Every so often I have a friend wanting
to get into the sport of snowmobiling, and one of the questions that always
seems to come up is "should I get a newer sled or an older sled?". Well
damn...How the hell should I know? Because people vary as much as snowmobiles
do, this question is usually pretty hard to answer. This said, I'll give
it my best stab. First of all, how much do you want to spend on your purchase?
Most newer sleds are going to set you back a bundle, while an older sled
generally will not unless it's a rare model or something. Some folks would
argue that you'll spend as much on repairs on an older sled as you would
buying a new sled, but I find it hard to believe that I will ever spend
$8,000 fixing my Bliz 5500. This brings us to our next point: Are you mechanically
inclined?(no kidding yourself here, it won't help) If not, stick to a newer
sled, as most dealers will know how to work on them. All you have to do
is put gas in the gas tank, oil in the oil tank, and take it to the dealer
at the beginning and end of every season and you'll do fine. If you are
savvy mechanically, then either sled is good for you. You'll be able to
do all your own matinence and work, so the dealer can piss of as far as
service goes. So now we are down to our final soulsearching question: How
much performance do you want? Let's face it, newer sleds are faster, more
powerful, and handle better for the most part. Take the 2001 MxZ 380: It's
the slowest of the MxZ line and it makes as much horsepower as my Blizzard
5500, plus it handles far better. But then again, do you really need all
the performance of the newer sleds? For just kicking around the yard or
in the woods, I definately prefer vintage sleds. They're just more fun
to ride because they require more skill to go fast. If you're blasting
around your yard oval on a Elan 250, it takes some effort to get decent
lap times, whereas an MxZ can achieve the same times just by pressing the
throttle and turning the bars to the left occasionlly. Sure, with skill
the MxZ can post much faster lap times than the Elan, but the you have
to contend with the safety issues of going 65mph around your house.
As far a reliability goes, I contend that both types of sleds, when properly
maintained, are the same. Some people say that old sleds can't be trusted,
and so on, but think: 20 years ago, what was being used on those long,
open northern trails? Bingo, the "old" sleds of today. So, if they're are
properly maintained, you'll never be stranded. The flip side is also true.
If you have a sled that isn't maintained, new or old, and you aren't ready
for anything (ie have a tool/parts kit), you're SOL.
Phillips, Stib Inc.
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