With the first snowfall comes the anticipation of another snowmobiling season. And with every new season, comes a list of goodies that we'd love to have on our sled. With the help of some good friends, who are experienced riders, I made up a wish list list of sled items. Here's what I chose and why.
1) Snow Shovel
No need for those fancy $50-100 dollar dealership or backcountry store avalanche shovels. I got exactly what I wanted for $14.99 at Wal-Mart; a light, compactable shovel, perfect for digging out of those inevitable situations where you tested your machine's capabilities in deep powder (ie. you got stuck!). My shovel packs up perfectly on my backpack, and can be 'bungied' onto my back rack/gas caddy. Save the extra money for gas, it's much more fun.
2) Handlebar Guards
I highly recomend the 'Skinz Protective Gear' brand soft covers, purchased at Royal Distributing (p.232 in Winter catalogue) for $39.95. These covers have already proven their worth with my first 'yard sale' of the season, a roll over in a local gravelpit that sent everything flying. The soft cover style didn't break, and offered a better fit than the plastic style's that are more popular. Again, save your money, and get a better product.
3) Shock Covers
Another 'no brainer'. I got these from ebay for $40 bucks, and they too will prove to be an invaluable item. For any adventures off the beaten path you need shock protection. Rubber gaskets are vunerable to nicks, scrapes, and debris which can be easily avoided with a cheap sock style cover or neoprene sleeve. Which would you rather buy, a $40 shock cover, or 2-3 hours of garage labour plus parts to fix those nice Fox or Walker Evans shocks?
4) Knee Guards/Pads
For any 'modern' style, forward riding design sled, another must have. Taking turns at 60-80 mph on rough terrain creates a tremendous amount of abuse on your knees and shins, especially if they're slamming into your gas tank all day. With these pads you can not only have a more comfortable ride, but actually use them to help brace hard going into turns and bumps. I bought mine at a local dealer for $40 bucks. E-bay and Royal Dis. have them as well. Say bye-bye to some of the trail bruises with this great product.
5) New Rear Springs
This product is a very cheap way to save your suspension and your spine if you're a big guy (ie. 6'4", 250lbs) like me. On the advice of a buddy of mine, I bought 2 heavy duty springs (stock items on the BRP Grand Touring models) and replaced the rear stock springs on my '05 Renegade. The difference is very noticeable, and welcomed. After launching the sled off a few smaller hills, I already noticed that it doesn't 'bottom out'. The stiffer rear suspension springs means a longer lifetime on the rest of my sled's suspension. I bought these for $60 bucks at my local dealer. They were easy to install, money well spent.
6) Handlebar Bag
I bought mine from 'True North Gear' off ebay. This particular bag is one of a kind in that it provides a ton of storage plus it covers up all the wiring on your high rise bar. All zippers are 'welded' meaning they are water/windproof for electronic items like cell phones, car starters, or for extra clothes, lighters, etc. The size is relatively compact and unlike bulky windshield or tunnel bags you can access the items almost on the fly. It's a great bag, and a must for every snowmobiler. I bought mine on ebay for $50 bucks.
I never thought I'd ask for this in Western Newfoundland, but we are having a very mild January to date and need alot of the white stuff. I thought Santa would have pulled through for us in December, because we've all been good riders, bought our trail stickers, and packed our safety equipment with care. Next year please send us about 6 feet of powder in November.
This article is sponsored by AxXxtionSports.com