is a freestyle 550 too big?

i've been shopping around for a kids sled, and the doo freestyle models look like a good choice for my 10 & 7 year old kids. hard sled to find in my neck of the woods, but i did locate a 550 model that's within range.

only thing is, 550 strikes me as being a bit too much for their first sled. probably perfect, in a few years time, which is an interesting thought... they wont outgrow it for a while... i also like the idea of it being a sled that the wife can ride once in a while.

has anyone gone this route, but tamed it down a bit with, clutching, gearing, etc, and then stepped it up as they became more capable riders? or am i just asking for trouble?


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Dec 1, 2007
Cody, WY
My 7&8 year old grandkids handled the 550 IQ just fine. Gear it down if your concerned.
They stepped from there to my 800 with no problems.


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Dec 8, 2007
This is such an impossible question to answer because the expectation levels vary so drastically with each individual person.

Some people think of "riding a snowmobile" and they might equate it roughly with the kind of riding that somebody might do on a Utility 4-wheeler like a Honda Rincon. You're just riding it down a trail or you are just riding across some fields or some meadows or something likely pretty chill with your butt likely on the seat. Let's call this Grandma riding.

Other people think of "riding a snowmobile" and they equate it more with what you might see somebody doing on Honda CRF250 motorcycle. Now we are talking about racing, jumping, flinging the bike around, and more likely your butt is off the seat way more often than it is not. Let's call this Kesterke riding, named after the guy currently pushing the boundary of this type of riding, Caleb Kesterke.

So I don't know where your expectations are and where the expectations of your kids are. But I can promise you, that unless your 7 year old is the most exceptional rider the world has ever seen, they will be doing a lot more Grandma riding on that freestyle 550 than they will be doing Kesterke riding. Even for your 10 year old, if he/she hasn't been previously trained on a smaller sled, will likely still be a ways off from doing almost anything more than Grandma riding on a sled that size for quite a while.

Here is my 6 year old boy on a full size Mountain Max 600. If I think riding a snowmobile is like riding a Honda Rincon, then I might come on here and tell you that my 6 year old did awesome on a full size sled, and yours can too.

However, here are a few videos of the same kid, and a few of his buddies, a few years later on some snoscoots. Now they are really riding that dang thing and beginning to learn the skills necessary to ride a machine more like a Honda CRF250.

But the snoscoots do run out of power pretty quickly, and for the older kids, even though they can still do an amazing job of teaching the kids more riding skills, they will want more power as they hit somewhere around 9 or 10.

That is where my buddy from above got his kid a freestyle 300 and you can see how great he did on the 300.

The freestyle 300 helps the kids keep progressing in this direction due primarily to the very narrow ski stance and the light weight (370 pounds dry stock).

The freestyle 300 is an exceptional sled that offers a lot of significant things that can't be found in almost any other sleds and certainly not any modern sleds. The freestyle 550? not so special. It's basically just another phazer just like the phazers and 500's that came before it and much like the EVO and now somewhat the Blast after it. Something in the ballpark of 50-60 HP. Something in the ballpark of a little over 400 pounds. Something in the ballpark of a 39" ski stance. They all pretty much fall in that same category and they are all very similar in those regards. Still, in many cases, those are good stats for folks that are a little smaller that want a sled that is a little smaller. Probably not the best place for your 7 year old to start though, and maybe not even the best place for a 10 year old if they really are just starting out. They will still have fun and stuff, it's just that a smaller machine would have done more to help them learn to ride the snowmobile instead of just learning to ride on the snowmobile.
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i don't expect my kids to be riding like cody on this thing. at least not this season. just cruise around and figure out what a snowmobile is about. i'm more concerned about the possibility of them doing the whiskey throttle on a 550, vs. doing it on something smaller. next would be that 39" ski stance and 16" wide track. might be good in the short term, but might hold them back in the future.


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Mar 7, 2010
I started my oldest boy on a zr 200 at 4 yrs old he rode it till he blew the engine and wore the wheels off the track. Last yr at 6 I bought him a freestyle 550 he put 700 miles on it from beginning of March until the end of April he loves it. That being said he isn't big enough to get it on edge or to properly pull it over in deep snow so he gets stuck when turning around a fair bit but he would be stuck on a smaller machine as well. The freestyle is a great learning sled very reliable and mild mannered. If yours doesn't have e start its easy to install afterwards and highly recommended.
haha, that's awesome. glad to hear.

we do have the e-start and reverse, and i'm pretty happy about that. we got to take a few spins around the yard so far, but it's all melted again. the steering did feel a little heavy to me, but considering that there was no base, and i can see that the ski runners hit the grass in a few spots, it's probably a little too early to make a judgement call on that.
my boy did well at his first lesson in throttle control. my girl was a bit too shy to try it that day. need some more big dumps so we can hit the trails around our neighborhood.

i was thinking that maybe next year i'll keep an eye out for the 32" front end and give that a shot. should be a lot easier to learn the pow skills that way. i don't expect them to do much more than trail ride this year.

polaris dude

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Jun 5, 2009
Grand Junction, CO
well, everything kept falling into place, like it was meant to be. the 550 freestyle is now ours. looks like it's just in time for snow. now, just to come up with a good method of limiting their speed.....

Can you glue some sort of small piece of wood or something under the throttle? Kinda crude, but seems like it would work either gluing it onto the bar itself or the flipper. Not sure how hard it would be to get a govenor or limiter on a sled lol
i was thinking something along those lines. but what i had in mind was more like a block held to the bar with a hose clamp or something. then i could easily loosen it off, swing it out of the way, then swing it back into position, depending on who's riding, or the situation.


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Nov 26, 2007
Los Angeles
Well I hear you. My son now 14 started on a 120 all stock at 6. He was sidehilling on 120 by 7 years old. Put him on a 600 RMK 144 at 11 and did trail riding but wouldnt try to side hill. Went to a 550 would stay on the trail at 12 BUT friend had a "clutched 120 went 20MPH and he manhandled it sidehilling. Not so on the 550 mostly stuck on the trails and meadows. went to a Skidoo 850 really geared down 154" SHOT with clutch engagement around 2200 RPM at age 13. Was sidehilling after a handfull of rides. Good luck DAD i say give him couple sled options to let them go back to small sled and larger sled. The 550 will last for only a year or 2 if you boondock ... unless you mod it with a mountain track.


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Dec 12, 2007
Donnelly, ID
Tater started on a 120. Took him off because he was bending the frame flat-landing it off jumps. Indy 340 Deluxe next sled. No traction. Modded it, long track, good sled. Then I let him ride my 850. He wouldn't touch his sled again. Last 2 years 2016 M6000. He hasn't wrecked it. He rips sleds, but not homework. Hi is a big ten year old. But got the 6000 when he was 7. It all depends on the kid. Mine has more brawn that brain, lol. Seriously. Worried about his future.


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