If you talk to some people you’d think 2-up snowmobiles are no longer relevant.
Others will tell you they’re the first sleds they look for when the new models come out. What do we think?
There are a couple of things at play. First, the new breed of Adventure Touring sleds offer some pretty good alternatives to a purebred 2-passenger sled.
With long tracks and plenty of room for an add-on seat, backrest and luggage, you can convert a 137 or 146-inch crossover sled into a 2-upper in minutes.
The comfort level is very good, too, although some of the built-in amenities like rear seat handwarmers or passenger footrests are not always available. The best thing is you can take the seat and bags off and have a nimble trail sled when you don’t have a passenger along.
The pure 2-up sleds these days have become icons of comfort and convenience. Comprehensive gauge packages, big, plush seating, warm windshields and all the built-in warmth and comfort features make them very nice sleds to tour long distances with an extra rider.
Handling and ride are exceptional because these tourers are custom-tuned from the factory to handle the weight bias of gear and extra bodies.
Arctic Cat and Ski-Doo have invested heavily in the 2-up market with some very radical changes to their line-ups the last two years.
Ski-Doo revamped its Grand Touring models for 2015 utilizing the XS platform and last year Cat brought us a completely revised Pantera 7000. This year, there’s the Pantera 3000.
Yamaha has basically stood pat with its Venture line-up but these sleds still comprise an important element of the company’s total sales.
Polaris has taken a different tack and has pretty much phased out its big-inch tourers and attempted to steer customers toward the Switchback Adventure and its seating and baggage accessory list for 2-up shoppers.
It’s not the only situation in which Polaris marches to its own drummer – and it seems to be working for them.
Do we think the 2-up sled is on its way out? We don’t. There’s still a big commitment from the majority of OEMs to provide sleds in this category.
We do, however, think the 2-up sled will morph into something different in the next few years. But that’s a topic for another day.