I came for the Polaris giveaway, but see you’ve got a lot more going on here!
I run the SledChix Blog at skinnymoose.com (www.skinnymoose.com/sledchix) and wondered if you wouldn’t mind weighing in on a question for me.
What do you think is the perfect woman’s sled? Let’s say for a novice rider just getting started.
Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!
Just checked out your site and I’m passing it on to my wife to view as well. Very nicely done, tasteful, family oriented and interesting.
Which snowmobile is best for a woman? From a man’s perspective? This is dangerous territory but I guess I better be prepared to comment as we are supposed to have all the answers – right? I will defer to my wife’s opinions as she shapes many of my thoughts on this issue. Here goes.
I think snowmobiles which deliver strong low end power – not so much high RPM squeeze – are more desirable for women. Women are very practical in their use of the throttle – it has been my experience that women can almost always generate the best mpg numbers when we test sleds.
I believe it’s because they do not jump in and out of the throttle like many males seem to. As well, women do not like the sensation of track spin or in particular tail sliding – I know there are exceptions – however, women like to have a firm grip on white top – many guys like the sensation of sliding in and out of turns. Simply put, If you’re spinning the track – you’re wasting fuel.
This leads me to suggest a 4-stroke. 4-strokes inherently deliver ji-normous bottom end, low RPM squeeze. It’s the kind of power we call “tractable”. This means you can meter out what you want in precise proportion to your right thumb’s command.
However, there is a small problem with this. 4 strokes are generally heavier than 2 stroke powered sleds. So here’s how I’ll qualify this – a sled like the Polaris IQ FST 750 4 –stroke or the Arctic Cat Jag Z-1 or the Yamaha Vector are great trails sleds that “mask” their weight well. On hard pack snow you would be hard pressed to identify the extra weight. In loose snow or “boon docking” for sure, it’s a penalty.
The Yamaha Nytro and the Phazer are the first of a new generation of 4 strokes which are actually very competitive to their comparable (horsepower – not displacement) 2 stroke cousins.
Now after saying this and paying attention to your site’s concern over the environment, I would like to give you this qualifier as well. New EPA certified (not compliant) 2 strokes like the SDI Ski-Doo’s and the Polaris Cleanfires are no more dirty than comparable 4 strokes. In fact, the new certified 2 strokes generate less emissions in some situations than comparable 4 strokes. Vice-versa applies in certain situations with certified 4 strokes as well.
What I’m saying is this – it’s about the EPA certification – not about the strokes. Keep in mind, Ski-Doo SDI 2 strokes are mpg champions in every class.
Back to the sleds. A snowmobile which has flexible ergos is an advantage for women pilots. The Jaguar Z-1 is incomparable in this area. My wife really appreciated the moveable bars and seat – many women feel uncomfortable on sleds with ergo’s skewed to men sizes.
The Polaris IQ models with Rider Select are good in this area. As well, the new Rev XP has tons of room for women to move forward and get more comfortable than they might if they were forced into a fixed rider “pocket”. The Yamaha Phazer is exceptionally easy to move around on and the seat is extremely narrow – something many smaller riders really appreciate.
So, you asked which is the best? – here’s another qualifier. Women like light snowmobiles. In fact riders generally are more tolerant of weight the heavier they are themselves. Light riders like and appreciate light sleds. Okay, heavy riders do as well but the importance of lighter weight is more prevalent in the preferences of smaller riders – men or women.
I also believe women are happier with snowmobiles in the 100 to 120 HP range. Women want to be able to keep up with the pack on lakes and faster trails but do not pack male-egos which require huge power that’s really – for the most part – unnecessary. Hmm, it’s that practical thing again – isn’t it?
However, my wife is not happy on sleds with less than 100 HP as we ride a lot of lakes and she wants to be able to run at least 80 mph without holding the throttle wide open.
Here’s another important factor for women – as if you didn’t already know! Women do not like cold snowmobiles and unfortunately, there’s more of them this year. Let’s go back to 4 strokes.
In our experience some of the warmest sleds on the market are – in fact – 4 strokes. 4 stroke exhaust systems are hotter than 2 strokes and underhood heat is generally higher with the models carrying the entire exhaust in the engine bay. Only Yamaha has an exclusive patent on placing the exhaust under the seat which allows a cooler engine bay and snow in the tunnel is used to remove pipe heat.
The other 4 strokes we’ve mentioned here have lots of heat exhausted through the knee panels facing the rider and they are warm to ride – even on really cold days. Combine this with a practical windshield and it makes a compelling argument again for a 4 stroke. As well, many 4 strokes have powerful alternators – some are actually automotive caliber – and they provide amazing power to hand and thumb heaters as well as the ability to power-up accessory heaters as well.
When it’s all said and done, I haven’t told you what is the best sled for a woman. However, I hope my remarks give you some place to focus your attention for the perfect women’s sled.
One more important issue – the dealer. In any snowmobile purchase – especially for women – it is important to have a great dealer. Too many powersports stores are not appealing places for women. However, an increasing number of retailers are getting with the program and are making their stores female friendly as they react to the shift in buying trends.
Look for not just a good dealer – expect to deal with a great dealer and your purchase will be satisfying as the years roll on.
Thanks for asking our opinion!
Motorhead Mark (with help from Barb)