Crossover snowmobiles are dual-purpose sleds that do a good job in both on and off-trail conditions. They are typically powered by 120-200+ HP engines that propel a medium-length, 141”-153” track. Simply put, these versatile machines are halfway between the mountain and trail-specific snowmobiles.
If you want to find out more about crossover snowmobiles, this post is for you. We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
What Is a Crossover Snowmobile?
As the name suggests, crossover snowmobiles (or X-over snowmobiles) are designed to go anywhere. You can ride them on and off-trail, back and forth, based on your needs.
The crossover snowmobile segment was born around the millennium. At that time, both mountain and trail sleds were becoming more and more specialized.
As a side effect, demand had emerged for a new type of snowmobile class that combined the best of both worlds.
To satisfy the market, manufacturers created the new crossover segment, offering these new versatile sleds.
This new segment is intended to fill the gap between mountain sleds with 163”-175” tracks and short-tracked trail machines. Therefore, the majority of crossover sleds come with 141”-153” tracks.
The ski stance and suspensions on crossover sleds are often adjustable to adapt to both off-trail and on-trail applications.
Thanks to this versatility, these machines offer a balanced riding position and easy handling under all conditions.
So, if you want to ride on the trails but look for banging ditches and regularly go off-trail, then crossover snowmobiles are for you.
The Drawbacks of Crossover Snowmobiles
Let’s face it since they are designed for mixed-usage, crossover snowmobiles are not perfect in any one area. Many riders say that they are a kind of “jack of all trades and master of none” machines.
They are not as good on the trails as their trail-specific counterparts and perform worse in deep snow than mountain sleds.
Therefore, contrary to popular belief, crossover snowmobiles are not intended for mountain riding.
Instead, they are designed for riders who primarily ride on flatlands and want to ride on a variety of terrains.
Taking a crossover sled into the mountains is typically not a good idea, as they will lag far behind real mountain sleds. While they can ride on spring hardpack, deep powdery snow can be a real challenge, especially on steep slopes.
This can be a problem if you want to ride with a group in which everyone else is on a mountain sled!
Another problem is that there’s massive confusion among riders (and manufacturers!) about what “crossover snowmobile” actually means. The root of this is probably that different manufacturers are targeting different buyers.
As a rule of thumb, there are two different types of crossover snowmobile riders out there: off-trail sledders who occasionally want to ride on trails and trail riders who sometimes head off trail.
As you might assume, each group is looking for a sled with different capabilities.
Although every manufacturer markets their crossovers as perfectly balanced “50/50” machines, it’s clear that some of them offer better off-trail handling while others do a better job in powder.
For instance, many riders say that the Polaris Assault series performs better on the trails, while the Ski-Doo Backcountry models are some of the best crossover snowmobiles for off-trail use.
However, this is probably just the result of chance rather than conscious planning.
According to SuperTraxMag, the ideal would be if we could get purpose-built, 75/25 trail-specific, and 25/75 off-trail intended crossover sleds.
But unfortunately, we apparently still have to wait for these unique sleds!
Who Makes the Best Crossover Sled?
It’s safe to say that the four major snowmobile manufacturers make the best crossover sleds: Ski-Doo, Polaris, Yamaha, and Arctic Cat. Let’s take a closer look at their models!
Which Crossover Snowmobile is the Best?
There are many great models out there, but the newest and best crossover snowmobiles are as follows:
- Ski-Doo Renegade series
- Ski-Doo Backcountry series
- Polaris Switchback series
- Arctic Cat Riot, Riot X
- Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX, B-TX
Building a Crossover Sled
If you can’t find one that suits your needs, your other option is to build a crossover snowmobile.
Since building a sled from scratch is an enormous project, most custom crossover snowmobiles are made from a stock mountain or trail sled.
For example, you can turn a trail sled into a crossover if you install a shorter mountain track and replace the front end. You can also make some other tweaks, like raising the handlebar for a more comfortable stand-up riding position.
Compared to other segments, the supply of stock crossover sleds is typically limited, but this trick opens many new possibilities for you!
Crossover Snowmobile Features
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and see what makes a crossover snowmobile a crossover snowmobile!
Crossover Snowmobile Engines
Crossover snowmobiles are typically powered by 600-850cc 2-stroke or 600-1000cc 4-stroke engines that produce about 120-200+ HP. The most powerful crossover snowmobiles are arguably the 4-stroke models, as many of them are powered by a 900-1000cc turbocharged engine.
What’s more, besides their high performance, 4-stroke engines are well-known for their reliability and durability, especially the naturally-aspirated units.
Besides their advantages, we must mention that these models are also the heaviest crossover sleds on the market. And it’s common knowledge in the sledding world that heavy snowmobiles and deep snow don’t mix well at all, as the chassis can sink in deep powder much easier.
Because of this, 4-stroke X-over sleds are more trail-oriented models with limited off-trail capabilities. The general rule is that the lighter the sled, the more fun it can offer off-trail.
Crossover Snowmobile Chassis and Suspensions
Crossover snowmobiles often share their chassis and the suspensions with their trail-specific brothers. Their front suspension typically offers 9”-10” of travel, while the rear suspension has a travel of 13”-14”.
The length of the tunnel varies depending on the track size.
