We can’t help but think the decade from 2000 to 2010 brought about the greatest changes in the snowmobile industry and was the most revolutionary time span in snowmobiling’s history. This series explores some of the most revolutionary advancements this sport has ever seen…
This issue – exhaust emissions – may be the most significant distinctive of the Golden Decade. Why? Because the introduction of EPA emission standards for sleds changed the modern snowmobile and consequently the entire snowmobile industry.
4-strokes arrived because of EPA mandated emission standards. In-port, fuel injection systems like SDI and E-TEC arrived in an effort to save our beloved 2-stroke engines from extinction. Significant fuel economy gains actually became a reality – not a dream.
Last, but definitely not least, retail prices for snowmobiles shot up disproportionately during the Golden Decade. Prices had to go up when faced with the possible extinction of the 2-stroke engine.
Its only hope was to change the design to get more fuel into the engine before the exhaust port closed without pumping unburned fuel into the pipe. Carburetors just couldn’t do this. Expensive electronics could.
Ski-Doo’s ultra-high-pressure direct injection system, E-TEC , arrived in 2009 and set the bar for 2-stroke emissions – actually rivalling and exceeding 4-stroke cleanliness in key categories.
Polaris moved its mainstream 2-stroke engines to its proprietary “Cleanfire” SDI system while Arctic Cat continued to navigate EPA standards with a mixture of EFI 4-strokes and 2-stroke throttle-body EFI systems with pipe sensors.
The shift to electronic 2-stroke fuel injection systems and 4-stroke engines is now met with enthusiasm a decade after the Golden Decade.
Just remember; during the Golden Decade mandated emission standards were this industry’s most formidable challenge.