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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby brillmtb » January 5th, 2008, 3:55 pm

I am looking for two sleds, wife and I, 1 kid each on the back. I considered wide track sled, racing sleds out for sure. I like the idea of 4 stroke, are 2 strokes going to be banned in the future?

I would like to be able to travel without trails on fresh snow and perhaps a little more sporty sled for myself. I would like to place quality at the top of my priorites and I am not worried too much about price.

What else should I be thinking about in trying to decide which sled and what do any of you recommend on your short list?

thanks in advance
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby Skiduders » January 5th, 2008, 8:01 pm

For a family sled, I would go with the rs-venture (yamaha). Good dependable sled. Not sure how old your kids are.... but assuming they aren't going to ride for a while.... you need Comfort! Passenger Grip warmers are a must for the young ones on back... You want them to have fun! Also, on the venture, your back seat is removable for those times when you are out "wit da guys". Yes, the sled is a little heavy...but the 4 stroke and creature features make it a good family sled. Just my opinion of course... and I am a doo guy.
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby vwbuggyman » January 6th, 2008, 7:11 am

Well, you kinda have two options based on your post (and the size of your kids). You could buy one 2-up touring for the wife, and a 1-up for you and the smaller child. That way you can get a sporty sled for yourself but still use it for family fun. However, on a 1-up the child has to sit in front of you, since there are no handles on the back.
OR, you can go with two touring sleds. Touring machines typically have a slightly raised rear portion of the seat, and handles(usually with heat), so the kids can safely sit behind the parent. If the kids are older than 5 or 6, this is the way you'll have to go since they're too large to sit comfortably in front of you anyway.

The Yamaha RS-Venture is probably the best touring sled on the market. It's powered by the 4-stroke, 3 cylinder Genesis 120 HP motor. It's quiet, clean(no 2-stroke smell on all your riding gear afterward), and very reliable, with virtually no maintenance. Also great on gas. These FI motors are literally just turn the key and go. No priming, choking, yanking the cord. Electric start and reverse are standard, and so is the awesome styling of Yamaha sleds (no boxy XP look).

Like the AP mentioned, the rear seat can come off, turning it into a 1-up that will hang with any 600 class sled. The 120(973cc) HP motor has plenty of zip with only one rider, and could propel you to nearly 100mph if you were so inclined. Since you said price really isn't an issue, the Yamaha would be the best choice. The Venture runs around $9,500 each brand new, though you may find leftovers or a used machine for much less. An optional GT package($300) adds GYTR premium clicker shocks up front. A double trailer to haul them runs around $1500. It is a premium price over other brands, but IMO the quality, reliability, and features more than justify it. Would you rather pay a little more up front for years of trouble-free operation, or save some bucks now, only to have to spend more on add-ons(12v outlets, heated visor hookups, ect) and repairs for cheaper sleds? Not to mention these 4s motors last for as long as you'll ever own the sled (I've seen these engines with over 15k miles and still going strong, whereas some 2s motors are toast when they get near 10k)

Yamaha also offers the Venture Lite, which is a slightly smaller (and cheaper) version that has the Genesis 80 HP motor(500cc) instead of the 120. This runs about $8,000. That may be worth a look too, espically if the rear passengers will always be kids. The Venture takes two adults easily, the Venture Lite takes two adults if they know each other well. Both the Venture and Venture Lite feature quick-adjust rear suspension for single or 2-up riding.

Ski-Doo also offers a "1+1" option on some of their sleds that lets you purchase separately a rear seat (for like $500) that fits into the tunnel extension behind the main seat, giving you seating for two. The upside is that it's easier to take on and off than the Yamaha, but the downside is that it's not as good of a seat in terms of comfort, and that you have to buy it separately. Doo touring models are fine sleds as well, but they only offer 1 4s engine, a V-twin 800cc as a pricey option(it doesn't even compete with the Genesis motors for performance). Otherwise you get a couple 2s choices, which isn't to say they're bad motors, but they're also louder, worse on gas, and require 2s oil to be added($30/gallon, lasts for 3-4 tanks of gas), which just doesn't really suit family use.

Alternatively, the Ski-Doo GTX is actually a 3-seater snowmobile(adult and two kids, three adults is a squeeze and horribly sluggish). You could pick one of those up for the wife/kids, and then get something a little speedy for yourself.

Both Pol and Cat offer touring models as well, but neither offers the comforts and fantastic engines of the Yamy.
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby Snosport » January 7th, 2008, 4:51 pm

VWbuggyman, I looked up the engine on the Venture and it is carbureted, not fuel injected. The 3 cylinder engine used in the Nytro and the larger 4 cylinder engine in the Apex are both fuel injected, but they haven't added the FI to the Venture/Vector engine yet. That said, the carbureted engine is rated extremely well in all the reviews that I have read.

