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As a long time motorcyclists, I've always thought I'd probably love sledding but have never had the opportunity to try one. Dumb questions, but how does the thrill compare to motorcycling? If you liked one would you like the other?

And also, weird questions I've always wondered, which is more dangerous? In Ontario all you hear is motorcycle deaths all summer and snowmobile deaths all winter. I wonder per capita which is more dangerous?
 

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Discussion Starter #43
As a long time motorcyclists, I've always thought I'd probably love sledding but have never had the opportunity to try one. Dumb questions, but how does the thrill compare to motorcycling? If you liked one would you like the other?

And also, weird questions I've always wondered, which is more dangerous? In Ontario all you hear is motorcycle deaths all summer and snowmobile deaths all winter. I wonder per capita which is more dangerous?
I have very limited seat time on bikes. I like bikes a lot and think they are cool, but one of my friends was killed on one when I was 18. He stopped at a red light. Karen in her gigantic SUV was texting or something and just smashed him like a bug as she blew through the intersection. My GF was hesitant about sleds, but I kept telling her the risk is mostly SELF inflicted. If I crash my sled, it's probably going to be my own stupid fault. And there is risk. You can often be miles from ANYTHING, and if you miss a corner, trees will always win. If you total your sled in the wrong area at night, you might freeze to death. Trees can kill you. Temperature can kill you. Water can kill you. But again, you are mostly in control. With a bike, you can get killed by other people not paying attention, and it's not as forgiving. If you bail on a bike, you are getting hurt. If you bail on a snowmobile into a bunch of powder.... you'll probably be fine. The biggest thing for me is that you don't share the snowmobile trails with Karens driving 5,000lb crossovers and SUVs.

I looked up the stats prior to getting into this hobby and something like 95% of snowmobile fatalities are alcohol related. I've totaled a sled, and yeah, I had been drinking but it was more I thought I saw the guys ahead of me going around a sweeper, but it was a hairpin. By the time I saw the sharp turn, it was too late, I hit the brakes but I knew I was going into the forest, and tried to ride it out. Had to bail when I saw a tree coming. I learned a really valuable lesson that night tho; do NOT try to keep up with other riders. Just go your own pace, have fun at your own pace, and don't hit ****. I still haul ass but I will purposely let other people get further away so I can't see their taillights so I am not subconsciously trying to keep up with them.

Anyway.... it's super, super, super fun tho. You get to see things that humans aren't really designed to see; winter landscapes are brutal and gorgeous, and the environment should kill you but you're warm, comfortable, going obscene speeds with heated hand grips and whatnot. It feels like cheating. There aren't any speed limits during the day, so you can hit triple digits out on lakes... and the trail network just goes to gas stations, restaurants, and bars. It's fun as hell and makes me look forward to winter, which is a huge quality of life improvement, imho.
 

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I looked up the stats prior to getting into this hobby and something like 95% of snowmobile fatalities are alcohol related. I've totaled a sled, and yeah, I had been drinking but it was more I thought I saw the guys ahead of me going around a sweeper, but it was a hairpin. By the time I saw the sharp turn, it was too late, I hit the brakes but I knew I was going into the forest, and tried to ride it out. Had to bail when I saw a tree coming. I learned a really valuable lesson that night tho; do NOT try to keep up with other riders. Just go your own pace, have fun at your own pace, and don't hit ****. I still haul ass but I will purposely let other people get further away so I can't see their taillights so I am not subconsciously trying to keep up with them.

Hold up. So you totaled a snowmobile when you were drunk, and the lesson you learned was to not keep up with others?
 

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As a long time motorcyclists, I've always thought I'd probably love sledding but have never had the opportunity to try one. Dumb questions, but how does the thrill compare to motorcycling? If you liked one would you like the other?

