IceAge elevated alpha vs stock ride impression

Mar 30, 2011
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Had the opportunity to ride IceAge's elevate kit for the alpha today alongside my stock machine. I know not many people have had time on it yet so here's some thoughts.

I should mention I'm not sponsored by IceAge and have zero bias going into riding it, just wanted to give it an honest comparison back to back. Both my apha and the elevated one are totally stock and identical minus the elevate spindles and dropped skid. Bear with me as it's sometimes hard to convey how a sled handles without just saying “it's flickable”. Also for reference my last sled was a ski Doo 850 154, as are both alphas, and I regularly ride a Axy. I'm about 150 lbs without gear and I'm a pretty competent mountain rider, not a pro but fairly advanced.

First impression of the Elevate kit was WOW. I have over 500 miles on the stock alpha and had a good sense of how it was feeling in the snow today (we rode trail, some Ridgeline to basins and the deep deep trees on one sidehills, around 12-15 inches of fresh). It's remarkable how right away it feels different. You can feel the lift in the front end just in how it sits in the snow. Initiating turns in meadows was noticably easier with a bit less steering effort and definitely a less planted feel in the front end.

We lined up the stock and elevated sleds on a steep climb and did 3 pulls, I rode my stock for the first two. The other rider is about 30 pounds heavier than me and we were dead even up the whole climb, having to turn out very close to the same height up the hill. After we switched I felt like the Elevate kit had a definite advantage as I pulled ahead slowly through the climb and had to turn out at less of an angle, making it a decent ways further up the hill. Suspension was set on 2 for both sleds, not locked out and the Elevate alpha had a distinct seat of the pants advantage in the way it felt climbing, it's just dragging less side panel and running boards and I felt it really translated into better climbing machine, seeming to make up for some weight difference in the riders.

After that I got to rip it around on the open sidehills just playing around with some wheelies and re-entries. I always felt the stock alpha was a really fun and playful sled (at least my 154), the elevate kit just took that fun factor and dialed it up to 11. The ability to pop of pillows and old tracks into wheelies or spin it around and re-entry felt just more effortless. It was also notable in the deep snow how if you turned uphill it claw harder to turn you around. With how deep the snow was I could really tell when turning my stock sled for hop-overs it would get hung up on the running boards and slow you down, keeping it from rotating as well.

When it really shines in my experience was when you got into the steep sidehills situations. Coming off the ski Doo 850 I really was looking to get away from the t-motion feel, especially across old tracks. I felt like the alpha was an improvement but it still seemed to get thrown around a bit, somewhat unpredictable and sometimes if you hit a harder layer of snow it will wash out. I've also found in quite a few situations the stock alpha will buck a bit over bumps and try to shoot up hill, if you get your weight forward fast you can handle it but sometime it will just spin down and get hung up on the running boards. The Elevate kit “cures” or at least provided a very noticeable improvement in all these situations. Besides being more predictable in a sidehill situation, it also just doesn't want to get stuck. If you accidentally get thrown up hill, a little push and the front end will come up and you can set it back on edge. It's really crazy how well it climbs out of it's own trench without getting stuck, the pin and wiggle ability is much better than stock and it keeps you from getting stuck.

Bottom line- it works very well, in all the situations I had it I would 100% take the Elevate kit over stock. It does feel slightly less planted on trails but it's completely manageable, not “tippy” at all, it feels like an Axys. Yes it's a fairly pricey kit but I can't imagine any mods that will make this much difference in handling. This is what the alpha should have been from the factory and I can't imagine a Arctic Cat engineer riding one and not seeing this in the new machines from the factory very soon. Truly, hats off to IceAge for developing an awesome product, and oh yeah, it looks awesome having billet spindles and a lift kit on your snowmobile. I'm going to be getting one on my personal sled as soon as possible and if you like amazing handling and having a super playful snowmobile then you should too.

Feel free to ask questions, I'm happy to answer based on my experience
 

ak

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So what are they doing to lift The rear suspension on a alpha?
 

Chewy22

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How was the ski pressure? I ran the skinz front-end kit on my 14 and there was a significant difference in steering effort. I know it’s a slightly different approach because the skinz not only raised but it moves everything forward. But I felt the limiting factor with that kit is it didn’t do anything to raise the rear and pushed things to far forward.
 
Mar 30, 2011
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Ski pressure was lighter than stock I would say, which you could feel in the trail especially, but it felt very balanced front to back. The skis feel less planted but not so light that you lose control.
 

die hard poo

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The skid is just dropped in the factory holes, one set for the front needs to be drilled out. Longer limiter strap will be used.

Thanks for the review, question though, according to ice age website, the elevate kit comes with different bomber rails that changes the approach angle. Does the price I wonder drop for the kit if you have an alpha instead of a regular m8000? Do you have a pic of the stock alpha next to the elevated one?
 
