anybody's watched no tracks for even a short period of time we'll recognize our end of the Year award we call snow tracks this real-world sled of the year and what it is is essentially after an entire season's worth of us riding sleds that we have in our fleet talking about them and battle them back and forth about what's good and what's not about each one we narrow it down we pick the sled that we think provides the best overall riding experience for the widest range of riders and of course it's all within the framework of what we have on the ground so we try to have a very wide range of popular models latest and greatest of course but we don't just use those snowmobiles for this competition we use those snowmobiles every day of the winter every day that we can ride these sleds are used we have opinions from a wide range of riders who have different ways and styles that they ride in expectations and also their prejudices and so we we try to weed that out by using a wide range of snowmobiles we sit down and we look at the things that made us but feel great and then we also look at things that were quantitatively good about a snowmobile so you've got suspension travel you've got fuel economy you know you've got those types of things and then you've got overall rider experience and things that are sort of more qualitative I think that that's important way to do it because that is the overall riding experience we narrow it down over the course of the whole winter to a few that really stood out and everybody's been talking about and then we use 18 different categories to quantify which one of those was truly the best one of all and I think the proof of the pudding is the diversity of the winners over the over the course of history I mean we don't always give the win to the biggest turbocharged motor a lot of times like a few years back we gave it to the new and the El Tigre 6000 with the new dual stage injection engine also gave it to a GS x1 year and a GT experts to do years before that but then just to make what I said all seemed really silly last year we gave it to the biggest and the greatest we gave it to the 850 ski-doo historically we put on no less than 20,000 miles on her fleet combined in a season and this year was no different and it was really kind of a cool diverse fleet this year I think of the sleds that we chose we had everything from the backcountry act switched back to salt we had a GTX Grand Touring a sidewinder and a Viper we had the Switchback xcr and I think one of the sleds this year and I think it was because it was new and it was something different we thought let's give this to shop and everybody just loved it was the tightening thought to my stuff okay I see where this can be useful and I see what will probably be a camera guys fled and and yet this season that's a sled that everybody wanted to ride all the time especially on those crazy cold days we had lineups for guys booking that sled on weekends to take it and and use it for all manner of stuff I mean you can tow a house with it the crazy part about that sled was it was totally credible as a trail sled and another Dark Horse that came to us as a limited build was the Arctic Cat CR 8,000 with the new DSi motor it might not be the biggest in the baddest but it really really rocked and made great impressions across the board with everybody around here and then of course from ski-doo you've got your you know your renegade xrs which was a new model but one that really to me stood out and performed well above what I anticipated it would the Sidewinder we we've got this year is just really an impressive snowmobile and I mean when you have to roll your hands back around the handgrips to hang on when you hit the throttle you know you're hanging on to something pretty potent but it's just so trail able and it was very popular a lot of guys really liked it and that was a bit of a standout so now comes the most important point in this whole story where we announce the four sleds that we think most embody the true spirit of snow Trax's real world what of the year here we go drum roll please the Polaris switchback xcr 800 the skidoo xrs renegade 850 the arctic cat Zr 8,000 137 and the Yamaha Viper LTX le 50th anniversary edition now let's take a look at what each of these sleds has and lacks that we think may them contenders for this year's competition so the first flood on our list is the Polaris xcr switchback 800 and this was a sled that to me is kind of amusing and how similar our scores were the only thing that we actually differed in was rear ride and I think that's for a very good reason yeah it relates to the fact that I don't ditch bang like you do and I'm a little bit older than you I really appreciate a plush ride the pro laughs back in to me is the is the best setup for pro XC suspension and I just found that the XC are in the back was it was a little bit unrepentant however we both agreed strongly on handling absolutely that is one that nobody disagrees on when they ride this flood and front-end ride is another one that everybody gives huge marks to for that chassis things that you don't get great marks for are fit and finish they're not up to par with what else is out there fuel economy they're not a knee tech you know that's that's kind of where they tend to stuff or the important thing about all that is is that the rider experience scores the things laid those scores yep next up is the ski-doo renegade XR s 850 and this sled occupies a lot of space in the hearts and minds of the snow tracks test team here this is a very impressive snowmobile and scored very high marks in a lot of categories one of the things that was pretty interesting though was that it scored even lower than we might have expected in a couple of key categories the big one for me was rider aerodynamics that was one that really jumped out at me and it only became obvious when you were jumping from one sled to the next to the next on the same day is that when you got on that sled it just didn't feel perfect just really far forward and it's the most different sled ergonomically than all other snowmobiles we we knew that the other thing a lot of our testers weren't overly impressed with the front end handling they're nervous they're just nervous handling snowmobiles they always have been and they're just not as predictable they're not as relaxing to ride you really have to ride that sled and be on your game now there were a couple categories where it's laid in though and of course our motion what are you gonna say in fact you know what it's not even worth talking about anymore it's the best our motion is the best rear suspension dried in the biz and the score showed it definitely and I think the other big one not surprising is that motor I mean basically in any category related to power fuel economy efficient whatever it just nails all of those now let's talk about our tcats Zr 8,000 137 I think this nominee is really all about the motor we were really waiting a long time for that new engine to show up the motor is a winner the motor is superb there's really