Sled Weights

Tech Shorts September 25, 2004 0
Several astute SnowTech readers cried foul when a competitive snowmobile magazine proclaimed they were “the only magazine that’s ever gone to the trouble of...

Several astute SnowTech readers cried foul when a competitive snowmobile magazine proclaimed they were “the only magazine that’s ever gone to the trouble of quantifying weight for the enthusiast market” and that “no other competitor responded by either doing the same thing or implementing something similar”.

SnowTech has for years weighed a number of PRODUCTION snowmobiles using a method known as “Wet, no gas”, using actual production machines, not one-of-ringers or pre-production prototypes that may or may not be representative of the actual production models sold on dealer’s showroom floors.

The manufacturers will list “dry weight” in their specifications, but these are glorified numbers that remove any and every drop of liquid from the sled, rendering it useless (inoperable). This is how heavy a sled is with no gas or oil or coolant or battery electrolyte or lube in the chaincase or oil in the shocks. Looks good on paper this way, but fairly useless information for making an accurate decision.

So, we weigh sleds in a state that they can be operated, ready to go, but with no gas. Why no gas? A fully loaded figure may be valuable, but since gas weighs the same per gallon for all brands of machines, we prefer the no gas routine to take away the ability to tamper with weight numbers. At eight pounds per gallon of gas, all a sled maker has to do to make their sled sixteen pounds lighter is to make their gas tank two gallons smaller. We highly value extended range, afforded by a larger tank, and consider this to be a more valuable attribute than a lighter weight number on paper. Our readers are smart enough to figure out the wet weight differences with some simple math (REVs and RX-1s will all be lighter with their 10 gallon tanks compared to sleds with 12 gallons). Key here is to use the same method for all comparisons. We believe this method is the most accurate to make fair and unbiased comparisons.

The snowmobile manufacturers have for years banned measurements of their pre-production units during spring testing events held for the snowmobile press, and have just recently included “weight” in their list of banned measurements (which includes noise levels, radar testing, top speed runs, etc.). Why? Because the units available for testing are many times not accurate representations of future production units. Therefore, SnowTech will continue to provide real-world testing of actual production models, as close to what you can walk into any dealer and buy, so the information is as accurate as possible. Granted, the timing is an issue here, as purchase decisions need to be made well in advance of production machine availability. If pre-production weights were CLEARLY identified as such we could have some good data to consider, but these weights are commonly passed on as actual-factual, which it is not.

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