We’re getting ready to head up to northern Minnesota this evening to do some riding and product testing over the next few days. The meltdown that gripped most of the country last week took out most of the snow in the central and southern part of Minnesota, and frankly, that put me in somewhat of a panic. I’ve ridden a lot so far this season, but I could use a few more weeks to wrap up product testing and get more photos for the magazine. With the trails in tough shape at home, we now have to chase snow up north.

I spent this morning at Speedwerx in Forest Lake, Minnesota, to have a timing key and Hypershift clutch kit installed in our Sno Pro 500 demo sled. I’m excited to climb on board the machine again and see how much these parts improve this sled’s performance. Larry Houle from Speedwerx said these minor modifications really wake up the engine, making it perform much like a 600.

Another sled going along for the ride is our Renegade E-TEC 800R X with its new Split Rail skis and Custom Axis shock kit from Hygear Suspension in Lansing, New York. These are two aftermarket products I’ve been most excited about trying out this season, and hopefully they fulfill my expectations for better handling and an even more capable suspension package. This has been one of my favorite sleds to ride this season, but maybe now it will be even better.

After this quick trip, the Snow Goer staff will head out for Rode Reports, which is our annual trip to test ride and photograph next year’s sleds. There is some exciting and new technology coming out for 2012, so it will be exciting to get behind the handlebars and try it out.

Look for the Spring 2011 issue of Snow Goer on newsstands next month to read all about the new sleds, and also keep an eye on this website over the next few weeks as the snowmobile manufacturers’ embargoes lift so we can post the information.

— Andy Swanson, Snow Goer managing editor

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