A concern that I would have when buying 2 up sleds is the adjustability of the rear suspension. Some of 2 ups that I have owned and/or ridden in the past are sprung heavy for riding double and can't be softened up enough to ride comfortably single. A 2001 Yamaha Venture was probably one of the worst riding sleds I have ever owned. The suspension was way too stiff for riding single. With a passenger on the back it would start to use all of the suspension travel and ride decent. I don't know how much better Yamaha has gotten with the new Ventures, but a common complaint in the Yamaha reviews has always been that the rear suspension is not up to par with the other companies. I would definitely want to drive one on a rough trail before buying.

I have had good luck with the Arctic Cat 2 ups. Cat has a set of fiberglass leaf springs that can be disengaged when riding single, so the ride is great even with my wife riding by herself. When riding double, the fiberglass leaf springs can be engaged to firm up the ride with the passenger. Another plus with Cat is the fuel injected sleds have an easy throttle pull. The first thing my wife does when she looks at a new sled is to squeeze the throttle. If the spring is too stiff, her hand gets sore after a few miles. This seems like a really small detail, but it is a big deal for my wife.

The other things that I would look for include a nice high windshield, mirrors, and an adjustable backrest. I have mirrors on all my sleds. Whenever I lose sight of my wife's headlight in the mirrors, I slow down until she catches up. Also, when riding double you will not be driving real fast and should plan on getting passed and its nice to know when sleds are coming up behind you. You can add these things to just about any sled, but if they aren't factory stock, the cover probably won't fit, which is a pain unless you have an enclosed trailer. The passenger handwarmers would be a necessity if doing any amount of riding double.

Yamaha probably has the strongest engine and best mileage in this segment, but they are big and very heavy. Cat has a nice sled in their TZ1, but is probably as big and heavy as the Yamaha. The advantage may be in the adjustability of the rear suspension. Ski Doo has by far the lightest, by probably 100 pounds in their GTX, but it is a 2 stroke. Polaris has the IQ available with 2 stroke and 4 stroke turbo options. The Polaris is the only one with an adjustable backrest that can be moved forward for solo riding. The only engine in the group that I would be afraid of is probably the Polaris 4 stroke. The rest have been around for a while and are proven powerplants. The Ski Doo is in a new chassis that was just lightened up by about 50#. Might be fine, but there are some reports of durability problems.
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby alrightythen » January 8th, 2008, 5:27 am

If you can find one, a Ski Doo GTX 800 in 05 at least, had an Auto Air Suspension. I have one of them, and it is bar none, the best riding sled that I've ever had, regardless of conditions. It will easily ride 3 people comfortable (2 adults, 1 child) I currently own 5 sled, including AC, Poo and Doo. The new Rev, IQ's, and F Series, will generally give a better ride and handling in my opinion on any of the newer sleds than prior to 03.
I do not currently own any Yamaha's, but if I could replace the 4 single seater sleds I own, and money was not an issue, I would consider Yamaha for all of them. Owning 3 different brands is kind of a pain, but because I'm not brand loyal, I bought what fit my needs at the time.
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby Pantera » January 11th, 2008, 6:23 am

My opinion, and yes I'm a Cat guy, is the Luxurious Pantera's. Which evolved into their new LXR Touring units. But if you are on a budget like many of us are that is the machine to look for.

I have 3 small children so 1 rides on the back of each 2-up and then i have the youngest sit in front of me.

I bought new & still have a 2002 Pantera 600 which has everything you can get on a sled. Hand Warmers for driver & passenger, Thumb Warmer, Electric Start, Reverse, EFI, APV (Exhaust Valves), Mirrors on nice big windshield, The most comfortable seat in the business (as noted by several magazines along the way), Backrest that is adjustable w/o tools or removeable parts like other MFG's, Removable rear Queen seat (the inventor of that feature) so the already spacious rack gets even larger, adjustable rear suspension to go from 1 or 2 riders in a matter of seconds, AC power outlet (lighter) the list goes on and on.

My wife loves this sled, ya it's the family station wagon but it still has a 110 hp 2-stroke that will pull the ski's off the ground on command.

