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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    216

    Sea to Sky Slednecks - What to ride, What to avoid

    Hey,

    Looking at getting a sled this winter for ski access between Squamish and Pemberton. Seems like there are pros and cons of each of the 3 majors (RMK, M series and Summit), but subject to a couple of lemon years, these are all a personal preference (especially for a first sled). Is there anything that people avoid in the corridor? I'm thinking primarily that there is a great Yam shop, but you can't get Artic Cat parts, etc. Anything I need to consider about the area?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Van City and Whistler
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    1,980
    Arctic cat has a shop in pemby. Buy new. Or one or two years old with a brand new engine. Anything else is a roll of the dice. Don't get a yamaha. Too heavy. And you will be digging. A lot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    216
    Ouch, I'm sure you're right but that sounds so expensive (in an already expensive venture...)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    vancouver
    Posts
    13
    No yamaha, too top heavy.
    Polaris are light yet a bit more fragile for what people says
    Seems like lots of folks ride skidoo on the sea to sky, I have old arctic cat and they do the job for me.
    Check out snowest.com forums for tons of discussions about sleds.
    If you can t buy new, I d say aim for something cheap $3 to $4k like a arctic M7 or M8 or skidoo rev and not too beat up. Get an 800 with longish track and large paddles.
    Then buy some tools and rebuild it head to toes. It s not that hard to do and relatively cheap, (1000$ of parts goes a long way on a sled). But basically replace all bearings, re-do engine top ends, check for cracks and re weld, new hyfax etc then you should be good to go for a season or two.
    Be prepare to spend 1500 to 3000$ a season.
    Enjoy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Van City and Whistler
    Posts
    1,980
    You can gamble if you want. I know people who have gotten lucky. They buy a 5 year old sled for 5 grand. Last's them a couple seasons. I also know plenty of people who buy a similar sled and the engine blows their first, second, or third day with the thing. Then they spend 3+ grand putting in a new engine. If you can tow it out. Add another 1000+ if you need it to be heli lifted out. At that point you should have just bought the 2 year old sled with a brand new engine for 8k+ that will last for a least a few seasons. Up to you. Its just a big risk.
    I bought a new 09. Got it professionally tuned before every season. 8000+km's later it is still running strong. Original motor. Realistically though you can expect 5-6000km's out of a motor. That seems to be the magic number when 800 cc 2 stroke engines blow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,235
    Used sleds are like used condoms... someone else had all the fun and left you with a nasty mess.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    47
    I would recommend anything with a 163" ish track. Best flotation which really helps when its fresh and deep or when tandeming/towing. Skidoo has a wider platform making them better at tandem riding. Arctic cat and polaris are narrower making it harder to tandem but you will figure that out. Yamaha is way to heavy for sled skiing unless it has a turbo but thats a lot of money. If you research and search around 5000-7000 will get you a great sled especially for access. If you look on Kijiji (BC) there is an 09 skidoo summit 163 for $3800. Great sled but would you trust that with 9000 + kms?

    Brad

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    give'er eh!
    Posts
    1,379
    If interested: 09 Ski doo Summit XP Everest 146
    2000miles on sled
    $5500
    Sled located in CGY but will be in Whistler right before Xmas.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Uber Alles California
    Posts
    3,763
    If you've never rode a sled just forget about doing anything but learning for at least one season. Riding a sled in deep pow is a skill that you are not born with. Id buy a used sled and plan on destroying it and digging alot. The BC crowd seems to love ski doos but trust me polaris and arctic cat will so the exact same thing.

    If you buy used just look at the sled, if its held together by zipties run. Find some old dude that trail rides or someone that is into working on them more than riding them.

    The longer and wider the track the tougher it is to turn but it will float better and the reverse for ... I thought Polaris had a wider track than a Ski Doo?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    102
    Used sleds can be perfectly fine, just wait around for the right deal and don't jump at an abused one with a lower price. It is priced lower for a reason..

    If you can get an arctic cat m8 or even an m7 they are great sleds. The 09, 10, 11 model year m8 were all bullet proof sleds and are getting pretty cheap, just maintain the diamond drive and top end and you should be able to get 5-6,000 miles out of one of those sleds.

    Ski-Doo mountain sleds have a 16'' wide track and all the other manufacturers are 15" wide.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Your Mom's House
    Posts
    6,308
    I totally disagree on the whole "buy a brand new sled thing." When you're learning, you WILL crash and break stuff every now and again. If you spend $3-6k on a used sled, you can easily put the extra money you saved compared to a new sled into parts, and even an engine rebuild and still come out way ahead in cost.

