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Hello all,

I am very new to snowmobiling, this year being my first year. I picked up a '93 Arctic Cat Cougar 440 for this season which has been a blast so far, but the hunger for more is already here.

I'm wanting a sled that is capable of trail riding, however, I would like to be able to get off the trail and ride some powder as well. I'm not sure how much I could sell my Cougar for, but budget would probably be in the $1,000 - $1,500 range, fully aware this is a tight budget.

What recommendations for sleds do you guys have? I don't need anything ridiculously fancy, just something capable that will allow me to ride like this. Thank you all in advance!
 

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Hello all,

I am very new to snowmobiling, this year being my first year. I picked up a '93 Arctic Cat Cougar 440 for this season which has been a blast so far, but the hunger for more is already here.

I'm wanting a sled that is capable of trail riding, however, I would like to be able to get off the trail and ride some powder as well. I'm not sure how much I could sell my Cougar for, but budget would probably be in the $1,000 - $1,500 range, fully aware this is a tight budget.

What recommendations for sleds do you guys have? I don't need anything ridiculously fancy, just something capable that will allow me to ride like this. Thank you all in advance!
Welcome to the site.

If you want to stick with Arctic Cat, early 2000's ZL/ZR's (440, 500, 550, 570 f/c, 600, 800 and 900's) should be in your price range.

NYH1.
 

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sorry not what your going to want to hear, but NOTHING will be a great reliable sled off trail for 1,000-1500 unless you happen across a deal of a life time, from someone desperate a nd needs cash and willing to take a loss GIG time

any sled in this price range will either be many yrs old, as in before sleds really got any good at being OFF trail, short skids, and low lug tracks!



the true more modern off trail capable sleds will end up costing you more than what your budget is at, say closer to 2500-3000 IMO
and the difference in what they will do is light yrs apart than older NOT really made to be off trail sleds

best advice is SAVE up, READ up, on models that really started to shine off trail.
not trying to discourage you here, just trying to stop you from wasting money and not being happy, getting stuck all the time gets old REAL fast, unless your really young and have boat loads of extra energy to waste!
 

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Most any trail sled MY2000 and up can be very capable of riding off trail, you will learn a few tricks, never stop on an up slope, when in doubt gas it, always look where you want the sled to go. Some are better than others here is a pic of a couple with the 13.5" wide track that many on this site will tell you they are only good for Ice LOL.
 

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I'm wanting a sled that is capable of trail riding, however, I would like to be able to get off the trail and ride some powder as well.
How much powder? If not too much one can have fun on a short track too if it got enough lug.
e,g like a early 2000 zr600 or xc600 which came with 1.25"
For more (ie longer) track, look at crossovers like the Crossfire / renegades / switchbacks.

Also how mechanically adept are you?
 

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Welcome to the site.

If you want to stick with Arctic Cat, early 2000's ZL/ZR's (440, 500, 550, 570 f/c, 600, 800 and 900's) should be in your price range.

NYH1.
All those AC are great options at that price range. I would stick to the 600cc range a lot more realizable than bigger bore 2strokers. Here are a few more to think about Any 03,04 polaris pro x, xc or xcsp 600s - the 600 motor is very reliable and don’t forget the 03 ski doo rev.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Most any trail sled MY2000 and up can be very capable of riding off trail, you will learn a few tricks, never stop on an up slope, when in doubt gas it, always look where you want the sled to go. Some are better than others here is a pic of a couple with the 13.5" wide track that many on this site will tell you they are only good for Ice LOL.
Sorry for these uneducated questions, but how do I know if one is a "trail sled"? Also, are you saying snowmobiles from 2000 and newer are generally decent? Is there certain track lengths, etc. I should pay close attention to?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm wanting a sled that is capable of trail riding, however, I would like to be able to get off the trail and ride some powder as well.
How much powder? If not too much one can have fun on a short track too if it got enough lug.
e,g like a early 2000 zr600 or xc600 which came with 1.25"
For more (ie longer) track, look at crossovers like the Crossfire / renegades / switchbacks.

Also how mechanically adept are you?
Where I ride there's groomed trails, however, I'd like the option to mess around off trail a bit. I'm thinking the longer tracks would be more what I'd want. I am capable of some things mechanically, it depends just exactly what.
 

