Snow Goer's Top Sleds of 1996, Part III

Now that the 2016 snowmobiles have been released by Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha (as well as the Scandinavian Lynx), it’s a good time to flashback 20 years to the 1996 models. The Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year that year was the Ski-Doo MX Z 583 — click here to read that article. Below are some of the Snow Goer Top 10 sleds from 1996. Which did you own or ride?

Click here to read Part 1 of the 1996 Top Sleds series

Click here to read Part 2

Click here to read Part 4

Ski-Doo Formula III

The so-called “Purple Screamer” had a certain amount of built-in respect when it was introduced as a limited-build machine just over one year ago. A lot of people were looking forward to the triple-piped 600 class, so it arrived with a splash.

1996 Ski-Doo Formula III
1996 Ski-Doo Formula III

Others weren’t as easily convinced, however, as they worried about the weight and handling of the three-hangers. Well those people are now being converted one at a time, as they get a chance to take the Ski-Doo Formula III out for a ride. It’s fast. It’s lightweight. It’s great looking. It handles the bumps with ease. What else could an aggressive trail rider want?

The rocketship-like power comes from a three cylinder, 598cc mill that features reed valves, RA YE, triple pipes and three 36mm carbs. From the holeshot to the top end, the Formula III is a rush of excitement and exhilaration. It’s ready to race and always seems to be looking for another challenge.

The best part, however, is that this machine isn’t just another lake racer. Instead, the C-7 rear suspension is right at home on the trails, handling the big bumps like never before. The aggressive rider will like the setup. The dependable DSA suspension is found up front and it is dialed in better than ever. The awesome Brembo brake brings the machine to a smooth halt.

The result of this combination is a lot of happy Ski-Doo owners riding purple machines this winter.


Polaris Indy Classic

Somehow, many of the snowmobile manufacturers apparently forgot that there are a lot of lone riders out there today that want a ton of bells and whistles. Yes, there are a lot of luxury 2-up machines out there, but the “1-up” luxury rider somehow got forgotten by some. But not by Polaris.

1996 Polaris Indy Classic
1996 Polaris Indy Classic

The Polaris Indy Classic truly lives up to its name because it is such a classic touring and trail machine. You want bells? You want whistles? This thing has got them.

Quick, name all the single rider machines that come standard with mirrors. And electric start. And reverse. And a hydraulic disc brake. And an electric fuel gauge. And a throttle thumb warmer. And hand warmers. Don’t take too much time, however, because we’ve already given you the answer. The Indy Classic stands alone as the feature king for single riders.

Polaris engineers didn’t stop there, however – in fact, they were just getting started. The XTRA-12 long travel suspension systems is found in the front and the rear of the machine, offering 11.6 inches of travel beneath the seat and 9.8 inches beneath the skis.

If a Polaris dealer hasn’t closed the deal yet, he only has to lift the hood. That’s where the powerful and popular 488cc liquid-cooled twin rests. It’s been a popular engine for Polaris, and for just cause. You may see a lot of these on the trail this winter, and the person on board is bound to be one happy camper.


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