Driving, or riding, this thing is a bit like arm-wrestling a medium size dog. It hasn’t got wheels, obviously, it has a singular girdle, or chain, for motion and two side blades (or whatever they’re called) at the front for steering.
This thing is built for use in extreme conditions like hard snow or ice, it is designed to function where even the most technically advanced studded tyre would fail. There’s something unique about the way it goes. Because of this girdle + blades configuration you’re basically riding on rails, except that these rails are created by those very blades as you go along as they cut through the snow to create a suitable path on which you can keep on going.
The distribution of the weight and “traction” is very different depending on what kind of surface you’re on and so it feels like it’s constantly struggling from grip, like riding on rails while simultaneously trying to derail itself. It’s a bit tricky to explain but in simple words this means it is very, very comfortable and it makes surfaces bumpy even when they aren’t. And because it’s always trying to find itself the right path and correct amount of grip, you have to struggle with the steering bar the entire time.
This snowmobile I’ve driven it’s called the “Adventure LX 600 ACE” and it’s made by BRP Lynx, founded in 1942. The company is Canadian but these vehicles are primarily made in and for Finland.
It has a 2-cylinder 600 cc engine with 60 hp. Plenty enough when you consider that it only weighs 241 kg. The top speed is 60-70 mph.
This is not a gentle machine. It isn’t subtle and it wasn’t designed for comfort, these things are designed to get you there no matter what. From A to B even if the temperature between A and B is minus 30 and covered in snow.
I loved it. Snowmobiles aren’t bikes or cars, they feel different. They can be faster or slower or bigger or smaller but it seems to me that, unlike cars, they’re all about getting there and getting there as fast as possible. Speed, grip, fun, zero comfort. An exceptional machine for exceptional conditions.