Thoughts On The 4-Stroke Market
Nowadays, whenever you mention snowmobile 4-strokes, everyone pretty much wants to talk about 150-plus horsepower turbo sleds.
You'd almost think there was nothing else 4-stroke on the market except those high-priced, high-powered rockets.
On the other side of the coin though, is the fact 4-strokes like Ski-Doo's 900 ACE series continue to dominate the sales records. Ski-Doo bald-faced claims one of its biggest sellers is the 95-hp 900 triple – in any category it’s offered.
Our feedback coming from readers and viewers has always been: "Why would I buy a 95-horsepower 4-stroke when I can buy a 600 2-stroke that is faster, lighter and cheaper (in most cases)?"
Good point, really, and one we thought was pretty much entrenched in every snowmobiler's mind. Yet, the 900 ACE continues to kill in market share. There must be more to it.
Here's our best guess as to what this is about. Those legions of buyers who love the 4-stroke 900 ACE are simply not the same buyers who want a 600 2-stroke.
It's pretty obvious these consumers are walking right past the 600 2-stroke in showrooms and choosing the ACE 4-stroke. Don't get us wrong, we're not saying Ski-Doo is selling less 600s because of the ACE - more so, it's that Ski-Doo is reaching a different market segment altogether with it.
We're not sure if this was intentional when the marketers dreamed the 900, but it's sure ended up this way. So who is this buyer who prefers the 900?
To be fair, the ACE isn't slow. It makes 95 torque-laden ponies and is absolutely a pleasure to ride corner to corner. It's quiet, smooth, sips gas and doesn't burn 2-stroke oil. Obviously, based on sales volume there are a lot of snowmobilers who prefer the above traits over pure acceleration and top speed.
We've talked to dozens of 900 owners, some on their second or third copy, who absolutely love the performance range and other benefits the engine affords. Some of these folks almost view a 600 deuce as being a top performance sled, given the 125-hp range they are now in, and swear they don't need that kind of power for the way they want to ride.
So, if our theory has any grit, what kind of 4-stroke would a company like Polaris be wise to consider? We think a naturally aspirated 4-stroke displacing 1000ccs and making about 110-hp would have the best grab in the marketplace provided it was priced below Yamaha's Viper and maybe not too much higher than the 900 ACE.
Maybe a turbo would come later, but we're thinking an Indy with a 4-stroke like this would go over big-time with the market we just described.
More Like This
LATEST VIDEOS View All
The Top Four Ski-Doo Snowmobiles for 2020
December 6, 2019
Motorhead Mark Lester takes a look at the top Ski Doo models from the following four product ...
2020 Enduro 900 ACE Turbo Test Ride Preview
November 26, 2019
We've got another sneak peek of what's ahead from Ski-Doo leading up to the start of the 2020 ...
Yamaha's 2-Stroke Transporter 600 Overview & Impressions
October 8, 2019
Luke got a chance to get up close and personal with Yamaha's 2020 Transporter 600 in the Yamaha ...
2020 Polaris TITAN Adventure Overview & Impressions
October 4, 2019
Luke gets his chance to get up close and personal with the 2020 Polaris TITAN Adventure to ...
Top Gear View All
March 26, 2019
NEW CKX MISSION HELMET
Panoramic views combined with advanced air management technology.
Ask Motorhead View All
April 3, 2019
NOT HAPPY WITH SHOOTOUT RESULTS
Luke responds to a viewer's disappointment about the results of our 600-class, 129-inch shootout.
Press Releases View All
November 19, 2019
Arctic Cat Announces Model Year 2021 Snowmobile Lineup
Revolutionary BLAST models headline exciting model-year news
Tourism View All
November 5, 2019
Discover New Brunswick's Northern Odyssey
Northern New Brunswick is typically blessed with the most snow in the Maritimes. Here, many miles of local and connector trails intersperse ...