Crossover Snowmobile Tracks
Crossover snowmobile tracks are often referred to as “middle-sized tracks” as they are typically 141”-153” long and 15” wide. The typical track lengths for crossover sleds are 141”, 144”, 146”, and 153”. However, some riders use 163” mountain tracks or 136” trail tracks on their crossover sleds. The lug depth also varies widely from 1.25” up to 2.6”, but the majority of these tracks come with 1.25”-1.6” lugs.
In contrast, trail sleds utilize 121”-136” tracks while mountain-specific snowmobiles are propelled by 163”-175” tracks.
The optimal track size for a crossover snowmobile depends on various factors like the purpose of use, terrain and snow conditions, plus the skills and size of the rider.
To be more specific, if you are looking for a machine primarily for trail use, you should consider a shorter, 141”-146” track. But if you are a bigger guy, you will also need a bigger track that offers adequate floatation in off-trail situations.
Finally, if you are a beginner or a female rider, you can’t go wrong with a shorter track, as it’s easier to handle.
It’s also good to know that just like trail tracks, crossover tracks can also be studded for a better grip.
Crossover Snowmobile Specification Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the average specifications of crossover snowmobiles into one chart:
|Engine type||600 – 850cc 2-stroke or 900 -1000cc 4-stroke|
|Top speed (mph)||90-110|
|Ski stance (in.)||40-44|
|Track length (in.)||141-153|
|Track width (in.)||15|
|Lug height (in.)||1.25-2.6|
|Front suspension travel (in.)||9-10|
|Rear suspension travel (in.)||13-14|
|Fuel cap. (gal)||9-16|
|Dry Weight (lbs.)||450-600|
Crossover Snowmobile Comparison Chart
Let’s compare crossover snowmobiles to another type of sled by the numbers!
|Category||Youth (120)||Youth (200)||Mid-Sized||Trail||Performance||Crossover||Mountain||Touring||Utility|
|Engine type||120cc, 4-stroke single||200cc, 4-stroke single||300 -550cc 2-stroke||550 – 850cc 2-stroke or 600-1050cc 4-stroke||600 – 850cc 2-stroke or 900-1000cc 4-stroke||600 – 850cc 2-stroke or 900 -1000cc 4-stroke||650 – 850cc 2 stroke||400 -600cc 2 – stroke or 600 -1050cc 4 -stroke||540 – 850cc 2-stroke, or 600 -1050cc 4 -stroke|
|Top speed (mph)||8 (limited)||30 (limited)||50-65||65-110||100-120||90-110||80-90||60-110||50-70|
|Ski stance (in.)||27-31||31||32-39||38-43||42-44||40-44||36-38||39-43||35-38|
|Track length (in.)||67-69||93||121-146||121-137||129-137||141-153||153-175||137-155||135-154|
|Track width (in.)||10||10||14-15||14-15||15||15||15-16||15||20|
|Lug height (in.)||0.60-0.80||1.0||1.0-2.0||1-1.25||1.25-1.75||1.25-2.6||2.5-3||1.25-1.75||1.25-2.25|
|Front suspension travel (in.)||3-5||4-5||6-8||4-10||9-10||9-10||7-9||6-9||6-7|
|Rear suspension travel (in.)||5-7||8-9||11-15||9-16||13-16||13-14||9-15||10-15||9-11|
|Fuel cap. (gal)||0.45-0.5||2||9-12||10-12||9-12||9-16||9-12||9-13||11-15|
|Dry Weight (lbs.)||150-170||200||370-430||450-550||450-650||450-600||450-500||470-650||500-700|
Takeaways – FAQs About Crossover Snowmobiles
As a takeaway, we’ve listed the most common questions about crossover snowmobiles.
How fast can a crossover snowmobile go?
The top speed of crossover snowmobiles typically ranges from 90 mph up to 110 mph on hard-packed snow. Therefore, you can expect a slightly lower top speed and acceleration on these sleds like their trail counterparts.
How much does a crossover snowmobile weigh?
The weight of crossover snowmobiles ranges from 450 up to 600 pounds. The lightest crossover sleds are the 2-stroke models, as they weigh about 450-500 pounds. The dry weight of these sleds is about 600 pounds, while the wet weight can reach a whopping 650 pounds! At the other end of the spectrum, you can find the heaviest machines with turbocharged 4-stroke engines.
What size is a crossover snowmobile?
Crossover snowmobiles are typically about 130” long, 46”-48” wide, and 48”-50” high, while their ski stance is about 40”-44”.
Which track length is best for a crossover snowmobile?
The best track length for a crossover snowmobile is 141”, 144”, 146”, and 153”. These crossover tracks are typically 15” inches wide and feature 1.25”-2.6” lugs.
What kind of engine is in a crossover snowmobile?
Crossover snowmobiles are powered by 600-850cc 2-stroke or 600-1000cc 4-stroke engines, while the flagship models come with 900-1000cc turbocharged engines.
How much horsepower does a crossover snowmobile have?
The majority of crossover snowmobiles deliver 120-200+ horsepower.
What is a Switchback Snowmobile?
Switchback is the brand name of Polaris’ crossover snowmobile line.
Which are the Ski-Doo crossovers?
Ski-Doo crossover snowmobiles are the “Renegade” and “Backcountry” families.
Which was the first crossover Ski-Doo?
According to the manufacturer, the first crossover Ski-Doo was the 2001 Summit Renegade.
Which one is a Polaris crossover sled?
Polaris crossover snowmobiles are marketed under the brand name “Switchback.”