Top 4 Best Snowmobiles | 2021 Reviews (Yamaha, Polaris)

You can say that the snowmobiles are among the handiest vehicles in the United States, Canada, and Europe. People not only use these motor sleds as a mode of transportation that can get them to unexplored places that an ordinary vehicle cannot access. Many also use snowmobiles for recreation and sports.

The only problem with snowmobiles is not with the vehicle itself, but the weather and climate conditions you have to meet. The obstructions like rocks and trees are an issue too. Because of this, the least that you can do is equip yourself with protective gear, take all the safety and necessary stuff with you, and choose among the best snowmobiles to use.

Choosing the best snowmobile to use is crucial. After all, you want your equipment to be durable and flexible enough to get through your journey encounters. 

Top 4 Best Snowmobiles Reviewed

  1. Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-Tec
  2. Yamaha VK 540
  3. Polaris 850 Switchback Assault 144
  4. Ski-Doo Freeride 165 850 E-Tec 

#1. Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-Tec

Expedition Xtreme

Specifications:

  • Engine: Two-stroke Rotax E-Tec
  • Track length (inches/millimeters): 154/ 3923
  • Model type: Sport-Utility
  • Suspensions (front/back): RAS 3 Front /  SC-5U

If you want a snowmobile that you can use for your work daily, you should check-out the Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-Tec. It boasts its powerful two-stroke engine that can beat obstacles in your off-trail or on-trail ride. This model will surely go beyond your expectations.

This model is a high-performance one because it boasts up to 165 HP compared to the model that comes before it. It features maneuverability and speed. Ski-Doo claims that it is 30 percent more responsive than snowmobiles that use 800R E-Tec.

Aside from these impressive features, this snowmobile features the REV GEN4 platform that is durable and lightweight. It has a track with a width of 20 inches that enhances the sled’s traction and flotation.

You can also accessorize it because of its ability to accommodate customizations up to 125-pound cargoes. It is because of its LinQ accessories. 

Because of these features, the Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-Tec is one of the best sport-utility snowmobiles that you can buy on the market. It has all the outstanding features that you need for your off-trail or on-trail ride.

ProsCons
Can accommodate customizations up to 125 poundsWe got nothin'
Versatile for on-trail or off-trail uses
Powerful Rotax E-Tec engine

#2. Yamaha VK 540

yakima vk540

Specifications:

  • Engine: 540cc Two-stroke fan cooled
  • Track length (inches/millimeters): 156/3962.4
  • Model type: Utility
  • Suspensions (front/back): TSS/ProComfort

If you like the Yamaha 540cc engine, you will appreciate the performance of this year’s model of Yamaha VK 540. It is a new model, but it already proves its performance in the industry.

This model boasts its stability and speed because of its Heated Mikuni TM33 Carburetor that makes it responsive, stable, and fast. It is also because of this feature why it has reduced plug fouling.

Besides these features, you can enjoy your ride hours because of its large fuel capacity of 11.6 gallons.

This model also features three-speed transmissions: Hi, Lo, and reverse. It has a manual lever that is user-friendly.

Aside from these technical features, the Yamaha VK 540 also has the necessary features that focus on your comfort. It includes the LED tail-light, windshield, electric start, under-seat storage, tow hitch, tunnel design, etc. It also features Pro Comfort Suspension that offers a flexible and adaptable ride.

ProsCons
Packed with features that focus on comfortWe got nothin'
Improvement of the previous VK models
Powerful 540cc engine
Large tank capacity

#3. Polaris 850 Switchback Assault 144

switchback assault 144

Specifications:

  • Engine: 2 Stroke 850 Patriot
  • Track length (inches/millimeters): 144/3657.6
  • Model Type: Trail
  • Suspensions (front/back): AXYS/IGX

If you are looking for an enjoyable snowmobile to ride on trails, you should consider the Polaris 850 Switchback Assault 144. This model has the better version of the AXYS 2017 platform, and it features the 850 Patriot engine, a step-up from the 800 CleanFire.

