YAMAHA SR VIPER RTX SE
Yamaha’s best all-around snowmobile engine and Arctic Cat’s latest chassis have teamed up to make the best four-stroke sport sled ever. Don’t be fooled by this engine’s smooth- running nature, though, because it delivers a quick, powerful grunt through the whole range when the throttle is squeezed, and that lightens the overall feel of the snowmobile. Firm suspension calibrations are set up for aggressive riders who demand peak performance while the SRV chassis delivers sharp handling and a stable, predictable ride.
SKI-DOO SUMMIT SPORT 154 POWERT.E.K. 800R
This snowmobile is not only one of the best values for deep-snow riding, but snowmobiling in general. For well less than $10k, riders get the tMotion rear suspension and FlexEdge track that debuted on 2013 Summit X and SP models. Those features significantly improved the Summit’s off-trail performance, and it’s cool that Ski-Doo has spread the technology all the way into the budget side of its deep-snow lineup. And since power is king in the West, the carbureted 800R PowerT.E.K. engine propels this cost-conscious mountain shredder.
SKI-DOO MX Z TNT E-TEC 800R
Power, precision and the best rear suspension performance. Good fuel economy, quality components, high-tech features and modern design. All of those are attributes of Ski-Doo MX Z snowmobiles, and this model represents the epitome of premium performance. The rMotion skidframe mows down bumps and ruts, and the E-TEC 800R engine is smooth and strong, yet impressively efficient. Standard convenience features like electric start, easy-access storage and simple suspension adjustability keep trail riders comfortable and their sleds dialed in.
SKI-DOO FREERIDE 137 E-TEC 800R
Freeride fun goes well beyond its wild, green-and-gray color scheme, and the 137-inch version rides on the amazing rMotion rear suspension. Buzz down a rough trail, carve through deep powder or boondock through tight trees: this sled can dominate all of it. And its deep-lug track, lightweight frame and small stature set it apart from other extreme crossovers to give riders more confidence when flatland boondocking in Maine, the U.P., Quebec and other low-elevation winter playgrounds.
POLARIS 800 SWITCHBACK PRO-R
When it comes to trail machines for riders who occasionally want to venture into the backcountry or play in deep snow, a Switchback Pro-R is one of the best, most fun sleds. Big power from the 800 Cleanfire engine and the progressive Pro-Ride rear suspension make this an ultra-playful package over big trail moguls and when bounding through deep snow in meadows or on frozen lakes. The Pro-Ride front suspension tracks straight and delivers predictable handling.
POLARIS 800 PRO-RMK 155
Even though the competition is stronger than ever, the 800 Pro-RMK is still alone on top of the mountains as the best deep-snow sled. The 2013 version earned Snowmobile of the Year honors last year for its belt-driven drivetrain, carbon fiber components and refined ergonomics that helped make it the most rider-friendly production mountain sled ever made. Toss in the responsive Cleanfire engine and backcountry-bump flattening suspensions and it’s a recipe for crazy fun out West. The 155-inch track is the perfect combination of maneuverability and deep-snow flotation.
POLARIS 600 RUSH PRO-R
Fun is in the Rush Pro-R’s DNA, and it comes courtesy of the progressive rear suspension and reactive 600 Cleanfire engine. This sled feels stout and sturdy, like it’s built for punishment. It has the most confidence-inspiring front suspension that’s a trustworthy first point of contact against big bumps, not to mention good handling. More fun comes courtesy of the Pantom LWT brake that links the rider and drivetrain with a pair of sticky brake pads and audible “buzz” when the lever is squeezed.
POLARIS 600 INDY SP
After making the list last year in its rookie season, the lightweight 600 Indy SP is a Top 10 sled again, thanks to its athletic nature and responsive engine. With basic Fox gas shocks, a simple gauge package and a 1-inch track, this low-fat machine hits the trail with full-flavored performance. The lightweight Pro-Ride platform handles remarkably well and the conventional skidframe is capable of providing a com- fortable ride through a wide range of trail conditions. A new seat for 2014 has more style and comfort.
ARCTIC CAT XF 8000 CROSS COUNTRY SNO PRO
With so many specialized models in the crossover segment, Arctic Cat blurs the lines within the category, and this one has the features to make it a leader in the aggressive, 50-50 on-/off-trail class. Its powerful two-stroke engine and firm suspension calibrations are tuned for fast riders, but its long list of mountain sled features — including Fox FLOAT 2 springless skidframe, 141-inch track with tall lugs, wide mountain skis and adjust- able handlebar — makes it truly capable for hard-core, deep-snow excursions.
Arctic Cat ElTigre 6000 SP 2014
All seems right in the snowmobile world now that Arctic Cat, long known as the lightweight performance leader, has a 600cc two-stroke engine in its lineup again. It churns inside the well- handling, bump-smoothing ProCross chassis. The 600 C-TEC2 is the first snowmobile engine designed and built by Arctic Cat, and the cylinders, crankshaft and case aren’t all that’s new. The dual-stage, low-pressure injection system represents a fresh take on semi-direct injection by spraying fuel through a slot in the side of the piston at certain RPM.