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  1. #1
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    School me on snowmobiles

    Looking for the ultimate backountry tool. Looking for a snowmachine to get me to the top while still being able to hit some small airs and play in some pow.

    obviously cost is a concern so what i would need a machine that gets the job done and that is reliable.

    What manufacturers are more reliable? which are your best bang for your buck?


    what size track is ideal?

    how much power do you really NEED?


    hidden costs.



    buying new vs used?

    what are common issues mechanically and how hard are they to repair or have repaired?

    any info you can think of to school a completely clueless skier who wants heli ski terrain , without the heli ski cost.
    Webisodes, Blogs, Words and Photos all right here-------->www.chasingsnowflakes.com

  2. #2
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    Also interested in this. Can someone quantify the difference between a 10 year old sled (in good shape) and an equivalently sized new(er) sled?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Not to discourage specific answers, but there's tons of good info buried in the Maggot Snowmobile Thread.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

    photos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    I bought a 2002 RMK 800 about five years ago. I had some cooling issues due to using a powder sled towing on hard packed trails, but once I fixed that the sled has been great. I would get a used two stroke 800 if I were you. More power for towing and easy engines to work on. Sled manufacturer preferences are like Ford/Chevy/Dodge preferences with truck guys. I'd buy a Skidoo or Arctic cat fuel injected sled If I had to buy again though

  5. #5
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    09 M8s can be had for ~5k now, which is a hell of a deal. Older, proven motor in older, proven chassis, and after 5 years you know they had it all dialed. '10s have more power, but cost a lot more.

  6. #6
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    Used can be very good, back in 1991 a buddy and I bought a Yamaha Enticer long track for $800. Used it regularlly to hump stuff and tow two skiers to location then usually park and skin. It was only a 340, started on first pull and had plenty of git up/go and was easy to man handle by one person should it get stuck.

    Long story short, it is dead now(2010) but we rode that thing to many adventures.

    BTW always carry a shovel, short handle grain scoop worked best for us and had its own mount. Knowing how to ride make big difference also.
    watch out for snakes

  7. #7
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    Sep 2006
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    Fraggle Rock, CO
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    I picked up a modded '02 RMK 800 a couple of years ago. It has been cheap to maintain and fun to ride. It tows well and rides deeper stuff pretty nicely too (although I have no skillz). Paid under $2500 for it and I have less than $300 into it since then. A newer sled would be nice, but I can't see my way clear to dropping that kind of cash on something that is basically just for ski access anyway.
    Brandine: Now Cletus, if I catch you with pig lipstick on your collar one more time you ain't gonna be allowed to sleep in the barn no more!
    Cletus: Duly noted.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2011
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    Obviously newer is better and more reliable....if thats your route you really cant go wrong with either of the big 3...Polaris Pro-RMK 800 (which I have and LOVE), Arctic Cat M8, Ski Doo Summit 800

    Used I would vote for an 08'ish Ski Doo Summit 800....very reliable motor and when it comes to straight pulls in deeep snow....thats a great sled.

    I would opt for an 800 in the mountains....getting stuck is no fun.

    Track length at least 155 (better for jumping and playing as you mentioned).....163 if your doubling up a lot......and when you mention Heli type skiing, anything less than a 155 will NOT get you very high up the mountain.

    And as mentioned above, learn how to ride (many clinics on this).....accessing certain terrain may require some technical riding which takes practice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Squam
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    For ski doo I would skip the rev chassis (2004-07) and go straight to the the xp chassis (2008) or newer for sled skiing. The etec motor (2010+) is waaay more fuel efficient and is fuel injected.

    If you are mechanically minded and want to use your sled for punching trail into touring terrain you could get away with an 02 summit 800 which is the zx chassis. You can sled ski on these too but you need two people with skills who ski together a lot (more tippy, trenches in deep snow). I have one of these bad boys and have used it around whistler for the past two years every weekend. I just bought the shop manual and started wrenching this summer. I went 2 years maintenance free (except clutch cleaning) but I am rebuilding the top end this summer for preventative maintenance. I am not good with engines but am learning the ropes. It isn't too hard with the right tools. Hopefully I get it together by fall... Haha

    The newer sleds have a 16 inch wide track which I think helps with climbing. The older sled are 15. I would personally not buy anything less than 151 length and 800 cc. When u climbing in pow at elevation you will need the power.

