Fun Fast First - 28th AmSnow DynoTech Research New York Shootout

Never duplicated, fully independent, always fun!
Castle Gear
The annual New York Shootout is the consumer’s first chance to find out what the performance factor really is of the newest model year snowmobiles. For almost three decades AmSnow and Dynotech Research have been holding this third party, independent event in the hills of upstate New York. For the last three years the location has been at one of the best 1000-ft. private testing tracks in the East (Chip and Cindy Saur’s track behind the Ole Barn) in the little town of Inlet, NY. For those who might not know, the Shootout is always the same weekend as the Snodeo event right down the road in Old Forge, NY. Consumers come from all over the Northeast to this sleepy area in the Adirondacks this particular weekend. It is often the first ride of the year on the trails and it has become a ritual for thousands of sledheads.

The Shootout is where the action is and with almost perfect conditions this year acceleration times were consistent. A dusting of three to five inches of new snow and 25 degree temps at mid-day with zero wind made it enjoyable for the drivers, pit crew and the nearly 2000 people at the event. It was the place to be for sled fanatics!
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 Sno Pro
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 Sno Pro
2018 Ski-Doo MXZ TNT 600
2018 Ski-Doo MXZ TNT 600
2018 Polaris Assault 600
2018 Polaris Assault 600
120+ hp Production Stock Sled Tests
AmSnow and DynoTech Research took eight totally stock production sleds straight out of the box for the Shootout. We divvied these sleds into four classes including 120+hp, 150+hp, 160+hp and Turbo. The most alike sleds were compared to each other.

Due to the ever tightening of production build numbers by the manufacturers and availability of units, it has become tougher to procure the most comparable sleds. An example can be seen in the 600 class as we had a Polaris Assault 600 (144-inch track), an Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre (129-inch track), and a Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline (137-inch track).

We often run into these issues with comparisons we work on. No doubt this leads to folks fuming that the media, like us, are intentionally trying to skirt the truth to help out manufacturer A, B, C or D. Seriously, you can pick any one of them. We have literally gotten emails from separate people about the same article claiming it was intentionally biased towards two totally opposite manufacturers! However, the truth is much simpler than the conspiracy theories that seem to dominate faceplace and the interweb.

The vehicles simply are more difficult to attain nowadays … unless they are made available by the manufacturers, or we work very closely with dealers, and they often have to get the OK from the folks at the OEM headquarters anyway. We are at their will, to an extent with attaining units to test. After many decades we do have some pull though, and certainly do our best to attain as many sleds as we can every year.

Remember, we are the ONLY media that does this kind of test or any exclusive events like this. That should tell you something. The reason we are the only media to do these exclusive tests is because it takes an army of often unrecognized volunteers and countless hours (you guys and gals know who you are, thank you!). It is not easy, but we do it because it is our passion and we attain valuable info and data … and it is usually pretty entertaining! One more note on claims of bias: we actually have a financial reason to stay unbiased. Imagine if one of the manufacturers actually believed we were biased? Do you think they would buy advertising? Do you think they would give us sleds to test? It is obviously better to be supported by all four OEMs than just one or two.

That said, our DynoTech Research official third party dyno testing proved that the class of 600cc sleds are closer than ever in the history of this event. Just 1.2 horsepower differentiated the top and bottom of these three stock OEM 600cc class powerplants. The 2018 Ski-Doo 600 E-TEC garnered 125.6 hp, the Cat 6000 C-TEC engine pulled 125.4 hp, and the Polaris Liberty 600 was extremely close as well at 124.4 hp.

This closeness showed up on the acceleration course as well. Only about 0.2 seconds in the elapsed time separated the top stock runs by these three sleds. To put that in real terms, that’s a little longer than a ski length at 1000-ft. Honestly, on the trail, that’s the difference between a rider having a steak at lunch or having a salad. The Cat 600 had the best elapsed box stock time at 10.487 seconds. The MPH at 1000-ft. told the same story as a 0.73 mph difference was seen throughout the group, with the Ski-Doo 600 posting the best speed at 90.54mph.