And also, weird questions I've always wondered, which is more dangerous? In Ontario all you hear is motorcycle deaths all summer and snowmobile deaths all winter. I wonder per capita which is more dangerous?
Well, even on trails it's off road, so dirt bikes are the natural analog. I'd say they're similar but different. Both are lightweight machines with lots of power and an open air experience. But a sled handles more like a quad than a bike. While turning, you lean your weight in to keep the machine flat as opposed to leaning the machine (although in very deep snow that does flip back.) Likewise, understeer isn't as big a deal on a sled and most are set up to push a little. And in terms of feel...I dunno...snowmobiles feel like a cross between a jetski and a bike...they sort of fly and float about you.

Safety...well...that's like asking which is hotter, the world's hottest curry or the world's hottest buffalo wings.
 

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So we've got enough snow they opened trails where I ride (Old Forge, NY)...but given COVID logistics and whatnot I want to wait for a little bit more base first. In the meantime here's some interesting pictures:

Tug Hill, NY. Turbines are capturing wind energy coming off Lake Ontario. The trails get fairly close to them (in fact I'm guessing winter maintenance is done by snowmobile)--they're far bigger than they look and the 'whoosh' of a blade going by is an experience.
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2. Inside the chaincase. Snowmobile transmissions have two parts--off the crankshaft (left side of the machine) is a pulley system that makes a CVT. A prop shaft crosses over and the right side of the machine has this gearbox. I was in there to gear it down for more acceleration.
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3. Tuned pipe. This is low-key forced induction...the pipe is sized just right to be resonated by the exhaust; as the cylinder is filling it's actually pushing some of the exhaust back in. Unlike a 4-stroke where the exhaust doesn't contain much in the way of oxygen, two strokes aren't particularly efficient and so this adds oxygen back and on older models before direct injection, even a bit of fuel.
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4. Installing studs. These are steel with carbide tips, they need to protrude about 1/4" past the paddles. They don't do anything in snow, but some parts of the trail can get icy and these dig into that ice. Installing isn't difficult but bring headphones as it's quite tedious. If studs are installed typically ~100 required by the track manufacturer to avoid tearouts, I go with the minimum as they also act as a wood chipper on the trailer.o
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5. A pretty looking oops.
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6. Repair from a bunch bigger oops. I overshot the transition of a jump and ended up crunching the bottom of that aluminum frame piece (s-module) on a big rock. Fortunately it took all of the impact (guessing by design?) and the rest of the sled was unharmed. Maybe 5 hours to replace, most of it dismantling the suspension.
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7. Sign for The Norridgewock, one of three businesses in Beaver River, NY, a town with no road access--the only in the US that isn't an island! In the summer you can get there by boat or railroad tracks. In the winter you can only get there via snowmobile, over the lake if properly frozen (danger!) or over the railroad tracks if they're packed with snow. The train, however, doesn't make it up that far with any frequency--note the "ARTA" sign which is advocating tearing up the railroad tracks. They evidently expect to get more business from people cycling and/or easier snowmobile access. I absolutely adore trains but I too support ARTA; with cars, trains need population density to function properly.

56875
 

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Discussion Starter #47
I was in there to gear it down for more acceleration.
View attachment 56869
Sick of gettin whooped by those 800 cats? :p

My route to work goes through a windfarm, and yeah, being right under those things and hearing the blades is... interesting, and you tend to not get that experience in a car.

Re: Studs: I have them but I miss sort of drifting around corners. Ever heard of people removing about half o fhtem, and leaving the holes in the track?
 

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Sick of gettin whooped by those 800 cats? :p
Lol! Nah, I went down to a 600 accepting it would be slower, but I wanted to max out what the lighter package could do and I'm happy to have the experience. I've also deleted the E-start battery and motor; I'm probably 30-40lbs under a regular trim 850, and gearing is part of that project. That said--I've had it 3 years and done about what I can, and I do still miss the 800s I've had and the way they try to rip your arms off. Plan has been to trade this for an 850 with the LCD gauges and new suspension geo...I dunno...I usually wait 4-5 years to trade but I could use a win with everything going on, maybe I'll put the order in this spring.