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For the year and price range your looking at - Track lengths 121 with an inch or less lug length is consider mainly a trail sled - if you want to do off trail riding get a 1.25 lug track or bigger - like others have said you’ll have limited options at that price range and model yr. Off trail sleds in 04 is a lot different than today.
 

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Most manufacturers started offering machines with 136" tracks with 1 1/2" paddle tracks in the mid 90s. This was the beginning of the off trail/back country machines. Depending upon your location, those machines are probably in the lower end of the financial range you mentioned. In the early 2000s tracks took another jump in length and track ranging from mid 40s to upper 50s began showing up. These machines are probably at the upper range that you mentioned. Big jump came in mid 2000s when rider forward machines arrived on the scene. These would be more desirable but are probably higher than you want to spend. Prices will drop as spring approaches so keep watching.
 

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Yeah, Arctic cat's early 2000's ZL/ZR's is the only I can think of on your price range, maybe you should just save up and buy a newer model since that'll be more reliable.
 

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I just sold a 2006 Ski Doo GSX 550 fan with 2400 miles on it for $2000.00. mine was really clean and just needed a new battery. Im sure there are more around in that price range. I know its $500 more than your limit but its a dependable rider forward trail ready sled with electric start and reverse that anyone can ride. If I were in your shoes thats what I'd be searching for. If you just cant spend that much a Ski Doo MXZ 583, or an Indy 500 would be my second choices
 

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I would look for an Arctic Cat crossfire 600 or 700cc. Might be a little higher than $1,500. Also, every once in a while I see an older Arctic cat mountain cat on Craigslist. Don't know anything about them. I had an 03 ZL 600 efi in the past. I can't imagine much off trail riding with a 121 inch track and a 1 inch lug.
 

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Where I ride there's groomed trails, however, I'd like the option to mess around off trail a bit. I'm thinking the longer tracks would be more what I'd want. I am capable of some things mechanically, it depends just exactly what.
Early 2000's, carburetors, 133-136" track

Don't overlook fan-cooled engines - they are a better value, lighter, easier to work on and more capable than you think.

A warning about engines: Bigger sounds better, and it sure is nice to fantasize about having enough power to scare the crap out of you. But, that much power will also take you to the scene of the crash.

I've known newer sledders who thought they could keep up with experienced riders, and those people rode fast. They're always wrong, and it's a lot riskier than you think.

My advice: Bide your time this winter with what you have. Learn to snowmobile. What you have is more capable than you think it is, learn how to find its limits and ride on the edge of those limits.

In a couple of months, snowmobiles are going to start appearing on Craigslist cheaper than they are right now. Start search and researching. By the time snow is about gone, the supply of sleds on Craigslist will start to dry up and it's time to decide whether you've found something you like or not.

Now is actually a bad time to buy a new sled, because there will be teething problems and downtime while you wait for parts and try to figure out how to fix the new sled. You'll also pay a premium. If you ride what you have now and then wait a couple of months, you'll be better off.
 

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Early 2000's, carburetors, 133-136" track

Don't overlook fan-cooled engines - they are a better value, lighter, easier to work on and more capable than you think.

A warning about engines: Bigger sounds better, and it sure is nice to fantasize about having enough power to scare the crap out of you. But, that much power will also take you to the scene of the crash.

I've known newer sledders who thought they could keep up with experienced riders, and those people rode fast. They're always wrong, and it's a lot riskier than you think.

My advice: Bide your time this winter with what you have. Learn to snowmobile. What you have is more capable than you think it is, learn how to find its limits and ride on the edge of those limits.

In a couple of months, snowmobiles are going to start appearing on Craigslist cheaper than they are right now. Start search and researching. By the time snow is about gone, the supply of sleds on Craigslist will start to dry up and it's time to decide whether you've found something you like or not.

Now is actually a bad time to buy a new sled, because there will be teething problems and downtime while you wait for parts and try to figure out how to fix the new sled. You'll also pay a premium. If you ride what you have now and then wait a couple of months, you'll be better off.
Probably the best advice you will get on this subject!:bc:
 
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