Shiny Side Up: Manufacturers use throttle and brake

Hammer down, or hold back
Snowmobilers make those decisions around every corner, across every lake and every slope. Often times we are even using a little brake simultaneously along with the throttle. Dragging the brake isn’t good for the life of your brakes, but can be a smoother way to be faster for racers in a lot of situations. My correlation is: the manufacturers are constantly doing this throttle and brake dance. They are always on the gas to sell the most new sleds and accessories to be more profitable, but they drag the brake a bunch too!

For the new 2019 model year we see several of the OEMs using quite a bit of throttle and some using quite a bit of brake. Obvious examples of manufacturers on the gas this year include Polaris’ announcement of their new Patriot 850 2-stroke motor, new Indy XC rear suspension, and their new smaller EVO badged snowmobiles. Ski-Doo is also stabbing the gas with a new Gen2 E-TEC 600R motor and adding a turbo to the reliable 900 ACE 4-stroke motor. Arctic Cat accelerated and focused on new suspension with the mountain-only Alpha One single-beam rear skid and the new trail-oriented Fox iAct gauge-adjustable shock system.

But there were noticeable braking actions going on in the industry too with Yamaha slimming their line to just over a dozen models. There are no more Japanese-made snowmobiles being sold in the US. The Arctic Cat snowbike project seems to have pumped the brakes hard too and is at least slowing down for now. Also, there was no noticeable 4-stroke push from Polaris and no new 4-stroke initiatives from Cat or Yamaha.

However, the overall view is VERY positive as OEMs continue to put resources into sleds and come up with new and exciting tech. The industry is still innovating which should make all of us riders giddy for the upcoming winter!

Mark Boncher, Editor
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