We all need to start somewhere. And while hopping on top of a high-performance sled might seem like fun, it’s not always the best choice for newbies. There are other snowmobiles that cater to beginners that will give you a much better experience when you are learning.
I’ve been an avid snowmobiler for decades, and I’ve been riding since I was a kid. While I’m far from a beginner, I keep myself informed of many models and types of snowmobiles. This helps me know and understand what options can be best for different riders.
This post will show you some of the best snowmobiles for beginners. I’ll highlight a few different sleds that are all good for anyone just getting started while providing other tips and advice for newcomers to this wild winter world.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- Selecting a Beginner Snowmobile: What to Consider
- Top 5 Best Beginner Snowmobiles Reviewed
- Beginner Snowmobile Tips
Selecting a Beginner Snowmobile: What to Consider
Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when looking for a beginner snowmobile. Weigh these factors in when shopping around to help you narrow down your search.
The size of your snowmobile is an important first factor for beginners. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew, so keeping things on the lighter side is recommended. This allows you to handle the snowmobile with less effort and makes controlling it easier.
Size refers to both the weight and length of your sled. You should generally choose a shorter sled, inherently making it lighter. But check on both these factors when comparing different beginner models.
Just like with the physical size of your sled, you also need to factor in engine size. This directly correlates with how fast and powerful the machine will be, and again, you don’t want to get in over your head, even if it sounds like fun.
I generally think a 600cc or under sled is ideal for beginners. If you are an adult and have ridden other small vehicles (like ATVs), you can handle 600cc pretty easily. For children or anyone else who is a complete newbie, going smaller than 600cc is a good idea.
I touched on this in the section above, but you also want to correlate rider size when choosing a good beginner snowmobile. If you are trying to get a small child started early, you might want to consider a youth-style sled which is basically a mini-machine.
If you are a complete beginner but are 6 foot 8 and weigh 250 pounds, you can probably handle a larger machine without much worry. But again, you still won’t want the largest engine available because that can overpower your skills.
Getting a new snowmobile is an amazing experience, but it’s unnecessary for every beginner rider. You can save thousands of dollars by purchasing used and still get a machine in good condition this way.
Top 5 Best Beginner Snowmobiles Reviewed
Here are my top picks for the best beginner snowmobiles this year. These are all newer models that will give riders who are just starting a good experience.
- Great beginner model
- Moderately sized
- 550 Fan engine
- Starts at $7,399
The Polaris Indy EVO has been a popular beginner snowmobile for years now, and with its moderate size and power, it’s no wonder why. This is an excellent option if you want something you can easily control without sacrificing too much performance along the way.
The Indy EVO is thoroughly designed with the needs of new riders in mind. It has compact ergonomics that help you stay in a comfortable position and an approachable suspension that is soft without being sloppy.
This model has a governor on it, and you literally can’t drive it over 50mph. But that’s a good feature for most beginners.
- Comfortable touring model
- 400cc engine
- 2-up seating
- Starts at $8,585
If you think you want a little extra comfort and the ability to take two riders out at once, the Arctic Cat Blast XR 4000 touring is the way to go. This one comes with an approachable 400cc engine and a 2-up seating configuration.
You also get a wide front suspension that helps increase stability for longer stretches of trail. This makes it very easy for a beginner to handle, whether you have any experience or not. The mid-sized chassis also helps keep the weight down.
If you don’t want a 2-up style machine, Arctic Cat has a few other similar sleds in the mid-sized category.
- 397cc 2-stroke engine
- Smaller size and lighter weight
- Utility suspension
- Starts at $9,499
The Yamaha Transporter Light is a great option for smaller adult riders looking for a lightweight machine that is easy to handle. This one comes with a solid 397cc 2-stroke engine that delivers enough power to scoot you along without getting carried away.
This is also a good option for beginners who want to bounce around on the trail and off, and the 1.6-inch lugs on the track give you a little extra grip in deeper snow.
- Great youth model
- Small size and light weight
- Starts at $3,699
For an excellent youth sled that is perfect for getting your kids out on the trails early, check out the Polaris 120 Indy. This smaller youth-sized sled also comes with a smaller price tag, making it approachable for many budgets.
It comes with a 121cc fan-cooled engine, so it’s not a ripper, but that’s a great thing for keeping the kids safe while they learn how to ride. You won’t get many bells and whistles here, but it’s the perfect sled for learning how to ride on.
- 397cc engine
- Dual shock rear suspension
- Lightweight chassis
- Starts at $8,999
If you’re after a beginner snowmobile with a little more power, check out the Yamaha SXVenom. While this one only has a 397cc engine, its lightweight chassis and design give it enough zip and zoom to satisfy your need for speed.
The sled also has a dual shock rear suspension that helps keep your stability in the snow and a 121-inch track that gives you plenty of handling and control. It’s a smaller and lightweight option, but it still feels like a sports car.
Beginner Snowmobile Tips
I always tell beginners to start slowly. You don’t want to crush the throttle and get thrown off the sled. Learning how to control a snowmobile isn’t that complicated, but it can take some time to get down the basics without seeing jumpy performance.
Ease your way into the throttle to get a feel for how the machine responds. Once you have that down, crank things up and learn how to steer. From there, experiment and see what you can do.
If you are looking at buying a used snowmobile, you should get the advice of an experienced rider. You don’t want to get ripped off and spend money on a lemon, so taking someone with you who knows about sleds is a good idea.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to beginner snowmobiles.
Is it good for a beginner to buy a used snowmobile?
Yes, it is a good idea for a beginner to buy a used snowmobile, especially if you are on a budget or unsure if you will enjoy it. You can easily save several thousand dollars by buying used and still get your hands on a good quality machine.
Are Polaris snowmobiles good for beginners?
Polaris snowmobiles can be a good option for beginners. This brand makes a range of different models that can work for newer riders, and these have smaller engine or sled sizes that are easier to handle.
How hard is it for a beginner to ride a snowmobile?
I don’t think it’s that difficult for a beginner to learn how to ride a snowmobile. For most people, it ends up being pretty intuitive, and even if you struggle at first, you will pick up the basics in a matter of minutes. Learning high-end manuevers can take some time and effort.
All of the snowmobiles mentioned in this post are good options for beginner riders. They all have a lighter weight, smaller size, and less power. While that might not sound cool to hardcore sledders, they are the ideal characteristics you want out of a good beginner sled.
Take your time when learning how to ride. You don’t want to risk your safety or ruin your machine by pushing things too hard before you are ready.About Chaz Wyland