Because of its powerful 850 Patriot engine, it provides excellent performance in the on-trail and off-trail ride. It is responsive, adaptable, and fast. It gives you full control of it.

The suspensions are adjustable. That is why you can configure them based on your needs and preference. 

This sled places the rider in a high position to help see the terrain. The front seat is narrow, while the back seat is more expansive.

The handlebars are user-friendly because of its natural feel. 

ProsCons
Powerful 850 Patriot engineDials do not automatically turn off minutes after stopping the engine
Adjustable suspensionsTakes a long to warm up the engine
Sleek designHigh oil consumption

#4. Ski-Doo Freeride 165 850 E-Tec

freeride

Specifications:

  • Engine: Two-stroke 850 Rotax E-Tec
  • Track length (inches/millimeters): 165/4178
  • Model type: Mountain
  • Suspensions (front/back): RAS 3/tMotion

You can say that the Ski-Doo Freeride 165 850 E-Tec is a powerful snowmobile because the manufacturer, Ski-Doo, built it with the fourth generation REV chassis. Using this two-stroke engine, you can expect to provide up to 165 HP, making it an ideal snowmobile for the mountains.

Because of its short tunnel design, you can guarantee a smoother and safer ride because it can tackle various terrains and deep snow.

The name Freeride is suitable for its performance because of its responsive and accurate performance. This model features the pDrive clutch that uses friction-free rollers and not sliding buttons, providing smoother shifts.

ProsCons
Powerful 850 Rotax E-Tec engineWe got nothin'
Uses dual-roller pDrive clutch
Direct injection carburetion 

Top Pick – Our Favorite Snowmobile

There are tons of snowmobiles out there. That is why you cannot risk going for a cheap-quality sled if you do not want to sacrifice your enjoyment and safety. That is why this article provided you with a few suggestions on which models to look at first.

What stands out among them is the Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme 850 E-Tec. There is almost nothing negative to say about this model because of its nearly perfect features.

This model is ideal to use daily. It has a powerful engine that can provide up to 165 HP. It is also highly responsive and maneuverable. You can accessorize it because it can handle 125-pound cargoes.

It is also versatile because you can drive it on-trail or off-trail. 


Parts of the Snowmobile That You Must Know

If you are a new snowmobiler, reading the words, such as throttle, suspension, tracks, etc., seems foreign to you. Knowing these terms can help you understand this article and maximize its benefits. It will also help you see the dealer or seller once you decide to purchase one.

Skis

The ski blades come with stabilizers to provide you a smoother ride. These parts guide the snowmobile along with the handlebars where you want it to go.

Headlights

Like the ones in the car, snowmobiles have headlights that you can use to brighten your path, especially at night. You can see your way with them, eliminating the risk of getting into an accident and killing innocent creatures.

Suspension

Snowmobiles have tracks. The suspension keeps the track suspended when it moves forward, and it also keeps it on the snow when moving. 

The suspension helps in absorbing shock when you bump into obstacles. It also helps distribute your weight throughout the snowmobile to provide you a smoother ride. 

Throttle

You can find it as a lever located at the handlebars. The throttle is the source of the power of the drive shaft and the rubber track. 

It is the main reason you are moving forward. It is because it fuels the engine once you squeeze the lever. 

Instrument Panel

It is a dashboard where you can see details on your snowmobile’s speed. It also provides you information on the tachometer or the driveshaft’s rotation speed and warning lights.

Hood

It protects the vital parts of a snowmobile. You prop this part to check the condition of the engine and other components.

Track

The track covers the rear suspension. It typically has a rubber construction.

You will learn more about the track’s importance in the latter part of this article.

Handlebars

The handlebars serve as the snowmobile’s steering mechanism. If it is the steering wheel for cars, it is the handlebars for snowmobiles. Aside from this purpose, they also help in stabilizing the rider. 

Engine

The engine is the main reason your snowmobile is working. You will know about this part later.

Windshield

It protects you from dust, snow, ice, or any debris when you are on your ride. 

