Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Central New York
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Get two 700 or 800. For the following reasons.
- if you get him a 500/600 ... that is the one that YOU will be riding
- interchange of parts and common spare parts. One set of parts serves the needs of both machines.
The 600 liberty is one of the most dependable motors ever put in a snowmobile. I would go with either both 600s or a 600 and a 700. The early 800 twins from all manufacturers were more prone to issues. JMHO.
600/700 Classic is nice because it comes with electric start and a bunch of upgrades that the regular XC doesn't unless they added that option at the dealership. I have been wanting a 600 classic for awhile but they don't come up often in my area and when they do they go fast for a reason. The suspensions are top notch, the 600 engine is top notch with tons of clutching options, plus you can upgrade the reeds just stay away from doing pipes which is imho due to DNR and other issues. But there are others who will disagree with that.
The XC series is set up for more aggressive riders while the classic is set up more for trail comfort. The differences are subtle, mostly shock valving and spring rates.
Live Long and Prosper
Instead of looking for specific make / models, recommend looking at features as well.
- Electric start. To me, this is a must. Especially at my older age.
- Reverse. To me, this is a must. Especially at my older age.
- For bad backs (like mine), have a serious look at 2-up design. On my 2-up design, I simply move its rear back rest forward and use it as a great back rest for a single driver. For me, I'll never own a single seat sled for myself again.
- Seriously think of different "models" for your driving conditions. If mostly doing trails, then get a trail suspension machine. On my local trails, some folks like the longer tracks better - due to smoother ride.
- Is power steering critical to you? My one older age buddy loves Power Steering feature so much, he'll never buy another sled without it. Especially since his wife likes driving his sled as well. After test driving his sled, I agree. Power Steering is a "must have" on my future sled replacement as well.
- Look at windshield height design. My wife loves the high and flat windshield designs. She doesn't like wind blowing against her upper chest and face area. She often tucks her upper body behind my sled's "old style" shape windshield. Other folks don't mind a lower profile body style and always having their body in the wind. For me, I love sitting on the seat and my line of sight is slightly over the windshield.
- Hand and Thumb warmers are a must. If buying used, make sure their dimmer dial works properly. To me, minimum hand warmers are a must.
- New or used (or upgrade after buying), get a sled that has electric plug for heated helmet shield. My modular "flip up" helmet has heated shield and it never fogs up. And, one can flip it up and normally talk during rest spots on the trail as well. To me, 12 volt power plug for helmet heat shields are mandatory.
- Dual side mirrors are a must as well. Especially for trail riding.
- Do you really need large size engines? I've got a 600 and on the trails, it has no problems keeping up with the larger size engines. Especially with the many ground speed restrictions and tight corners of my local trails. The larger size engines are sometimes harder to hang onto. Especially around the tight corners.
- Go with 4-stroke if you don't like the smell of burnt fumes. No worries for some folks but for others, they cannot stand the smell of burt 2-stoke oil. Hanging their rider clothes outside to air out after each ride isn't enjoyable either. If wondering, I always need full shower and change of clothes after long trail rides. Even I can smell myself after each ride.
- If long distance riding, go with 4-strokes. 4-strokes have extremely much better mileage. Especially if your local trails don't have available fuel stations.
- Before buying, call your insurance company and ask for quote - for different models. For my 1999 600 Yamaha Venture 600, I pay $69 year. Mostly because its a small size engine and its a 20 year old sled. And, being a "classic" year, yearly OFSC trail passes are a lot less expensive as well. Majorly saved dollars in these areas easily pays for more fuel - for my gas hog 2-stroke. Thus, keeping yearly usage costs at a minimum. If wondering, my 600 2-stroke goes 200 kms (125 miles) per full tank of gas. Or, nice 5 hour trail ride.
Long mumblings short.... It isn't about largest engine size or specific models. Or, if a specific sled "looks cool". It's about features, keeping yearly running costs low, rider comfort and "having fun" - regardless of one's sled age. Especially if one has a bad back (like my older age body)....
Yes the ride will not be as good as the Classic or XC sleds. The Classics are the one you want to go for imho. I know some will disagree on this board but some of those XLT engines had issues blowing up. By the time they finally fixed all of the issues the XLT run was coming to an end in '98/'99.
Go with the Classic then the XC as the options with the Classic are second to none!