Our other 2-up is a 2001 Yellowstone Special 4-Stroke. It's one of the 50 prototypes built for evaluation purposes in the park that has helped us snowmobilers continue to ride there. Remember Arctic Cat was the first to offer the new generation of 4-strokes to the consumers for the 2002 Model year. That 660 machine with only 53hp moves out just fine for Trail riding with the family. Burns half the fuel of the Pantera and of course doesn't use any 2-stroke oil. Clean & Quiet couldn't be said any louder. I drive that one, and for a guy who has been riding sleds for over 30 years to be happy taking the family on a cruise in a 53 hp machine, that says something. Again, this thing has everything the Pantera has but with a different engine. You can find some really nice 2002-2003 4-Stroke models at a great price. I have over 6K miles on this machine and you would never know it. The Pantera has around 3K miles, and it too has been great. No major issues with either one of them.

We go on full day rides with the kids 100 - 200 miles and you wish the day wasn't over so you could keep riding. They are nice and very comfortable.

Now, I'm not saying the other Mfg's don't have nice 2-up's also, but these sure work for our family.

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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby Snotcicles » January 11th, 2008, 6:31 am

The dealership should also play a significant role in your decision. Subscribe to some mags, research the net, (I know, your here) get as much info as you can. You didn't say you was thinkin' new or used. But you did say money was not an issue, sleds can be very expensive if you include all the accesories you need to go with. 20K for two sleds, trailer and clothing for four is easily attainable. Then there are things on the sled like electric start, reverse, heated seat, heated pass. grips, communication devices. Lots to consider, hard for some joe blow in Michigan, (me) to tell someone else whats best for them.
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby vwbuggyman » January 11th, 2008, 10:18 am

Skiduders is right, I was mistaken about the FI and thinking of the 3-cylinder Nytro motor. It's a twin-carb setup, though that's still fine. My 05 Warrior with four carbs never cranks more than 1-2 seconds, even when the temp is well below zero.

I'm kinda leery about first-year anything, so I'd stay away from a REV XP until time works the kinks out. Like another poster said, I've also heard of durability issues. They took so much out of the frame there isn't enough left to hold the sled together in the rough.

Touring sleds are heavy. People rat on Yamy for being heavy, but Cat is quickly closing the gap with their extra-wide-body,Volvo-headlight platform. Point is, light weight is a plus for performance sleds and mountaineers. For cruising the trail an extra 50 pounds will not affect you in the slightest.

I rode an 04 Venture last year, a distant friend won it in a raffle couple years ago, and I thought it had a very cushy ride, even by myself. You sink into the seat like a couch.

Saw at the local dealer today an Apex with a special 2-up seat attachment. Unlike other ones, this one(don't think it was a factory item) looked like a real touring seat, not a kinda raised cushion with a handle. That could be an option if you want a speedy machine for yourself.

One of my frequent riding friends rides mostly an older Panther touring, '01 comes to mind but I'm not sure. The couple times I've ridden it I can say it's comfortable, but the engine blows(550 liquid). Get it even on a slight sidehill, and a cylinder fouls out requiring a stop and plug change. It has absolutely zero powerband under about 6k, cruising at about 15 and punch it, nothing happens. It is made for cruising and nothing else, it also uses about 2x the gas of my Yamy, that makes like twice the power.
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby deadsled » January 17th, 2008, 5:19 pm

My two cents: I have been driving a venture this winter. It is pretty smooth, even when riding solo. I have actually done much more solo riding than double. The back rest is adjustable, but I don't know of anyone who likes a back rest when riding by themselves, you are better off just taking it off. The engine is awesome and smooth. The sled is a bit heavy. It does not have enough power to spin, even without studs, on the trail, so you have to be carefull not to mash the gas until you are done turning, and pointing in the direction you are planning to go. Throttle pull is easy enough for all day driving, and I have a buggered up throttle thumb. It doesn't have much storage on board for lunch or anything, but tank bags would fist that.
I am currently riding a yamaha 4S. Who would have guessed?
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Looking for 2 sleds for the family

Postby 4th ski-doo » January 18th, 2008, 4:26 pm

The doo's are the industry bar on luxury sleds, just look at the sled revues and you'll see they are all compaired to the doo. I can understand you want the newest industry buzz-word "four stroke" That word is nice for "heavy" and "doesn't start without a battery" should anything happen. The weight should not matter because most of the two ups will not really ride well in powder. Now you can get the racy tnt 600 with di that sips oil and gas, use the removable 1+1 seat with hand warmers, and the tnt is 415 lbs compaired to the big daddy yammie at over 600 lbs. The yammie already has two people on it when you try to go ride in the powder! Just look all over and don't forget about used, you'll save a ton.
MM7 wrote:
" don't realize how bad yamaha's ride or handle until you go ride a Cat, a Doo, or a Polaris Turn the dial all you's junk!!! The nytro's skid is better..but still not even close to a cat skid or a doo skid for that matter."
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