Based on our research, 8 of the best snowmobiles for senior riders are as follows:
- Arctic Cat F6 EFI
- Arctic Cat TZ1 (non-turbo)
- Polaris Dragon 700 D7
- Polaris XC 600
- Polaris Indy 500/ 550/600
- Ski-Doo Renegade 900 ACE
- Ski-Doo Expedition 900 ACE
- Ski-Doo Sport Grand Touring 600/900 ACE
If you want to find out more about the factors you should consider before purchasing a senior snowmobile, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
Which is the Best Snowmobile for Senior Riders?
If you are a senior rider looking for a new sled, you need a machine that is comfortable and very easy to ride.
Let’s discuss the six key factors that you should consider in picking the best senior sled!
1. Engine Strokes
It’s safe to say that one of the most important considerations is the engine strokes.
If you are not mechanically inclined, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a 4-stroke sled.
4-strokes are much more dependable than their 2-stroke counterparts. What’s more, they have good fuel economy, meaning that you won’t have to carry lots of extra fuel with you. This results in less hassle and a lower curb weight.
On the other hand, you may want to stay away from turbocharged 4-stroke engines, as they are more expensive, have worse fuel economy, and tend to be less reliable.
You can’t go wrong with naturally-aspirated Ski-Doo 600 or 900 ACE engines, which are planted in many popular Ski-Doos.
One of the major complaints against 4-strokes is their heavy weight, which can be an issue for older riders.
If you are looking for the lightest snowmobiles available, you should take a look at small-bore 2-stroke models.
These lightweight sleds are easy to ride and toss around, but they won’t be among the fastest machines on the trails.
If you want to stick with a 2-stroke, don’t forget that it comes with lower reliability, so it is much more likely to leave you stranded, not to mention the mess and hassle you’ll have dealing with the oil!
As far as the fuel system, best practice would be to invest in a fuel-injected model. The throttle of carbed sleds are much harder to pull, which can result in massive hand fatigue on longer rides.
However, you can also install a motorcycle throttle on a carbed sled to make handling the throttle easier and more convenient.
2. Suspensions and Chassis
Besides the engine, the chassis and suspension system of the sled in no less important.
A tippy and unpredictable chassis can cause many headaches since it’s hard to ride and rolls over much easier, even when you don’t want it to.
This can be a key factor, especially if you are looking for an off-trail sled. If you are a senior rider, more than likely you just want to keep up with your younger riding buddies, rather than keep falling into powder.
Because of this, the best senior snowmobiles have stable solid chassis with a sway bar.
In most cases, the lower the chassis the more stability it provides due to the low center of gravity.
As an example, the Twin Spar chassis of an Arctic Cat is considered to be one of the most stable and comfortable snowmobile chassis ever built. The deservedly popular Arctic Cat F6 EFI and TZ1 models were built on this chassis.
You should also pay attention to the suspensions, especially if you have sore joints.
As a rule of thumb, the stiffer the suspension the more precise control and responsiveness you can expect. In contrast, stiffer suspensions offer less comfort as they can’t smooth out bumpy rides.
Therefore, if you are looking for a great senior sled, you should consider smoother suspensions requiring little steering effort for convenient and “painless” rides.
When it comes to senior snowmobiles, the seat is often overlooked.
But there’s no question that a comfortable saddle can make a huge difference in the riding experience.
Many snowmobiles feature a low seating position, which forces your knees to fold up. In the worst-case scenario, this awkward position causes your knees to be so sore that you have difficulty getting off the machine at the end of the day.
This is where higher snowmobile seats come into play.
Newer sleds usually have much more comfortable seats, which are far more comfortable than the low, bench-like seats of vintage sleds.
What’s more, newer machines offer a “rider forward” seating position that also translates to increased comfort.
If you fall in love with a sled that has a lower seat don’t worry, as you can raise it in many ways.
There’s no question that the best senior snowmobiles feature a reverse system.
This comes in handy in many situations like parking and loading/unloading the sled, or when it comes to getting unstuck from deep snow.
So, make sure that the sled you decide to purchase comes with reverse as standard, as installing an aftermarket reverse kit on a snowmobile is always a big hassle.
5. Electric Start
Just like reverse, an electric start is also a game-changer on a snowmobile, especially for older riders.
Yanking the pull-chord is not only tiring but it can also result in a back strain.
If you are afraid of the extra weight of the electric starter and the battery, you should take a closer look at Ski-Doo’s SHOT system.
This revolutionary electric start comes without a battery and electric motor, as it uses ultracapacitors and a magneto to fire up the engine.
6. Convenience Features
Besides reverse and an electric start, don’t forget other convenience features that can make your rides more comfortable.
Some of the most recommended features for senior sledders are heated seats, heated grips, hand warmers, and tall windshields.
The good news is that these can be virtually retrofitted on every sled regardless of its make and model.
Takeaways – FAQs About Senior Snowmobiles
As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the best senior snowmobiles.
Which are the best snowmobiles for senior riders?
A good senior snowmobile has many important features, but the most important ones are as follows:
- Reliable fuel-injected engine
- Stable and predictable chassis
- Comfortable suspensions and easy steering
- High seat for the most knee comfort
- Electric start
- Some optional comfort features (heated grips, seat, etc.)
Which snowmobile is the most comfortable one to ride?
The most comfortable snowmobiles are arguably the touring models. These sleds come with smooth engines, comfortable suspensions, and many bells and whistles as standard.
Which snobile is the most stable?
The most stable snowmobiles are the utility and sport-utility sleds like the Ski-Doo Tundra and Skandic. These machines feature a heavy-duty chassis and fairly wide tracks, which offer plenty of stability.
How old is too old to ride a snowmobile?
As reported by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), the average snowmobiler is 46 years old and only 8% of them are older than 70 years.
If you take a close look at other riders, you can also notice that most of them fall into an age range of 30-60.
What’s more, some riders are in their 60s or even 70s and can still ride their sleds in the backcountry.
Sure, they are in very good shape and have plenty of experience. It seems that practicing and doing regular exercise keeps these riders in the game for the long run!
Ultimately, the age at which a snowmobiler should stop riding depends on their mental acuity, physical strength, and overall health.