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Less than 25 % of snowmobilers ride on short track snowmobiles

During the last days, we asked people about the length of their snowmobile track.  Here is our analysis of the results.

Crossover are popular
When we discuss with manufacturers and dealers, we notice that since about 10 years, snowmobilers are increasingly attracted by tracks of 136-137 in., and even 141 to 144 in.  Even snowmobilers who ride only on groomed trails are less interested by tracks of 130 in. and less.

Due to this trend, many dealers will refuse to take in exchange snowmobiles with track of 120-121 in. since demand is very low.  «We often keep a 121 in. track snowmobile in inventory during many months before we can sell it…», a salesman told us.

Less than 25 % of snowmobilers ride on short track snowmobiles

The results of our survey confirm that.  In fact, 41 % of the 1 105 respondents said that their snowmobile was equipped with a 136 or 137 in. track.  Also, 20 % of the respondents said that they were riding with 141 to 144 in. snowmobiles.  So, according to our survey, more than 60 % of the snowmobiles would be in the hybrid category.

Short tunnels :  an endangered specy ?
While short tunnel snowmobiles have been ruling the industry since the very beginning of our sport, it seems that the Québec market is more and more ignoring them today.  Effectively, 15 % of snowmobiles are equipped with a 120-121 in. track and only 7 % with a 128 in. track.  So, today, it is about 22 % compared with 30,5 % registered in a similar survey three years ago.  This is a decrease of almost 10 % in three years…

Mountain category
When we analyse the results, we notice that models of 153 to 155 in. now represent 15 % of the snowmobile fleet.  This segment is increasing considerably, as we can see quite an enthusiasm for the mountain models.  We often see a snowmobiler who always owned a trail sled, now buying a mountain model. Manufacturers work really hard to enhance these models.  If we take a good look at the latest mountain machines, we can see that it has produced results and their sales prove it too !  A dealer in Rimouski even said that 80 % of his sales were in the mountain category.  That is quite something !

Motoneige de montagne

162 to 174 in. models
Only 2 % of the respondents said that their snowmobile was equipped with a track of 162 to 174 in.  We must ask ourselves if our sample for this category is really representative.  Effectively, due to its content, our web magazine SledMagazine.com is probably not read that much by owners of snowmobile with longer track (over 155 in.).  So, I would not consider these two categories (162-163 in. and 174 in.) in the analysis of the data.  Effectively, I am sure that snowmobiles of 162-163 in. track represent more than 1 % of the snowmobile fleet. 

Following the results of our survey, we can draw two conclusions :

Firstly, it is obvious that trail snowmobilers are increasingly choosing hybrid snowmobiles.  Why ?

Is it to improve their comfort on trails or to be able to ride off-trail from time to time, or both ?  From my personal observations in real situation, I think it is effectively for the improved comfort provided by a longer track, and also to be able to ride off-trail when possible and authorized.

This said, how many trail snowmobilers really use their hybrid machines for off-trail riding ?

Secondly, the mountain snowmobile market is growing so fast that manufacturers must work very hard on new technologies and new models to improve their products and to remain competitive.  Other parties in the snowmobile industry must also respond to this evolving market.

It will be very interesting to follow this development during the coming years and to see if the market will find a new balance between the different types of snowmobile.

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