As the name suggests, trail snowmobiles are exclusively designed for trail use. They are built on a shorter but wider chassis and powered by 65-170 HP engines that propel a short, 120-137-inch track. Trail snowmobiles are sportier than touring sleds and offer more comfort than the performance class.
If you want to find out more about trail snowmobiles, this post is for you. We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
What Is a Trail Snowmobile?
Trail snowmobiles are considered to be “average” sleds since they are the simplest models in each manufacturer’s fleet. In a nutshell, they are a kind of hybrid between touring and performance snowmobiles. They are recommended for beginner or intermediate sledders who want to exclusively ride on groomed trails.
Trail snowmobiles come with sportier features than their touring brothers, so they are much more nimble and lighter.
Although they typically share the same type of engine, the tighter suspensions of trail sleds can handle higher speeds and rougher trails. On the other hand, these models offer fewer comfort and convenience features.
Compared to mountain sleds, trail-specific snowmobiles are not only significantly heavier, but their shorter tracks also don’t deliver adequate floatation in powder. Therefore, an off-trail ride can easily lead to deep stucks and many headaches!
Trail sleds are among the heaviest snowmobiles on the market, but they are still smaller and lighter than those in the performance category.
Thanks to their lightweight chassis and features, they are easy to handle on trails and to throw around by hand.
Therefore, they are ideal for beginners, veterans, and female riders, especially the smaller lightweight models. What’s more, middle-sized trail snowmobiles actually fill the void between the 200cc class and full-sized sleds, so they are commonly purchased for teenager riders.
Regarding price, it’s safe to say that trail snowmobiles are usually the most affordable models compared to other types of sleds.
What is a Sport Trail Snowmobile?
Sport trail snowmobiles are a sportier variation of trail sleds featuring more powerful engines and advanced suspensions. They are halfway between entry-level trail sleds and high-end performance models. Sport trail snowmobiles are recommended for intermediate riders and those who are not looking for the most performance.
Sometimes, they are considered to be a pure class, but trail and trail sport snowmobiles are often classed together.
Who Makes the Best Trail Snowmobile?
There’s no question that the best trail snowmobiles are manufactured by the “Big Four”: Yamaha, Arctic Cat, Polaris, and Ski-Doo. Let’s take a closer look at their models!
Which are the Best Trail Snowmobiles?
There are many great models on the market, but some of the best trail snowmobiles are as follows:
- Arctic Cat ZR 6000 Limited
- Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Limited
- Yamaha SXVenom
- Yamaha SRViper
- Polaris Indy XC
- Polaris Indy SP
- Polaris 550 Indy
- Ski-Doo MX-ZX 600
Let’s drill into the details and take a closer look at the features on trail snowmobiles!
Trail Snowmobile Features
Trail Snowmobile Engines
From the 2-stroke fan-cooled Polaris 550 Indy to the 4-stroke Yamaha SXViper, the engines of trail snowmobiles vary widely. Most trail sleds are powered by 550-850cc 2-stroke engines, but you can also find many 900-1050cc 4-stroke trail snowmobiles on the market. These power mills crank out about 65-170 HP depending on the make and model.
Trail Snowmobile Chassis and Suspensions
Trail snowmobiles usually utilize a shorter chassis, which is lighter than the frames of touring and utility sleds. Their suspensions are also more sporty, and the ski stance is wider (38”-44”) for greater stability in corners. When it comes to the performance of trail snowmobile suspensions, the front typically offers travel of 4-10 inches, while the rear travel ranges from 9 to 16 inches.
The tunnel of a trail snowmobile is usually shorter, adapting to shorter track dimensions.
As a rule of thumb, the overall length of a trail snowmobile is about 115-125 inches, while their overall width is approximately 47-48 inches.
Trail Snowmobile Tracks
Compared to mountain sleds, the tracks of trail-specific snowmobiles are always significantly shorter. The most common trail snowmobile track dimensions are 120, 129, and 137 inches in length and 14-15 inches in width. Thanks to the smaller tracks, these machines are faster and more agile compared to their long-tracked counterparts.
But as we’ve discussed, short tracks don’t provide enough flotation in deep snow, so trail snowmobiles are not recommended for off-trail use.
Trail Snowmobile Specification Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the average specifications of trail snowmobiles into one chart:
|Engine type||550 – 850cc 2-stroke or 600-1050cc 4-stroke|
|Top speed (mph)||65-110|
|Ski stance (in.)||38-43|
|Track length (in.)||121-137|
|Track width (in.)||14-15|
|Lug height (in.)||1-1.25|
|Front suspension travel (in.)||4-10|
|Rear suspension travel (in.)||9-16|
|Fuel cap. (gal)||10-12|
|Dry Weight (lbs.)||450-550|
Trail Snowmobile Comparison Chart
Let’s compare trail snowmobiles to other types of sleds 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||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 Trail Snowmobiles
As a takeaway, we’ve listed the most common questions about trail snowmobiles.
How fast can a trail snowmobile go?
The top speed of trail snowmobiles is about 65-100 mph, depending on the make and model. Some of the slowest trail snowmobiles in the marketplace are the fan-cooled Polaris 550 Indy and the mid-sized Yamaha SXVenom, as they top out at 65-75 mph. In contrast, the fastest sport trail sleds can hit a whopping 100 mph with ease.
How much does a trail snowmobile weigh?
The dry weight of trail snowmobiles starts from as low as 450 pounds and goes up to 650 pounds. The general rule is that 4-stroke trail snowmobiles are significantly heavier than 2-strokes.
What size is a trail snowmobile?
Trail snowmobiles are usually 115-125 inches long, 47-48 inches wide, 46-49 inches high, and feature a 38-43-inch ski stance.
Which is the best snowmobile track length for trails?
The best tracks for trail snowmobiles are 129, 137, and 144 inches long and feature 1-1.25-inch lugs.
What kind of engine is in a trail snowmobile?
Trail snowmobiles usually have 400-850cc 2-stroke or 600-1050cc 4-stroke engines.
How much horsepower does a trail snowmobile have?
The engines of most trail snowmobiles have 65-170 horsepower.
Which is the best Yamaha trail sled?
The best Yamaha trail snowmobiles are the Sidewinders, the SXViper, and the SXVenom.
Which trail snowmobile is the most comfortable?
Let’s face it, the most comfortable trail snowmobiles are the touring models. These sleds represent a unique class as they are explicitly built for touring, so they offer plush rides on the trails!