Mar 30, 2011
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Thanks for the review, question though, according to ice age website, the elevate kit comes with different bomber rails that changes the approach angle. Does the price I wonder drop for the kit if you have an alpha instead of a regular m8000? Do you have a pic of the stock alpha next to the elevated one?

The alpha kit is still in the final stages of development, only a few out there being run right now (which includes the one posted on Instagram that Rob's running). The price for the alpha kit should be lower because you're right, it won't have the rails but I don't think a final price is set, that's more of a question for the IceAge guys.
 
Sooo IceAge,

The Alpha kit and M8000 kit both come with the exact same spindle, correct?

The only difference between the two kits is that the M8000 has rails, right?

Well to get to my point: there's this "chatter" about Cat riders being upset because they are not able to only purchase the spindles... Why don't they just buy the Alpha kit and drill to the 3/4" top hole in the skid and get a longer limiter strap?

Any light shed on this dark unknown is greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
 

CO 2.0

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Same spindle. Only difference is one kit has rails. And the Alpha kit comes with a longer limiter strap.
 

IceAge Performance

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Sooo IceAge,

The Alpha kit and M8000 kit both come with the exact same spindle, correct?

The only difference between the two kits is that the M8000 has rails, right?

Well to get to my point: there's this "chatter" about Cat riders being upset because they are not able to only purchase the spindles... Why don't they just buy the Alpha kit and drill to the 3/4" top hole in the skid and get a longer limiter strap?

Any light shed on this dark unknown is greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
The spindles are the same between kits. Twin rail kits come with spindles and rails, the Alpha kits come with spindles, limiter strap and upgraded jounce bumpers.

From the other thread regarding elevate kits on Alpha vs twin rail skids

The twin rail skid and the mono rail may share a lot of characteristics but the shape of the bend of the rail, and exact skid geometry is NOT the same. This is what allowed us get away with a drop on the Alpha without rails. We were not able to produce twin rail kits without the new rails that we were proud of the handling. It bolts up and you can do it, but if your goal is dialed handling, you will not find it by doing that.
 

kidwoo

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So like everyone here, I'm a stubborn mother fvcker and will probably buy the alpha kit just to put the spindles on a non-alpha sled. The real question is of course, if we all discover you're completely correct and just doing the spindles sucks, will you then sell us just the rails to make it right? :face-icon-small-hap
 

madmax

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So like everyone here, I'm a stubborn mother fvcker and will probably buy the alpha kit just to put the spindles on a non-alpha sled. The real question is of course, if we all discover you're completely correct and just doing the spindles sucks, will you then sell us just the rails to make it right? :face-icon-small-hap

I highly doubt the average rider will notice any problems with the spindles on a twin rail.
 

jakey-boy

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So like everyone here, I'm a stubborn mother fvcker and will probably buy the alpha kit just to put the spindles on a non-alpha sled. The real question is of course, if we all discover you're completely correct and just doing the spindles sucks, will you then sell us just the rails to make it right? :face-icon-small-hap

Yep for $1795 and they include a spare set of spindles.
 

IceAge Performance

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So like everyone here, I'm a stubborn mother fvcker and will probably buy the alpha kit just to put the spindles on a non-alpha sled. The real question is of course, if we all discover you're completely correct and just doing the spindles sucks, will you then sell us just the rails to make it right? :face-icon-small-hap

For those who are determined to do things against our advice, yes you can do it. We can't stop you! lol. BUT, we also will sell you the rest of the parts when you are ready to do it right and enjoy the full potential of the kit.


I highly doubt the average rider will notice any problems with the spindles on a twin rail.

We actually had a customer do exactly what some have mentioned and ran just the spindles on his hardcore. He was definitely less then impressed with the results. While there were some benefits the overall handling of the sled left quite a bit to be desired. After a few rides with just spindles on, he ordered rails and was very pleased to unlock the full potential of the elevate package.
 
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kidwoo

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We actually had a customer do exactly what some have mentioned and ran just the spindles on his hardcore. He was definitely less then impressed with the results. While there were some benefits the overall handling of the sled left quite a bit to be desired. After a few rides with just spindles on, he ordered rails and was very pleased to unlock the full potential of the elevate package.


What's his number? :face-icon-small-hap
 

kanedog

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I switched out my ‘19 Alpha 165” for a Kmod 163. It has Iceage rails. Do I need new rails with the Elevate kit?
 

Chewy22

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I switched out my ‘19 Alpha 165” for a Kmod 163. It has Iceage rails. Do I need new rails with the Elevate kit?

I have read the elevate rails are different.

There is a post on Facebook, guy running the elevate spindles with the full k-mod skid.
 
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