  10. #10
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    ^^^ that's some good info. I've been shopping for an '02 summit 800, mostly because that's what I'm willing to spend for the time being. Haven't found a good one yet, but glad to hear that the machine is capable (even if I'm not).

  11. #11
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    good info ! keep it coming !
    Webisodes, Blogs, Words and Photos all right here-------->www.chasingsnowflakes.com

  12. #12
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    Oct 2003
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    Might be able to work out a maggot deal on my old sled if you're interested, Canmore's not far so I can even deliver.
    '04 Summit 800 Highmark, 151 track, stock apart from mbrp can & perforated track. Runs great, always well maintained, hasn't left me stranded in the 3 years I've been riding it and will get you anywhere you want to go.

  13. #13
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    Cascades, Washington
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    If your looking at ski doos the 04+ rev chassis is a world of difference compared to the 01,02 and 03s. and worth saving up for. they can be had for 2600-5000. And stay away from the 1000ccs

  14. #14
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    VC is online now Calmer then you are Dude
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamothe View Post
    what size track is ideal?
    144+
    Quote Originally Posted by Lamothe View Post
    how much power do you really NEED?
    700+
    Quote Originally Posted by Lamothe View Post
    hidden costs.
    Small things break at a relatively frequent rate, Big things break at a lesser rate. Depends on how many things you hit and how your gamble of a used sled paid off. Also depends if you can fix your sled yourself
    Quote Originally Posted by Lamothe View Post
    buying new vs used?
    I personally wouldn't buy a new sled as a first one, if you do make sure its insured
    Quote Originally Posted by Lamothe View Post
    what are common issues mechanically and how hard are they to repair or have repaired?
    Depends on the sled, do your research on snowest first for that model. It depends on how mechanically inclined you are.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lamothe View Post
    any info you can think of to school a completely clueless skier who wants heli ski terrain , without the heli ski cost.
    Snowmobiles aren't a golden ticket to go ride good terrain. They're a pain in the ass and take seasons to get good at riding them. The best days of skiing I've ever had have been sled skiing, some of the worst days I've ever had have been "sled skiing"

  15. #15
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    Jan 2007
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    HEre's what I've found out about owning older sleds and riding newer (and brand new) sleds

    Don't expect to tow anyone in 4" powder with a track less than 151" 800cc
    Be prepared to get stuck a lot in 10"+ with a 144" 700cc by yourself (mainly tree boodocking, steep shit)

    pre 2004 sleds are heavy pigs
    Spend at least 2500 if you can

    RMK's are reliable,Skidoos under 2,000 mi are are super prone to blowing up (not a big deal if you can rebuild), M8's are $weet

    Look at the track, hyfax, a-arms,skis. All can/will nickle dime you

    Don't smash it into rock, roll it down a mountain
    Please ride responsibly. ie with a friend & wear a beeper!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    went through this last year. the maggot offer above is almost identical to my sled. many a people around ab/ bc run the 04-06 skidoo summit (rev chassis)reliable, powerful, and good bang for the buck. looking on kijiji right now you are looking anywherefrom4-5000$. definitely go with the 800 and at least a 151 track especially if you plan on any sled skiing, if justmearly for access to touring spots 600 will be fine, but i would go with 800. my wifes 144 is a little tricky butfun as hell in deep snow. i have the 159 and the difference in tandeming is huge. Also a full pipe is very noticeable in power. i have a geatguy in bowness that is a great mechanic, also golden has great mechanics as well. check out biglines history thereis a great forum topic on there that has great info on how to get started on sledtouring and choice of sled. also the maggot thread here

  17. #17
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    Mar 2005
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    If you are really on a budget but want something that you can really ride, an 05 or 06 M7 is tough to beat. I've seen these with 4-5k miles without so much as a topend rebuild. That is impressive. EFI and the ride quality while boondocking is much closer to a modern sled, however they SUCK on wooped out roads. Get one with a 153 or 162 track, gas, pull cord and ride it like you fucking stole it!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Also interested in this. Can someone quantify the difference between a 10 year old sled (in good shape) and an equivalently sized new(er) sled?


