There’s a lot of division in the snowmobiling business about whether or not weight is as big a factor in making a buying decision as it was seven or eight years ago.
In the early part of the decade, snowmobile OEMs were absolutely obsessed with getting the weight out of snowmobiles and, believe it or not, the weight factor had as much to do with evolving the sport as things like rider-forward ergonomics and clean-air engine technology.
By 2003, both Arctic Cat with its Firecat and Ski-Doo with the REV had redesigned completely new platforms with weight as priority number one.
The original Polaris IQ was designed to shave weight and even Yamaha, despite its 4-stroke weight disadvantage, had sleds like the Phazer and Nytro coming down the chute with weight reduction as a primary goal.
It seems that weight is still the single most important criteria for new sled design. One look at the sales success of the Pro-Ride chassis or the XP is pretty convincing evidence of the fact and we suspect the 2012 Cats are going to be lighter than the Twin Spar sleds the company has been offering.
If you were going to profile the average snowmobile buyer, it would look like power-to-weight is incredibly important and the masses are willing to give up certain comfort options to guarantee their sled will still be light.
Snowmobiling is a demand versus supply business and as long as consumers demand lightness, the OEMs will knock themselves out delivering it.