After we are done taking stats on the Box Stock runs of the demo sleds, we then give the dealers a chance to do some "dealer prep," which consists of possibly changing clutching, hi-fax, adding wheel kits, etc. It’s a chance to show what a well "set-up" sled from a good dealer will do.
2018 Polaris Assault 800
2018 Polaris Assault 800
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Sno Pro
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Sno Pro
2018 Ski-Doo MXZx 850
2018 Ski-Doo MXZx 850
150 and 160 hp Classes
This year, the Polaris 800 showed about one HP down on the dyno compared to last year at 155.7 (last year was 156.9). However, it still bested the new Cat 800 on the dyno by just over 3 HP (last year was 2.5 hp more than the Suzuki powered Cat). In the lightest trail sleds on the market, that is plenty of Polaris power to get the job done! We were hoping for just a few more ponies out of the new-this-year American-built Cat 800, but honestly we were not too surprised by these dyno result. All along Cat has touted that the most important performance gains with this sled is in the mid-range. That "snappy" feel and instant acceleration at trail speeds is what Cat, and honestly most performance-focused riders, are most interested in. This sled absolutely has that over the former Suzuki 800 motor Cat used for over a decade. As far as the 1000-ft. acceleration course goes, only 0.21 mph separates the winning Polaris 800 over the Cat 800 at 96.77 and 96.56 mph respectively. However, the Polaris 800 was quicker getting to the finish line. Almost half of a second was the difference in Elapsed Time between these two 800s. The Polaris was quicker for the majority of its 1000-ft. pull. The Ski-Doo 850 was not in the same class as the two 800cc sleds. Reasoning was apparent on the dyno again this year. The 850 garnered actually four more ponies on the dyno this year than at the Shootout last year. It was a full 13 hp more than the nearest 800cc sled. I am positive there will be at least one Ski-Doo reader that goes bonkers about us not having an 800cc Ski-Doo here, but the corporate folks at Ski-Doo only allowed an 850... because that's the future for them. The Ski-Doo 850 Gen 2 E-TEC in the Rev Gen 4 chassis fell right in line where it should both, horsepower and acceleration-wise between the 800s and the turbo sleds. It went 98.90mph in 1000-ft. and did it in 9.589 seconds. Let the "Fake News" claims roll in.
2018 Yamaha Sidewinder LTX DX
2018 Yamaha Sidewinder LTX DX
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Sno Pro
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Sno Pro
Turbo Stock Sleds
The Turbo sleds somehow surprise us every year. Maybe it’s the fact that at 203.8 hp, this stock Yamaha built snowmobile motor is stronger than most cars and trucks on the road. The stock Yamaha Sidewinder and Cat 9000 are specific-built for speed and rival any mod sleds from only a short time ago. Due to some logistical issues, we were unable to get the Cat 9000 on the dyno in time, but theoretically this is the same motor and last year our dyno test showed only a 0.1 difference between these two.

On the track, clutching and small things can make a difference. That showed in the acceleration and mph as the Sidewinder was a bit quicker off the line and quicker and faster at top end with a fast 107.65 mph and ET of 9.429 seconds. The Cat was right there though with an ET of 9.436 seconds. So only 0.07 seconds separated the two. Yes, seven one-hundredths of a second. That’s as close as it gets folks!
D&D Racing 2018 Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Turbo
D&D Racing 2018 Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Turbo
Bikeman/BCM Performance 2017 Arctic Cat Thundercat
Bikeman/BCM Performance 2017 Arctic Cat Thundercat
Excell Motorsports 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder
Excell Motorsports 2017 Yamaha Sidewinder
Mod Sleds
Some of the biggest names in performance are at the Shootout each year and bring the newest, coolest, and often fastest sleds around. D&D, Bikeman, Excell Motorsports and aftermarket companies like DynoJet and Boyesen reeds were all represented this year.

We broke the mod sleds down into two categories this year; the pump-gas 2-stroke naturally aspirated sleds, and the pump-gas sleds with boost (turbos). In the past we have had numerous "Lake Racer" mod sleds, but since all of this year's sleds could very easily be ridden on the trails, we simply had them all in an over-arching massive group of "Trail Mod" sleds. To be completely honest, these trail mods are seeing performance only rivaled by full-on, lay-down custom built race sled chassis just a decade or two ago.

We had the 2-stroke naturally aspirated sleds running 1000-feet, just like the stock sleds as their total HP is a bit less than the added power of a cranked up turbo. The boosted sleds we had running a shorter track of only 660ft. This was for safety as all four of these turbo mod sleds saw speeds over 102 mph in 660ft. We were seeing similar times between these turbos in 660ft. as with the stock turbos in 1000ft.

Highlights of the mod sleds included the Bikeman/BCM Performance sled, owned by Heinrich Kirschner, running 105.14 mph in 660ft. That was a 2.18 mph upgrade over last year at this same event with this sled. D&D Racing brought a trailer full of mod sleds and we thought the ZR 8000 naturally aspirated sled they brought really was an over-achiever. It was just a hair behind the Ski-Doo 850 mod sled and the MPH for the ZR 8000 at 103.660 in 1000ft. was flying!