Hull

Some people call it a tub or belly pan. It is the part that helps you get through the bumps, rocks, ice, and other obstacles on your way. It is because the hull helps in the floatation of the snowmobile when you encounter this unwanted stuff.


Different Types of Snowmobiles

Knowing the different types of snowmobiles can help you pick the best motors led to use based on your needs.

Touring

As you have read, this type of snowmobiles is for touring. Because it does not require drastic usage, it has a long frame that can carry many passengers. Because of its long structure, you cannot expect this snowmobile to have excellent speed and turnability.

Because it is for touring, it provides a comfortable feel. 

Performance

If you want to become an athlete that competes in SnoCross and other snowmobile races, the performance snowmobile is what you need. However, if you are a newbie, you should start with the entry-level snowmobile and work your way up. 

The snowmobile’s engine is mighty. You can expect it to be 85 HP or more. It also uses suspension systems that can tackle almost any obstacle.

Mountain

Mountain snowmobiles commonly have narrow but long track length to provide better traction. It gives enough maneuverability when you are on the mountain trail and has high power engines because of its high altitude.

Entry-Level

The entry-level type has a simple design and uses a low-powered engine that does not exceed 70 HP. This type is lightweight and user-friendly. 

Utility

It is the type that people use for their work. It has a wide track and high power engine that enables it to carry lots of weights. 

Sport Trail

It is a compromise between performance and touring motor sleds. It is not as comfortable as the touring type, but it is not as aggressive as the performance type. However, it is lightweight and provides excellent performance when it comes to riding the terrains.

Crossover

As the name implies, the crossover provides a versatile function. You can use it in any kind of terrain because it typically has a long track with advanced suspension.


Factors to Consider When Buying a Snowmobile

When buying a snowmobile, you should not only know the parts of it. You should also learn what to look for when making a purchase.

Riding Skills and Styles

Although many new snowmobilers admit their skills’ limitations, they seek help because they know that riding requires training. You will learn how to evaluate the terrain, the protocols for safety, finding the route, equipment for an avalanche, and more if you train.

Training yourself to snowmobile is not just about learning how to drive your new vehicle. You also need to assess your surroundings, which is something that you cannot do by yourself. If you cannot go to a workshop, you should find someone who will coach you throughout.

Although there are some similarities between a snowmobile and a car, they are not the same. That is why you should treat the snowmobile as a different vehicle even if you drive a car.

Also, be realistic on which terrains you can go using the skills that you currently have. 

It is also helpful if you can go friendly with the dealer. Most snowmobile dealers are expert enough to know the technical scope of the snowmobiles. Because of this, you can ask them questions to help you select the best snowmobile to use for the terrains where you want to go that suits your skill level.

Snowmobiles are available in different varieties to accommodate the other riding skills and styles of riders. You need to assess your skills and technique. Find out where you will most likely use it, whether off-trail or on-trail.

Knowing your riding style and skills will also help you determine the model you need and track length. 

It is also ideal for testing different models, so you will know what suits your riding skills and styles the best.

Budget

When it comes to the factors for consideration, the budget is always a part of the lists because it determines your purchasing power. Snowmobiles are available at different prices. You may also find ones that are cheaper than they should.

The saying that you should prioritize the snowmobile’s quality over the cheap cost seems like a cliche. Yet, many people still forget it, especially if you need to buy a cheap one out of desperation.

You should remind yourself that you do not need to buy a new one if you are in this situation. You can turn to buy a second hand instead. However, you should be wary about the components of the snowmobile. 

Make sure to inspect the parts and check under the hood. Ditch out if the components, such as the clutch and engines,  are dusty and oily.

Most importantly, test it out for 10 to 15 minutes before buying a used one. 

On the other hand, invest in the best one if you have money to spend.

Luckily, snowmobilers or aspiring ones do not have to shell out much money on this vehicle. Snowmobiles are cheaper compared to cars and other vehicles, especially the ones that are for recreational use. 

