The mountain sport class is very similar to the 1000 “big
boy” class in respect to the fact that this class fills the bill for a much
smaller or niche group of snowmobiling enthusiast—the only difference being at
the opposite end of the investment spectrum.
The smaller demand for these models supports the reasoning
for only one 1000 machine and two 500 fanners—but the manufactures have to
start out and then end their lineup somewhere.
Speaking Of Starting …
The Polaris Trail RMK and Ski-Doo Summit Fan have been the
starting point for many a life-long love affair with snowmobiling, whether it
was exposure through a rental experience (the Trail RMK and Summit Fan are very
common and popular amongst rental fleets) or a first time purchase.
These two ponies are a well established base line for the
industry with a more simplistic design and affordable construction, hence a much
cheaper purchase price ($5,799 for the Polaris and $6,099 for the Doo) and
operating costs. And when we say well established, we mean like a Terminator
kind of well established as they keep coming back … they just won’t go away.
This stalwart tenure of the Polaris has been going on since
1997 when the Trail RMK vied for the SnoWest Mountain Lightweight Class award and has
been built on the Edge chassis the last seven years. The little Ski-Doo has
been around as long, but the Summit
500 did not have a fan-cooled motor until five years ago and has been a Rev-
based chassis going on four years.
Show Us Your Stuff
Both the Polaris and Ski-Doo are economically powered with a
550cc fan-cooled engine fed by two VM 34 carbs producing 60-65 hp. Above and
beyond that similarity, the Trail RMK and Summit Fan become quite a bit more individualistic.
Package highlights for the 2008 Polaris Trail RMK include a
conventional Edge chassis with the Escape trailing arm front suspension,
including Nitrex shock absorbers good for 7.6 inches of front travel. Rear
suspension is the torsion spring Dual Purpose Rail fitted with a Nitrex and
Nitrex Select shock combining for 13.8 inches of rear travel. This
chassis/suspension combo lends to more of a low-rider characteristic that we
feel is more at home on trail type conditions.
Other standard equipment features include the ever popular
P-85 Polaris primary and Team lightweight secondary clutches, the Phantom
hydraulic brake, the 15x136x1.25 Shockwave paddle track, PERC (Polaris
Electronic Reverse Control) reverse, adjustable hand and thumb warmers, mountain
specific (the I.Q.) skis, rear mountain rack, speedometer/odometer and running
boards with boot traction.
The 2008 Ski-Doo Summit Fan with its Rev-based chassis is
constructed with the RAS A-arm front suspension with a sway bar and Motion
Control gas shock absorbers, delivering 9 inches of front cush. Bringing
up the rear is the SC-136 skid frame, also with the Motion Control gas shocks
offering 13 inches of ride. As most everyone is aware by now, the Rev platform
is significantly different from the Edge with its more aggressive rider forward
positioning that also has the rider sitting higher for a much easier transition
from sitting to standing, enhancing the “boondocking rideability.”
More standards features complementing the Summit Fan are the
Bombardier Lite/LPV 27 clutching system, 16x136x1.75 Rip Saw paddle track. Rotax
Electronic Reverse, handlebars with a mountain bar, adjustable hand and thumb
warmers, Pilot 6.9 dual runner mountain skis, adjustable ski stance, rear
mountain rack, speedometer/odometer and running boards with boot traction.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Snowmobiles that miss the mark for their intended purpose
(like hillclimbing, high horsepower, etc.) usually only last two years max. The
track record of the Polaris RMK and Ski-Doo Summit Fan confirms that neither of
these ponies are a bad machine by any stretch.
And it is also well documented that our mind set at SnoWest is that boondocking rules. So
our favoritism leans toward the Summit Fan with more rider ergos and constructed
traits like the 16 fewer pounds that the little Doo (459 lbs dry) is packing
around, resulting in better performance in more extreme snow and terrain
conditions. The Ski-Doo’s deeper lug track (1.75 vs. Polaris’ 1.25) also makes
a positive difference when the snow starts to pile up.
The power of these machines isn’t going to scare anyone,
which is why these two models are ideal rental sleds. And ideal snowmachines
for the beginning or teenage rider. Depending on snow conditions, the SnoWest SnowTest crew can have just as
much fun on these smaller machines as the bigger, higher horsepower sleds.
While we tend to lean toward the Summit Fan, we wouldn’t
shelve the Trail RMK rather than not ride.
Either way, the 2008 Polaris RMK and Ski-Doo Summit Fan are
geared out to deliver economical and Fan-tastic fun on the snow this winter.
Polaris Trail RMK
Age of this model Tenth year
Carburetion 2 VM 34
Primary clutch P-85
Secondary clutch LWT Team
Front suspension Escape
Front shocks Nitrex
Front travel 7.6
Rear suspension Dual Purpose
Rear shocks Nitrex
Rear travel 13.8 inches
Center shock Nitrex
Dry weight 475
Ski stance 41
Fuel capacity 11.8
Ski-Doo Summit Fan
Age of this model Fourth year
Carburetion 2 VM 34
Primary clutch Bombardier
Secondary clutch LPV 27
Front suspension R.A.S.
Front shocks Motion
Front travel 9 inches
Rear suspension SC-136
Rear shocks Motion
Rear travel 13
Center shock Motion
6.9 dual runner
Dry weight 459
Ski stance 44.8-46.4
Fuel capacity 10.6