Mountain sled for girlfriend

Backcountryben

New member
Feb 28, 2014
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Looking at getting a sled for my girlfriend but not sure what to do for size. Found a decent deal on a 2007 Polaris 600 with a 142 track. Is the what I should be looking for? She’s about 120lbs, will be mountain riding in Colorado. Not a super aggressive rider, but she will be boondocking. She used to have a 2002 mountain cat 151. Does she need the 800 151+ track or with her weight will the smaller engine and track be better?
 

jeffster

Member
Oct 13, 2016
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5
3
My wife is about the same size. We ride in OR and WA. I got a killer deal on an 800 153 that was too much sled for her, both in power and weight. She rode it for the first year and then I bought her a 600 153 and she did fantastic on it. She went everywhere she could go on the 800 but was a lot better on it and had more fun in the end. This year she wants to try the 800 again, so we'll see how she does. She had only been riding a couple years when she got the 800 so it was really too much too soon for her. Everyone is different of course.
 

Meadow Muffin

Well-known member
Jan 3, 2012
227
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SE Iowa
The longer the track the slower she will be able to go and pick lines without getting in trouble. The newer Polaris and Ski Doo’s have very little penalty in weight or rideability for the longer track lengths. My 16 yr old daughter (115lbs) is on a 800 163 Axis and loves it.


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Jason4

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2014
142
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Fairhaven
My wife started on a Summit 800 146, jumped to my Summit 800 154 last winter when I got a new 850 165. She rode my sled a little last year and then spring checked a new Summit Expert 165.

She's ~130lbs and only 5'3" so not very big either but she's a rock/ice climber so she's pretty strong for her size. She has a lot more finesse on her sled than I do on mine, I can push mine around a bit more but she has to balance and play the throttle to hold her lines. The longer tracks/taller paddles make it easier to go slow and pick lines and also gives just a little more time to decide when to bail out of a steep climb.

Nice sleds make the riding just a little easier and that keeps the girlfriends around a little longer. Of course, if you want to get out and ride with friends and want her to stay home then get her some wide carb'ed beast and she'll only come out on sunny trail days.
 

MI1M600EFI

Premium Member
Premium Member
Nov 15, 2008
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Mancos, CO
My wife is 5'4 / 115lbs, and fairly athletic. I started her on a 65hp z440 sno pro that I longtracked. We didn't get to ride a lot, but after several years, it was holding her back and she was excited to move beyond it.
I had her ride my M8 153 for a few rides, and she did fairly well, but it was a bear for her to manage in low powder, and she had absolutely zero chance of starting it, even warm.

After some research, I decided that a Polaris 600 Pro-RMK was probably a good fit... Lightest mountain sled out there, and pre-axis pricing fairly reasonable. Additionally, the 600 was touted as super easy to start... I bought one from a dealer that was on our way to a week of riding in West Yellowstone. We didn't even bring her old 440, since we knew the Polaris was going to be awesome...

We were fooled by the internet... First, the 600 was not super easy to start. It pulled over easy enough, but she could barely pull it fast enough to get it to catch and run. She'd pull it three or four times before it would light, while it would light on the first pull for the rest of us every time. On top of that, the suspension was HORRIBLE. I'm now convinced that a shock service may have helped, but with the springs on full soft, this sled rode like a tank even with my 220lb buddy riding it. It was NOT a good fit for her at all, and a buddy and I took turns getting abused by it while she rode one of our M8's.

While in West Yellowstone, we discovered that HighMark Rental was selling a bunch of their sleds. Mitch let us ride a '18 Cat 600 around in the field for half an hour or so. It was SO much easier to ride than my M8 or the Polaris. She could turn it, pull it up on edge, etc. In half an hour, she was doing things on the Cat that none of us could get the Polaris to do. While it did pull start fairly hard, it had ELECTRIC START.

We offed the Polaris to some poor sucker as soon as we got home. Made a trip up and picked up Mitch's last 600 Cat. She loves it. I have not ridden it yet, as I'm afraid that if I ride it, I'll NEED one, and I need to get a couple more years out of the M8...

Moral of the story: Especially for small size riders, rIde before you buy. Judging a sled by reviews on the internet may work OK for normal sized riders, but for "little people", it's very worthwhile to have them ride the actual sled... I'd say that in general, the Polaris chassis is set up for taller/larger riders. The bars were way too high for a shorter rider, and it was impossible for any of us to get it up on edge... Also, starting an 800 without electric start of some sort may be completely out of the question for some smaller ladies... A theoretically light and "flickkable" sled may prove to be more of a tank than you would think...

As for size, an 800 153 is almost exactly the same sled as a 600 153. The 600 is easier to pull start. That's the big difference. I also think keeping the track shorter is a good idea for any newer rider. Realize too that a 120lb gal on a 153 will be able to outclimb a 220lb rider on a 163 most of the time once she gets the hang of it. (IE, if she's aggressive, be prepared to have to work to be "better" than her at some things...)

DO put her on the best sled you can fine for her. I got lucky that my wife dealt with the POS I built for a few years, but as soon as she asked about a better sled, I did what was necessary to get her on a sled that worked for her, not a spare sled for me, or a hand me down sled...

Good Luck!!
 
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Backcountryben

New member
Feb 28, 2014
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Thanks for the reply’s everyone. I’m gonna go ahead and get the 600 if I can. Can’t afford a new sled so not much of a way to test one out but it’s cheap and I can always sell it if needed. I’ll let her ride my 800 too and if she likes that more look into getting rid of the 600 for another 8
 

kcj1317

Premium Member
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Sep 29, 2012
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Edmonds Washington, St Charles Idaho
I'd say don't handicap her by getting her a lesser sled "because she's new" or anything like that. Also, assuming she likes it, I would rather my girl grew into a sled vs out of it thus having to buy another sled down the road.

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Mafesto

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2007
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Northeast SD
From the title of the thread, I thought that you were looking to trade your girlfriend for a mountain sled, or vice versa.
Frankly, I'm not looking for either one, but was hoping for some nice pictures showing the marketable features.