However, you should also consider buying other gear that comes along with it, such as helmets, maps, goggles, backpacks, gloves, and other essentials. Maintenance is also a part of it. 

Track Length

The choice of the snowmobile’s track length can affect your sled’s maneuverability, traction, and overall weight. Because of this, you also need to include the track length into consideration.

If you want a snowmobile with excellent traction and can tackle hard bumps, you should choose a long track with a deep lug. 

The length of a long track is commonly around 120 to 160 inches. 

Snowmobiles with long tracks are also versatile. You can ride them both off-trail and on-trail. They are also excellent at riding the mountains.

The only issue with snowmobiles with long track length is that they are slow. 

If you want a maneuverable and fast snowmobile, you should select the short track with a shallow track lug. 

Because it has a shallow lug, the snowmobile becomes faster. Deep lugs make the snowmobiles draggy, which results in the sleds’ slow performance. 

It is no wonder that you can see the short track commonly in high-performance motor sleds. 

Suspension

If you are not into an aggressive snowmobile ride, you do not have to worry much about suspension. Otherwise, you need to place this gear into serious consideration.

Suspension plays a vital role in snowmobiling. It affects the feel of the ride on your motor sled. Your vehicle should tackle any terrain, and the motor sled is more predictable to know that your snowmobile has the right suspension settings.

These benefits become possible because of the suspension’s role on your snowmobile. 

If you are a new snowmobiler and you do not have any idea what it is, the suspension is the one that manages the transfer of weight on a snowmobile. 

If your suspension set-up is not correct, you will have an uncomfortable experience, such as the feeling of being thrown out of your snowmobile. 

Choosing the right suspension for your snowmobile also depends on your riding style and ability. 

Suspensions are available in different kinds. It can be a fixed or adjustable one. It is advisable to get an adjustable one so that you can adjust it based on your needs.

Engine Power

If you want a responsive, compact, and lightweight snowmobile, go for the two-stroke engine power. However, it is also more expensive.

The other type is the four-stroke engine. It used to produce an enormous amount of power. However, due to the EPA law enactment, manufacturers improved this engine. Compared to the two-stroke, it is heavier but the better option when you want to tackle challenging trails and if you want a low-maintenance engine.


Additional Snowmobile Accessories

To ensure that you will have an excellent experience on your ride, you need to consider some accessories that are worth an investment. 

Powder Coats

If you want your snowmobile to run smoothly and eliminate some weight from the clinging snow, you should consider buying powder coats for your motor sled.

Cans

If you want to increase your sled’s responsiveness and reduce its weight, you should consider buying cans. However, make sure to be knowledgeable about the laws in your areas. Cans can produce a loud noise.

Covers

When your snowmobile is not in use, it is not ideal to leave it as is without anything to protect it from dust, moisture, and other unwanted stuff. That is why buying a sled cover should be a consideration.


Conclusion 

To enjoy your experience, you should purchase the best snowmobiler that suits your riding style and skills. It is only possible if you are patient enough to learn the necessary factors to consider when buying one. It includes knowing your riding style and the specs and features that you will need for a snowmobile.

Hopefully, you find the best snowmobile to use on your next journey with this article’s help. It is better if you found it in one of the suggested snowmobiles mentioned above. 


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Should I Buy a New or a Used Snowmobile?

A: It depends. It is usually a go-to option to buy a used snowmobile when purchasing a new one is not budget-friendly. However, there will be many sacrifices that you have to make, and you need to face some risks. It includes the risk of getting duped by the seller by not stating the motor sled’s real history or condition. If you have the eye in knowing the ins and outs of a snowmobile, buying a used one can benefit you more because checking the motors, clutches, and other parts is not a problem for you.

Q: How to Buy the Best Snowmobile for Me?

A: Only you can tell the features of the snowmobile that suits your riding style and needs. However, there are some things that you can do to determine the best snowmobile to use. You can ask for a 10 to 15-minute test drive. You should not be afraid to ask a lot of questions even if the sellers do not hide the annoyance on their faces.

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