    As for blowing up engines.... two strokes don't just randomly explode because they feel like it. They blow up because they were abused or neglected. This is hard to tell on a used sled, and some models/years were worse than others, but generally speaking, before buying learn how to evaluate the condition of a motor by looking into the exhaust ports and spark plugs, doing compression tests, checking the crank for slop, etc. Or bring someone with you who does.

    Replace internal components BEFORE the engine fails. Performance engines are not like automobiles and they don't just run forever. Fortunately, the internals are very simple and easy to rebuild. Rebuilding a top end is a LOT cheaper if you do it before you stick the engine. If you stick the top end, you're probably replacing cylinders and maybe heads and that at least doubles the cost (or more). Same thing with bottom ends - catch them before the engine sticks, and you're probably just putting seals and bearings in it and truing the crank, compared to new crank, new rod, new cases, etc.

    Warming the engine up before railing on it will go a long way towards engine longevity.

    The M-series sleds, by all accounts, seem to be very solid. I pulled apart my 05 M7 with ~4100-4200 miles on it this summer and it is time for new pistons and rings, but the bottom end is solid.

    If you aren't willing to work on and maintain your shit, buy a new sled.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,235
    Unless you enjoy spending your free time wrenching on shit, buy new and flip every year. The cost of getting into a new sled every season is paying the depreciation up front, but it will always be worth about what you have into it. The peace of mind of a reliable machine with high performance and the latest technology far out weighs potentially getting towed out or heli vac'ed and having to constantly keep an eye on it. The 4 yr spring order warranty becomes a selling feature. Buy insurance if youre worried about fucking it up.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    171
    I was in a similar situation this summer. I was looking for an 08 Polaris 700 dragon with the 163 track. Heard the 700 were dependable. Ended up with a 13 rmk pro w/270 miles. My previous sled was a 98 rmk 700. I'm plenty freaked out by the 800. Wonder if it's a bit too big of a jump compared to the dragon. Any advice greatly appreciated.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    102
    Quote Originally Posted by chiller View Post
    I was in a similar situation this summer. I was looking for an 08 Polaris 700 dragon with the 163 track. Heard the 700 were dependable. Ended up with a 13 rmk pro w/270 miles. My previous sled was a 98 rmk 700. I'm plenty freaked out by the 800. Wonder if it's a bit too big of a jump compared to the dragon. Any advice greatly appreciated.
    The older Polaris 700 engine cranked out 140hp. The newer 800 engine is good for around 145. So much of the low end power on these sleds is about clutching anyways

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Van City and Whistler
    Posts
    1,980
    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    Replace internal components BEFORE the engine fails. Performance engines are not like automobiles and they don't just run forever. Fortunately, the internals are very simple and easy to rebuild. Rebuilding a top end is a LOT cheaper if you do it before you stick the engine. If you stick the top end, you're probably replacing cylinders and maybe heads and that at least doubles the cost (or more). Same thing with bottom ends - catch them before the engine sticks, and you're probably just putting seals and bearings in it and truing the crank, compared to new crank, new rod, new cases, etc.

    Warming the engine up before railing on it will go a long way towards engine longevity.

    If you aren't willing to work on and maintain your shit, buy a new sled.
    I've heard a mixed bag of reports coming from mechanics about redoing top ends. Some people swear by it. Other people say it's a waste of money because redoing the top end will get you an extra 1000k before everything goes. I've certainly seen exactly that happen to friend's sleds.

    Warming up the engine can not be said enough. The amount of people I see pull their sled off the truck, give it a pull, and blast off at 80k an hour down an icy, rutted out access trail is ridiculous. Then you pass them buy with a blown engine.

    Maintaining your sled is going to happen regardless of whether you want to or not. If you aren't mechanically inclined don't get into sledding. Changing belts, adjusting the clutch, etc. It's all simple shit but it has to be done from time to time. But certainly if you don't want to do full rebuilds and tuneups on your own, get something newish. I certainly don't have the time for that. I still think the best deals on sleds are one or two years old with a brand new engine because some redneck didn't warm it up and blew it apart.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,235
    The P-Tec is like an 800lb gorilla trying to get out of a cage. Hes gonna beat on everything until something cracks and then he will eventually break out and destroy everything.

    Moral of the story... get an XM E-Tec.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Your Mom's House
    Posts
    6,308
    Quote Originally Posted by Atrain505 View Post
    Other people say it's a waste of money because redoing the top end will get you an extra 1000k before everything goes.
    These people are doing it wrong. It's not rocket science, but there are a few key things to pay attention to, and you need to evaluate the rest of the engine properly when you do a top end.

