SledHeads: How did you come up with this plan to build a lightweight Axys RMK?
Chris Burandt: Basically what I wanted to do on this sled was really take a look at every single component on the snowmobile and figure out how we could make it lighter without compromising durability and strength. Step back to last year, after building the Carbon Fiber Pro and just… There was ways to take big chunks of weight off on the Pro. The Axys, it's a lot harder to take the big chunks away because, for one, they did a good job on a lot of the components.
Two, there wasn't a lot of stuff available for the Axys, so that was one of the things that was really fun in building this. A lot of the things were not necessarily one-off, but were components that we were using for development for production later in the year and or moving forward for this year. That was really neat working with both Skinz and Alternative Impact on building components that were basically designed for the Axys to get the already lightweight sled even lighter.
A big focus was on rotating weight. That was a big difference that I learned on the Pro, was just how big of effect that had. You know, the lightweight crank on the Axys. That is one the reason that it feels stationary. We're only 11 pounds or 10 pounds lighter between the Pro and Axys, but it feels 30 or 40 pounds lighter than a Pro. It's cool how all of the rotating weight made a big difference on the sled.
Our overview was to disassemble the snowmobile and reassemble it looking at each and every component and figuring out how we can make it lighter and still get a reliable back country sled.
SH: So how much does the finished sled weigh?
CB: Real weight, no fluid, just the weight the exact way that Polaris weighs their snowmobiles. This sled weighs 390 pounds. That’s with a water-to-air-intercooled turbo. It’s a 2016 Axys RMK 155, just like what Polaris shows in their ads with a stock weight of 408 pounds.
One other cool number to talk about is the riding weight. We run a 9.5-gallon tank instead of the 11-gallon stock tank. So the riding weight is lower, too, which is cool. You know, the type of riding that I do and where I ride, I don't burn through a full tank of gas, so that was kind of the reason why we did that.
SH: We call that parking lot weight because that's what everybody leaves the truck at. Full of fuel, ready to go. Is this the lightest sled you've ever ridden?
CB: What’s really neat about this... I was so nervous putting it on the scale because so much work went into it. You know, you wonder like, ‘was the money and the time and the effort all worth it?’ My carbon sled was 410 pounds. The 2016 ti sled was 20 pounds lighter than the carbon sled. That sled really opened my eyes to what can be done on a lightweight snowmobile.
As far as a back country mountain sled specifically, this is by far the lightest one with power. With a turbo, too. You know, to put this in perspective, the turbo added right about 16 or 17 pounds. Let's just say it was 17 pounds for the turbo. Round that to 20 pounds just to make it easy. You subtract that from 390 and we're talking about a 370 pound snowmobile without a turbo. That puts it into perspective of how much weight we actually took off the sled.