Believe it or not, there are people wondering if the new breed of turbocharged 2-stroke trail sleds from Polaris and Ski-Doo will precipitate a move by these OEMs to walk away from turbocharged 4-stroke powerplants.
Keep in mind this is all in the context of trail sleds. Over the past five years the mountain market has pretty much walked away from 4-stroke power. The reason? Weight.
For sure, this is a question worth answering. The arrival of factory-built, warranted turbocharged, trail-destined 2-stroke engines means big bore multi-cylinder 4-stroke engines equipped with turbochargers may have less appeal to weight conscious, ultimate performance trail riders who currently ride 4-stroke turbos.
I said “may have less appeal”. Let me clear this up. OEMs build snowmobiles you’ll want badly enough to lay down your hard earned dollars and take one home. The over-arching issue here is this: Is there a large enough market for turbo charged 2 stroke flat land snowmobiles to make all the costs associated with developing and building an admittedly pretty specialized (and pretty expensive) sled worth the effort? Yes, it is worth it.
Earlier I commented on whether or not the pursuit of 2-stroke trail turbo sleds would be worth the effort. Clearly, the development of 2-stroke turbo power is more than “worth it”.
These sleds have sold to the bare walls this season. We can’t say for sure who is buying these rides, but we can speculate as we suspect it’s the ultimate power, first-to-the-end-of-the-lake crowd who want to own the baddest, fastest ride their fave OEM builds.
Beyond this inescapable issue comes the reality of 4-stroke power convenience. If you ride in the Canadian Province of Quebec as many US east coasters do, you will see an inordinately large number of 4-strokes on the trails. Why? Big mile touring riders love 4-stroke fuel economy and the absence of the need to carry injector oil.
Surprisingly, this issue on its own remains pervasive in the admitted reality of a universal 4-stroke weight penalty.
So are 4-stroke turbos going away because lighter and probably faster 2 stroke turbos are now fully consumer accessible?