Deciding Between A 2-Stroke or 4-Stroke

Question:

Dear Motorhead,

I am new to the snowmobile market and am looking at getting a 2-up 4 stroke machine.

I picked up Supertrax Vol. 19 #2 at the newsstand when I saw you had an article on 4 strokes. I read the article and, while it was enlightening, I still have questions.

I’ve been trying to research the different manufacturers sleds. Aside from getting brochures and asking some questions at the dealers, I’ve been looking at the web sites.

I’ve put together a spreadsheet for comparison, but even that is a bit overwhelming if one doesn’t understand what all the different specs are for.

I am married with 3 children (oldest turning 12). The sled would primarily be used for getting to ice fishing destinations, including pulling gear, and possibly children. Of course, I wouldn’t be averse to having some fun as well.

If I were to purchase a sled in the next little while, I’m obviously limited to what local dealers have available. I wouldn’t be upset about getting a workhorse either (a couple dealers have 2007 Yamaha VK Professionals available). There’s also a T Z1 LXR available, but I’m not sure I need the lap of luxury.

Is there any advice you could offer on my quest or even some sort of a comparison of how the different brands / sleds stack up?

Thanks,

Derek

Response:

Thanks for your email!

You have asked an impossible question to answer. Even your suggested models the TZ-1 and a VK Yamaha are worlds apart in their application other than they both use a 4 stroke mill.

You better get me more info like the preferred sleds which are in the $$ range you want to spend.

Do you want a work horse or a real twofer – those two categories are again – world’s apart.

Most often these decisions come down to the best dealer and the best price within the broadest parameters – if that’s what you’re thinking then the VK or the TZ-1 will be your choice.

Don’t try working a luxury 4 stroke twofer towing an ice fish hut and don’t try trail riding your kids on a “fun” ride on a workhorse 4 stroke. Neither works very well when used outside of its designed application.

Motorhead Mark

Mark,

Thanks for the response. I certainly understand the dilemma I put you in. I guess I was trying to look for a high level overview of 2-up sleds, including some of the strengths and weaknesses of the different brands.

I’m not sure it would be fair to ask which sled is best for me. Perhaps I will try that though. Price may be a consideration, but is not the primary one. Our primary goal will be transportation for ice fishing.

I don’t have a permanent shanty, but would look to move the family (myself, wife, and children aged 8, 10, and 12) and gear to and from a fishing spot. Slush on lakes is a very real possibility. So, we are looking at about 500 pounds of humanity and growing as well as 100 lbs+ of gear.

Four stroke sleds that are available in the local area (located so far) include:

Polaris 2008 FST IQ Touring

FS IQ Touring (being sold as used, but has very low miles…I think somehow it may be factory refurbished based upon what the salesman said)

Ski-Doo 2007 Expedition TUV (in crate)

Arctic Cat
2008 T Z1
2008 T Z1 LXR
2007 Panther 660 (still in crate)
2007 T660 Touring

Yamaha 2008 Venture GT
2007 VK Professional
2007 Venture Lite

Getting away from four strokes opens things up a bit. Today, my wife was really pleased with a 2007 AC GTX Limited that had the third seat.

So, the primary goal is moving people and gear from the truck to the fishing spot. If a sled has sufficient rear rack space, when I fish solo, I’d like to be able to just be me and the sled without a boggan.

Pleasure riding would be a secondary issue. I’m old enough to be past the peak levels of testosterone that require extreme speed…on a pleasure ride, I’d certainly be content with 50-60 mph, unless of course I’m being left too far behind.

Based on my current fishing friends and the sleds they have, I don’t think I’d have to worry about that too much with a new machine.

I’d appreciate any thoughts you may be able to pass along.

Derek

Howdy!

You are a very analytical individual!

Here’s what I think – don’t get so hung up on a 4 stroke – it really is counter productive for what you want.

The best suggestion you’ve made in your analysis is the Ski-Doo GTX 600 SDI three upper.

It’s way, way lighter than the 4 strokes, it is EPA certified clean and – believe it or not – it gets the best fuel economy – hands down – of any snowmobile you are comparing – 2 or 4 stroke.

The versatility to carry three plays to your situation and the light weight will be good for covering ice on lakes.

Hope this helps,

Motorhead Mark

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