    VS.





    A little late, but I couldn't resist.
    It's also pretty much true though.


    You're in montana right? You should be in good shape finding something.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  19. #19
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    Awsome analogy Woo!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo View Post


    VS.





    A little late, but I couldn't resist.
    It's also pretty much true though.


    You're in montana right? You should be in good shape finding something.
    Heh. thanks. Although I do kinda like those old karpiels - some of the nicest machining I've ever seen on a bike.

    Ended up buying an '09 M8 snowpro a couple months ago. Based on sitting on it in my garage and making braaaping noises, it's super awesome. Hopefully we'll get some snow soon...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Heh. thanks. Although I do kinda like those old karpiels - some of the nicest machining I've ever seen on a bike.

    Ended up buying an '09 M8 snowpro a couple months ago. Based on sitting on it in my garage and making braaaping noises, it's super awesome. Hopefully we'll get some snow soon...
    Nice! I've got a 2010.

    Now spend the money to change everything that makes it a snow pro


    Seriously though......that telescoping steerer is garbage, especially if you plan on running tandem laps. And the shocks are way over damped, I just spent the evening taking mine off t get them revalved.

    Other than that, that's a solid sled that should last you a while.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Based on sitting on it in my garage and making braaaping noises, it's super awesome. Hopefully we'll get some snow soon...
    That just made my day. Maybe if I head out to the garage and do the same I'll feel better about the lack of snow around here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Heh. thanks. Although I do kinda like those old karpiels - some of the nicest machining I've ever seen on a bike.

    Ended up buying an '09 M8 snowpro a couple months ago. Based on sitting on it in my garage and making braaaping noises, it's super awesome. Hopefully we'll get some snow soon...
    You're fucked now. That sled will allow you to enjoy some of what I believe to be the best sledding in the state. You have Beta all the way to Spotted Bear on the West side and the entire N Fork to Polebridge. Just sold my 09 M8 and turned right around and bought a 11 M8. Couldn't help myself. The thought of being stranded in some hole up Six Mile on an RMK pro made me ill. Welcome to the darkside, it's a slippery slope.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hick View Post
    The thought of being stranded in some hole up Six Mile on an RMK pro made me ill.
    Haha!

    Gotta say, I really do think those 2008-2011 M8s are about the best handling/reliability deal going without moving to the smaller motors. The new cats have a bunch of weird shit that causes problems, the brand new Pros are having problems with those drive belts and they still have motor failures from the same thing the dragons did, and god knows what's going to go on with those skidoos with the bending tracks. Seems like the 2010-12 XPs are okay but still handle like they do.

    VC said something pretty true yesterday to me.

    When buying a sled with thoughts on reliability, easy problems to fix, and ride quality

    2000-2004 Polaris 700
    2004-2006 Skidoo Rev
    2007-2012 Arctic M8
    2010-2012 skidoo XP or maybe a polaris pro
    Brand new: your guess as good as anyone's how that fucker's gonna fail There's enough 'new design concepts' going on with everyone this year that there really is no 'old faithful' being produced at the moment.

    Anyway.......just my thoughts for anyone looking. We're finally to the point where some of the newer designs are really coming down in price and buying a $2000 boat with 3000 miles and trailing arms just seems insane.
    Besides the comet that killed the dinosaurs nothing has destroyed a species faster than entitled white people.-ajp

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hick View Post
    You're fucked now. That sled will allow you to enjoy some of what I believe to be the best sledding in the state. You have Beta all the way to Spotted Bear on the West side and the entire N Fork to Polebridge. Just sold my 09 M8 and turned right around and bought a 11 M8. Couldn't help myself. The thought of being stranded in some hole up Six Mile on an RMK pro made me ill. Welcome to the darkside, it's a slippery slope.
    Yup - I don't know how many hours I've spent fawning over maps looking at areas that were never on my radar before. This mode of fun sure is more expensive though.

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