nothing that I can say in my impressions of that vehicles performance negative about that engine it's fast its Revie it's good on fuel it's good on oil everything that was good about the Suzuki and everything that was bad about the Suzuki fixed the things about that sled that I think stood out as being in need of improvement was maybe ride quality and I think all that relates to is the shock package we have had experience with that same sled with qs3 s on it and that's a big improvement but the vehicle in this competition didn't have qs3 s so we have to rate it fairly from that perspective and it just just didn't provide that super plush ride that we want I think one of the things you can Pat Artic on the back for on this is is the move to way better quality fit and finish I mean the new bodywork it goes on and off easily and it looks nice it just looks a lot better I think buyers are much more satisfied than the weight of stuff used to fit we all agree this flood handles really really well we agreed that it's decently comfortable ergonomically it's actually pretty good not perfect but pretty good definitely a sled that we all enjoy driving next up is the Yamaha Viper LTX 50th anniversary edition and ok we completely realized that most of our viewers are gonna be saying what not the Sidewinder the Sidewinder is a very expensive snowmobile and to make this a more even believable real-world comparison we would stand back from that and go with the Viper because the Viper is in the mainstream with the rest of these sleds in terms of an MSRP you know the the Viper this is the best Viper we've ever had like hands down and the one category to me that stood out the most was the suspension adjustability and the ride it really did ride good with those awesome Kashima coated US threes most people would not believe that you have to write it to experience it it really does improve that sled and then adds tremendous to that bottom line again the whole rider experience people would get off that sled and say wow I had no idea what are you gonna say about the 1049 we've called it the best four-stroke engine in the business and there's been a lot of new four-strokes come along since that motor was launched that motor still continues to impress with torque high rpm power and fuel economy and durability and that's one of the benchmarks VM hustla is that this thing is gonna run forever and you can put a million miles on it and you really can and I think the big ones for me that I complain about all the time and I'm not gonna stop until it's fixed is handling I think that that's a good handling chassis and it has great potential but when you put those skis on they just don't work now comes the real hard part of this competition and that's taking these four fantastic snowmobiles and eliminating three of them to get to the winner and that's a hard thing to do you got to start with number four and it's a sled that I actually really like but the amaha does get eliminated first the reason that it got there the points showed this everybody's points added up big one that stood out was the handling that's where it really lost a lotta points it got hurt there I mean handling is one of the top most important things about sled and this one could use some improvement okay so we've got to do this again now the third-place sled and that is the Zr 8000 articles I'm ohter in it in our opinion the ergonomics of the sled the seat in particular is not right they've done a sort of fix on it but it needs to be taller to be more comfortable the switch gear is really outdated and it needs some work there and suspension adjustability which contributes to that bottom line that's so important about the overall rider experience luckily for that sled these are things that next year could be completely different and probably will be so who knows where this one is gonna end up but for this competition it ends up third between these top two sleds there are a lot of similarities and there are a lot of differences and I think it's really interesting because in the similarity department a lot of that stuff is the subjective stuff is the stuff that you ride it you just love it you feel it and you've got great things to stay but in the scores there actually pretty opposites you know when it comes to ride quality the Polaris gets tens for front end ride quality but gets lower marks for rear the scooter gets exactly opposite it gets tens for rear ride quality but it gets low marks in the front ski-doo snowmobiles are built with fit and finish quality NVH all of those things that are so quantitative to the buyer at a level that's beyond everything else the Polaris is doing better but it's not world-class in the in the same way the skidoo is yeah I mean you've got a canoe that's like a BMW and you've got a Polaris that's kind of like a like a Chevy you know it's not terrible but it's not perfect and you've then you've got this other slide that you can't fault anything on it on the other hand you've got this Polaris that everybody agrees fits perfectly when you sit on it the Hema bars are where you think they should be the seat feels super comfortable so here we go we got pluses and minuses on both sides in major categories the little categories and they're pretty even and all of the other stuff off trail on trail versatility you know things that are more general so which one of these two sleds is the winner so the Polaris xcr 800 switchback wins the snow tracks real-world sled of the Year competition here's what we believe is the reason that sets this sled apart for this 2018 model year the last thing we mark on our charts when all of us participate in this process and it's the overall rider experience its handling its ergonomics it's the way the sled positions itself when you put it into a corner you're dragging the brake you're tailing it out and you come out of the corner back on the gas and I think that at the end of the day when it comes time to ride that sled now people talk about fuel mileage and they talk about economy and things like that when you're on the snow riding a trail you're not thinking about that what you're thinking about is am i comfortable am I happy is this overworking me now yes those other things are important but there are certain of these categories that are more important than others and it one those ones it just did and then the results showed it I mean it did win more categories got better scores so that's that's the fact then it must be the sled that is providing the best overall riding experience and that's what snow tracks as real-world sled of the year is all about there really was no bad sled here all of them were excellent I'd ride any one of them would be perfectly happy and if you own one of them be pleased with yourself because you made a great choice but at the end of the day there is one that stands out above all the others and that is the player switchback XDR 800 if you enjoyed that video make sure you hit the like button and then subscribe to snow tracks TVs YouTube channel that's constantly being updated with fresh content