Excell Motorsports was the Yamaha dealer on the stock side of the fence, but also entered a Sidewinder into the mod class as well. That sled put up a respective 103.93 mph in 660ft. and earned our Best Bang for the Buck award this year.

Like recent years, the turbo sleds are proving that simple reflashes, controllers, and correct traction and suspension set-ups can go a long way today. What used to cost $10,000 extra to get 30-50 more hp on the turbo sleds is now more affordable. Albeit you still need to understand how to tune, but the ability for an average guy to bolt on power is becoming easier. Check out all the Mod Sleds here!
CastleX Apparel Gets Noticed
If you have not taken a look at Castle gear lately, we strongly suggest you do. Jason Owens, the official driver of the New York Shootout, said “It is some of the most comfortable gear I’ve ever worn to race in.” Testimonials abound from test riders who were formerly bound to only one specific brand. Mountain test rider Kevin Thompson has said “I swear by my Castle gear, and when I want to be warm and comfortable, that’s what you’ll find me wearing.”

The gear of choice this year for the AmSnow crew has been the Stance Jacket and Epic Pant. With a removable liner, the Stance is very versatile from cold to warm days and the Epic pant is much more comfortable than a full bib. Castle is making their own helmets now too, and so far this season we have enjoyed the new Mode Dual-Sport SV electric helmet. Check out all these products and more at
Shootout Dealer Info
A special thank you to the great folks who provided the stock sleds, timing equipment and all the volunteers that help out.

Arctic Cat – Arctic Adventures
2050 Rt. 32, Rosendale, NY 12472

Polaris – Sports Unlimited
5654 Horatio St., Utica, NY 13502

Ski-Doo – CJ Motorsports
8711 Industrial Dr., Boonville, NY 13309

Yamaha – Excell Motorsports
2292 State Route 12, Hubbardsville, NY 13355, 315-691-6916,

Port-a-tree Timing Equipment and staff - Heinrich and Molly Kirschner and family, Bill Stoddard.
Stud Boy studs
Stud Boy Makes Traction at Shootout
American Snowmobiler and our dealer partners use only sleds that are literally right out of the box for the Shootout, and we want people to see a perfect representation of how they would ride their sled on the trail. Ron Pattyn and his family at Stud Boy have been trail riding and snocross racing for numerous generations and products like their Shaper carbide wearbar set standards for longevity and reliability.

Since a large portion of the riding public, and a larger portion of performance-minded riders, prefers to stud their sleds, we make sure we stud the sleds in the stock classes at the Shootout. Stud Boy has been a name synonymous with trail traction for decades and this year they sent studs to each of our four dealers for installation. The rules we follow for the shootout allow for no more than three studs per bar on the 600 machines (so each lug on the track cannot have more than three studs on it). For the 800s, 850, and turbo sleds we allowed four-plus per bar. We also made sure that everyone followed trail studding recommendations and did not install studs that were a great deal taller than specified. The standard 3/8-inch or 0.375 inches about the tallest part of the track was the detailed rule. Not only does this keep the playing field at the Shootout consistent, but it also means that these Shootout sleds are ready to rock the trails with a virtually new set of studs on them when they leave.

The preferred trail stud from Stud Boy is the time-tested Power-Point stud, which is what we used. For durability on a course that admittedly could have used a little more snow on the day of the Shootout, we used the PowerPlate metal backers with the Tower support nuts. This combination held securely and helped these stock sleds get ahead on a rock-hard, low-snow track. For more information on AmSnow using Stud Boy products on our Real World Shootout sleds and Long-Term demo sleds, check out the March 2017 issue or any of our Long Term Tests in earlier issues this season and online. For all your traction and wearbar needs, don’t forget to visit
2016 American Snowmobiler DynoTech Research New York Shootout snowmobile
Rocky Point Named Official Partner

Inlet, N.Y., is one of the most picturesque towns in the Adirondacks. Only 11 miles or so due east of Old Forge, Inlet still holds the charm of a tiny welcoming vacation community. Rocky Point is one of the most sought-after places to stay and the property and condo owners’ alike look to rent out space in the winter … while the snowbirds are all away. Situated right on 4th Lake, the condo community of Rocky Point enjoys incredible views (see photo above and right), amenities and high class rustic appeal. Most of the condos are three bedroom and three bath, so you know what you are getting. You also get access to a pool, spa and game-room area.
Bring the family, go with friends, or take a romantic snowmobile getaway with your significant other … Rocky Point won’t disappoint! More info:
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