I have been assigned to mountain and crossover snowmobiles and of course, I had the chance to pilot outstanding machines. My first Snow Shoot in Montana has been an amazing experience.
It has been very impressive to try out the new 2016 snowmobiles but two things impressed me the most : the huge number of models available and the great supervision provided by the manufacturer Polaris.
On each of our rides, we were accompanied by Polaris engineers and professional pilots who had really incredible riding skills. They were all very courteous and they made my stay a wonderful experience.
I was astonished by the number of models produced by the four manufacturers. Over a hundred snowmobiles were available for our tests at the Snow Shoot and some others were missing. It is just incredible to see the number of models available for 2016 and I can easily imagine that the very diversified orders of snowmobiles will cause the dealers a lot of headaches to satisfy their increasingly demanding customers and the sharpest market ever seen. Enough to confuse anybody!
In order of preferences, I think that Polaris is still the mountain leader thanks to the superior handiness of the models. The PRO-RMK for deep snow, the ASSAULT for extreme mountain and the SKS for their versatility really stand out with the remarkable rigid AXYS chassis, the efficient suspensions and the powerful engines and this, in the 800 Cleanfire H.O. as well as in the 600cc engines. The A-Arms are now made of forged aluminum for more lightness and strength. Three new tracks of 155 and 163" / 394 and 414 cm are available : the Peak of 2,25" / 5,7 cm, the Series 6.0 of 2,6" / 6,6 cm and the Series 7.0 of 3" / 7,6 cm. The new AXYS PRO-RMK platform weighs only 408 lbs / 185 kg, which makes it the lighter in the industry by far. These Polaris are offered equipped with the brand new Interactive Digital Display.
My favorite Polaris 2016 snowmobile is the 800 PRO-RMK for its handiness and lightness. Its AXYS chassis, its redesigned suspension and the A-ARMS made of forged aluminum are the great innovations of this Mountain King model.
The Ski-Doo SUMMIT and FREERIDE models come back strongly for 2016 with the most interesting choice of track lengths (154, 163 and 174" / 392, 414 and 442 cm for the SUMMIT and 137, 146 and 154" / 348, 371 and 391 cm for the FREERIDE). With the X, SP, BURTON, T3 or SPORT editions, the SUMMIT lineup offers the widest choice of accessories and packages of the industry with the 2-stroke Rotax engine of 600cc or 800cc.
The Spring Exclusive FREERIDE lineup is a new kind of off-trail snowmobile with a good performance on trail. The 800 E-TEC engine is the only one available on a 137" track with rMotion rear suspension or on a 154" track with tMotion rear suspension. The sway bar quick-disconnect feature (no tools required) is specially designed for your handling preferences, which provides more flexibility on trails as well as in deep snow. The FREERIDE is equipped with the new RAS 2 front suspension and is offered in Lava Red/Manta Green color.
My 2016 BRP best pick is the FREERIDE 154 and by the way, I ordered one for the next season. I think that this machine offers the greatest capability to suit our type of snowmobiling in the Province fo Québec. It is the best on- and off-trail snowmobile thanks to its track of 16" / 41 cm and to its sway bar.
For 2016, Arctic Cat offers 19 mountain snowmobiles in the M Series and 5 snowmobiles in the HIGH COUNTRY Series, for a total of 24 models for off-trail and mountain riding. The POWER CLAW tracks available are of 141, 153 and 162" / 358, 388 and 411 cm with profiles between 2,25 and 3" / 5,7 and 7,6 cm. The M Series innovations are the A-ARM front suspension, new single-post spindles redesigned for improved caster angle and less drag in countersteering, a new mountain ski wider at front than at rear, new rail profile for improved suspension and traction and the all-new Team Industries clutching used by Arctic Cat in their race snowmobile since 2004, now available in the production models of 2016. With these innovations, Arctic Cat offers models that are more lightweight in a permanent quest for the most lightweight snowmobiles possible.
Arctic Cat offers two 4-stroke and two 2-stroke engines in their 2016 mountain snowmobiles. In the 4-stroke, the turbocharged of 180 HP, 2-cylinder C-TEC4 is the center of the 9000 Series. The Yamaha 1049cc of 135 HP equips the 7000 Series. The 2-stroke 794cc engine of 180 HP is in the 8000 Series and the 600cc C-TEC2 is in the 6000 Series.
My 2016 Arctic Cat favorite is the M HCR for its lightness, the power of its engine, the rigidity of its chassis and the width of its skis adjustable between 38,5 and 42,5" / 97,8 and 108 cm. Designed for hill climbing, this snowmobile with ski width over 42" / 106 cm, offers undeniable qualities on trail which makes it suit our riding conditions in the Province of Québec.
Yamaha is the only manufacturer who offers only 4-stroke engines in all his snowmobile lineup. No 2-stroke engines designed by the Japanese manufacturer. In off-trail and mountain conditions, Yamaha offers extremely reliable and strong machines, but they do not offer the handiness and lightness of 2-stroke snowmobiles.
Among the Yamaha 23 models, colors or packages available, their hybrid or crossover models may be the most interesting segment among all the Yamaha off-trail category. They offer excellent performances on trail and are quite efficient in occasional off-trail riding. This Series includes the X-TX and S-TX models and they are in fact trail snowmobiles equipped with longer tracks available in 137, 141 or 146" / 348, 358 or 371 cm with a profile between 1,5 to 1,75" / 3,8 to 4,45 cm.
In the mountain category, the SRViper M-TX lineup with track of 162" / 411 cm and 3-cylinder turbo engine is the true beast for hill climbing. In production package, the Yamaha off-trail models are excellent for touring and not too rough terrains and they perfectly suit the Québec pilot who likes to explore logging roads. In extreme riding conditions, the Yamaha mountain snowmobiles require undeniable efforts and pilot skills.
My Yamaha best pick for 2016 is the SRViper X-TX. It is a crossover sled equipped with a Cobra track of 141" with a profile of 1,6" / 4 cm and it offers an outstanding versatility. I tried it out in all trail and deep snow conditions, so I know for a fact that the SRViper X-TX with its 3-cylinder 4-stroke engine is a very pleasant snowmobile to pilot on trail as well as on not too rough terrains in off-trail riding.