Re: Studs: I have them but I miss sort of drifting around corners. Ever heard of people removing about half o fhtem, and leaving the holes in the track?
Oh, definitely would not recommend that. The track designers put the minimums in because if individual studs grab they can get torn out. That can wreck your heat exchanger and make the track something less than trail worthy. If you want 50% of the effect of studs, I recommend a pre-studded track like the iceripper XT.

Ice ripper XT - snowmobile - tracks – Products
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Studs are nice when it's slippery and they're awsome for braking... just miss sliding a bit in corners. With the amount I have it's just so SRS BSNS whenever you hit the throttle.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Got out for the first ride of the season this weekend!

Last week, I spent some time wrenching on my old 99/00 ZR600. Thing was an abused, beat to **** POS when I bought it. I put a TON of itme and effort into it, and it just kept letting me down. First time I took it to the ice drags, the clutch seized and the sled wouldn't go anywhere. $850 later with a new clutch, trailered it to a trail, and the lighting went out (electrical short). It sat for years... got it going a few years ago when a buddy was visiting, and this year I was determined to use it or sell it.

Here's a video that goes over my build, and recalibrating the oil injection pump, throttle cables, and converting the seat back to stock.


It's STILL not 100%. It bumbles off the line, but once it gets going, it rips pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
Man... I am still failing with this thing. I'm just going to keep posting updates and pester everyone on the sled forums until I figure it out. If anyone is by chance an expert at CVT clutches, lmk. Second vid:


At this point.... I have had this thing for 5+ years, have way more money into it than it is worth, and it's STILL not 100%. So frustrating.
 

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Sorry I can't help. I bring clutch work to my mechanic.
 

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Whoa that is definitely not right. There's a bunch of stuff that could be; low speed needle, clutch, belt, broken reed valve, etc. Did you try taking the belt off and seeing how it revs? If it still bogs you can rule out clutch. edit: Oh, I forgot to mention, be very careful if you run without a belt, reving too fast can overrev the engine or slam the sheeves together to shatter.

May be a moot point after watching the rest of the video. Pretty sure your clutch spring is too weak (engagement too low) and that is why the engine bogging. What does the tach read when it engages? The 'correct' value is a matter of opinion, personally I would want it between 3500-4000 on 2-stroke. From the sound I'm guessing you're engaging at like 2500. Machine should rev a bit before moving, only the 4-strokes have the torque to engage off idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Funny you should ask! I took this video today, where I jacked up the back of the sled so the track wasn't touching anything, and revved it to see when it engaged, and what the clutches do:


Looks like around 3500. Maybe I should try to raise the engagement RPM somehow?
 

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3500 is low but not crazy low; unfortuantely I'm not sure if you have a single issue responsible for this. Hard to say, but RPMs seem to build normally with the rear end up, but I'm not sure the clutch is engaging well. With it in the air like that I'm used to the track engaging more affirmative, violent even. I'm not sure how much you want to play with this, but there's a couple other things I know I would try, more or less in order but if any of these steps is easier for whatever reason it's not hard and fast.

1. Check the belt wear or try another belt. There should be a spec for the width of the belt, and then also you can visually inspect the profile. If it's too narrow, chunked, or flat, the clutch can't grip it as tight. Should be a trapezoid profile. It looks like you've switched to an aftermarket clutch so it might "want" to break-in its own belt if that makes sense.

2. Ever replace the motor mounts? You've got a lot of movement in the engine and that is both making the belt shorter and changing the angle; even if it doesn't fix your clutch issue on it's own it should increase belt life. Just checking the torque on the bolts would be a good idea. Fortunately compared to a car it's easy and cheap to replace, just don't forget to align the motor before torquing it down. That sled, how much the motor should move is designed into the sled, so I can't say it's wrong for this one, just that it's a lot relatively speaking.

