Everybody’s had that one sled that stands out from the rest. It defines the fun of snowmobiling and every time you reflect back on it, there’s a little twitch in your heart. In this series we asked our staffers to share their faves. Read what Kent Lester, Co-Publisher, Supertrax has to say about the 1978 Yamaha EX 440
I had only been a snowmobiler for about four years when I found a decent two-year-old 1978 EX440 in the classifieds. I had had a series of ET 250s and 340s prior to this and the jump to a “huge” fan-cooled 440 was intimidating.
I chuckle about this now because that sled probably didn’t put out more than about 55-hp – pretty lame when you consider today’s turbocharged Yamahas make close to 200.
I added a set of phenolic reeds, studded the track and took the whole sled apart to de-rust, clean and grease the skidframe. It was a leaf spring sled so I didn’t have to do much maintenance to the front end. However, I did add a set of carbide runners to the steel skis – unbelievably, a pretty big deal back in 1980.
I remember standing in my garage looking at that sled and feeling so proud of my first “performance snowmobile”. Was it fast? Not by today’s standards, but it sure seemed like a handful at the time.
I believe that sled was the one I took on my first long distance tour (nearly 1000 miles) to Quebec. It ran flawlessly and its four or five inches of rear suspension travel and nice foam-filled seat provided all the comfort I could have dreamt of on those smooth, beautifully groomed trails.
Years later I graduated to a series of more modern IFS Polaris, Ski-Doo and Arctic Cats I loved, but that EX 440 has always stuck in my mind.