts. Stock suspensions are often good enough, but if you’re looking for better performance then an upgrade may just be what you need.
Look for snowmobiles that have excellent handling abilities, with good steering and cornering and no darting. Most likely you’ll be looking at the height and angle of the handlebars. They should be adjusted to provide better steering even when wearing thick snowmobile gloves and a more comfortable riding position. The handling should also be light and effortless, so much so that they require minimum muscle power to maneuver. As any snowmobile buying guide will tell you, the handling is one factor that can make or break your snowmobiling adventure.
Snowmobile engines come with two types of engines: two-stroke engines and four-stroke engines. When it comes to how to choose a snowmobile, knowing the difference between these two types of engines is crucial. Simply put, a two-stroke engine completes a full cycle with only two strokes or movement of the piston, while a four-stroke engine does it in four strokes.
Two-stroke engines have fewer moving parts and are significantly lighter than four-stroke engines. They also have higher power-to-weight ratios, though that power is applied in a narrow range. On the other hand, four-stroke engines produce a broad range of power, have more moving parts, and are heavier. However, modern four-stroke engines have come up with designs and technologies that allow them to shave off a significant amount of weight.
In any case, make sure that whatever type of snowmobile engine you get is certified as ‘environment-friendly’. Not only is this required by law, but think of it as doing your part in protecting and preserving the environment so the next generation of riders can enjoy them, too.
Snowmobile tracks vary in length with some being longer than others, and this depends on the type of snowmobile that you intend to buy. For instance, crossover snowmobiles have longer tracks when compared to other types of snowmobiles. They also tend to have deeper track lugs which makes them better capable of handling on-trail and off-trail riding.
There are plenty of other benefits of having longer tracks. For one, they offer better bump bridging thus making for a smoother ride. They also offer better flotation and traction in deeper snow.
Plowing through powder or trails will mean that you’ll be spending most of your time on the snowmobile seat. That said, you’ll want to make sure that your snowmobile seat is as comfortable as it can be; otherwise, you’ll find yourself cutting your adventure short because of a sore bum.
Snowmobile seats are available in different types. There are narrow and wide seats, as well as soft and plush seats and harder and more solid ones. Some seats also sit you farther forward or backward, while others let you sit high or low. In any case, you’ll want to make sure that you choose a snowmobile with a seat that cradles your bum comfortably. And if you’re planning to ride in a pair, make sure that it’s wide enough to accommodate two persons.
As any snowmobile buying guide will tell you, dealership support and the corresponding warranties are an important factor to consider whenever you’re buying a snowmobile. This is especially true when you’re buying a brand new machine. If you intend to buy a second-hand snowmobile, ask for the papers from the old owner and check if the warranty still applies. As with buying any other piece of outdoor equipment like an all-mountain ski, for instance, knowing that it is covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee will give you the peace of mind knowing that you can have it serviced for free or even replaced when it doesn’t perform according to the specified standards.
Also, check where you can have your snowmobile serviced if it needs any repairs. Pay the manufacturer’s website for a list of their service centers and look for one that is near you. You don’t want to travel to another city or even a different state just to have your machine serviced which is both time-consuming and expensive. Also, look for accredited distributors where you can buy parts for your snowmobile, again preferably somewhere near you. Knowing where you can get affordable but reliable aftermarket parts for your ride is just as important as knowing how to choose a snowmobile.
Globo Surf Overview
Several other factors should be considered concerning how to choose a snowmobile depending on which snowmobile buying guide you look at, but the ones above should be enough to get you started. In any case, make sure to do your research so you don’t end up spending money on a snowmobile that you dislike. Remember, only the right snowmobile can provide you with hours of exciting adventures in the snow.
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