Top 10 Snowmobiles for 2008

Polaris IQ Shift
x An inexpensive, high performance sled with industry-leading ride and handling x As stable and steady as the expensive IQ machines x Its smart marketing message makes it OK to be cheap,
From the split second we were introduced to the IQ Shift, we thought, “Cool!” Don’t let its plain-black hood fool you, this sled is fun and it means business. By mating the Liberty 600 HO carbureted engine with the most stable chassis on the snow, then selling it for less than $7K, Polaris has itself one helluva sled and a serious bargain. With many machines easily cracking the $10,000 mark, Polaris is doing its part to keep high-performance snowmobiling affordable.

Ski-Doo MX Z 800R X
– Braaap! New 800R engine provides incredible corner-to-corner grunt
– New ergonomics make it one of the most comfortable, controllable sleds on the planet
– So light and powerful it’s crazy
The MX Z 800R X’s power-to-weight ratio will send all other snowmobiles back to the drawing board to try to find a way to shed a bunch of weight. This REV-XP chassis is so light and its engine has so much instant power that it makes aggressive snowmobiling more comparable to motocross than it’s ever been. Run this snowmobile onto a berm, lighten the front end with a crack of the throttle and pull the skis through the corner — you’ll think it has knobby tires instead of skis and a track. This MX Z delivers an amazing snowmobile experience.

Yamaha Phazer RTX
– It’s a drug-free anti-depressant. Good, clean, lightweight fun
– The RTX package is geared and clutched for enough low-end pop that it’ll even make a democrat smile x New FLOAT shocks up its
high-performance image. Last year we named the Phazer our Snowmobile of the Year not only because it was the first lightweight, four-stroke sled, but because it had an excitement-inducing impact on the sport. It makes our Top 10 this year because it’s still buzzworthy and it received a few updates. The RTX package is set up more for aggressive, rough-trail riders with firmer suspension calibrations and more torque from the drivetrain. This is one of the most fun sleds to rip through a tight woods section because of its good throttle response and light, responsive feel.

Arctic CatJaguar Z1
– Effortless, yet precise, steering
– Smooth engine, especially on deceleration with the anti engine-braking control
– Totally custom ergos.The glory days are back for the Jaguar, and its now backed by the power of a 125 hp four-stroke and with the skeleton of a Twin-Spar. This machine is back for its second year as a Top-10 sled. It outclasses the competition with its first-to-market anti engine-braking system, a ride that’s easy-steering and tight and enough ways to tweak ergos to get a fit made specifically for the driver. The extra engine weight only does favors to the Twin Spar chassis performance and the sled’s overall handling. The machine has an enviable amount of trunk space and a feature-laden premium gauge.

Ski-Doo Summit 800 X 154
– Lighter weight = better flotation x Lighter weight = easier rider input x Mountain riders spend hundreds of dollars to save a few pounds. The factory saved them more than 50 Ski-Doo’s lightweight REV-XP chassis is already appreciated in the mountains. It’s simple to understand that less weight means it will float better with all other things being equal. It also means that the power-to-weight ratio is the best of any production mountain sled thanks to the 151 hp Rotax 800R engine and the 429 pound claimed dry weight. Easier boondocking, tighter maneuvering, less fatigue and better deep snow performance can make first-time mountain riders look like experts. This mountain sled will have enemies: those who think this machine makes slope success too easy.

Arctic Cat
– The new grand-daddy of all gadgets and ride customization x S-m-o-o-t-h. The best use of the Twin Spar chassis to date x The quiet giant. The engine provides the power in a most friendly way.This feline will make owners feel like true fat cats with its numerous exclusive, automotive-style extras. It has remote start, heated seats (driver and passenger) and the CatComm communication system. The rear seat pops off for more storage, the driver seat has the Infinite Rider Positioning adjustment and there’s custom luggage in the back. The handlebars and footwells adjust, and it gets the feature-laden premium gauge. The Z1 four-stroke engine has a powerful pull. This is easily the best application for the Twin Spar chassis, and it shines as a touring platform. A cross-country expedition, anyone?

Yamaha FX Nytro
– Has a more aggressive design and attitude than any other four-stroke before it x Razor-sharp looks has mass appeal x Versatile engine for power and performance. From racetrack to dealer showroom, this is an impressive piece of equipment. It’s edgy in more than just the looks department: it has the winning trifecta of outward appeal, 130 hp of invigorating punch and good handling. The shock package performs on par — if not better — than more expensive brand-name shocks. The rear shock is compression adjustable and the front has clicker-adjustments for compression and rebound. Dial it in, and crank it up.

Ski-Doo TNT
– Offers real bang-for-the-buck x At less than 400 pounds, it’s in the Junior Flyweight class of snowmobiles x High-end features come standard.
While many Ski-Doos underwent the knife, there’s one machine that, pound-for-pound, got more than any other in return: the TNT. This machine combines fun, performance and price to make one of the best, most affordable sleds on the market this year. It gets the advantages of the superlight Snowmobile-of-the-Year quality REV-XP chassis — the TNT weighs in at an incredible 399 pounds (claimed). The carbed 600cc engine is surrounded by premium parts, including take-apart aluminum shocks, the new SC-5 rear suspension and the new lightweight Rip Saw track. All of this for a low $7,649. 2007

Yamaha Vector GT
– New ergos make for comfortable driver positioning whether in relaxed or attack modes
– Deltabox II + Genesis 120 = True Love x Power delivery is smooth and efficient. Quiet changes to the Vector GT, namely its new home in the Deltabox II chassis, made us take a second — and third — look at this well-heeled solo touring machine. The driver positioning is more aggressive than the standard solo tourer, which gives drivers more versatility in ride style. The chassis and the 120 hp engine are soulmates, working perfectly to compliment each other. Spring for the 40th anniversary package graphics — perhaps the best looking combo for 2008.

Polaris 700 SwitchBack Dragon
– The most stable chassis in the business gets even better with Ryde FX Air 2.0 shocks x Coupled 136 skidframe rides and handles like a short-track
– 700 CFI engine remains one of our favorites. It’s strong, clean and responsive. You can expect to see more SwitchBacks across the Snowbelt this year because Polaris has it nailed. The Dragon package with the 700 engine is our favorite. New Ryde FX springless shocks not only bump up the cool factor, they make the industry’s best front suspension even better. Its new rear suspension works and handles just as well as the 121-inch version while providing more flotation for the occasional off-trail journey.

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