    If the engine blows 1000k after a top end, either something was done wrong in the rebuild or the mechanic didn't catch something that needed to be replaced. Period. Again, engines don't just randomly explode.
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Van City and Whistler
    Posts
    1,980
    ^To each their own. I've seen it happen to multiple buddies. Have no idea why it happened. Just that it did. That includes home jobs, and jobs done by reputable pro mechanics.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    give'er eh!
    Posts
    1,379
    Don't waste your money on stupid shit like replacing your top end. When it blows it blows. Nobody knows when it is going to go including a mechanic. I've owned a half dozen sleds over the last 15 years and sledded 2-3000km per winter and had only 1 lemon....Polaris. Blew the engine-twice....
    Since then i ve never had an issue and Ive only owned 1 new sled in my life which I got last year, the rest of them I bought 2-3 years old and road them to 6-7000km and sold them still in good running condition

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,235
    Just traded in my 14 xm 163 for the 15 T3 174 today. So stoked to see what that fuckin thing can do! Might have to buy a new flat bed truck to haul it around
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    vernon
    Posts
    2,368
    ^^^ this. Quite a few buddies are going to have to modify their decks or get trailers. I am stoked for the tandeming on these bad boys! Will keep my 154 XM for one more year and try my budz beasts out this winter.
    www.skevikskis.com Check em out!

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,235
    Supposedly the 174 track is only 4.5inches longer than the 163. My 163 fit nicely into a F150 6.5 ft box on just a sheet of plywood with the tail gate down, so I think the only issue will be parking with it in a public place and having it stick too far out and potentially get clipped or something. Typically I load/unload everytime I ride, so I wont be driving around town with it and parking like a jackass. An 8ft box would be a no brainer. I do have a trailer, but such a pain in the ass to deal with unless going on a long trip.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Whistler
    Posts
    1,628
    Buy used with engine warranty, or used with a brand new warranty, or else buy new with warranty. You do NOT want something without warranty or without a new engine. 2-stroke engines are good for 5-6000km before they blow, and replacing the top end isn't going to stop the bottom end (crank) from grenading. Ptek engines will run you $3000+ for a rebuild, e-tecs $4000+. 146" and longer is fine. Most people around here ride 154"s, I rode a 2nd hand 137" for 3 years and managed a-ok. Clean your clutch every 800-1000 km or expect a world of problems. Learn to love wrenching and drilling out rivets. Most new sleds have warm up mode included so you can't even drive them over a certain rpm before they have heated up the oil for direct injection. There are lots of good 2011-2012 sleds for sale still with warranty or with new engines. I wouldn't go older, (unless you find the unicorn that is in pristine shape and less than 2000km) or else you'll spend the difference and more on an engine rebuild within a year or two. Most people put 2000-3000km a season on their machines, depending on the snow year, work, cash flow etc. Fyi, 2009 sleds costed $9800 new, they depreciate $2000-1500 a year give or take based on mileage, warranty, engine status etc. I sold mine in 2011 mid winter for $6500 but it had a very rough life and was sold with a new engine (It had 11,000km on the chassis and went through 2 engines under warranty after 3 years of riding). I made the mistake of holding on to my 137" for too long (I bought it 2nd hand from a BRP employee who lied about the warranty), it had a brand new top end put in at 2500km and the bottom end went at 5600km, and costed me $4000 to put a new engine in. I will never hold on to a machine without warranty ever again. There are lots of 2011-2012's for sale for 9k, look on craigslist, check in with No Limits, but their second hand stock is almost all gone, Arctic Cat dealer is in Pemby, don't even think about touching a yamaha if you want to actually ride with people. Spring checking with 4 year warranty is the best deal out there.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Whistler
    Posts
    1,628
    Someone just posted this on the Whistler buy and sell.. pretty good deal!

    Danny Mills‎Whistler Buy and Sell
    18 hrs

    2012 summit x etec 800
    Bumper to bumper warranty until nov 30 2014.
    Upgraded rear suspension
    Flat black wrap
    Runs like a top.
    Starts first pull everytime (even after sitting all winter)
    Stores indoors year round.
    Serviced regularly at ski doo dealer.
    5900km

    Asking $7200
    Pretty much the cheapest one on the market. Priced to sell

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,235
    For me, the economics of sledding is to ride a new sled every year. These things depreciate more than any other motorized toy out there. Pay it upfront and ride the latest and greatest with no worries. Find a dealer who isnt a scumbag and understands what you're plan is and you probably will only pay $2k a year to spring order and trade in every year. Thats about the same as the depreciation and you dont have to deal with a ticking time bomb to pawn off on someone else down the road. Not only that, but the technology changes so drasticly every other year, so if you get caught holding too long, you basicaly have an obsolete turd sitting in your driveway that's not worth shit. Why do that to yourself!? Its so obvious its painful to watch people riding around on stinky turds.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

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