You may have noticed the price of sleds has been creeping upward… oh, for about the last twenty years. Today, prices are mostly in the 5-figure range and I can almost guarantee five years from now they’ll be higher.
It looks like the OEMs have rationalized the concept that snowmobilers will and should always pay higher prices – after all, it’s your loyal duty as a customer.
But there really is justifcation for price increases as technology contiues to ramp upwards and the EPA looms heavily over the present and future of the sport.
The fact is some of the enormous costs of snowmobile development are amortized over a three to five year period with proposed price increases figured in over the full term. It’s only in the last couple years of that term that tooling and development costs allow profits to be gernered.
Sure, we can justify costs and so can the manufacturers, but it doesn’t make us feel any better about the shell-out we have to make at the dealership.
The truth is, most snowmobile purchasers simply cannot afford to make a mistake, which becomes a reality when you’re trying to figure out what kind of sled you should buy.
We’ve always felt the best way to get clear data to our readers is to stack the OEMs against one another in a series of categories most common to the types of riders who would or should be shopping there.
For instance, there are many riders who live nowhere near the mountains but want to look like they’re riding a mountain sled.
The sorry truth is many of these snowmobilers, even those who consider themselves freeriders, would be incredibly unhappy with a mountain sled, or even one that performs close to that ilk.
Same goes for trail riders who want to occasionally venture off-trail. Put them on a freeride sled and its narrower stance and powder targeted handling would bug the daylights out of them.
Here’s a big one: How about buyers who just have to have the ultimate hoorsepower and absolutely demand a sled that looks like it just came off the snocross track, with suspension setting to match? How many are truly happy with sleds like the RR, X-RS and the Pro-X?
Then there are those riders who stack on incredible mileage every year riding out of their state or province and end up coping with a sled with a suspension harder than Vladimir Putin’s conscience.
Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of riders who can use sleds like that to their full potential and who will absolutely love them. It just sucks when you get it wrong – especially when you know there’s a very similar snowmobile close to that category with the ride, trail manners and engine power that would make riding sheer heaven… but for one reason or another, you missed it.
When you’re choosing a sled, you need to be honest with yourself and evaluate how and where you really ride. Don’t just go with what’s all shiny and new – instead take stock of the needs you have and what sled features you really prioritize. You might just stumble onto something that fits better than Scarlett Johansson’s t-shirt.