3. Your track tension might be a little low, that's generally not an issue by itself unless it's so loose the track falls off, and you're correct that tighter on it's own would make it worse. That said, I'd still recommend tensioning it so you can make sure it's aligned right. Cat should have a spec (e.g., 1/2" deflection @ 12 lbs) which you can hit by either hanging weights in the center and measuring or using a tool like this. For the alignment, you basically adjust tension left to right running periodically on a stand to keep the track running dead center. There's a couple ways to gauge this but I like checking the clearance between the hyfax and the knobs on the track, typically a couple MM and easy to check with an appropriately sized shim. If it's not the same distance left to right it's fighting friction from those knobs.

4. Put a stiffer spring in the clutch. Whatever color spring is in there, I'd just go up one color higher in rate and see how it affects the situation.

5. Clean the surfaces of the primary and secondary. I think you might have already tried this. If not, I usually just go at it with scotch bright.

6. Rebuild the clutch. This seems unlikely since it's a new clutch, but as they age you end up with build up from the sliders in there. It's kind of like brake dust and can jam things up. That's 100% an "inside on the bench" job; lots of little parts and springs to lose.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #56
So some of your suggestions were bang on, the big one being engine movement. It turns out my engine snubber that limits the movement was completely gone, which allows the engine to rock rearwards more than usual, which in turn makes the belt tension worse, all of which affects takeoff.

Here's an update to the sled; went over carbs, checked stator, motormounts, and ATTEMPTED to improve belt deflection by removing the secondary (fail) and ATTEMPTED to install the snubber (couldn't remove the primary to access an engine mount, so another fail).


Have to admit, kind of lost my **** at the end of this episode. So frustrated. Trying to stay positive.... but I just blew $120 on a secondary puller and primary puller. Should have updates in a few days.
 

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First, totally feel your pain. I had a '99 800 triple and it felt like every time I fixed an issue, I found two more in the process. It does get better though.

I'll guess most people that promote the water trick have never removed a snowmobile clutch. It can work, but those are machine threads designed to hold tension and not NPT threads designed to seal. And we're talking about a lot of hydraulic pressure that needs to be sealed. The good news is that clutch pullers work reasonably well.

That said, do you have a cherry picker? Since you don't need the clutch off you just need room to work, if you do, it might be easier just to lift the motor.

Good luck, stay safe!
 

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Discussion Starter #58
The issue is I can't unbolt the engine mount to raise/tilt that side of the engine. Doesn't need to move far, but I can't unbolt the mount; the primary is right in the way. Some clutch tools just arrived a few minutes ago.
 

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Up in WI. Oddly no (little) snow so trails are closed. We drove around neighborhood with the kids but no more than that. Plans to come back up in Feb, hopefully more snow then.

62931
 

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I've never gotten into snowmobiles even though we live in the rural Northeast. I just hate the unpredictable nature of our winters these days and couldn't imagine making payments on something that I might not be able to really use every season. Last winter was absolutely horrible in regards to snow amounts and this winter isn't going much better so far other than one massive 36" storm that was washed away by 3" of rain the next week.

That said we bought our daughter a used Kawasaki 50cc ATV last January. It turned out to be a life saver in March and April due to covid and the fact that our daughter is an only child and we are her only entertainment. She was a little timid on it at first but with in a week or so she was going full throttle and loving it.

She had a ton of fun on it in the snow and learned about controlling slides and riding on different conditions so it was a great learning experience for all riding.



I ended up picking up a new Kodiak 450 at the very end of March so we could ride together and so I could use it around the property for hauling my brush trailer etc. By June it was clear that my daughter was riding well above the limits of her 50cc so we sold that (for what I paid in January) and bought her a new Raptor 90.



We've been having fun even in just a little bit of snow sliding around, playing hide and seek, and just ripping. I have over 80 miles on my 450 now, all in the yard, and it is a lot of fun. We are working on clearing a trail in our woods so we can ride outside the confines of the lawn also.



The nice thing about an atv is that you can pretty much ride year round as long as you don't have a ton of snow.
 
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