2017 BEST 2-UP LONG DISTANCE SLED

Mark and Kent Lester battle it out over their picks for the 2017 BEST IN CLASS AWARDS. THE ARGUMENT: One Thing Is for Sure Here: It’s All about the Rider.

WINNER: SKI-DOO GTSE 1200 4-TEC

I know, Kent’s going to give me a hard time with this selection, particularly as a result of the level of competence Cat’s Pantera 7000 displays in this segment. I must say this: While the Pantera is a credible ride, Ski-Doo has been doing this 2-up thing for decades and, doggone it, does it well.

The GTSE with 1200 4-TEC power makes no excuses for its ability to rock a trail. The XS-based chassis rides like its shocks are filled with warm butter. Handling is akin to a sno-mo-Maserati.

Comfort amenities have been designed to please both pilot and passenger and are so effective and so complete, no sane individual could ever doubt my insightful selection of the GTSE as this year’s BIC winner in the two-fer segment.

One must also realize the recently (last year) updated 1170cc 4-TEC triple uses a sophisticated DBW (drive by wire) automotive throttle system with three selectable modes. More importantly, DBW deals with the age-old throttle lag issue the 1200 previously suffered from.

The GTSE is a techno wonder in a class Ski-Doo and Arctic Cat compete in with ferocity. This year, the BIC goes to the GTSE 1200.

– Mark

RUNNER-UP: ARCTIC CAT PANTERA 7000 LIMITED

Once again, Mark, you’ve gone for the glitz and glamor and overlooked substance. Things like remote adjustable air suspension, adjustable skis and confusing electronics may seem trendy and cool but when it comes to delivering what snowmobilers really can use, the Pantera 7000 Limited is a homerun.

Example? The Limited comes with an incredibly versatile luggage and rack-space package that offers single person ride comfort, 2-person ride comfort and amazing cargo area. The bags look like high-class portable luggage and if you remove the rear seat/backrest there’s enough space in the back to plant rows of corn.

All the comfort features like heated seat and front and rear heated grips are included and its 146-inch track guarantees ride comfort, deep snow capability and plenty of bite. The Slide-Action suspension out back with fiberglass helper springs rides incredibly well with either one or two passengers. Hey, who needs air suspension when you get ride results like this?

The other feature that’s an absolute mind-blower is Cat’s inclusion of a 4.3 gallon auxiliary gas tank at the rear.

Now Mark, please try to understand, that’s exactly what touring is all about. You can go further while enjoying fabulous comfort. I think this sled is the best; why can’t you see that?

– Kent

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