Snowmobiling was always built on the hands-on nature of the product’s mechanicals.
In the past, simpler was better and the more tuning, maintenance and modifications owners could perform themselves, in their own garages, the better.
Today’s sleds have become increasingly complex with a vast array of electronics and computer systems thrown into the mix.
Certainly, features like EPS, electronic EFI, remote adjustable suspensions and even the more complex design of DOHC and SOHC 4-strokes make 15-year-old carbureted 2-strokes look pretty primitive in comparison.
If you compare the ATV industry or even the motorcycle business, the march toward more and more technology seems to have gone to warp speed.
Features like ABS brakes, skid control, traction control and navigation systems are all available and although not all are rampant, the technology has been fully developed and is in play in those markets.
Apparently, some snowmobile manufacturers have been toying with ABS brakes and with the advancement of reliable digital snowmobile gauges, navigation has been on the table.
Certainly the downside is pricing. In our current economy, the consumer is looking for way more in terms of performance and long lifespan for their off-road vehicles.
We’re not sure the snowmobile industry needs or wants more technology driving prices higher but if the market demands it, the OEMs will build it.
We’re not sure the trend is a good one, especially if it takes the wrenches out of the consumers’ hands.