2018 Real World Sled of the Year

24 thoughts on “2018 Real World Sled of the Year

  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    So the SkiDoo rear suspension rides better than Polaris with the funky suspension? To hear some guys talk it’s the other way around.

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    my sled of the year is the sled I can get for 0 down and pay 0% interest for 60 months…

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    U guys are so ski doo and Polaris biased

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Y don’t u guys just combine the ski doo and the Polaris

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Y don’t u guys just combine the ski doo and the polaris

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    You should do a real world mountain sled of the year

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    You need to get a lynx also for the next year! Maybe a boondocker

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Polaris lol ya right

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    (P)ull

    (O)ff

    (L)ake

    (A)nd

    (R)epair

    (I)n

    (S)ummer

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Awesome ☺

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    I am 52 and want a srx. It’s all I want. Before I die

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Enough pre-talk – just get to it already. These guys like the sounds of their own voices too much.

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    And who ever pays you the most kick backs

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Polaris is bad

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    What I want in a snowmobile is power/heated grips and seat/feet/hauling a sled with quick release,comfort(1/2),wind shield protection up/down,side rifle holster,axe,shovel,extra front and rear LED lights,tool kit with plugs and belt…..I own a 2016 YAMAHA 1000 cc,front skis not wide enough,added steel pieces to make them wider .Where I leave in the FRENCH Alps(highest ski resort in Europe,I run a small cattle farm,I sell Cheese,fresh eggs and Chicken meat,pick-up truck are useless,4×4 ATV don't do it for me in winter,so much fresh snow everyday,you need a snowmobile to tow anything and go around my farm and go up the steepest hills,and make my deliveries to my customers,I trap rabbits,minks,and all kinds of big birds,next step is to add a supercharger,just built a two entrance barn,for my hay and a smoker…….

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    my fave sled was the older 5500-7500-9500  and newer well sort of the Yamaha 700 triple 2 stroke all 2 strokes my friends

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    My buddy just blew up his 800 etec!!!

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Now ask the 2 stroke owners how much they spent rebuilding their motor after 4-5000 kms.
    I use to ride a summit 800 but got sick of rebuilding the engine , I will be getting into a yamaha 4 stroke next. I have read countless articles and forums snd they sre bullet proof. I don’t think the sidewinder was eliminated from this test becsuse of cost, I think they know it will dominate all the others in every category. To see the viper eliminated because of its shitty skiis is appalling, most experienced riders would upgrade their skiis anyway, this can be done at the dealer for free if you know how to bargain.
    It seems crazy to test mountain sleds on trail riding to start with,most oeople I know make it to the mountains once or twice a season and ditch bang and trail sridr the rest. I think s 144” is the best all around track there is. 253” is border line.

    They should do a long term test on these top 4 sleds and break down the cost of running/maintaining them. I can slmost guarantee the 2 strokes eill be rebuilt at least once in 5000 kms….there goes the extra cost for a bullet proof sidewinder!
    Show us the break down sheets that you use to evaluate these sleds.

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    lets be real here…ski doo will always be number 1

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    You guys are kinda lame… polaris fanboys.

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Storage and storage connectivity should be considered. LINQ system hands down.

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    Get Polaris dick out of your mouth

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    It's sad that you don't have any snowmobiles from Lynx on this list for all of us viewers in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Russia. However I get it since the show is based in Canada/USA so I don't think Lynx is sold there. You guys should check it out tho it's a BRP sled so simular to Ski-doo but only in the engine rest is different. Check it out.

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  • June 19, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    I find some of these comments, somewhat amusing. I had to stop riding 10 years ago, due to several weeks of extreme pain, only to have my Dr, after exrays, and an MRI, tell me, if you don’t stop riding those things the way you do, you won’t be walking when your 50. Well I’m still walking, But I can’t get riding snowmobiles out of my mind. And now I’m 53. I’ve ridden Yamaha most of my adult life, and that includes motorcycles. I’ve had 8 Yamaha motorcycles. And I switched to a RoadGlide Ultra in May of 17. Hands down Harley is Finely better. I watch these shows, to keep up with the industry, thinking maybe? Just maybe I could ride a sled once again. Yes I need a plush ride. Millage is somewhat important, but if it won’t turn in the corners……it’s useless for anyone. Keep up the good work Boys, ya got me thinking, maybe I should try it again. Maybe.
    I really wish we could test drive these sleds, like, we sometimes can bikes. 5-30 miles, with a mix of all terrines. I’m not married to one brand any more, Hell the best thing that’s happened, is becoming single. Keep up the good work boys. You’ve got an ol man thinkin again.

    Reply

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