Every winter the four snowmobile manufacturers set us up with demo sleds to ride all season. We use them for travel stories, evaluations, product tests, how-to stories and more. I spent today at the SG shop prepping some of those sleds for the season. Snow Goer Editor John Prusak and I are heading to the Wisconsin Northwoods with our Arctic Cat Cat XF 6000 Limited and Polaris 800 Rush Pro-S 60th Anniversary early Saturday morning. Here’s what happened today:
- Drove to a dealership and bought two spare Polaris drive belts and three gallons of Polaris synthetic oil for $588, and I didn’t even get a kiss first. Sheesh! I remember muttering in the mid-1990s about spending $40 apiece for belts and $25 for a gallon of oil. What will this stuff cost us 20 years from now?
Used a 5/16-inch bit to drill out the holes on the outer edge of the Ski-Doo Pilot skis and install an extra wear bar on each ski for our 2015 GSX LE ACE 900 demo. I plan on riding this sled on Sunday, and the extra runners will reduce wear to the bottom of the skis, especially during these low-snow, early season conditions.
- Riveted license plates to the tunnels of our 2015 Yamaha SR Viper S-TX DX, Ski-Doo GSX LE ACE 900 and MX Z TNT 600 H.O. E-TEC demo sleds.
Loaded spare belts and spark plugs in our Polaris Axys demos and our ZR 4000 RR demo. Polaris came up with a pretty slick system to hold a spare belt, spare spark plugs and the spark plug wrench. In preparation for this weekend’s ride, I set the XF’s FLOAT shock pressure to 70 psi. The sled has been inside where a thermostat keeps the air about 60 degrees, so the pressure will probably drop a bit after the sled gets out in the cold. I’ll recheck the pressure tomorrow with the goal to have them end up at about 60 psi.
- Gave a quick spit-shine to some of the machines.
- The handlebars on both of our Polaris Axys demos – 800 Rush Pro-S 60th Anniversary and 600 Switchback Pro-S – weren’t set to a comfortable position by the dealer, so I rolled the handlebars back (toward the driver) a little bit and centered them between the riser. I adjusted the controls, too. The XF also needed a tweak.
- Loaded the Rush and XF 6000 in the trailer and rolled it back into the shop. There isn’t much snow on the ground at our shop in suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul so the skis creaked and clanked across the gravel, but we heard there’s decent snow cover in northern Wisconsin. We’ll be hooking up and rolling out before sunrise on Saturday!
There’s still some other work to be done to these and some of the other machines, like installing storage bags, bigger windshields, and spare belts and extra spark plugs. Studs from Woody’s are scheduled to arrive on Monday, so I’m hoping to get our Rush hooked up next week before Christmas. I ordered a new mount kit this week for the SLP MoHawk skis we tested last winter on our 800 Switchback Pro-R Adventure, so as soon as that arrives I’ll bolt them on our XF. I was really impressed with those skis last winter, and the XF will benefit from a little tighter handling.