Going back in the Supertrax archives recently, the editors came to a startling conclusion.
Read the upcoming issue of the mag (coming to Zinio.com December 10, 2010) and you’ll find an article by Mark Lester talking about 12 snowmobiles that have changed the course of history.
What we learned is that the success of nearly every milestone snowmobile in the last 50 years has been the result of the designers getting weight out of the sled.
If you believe the historical record, lightness appears to be what drives change in the snowmobile business.
With this in mind, even today, it’s pretty obvious the OEMs are attempting to find ways to make their sleds lighter.
It’s not an easy task, especially if you’re building 4-stroke snowmobiles. However, Yamaha has come up with a new aftermarket skidframe that may be heading in the right direction.
So far it’s only for mountain riders but its bare-bones architecture is certainly transferable to trail sleds. The weight saving from this suspension is pretty substantial.
Could the technology transfer to the rest of the market? With the present development and evolution of air shock tech, many of the beachheads of suspension calibration have been overcome, so springs, rate adjusters and couplers may not be necessary.
Of course, the biggest opportunity for shedding weight is in the engine itself – and this may be where the biggest breakthroughs take place in the future.