Tim Erickson’s Snowmobile Insights

The Ski-Doo would be the first one in my garage. Its power is strong, smooth and predictable. The 2006 updates make the best-handling chassis even better and as a result it still has the most predictable handling. I wouldn’t say the suspensions are the best in class, they work well in all conditions. My bottom line is the MX Z 600 H.O. SDI Adrenaline has the best combination of power, suspension, handling and fun factor.

The Polaris is a ridiculously close second. The 600 twin is a sweetheart engine. It has the best seat-of-the-pants feel for acceleration between corners. The 600 engine makes the IQ chassis show its potential, too. Compared to its 900 Fusion brother, the whole package is lighter, more maneuverable, it doesn’t shake like an unbalanced wheel, it steers better and it has the best suspension of the class. But the steering effort and slight push from the front rob just enough fun and confidence to just ride and have a great time.

The Firecat would look the best in the garage. It’s the best-looking machine and it’s also got razor-sharp handling on flat trails. What moves it to third place more than anything is its conventional rider placement. I’ve bought into driver-forward rider positioning and I like the benefits of having rider weight centered with the machine weight. The Firecat is fun as hell but it feels old-school.

Would I be happy with the fourth-place Yamaha Nytro? Absolutely. The four-stroke revolution is here and the Nytro is the best one yet for bashing around in the rough — especially in the front end. Even though the rear suspension is out-classed, it’s still plenty capable. The trade-offs are still there, however. It’s the heaviest machine in a class that screams for light weight. But anyone who wants the smooth, stinkless and better-mileage benefits of a four-stroke will be happy.

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