While the days are getting shorter and colder, many people are dreaming of deep powder days on their brand new sled. I had the same thoughts towards the end of last season when the spring sleds were available for preorder. Unfortunately the financially responsible thing to do was to wait another year or so before getting a new sled.
Now that winter is just around the corner I have decided to spend a little bit of money on my 2015 summit X. The rest of this article looks at some “budget” upgrades for my sled. Many of the updates/upgrades involve regular maintenance items which can be performed on just about any sled.
Since I am not getting younger these days, I looked at coming up with some cheaper alternative storage options for my sled. My goal was pretty simple, reduce the amount of weight on my back, but not break the bank trying to accomplish this task. Since ski-doo has mounting accessories nailed down with their linQ system I decided to try and fabricate up a plate that would use the linQ mounts and loops on my sled and then mount a “pelican” style hard waterproof case to the plate.
All costs factored in this cost me around $125. That’s for the mounting plate, case, and the linQ mounts. Not too bad considering most of the skidoo branded bags and other alternatives are around the $200 mark plus tax and some of them even higher.
The xm chassis on the summit that I am riding has a reputation for washing out on the rear of the sled while sidehilling. Now there are many reasons for this, such as the balance of the sled, t-motion rear suspension, paneling out of the side panels on the snow, etc… So I have decided on a set of t-motion lockout washers and adjusting my limiter straps. The washers will set you back around $50-75 depending on where you order them from. They basically are installed on the ball of the t-motion and prevent the tipping of the rear arm from one side to the other by 3 degrees. I am not sold on the washers helping out at all but it is worth a try. Running the limiter strap up one hole and setting the rear torsion springs stiffer should allow for the rear end to not collapse as much and will lead to an easier sidehilling experience; at least that’s what I am hoping for. I will report back on how these things actually work out. Skidoo also makes a kit that can easily change your limiter strap setting by moving a lever on the side of your tunnel. But for $200 plus tax and installation fee I will just adjust it myself a couple times to determine if it actually works or not.
I am going to run my ski directly in the center of the spindle. Instead of placing the washer on one side or the other side of the ski leg you can actually cut the stock skidoo washer in half and place each half on either side of the ski. There is a casting line on the bushing that makes this super easy to do. Or you can just go buy two bushings of the correct size. This mod helps the skeg have the least amount of scrub while turning, essentially meaning there is less feedback in the handlebars which helps to conserve energy while riding during the day. The only cost associated with this item is your own personal time and the bushings if you want to buy them.
Slides and carbides. These are two items which often get forgotten about until one day you smell something burning from your sled or you go around a sharp turn and end up out in the cabbage patch instead of staying on the trail. Slides are important for reducing friction between your rails and your track. If you do not have enough slide (Hyfax) material it’s possible to wear down the rails on your sled or even cause damage to your track. They can even melt and get stuck to the track if they aren’t getting enough lubrication. Slides are easy to change yourself and they should only cost you around $50 or so. Carbide runners will set you back around $125 or so but they help you turn your sled so you shouldn’t forget about them. Once the runners wear down you can easily wear out your skis especially when you are trying to get in that last ride of the year. If you find your sled darting all over the trail you can pick up a set of dual carbide runners that are side by side or even staggered. This should help with tracking and darting of your skis. Whatever you decide to get just make sure you pick up a new set if your old ones need to be replaced.
The last item I will be replacing/upgrading are my set of ice scratchers. Towards the end of last season I noticed I had lost one of my scratchers but didn’t really care to replace it since I was pretty much finished riding for the season. Ice scratchers serve a dual purpose – to lubricate your slides on your suspension and also cool down your sled, depending on where your cooler is located of course. There are many brands and types of scratchers available out there and the best advice is to pick up a set for your sled that can be used while in reverse. Too many times on sleds I have owned in the past I have reversed over the “fixed” type scratchers and either broken them or bent them so badly that they were no longer usable. This maintenance item should set you back somewhere in the range of $100-125 but your sled will definitely thank you for keeping it running cool all winter long.