Snowmobiles have changed over the years. In the beginning they were like motorized toboggans.
From the early 1960’s through 1975 ski pressure was light and so was the effort to turn the handlebars. Most of these sleds had leaf-springs which placed equal pressure on the front and rear of the skis. This lead to even wear on the wear rods the full length of the contact area, a good thing. There was no darting. Kawasaki did not know something the others did. The rear of their wear rods wore so fast they had to add a wear plate. ( 1/8” thick, 1 ½” wide, 5 ½” long with a 2 ¾” long notch to protect the ski.)
By 1980 only 5 or 6 sled manufactures were left and spindles became the norm.
By 1986 most of the new sleds darted.
By the 1990’s only 4 sled manufactures were left. Snowfall patterns changed enough so areas that got lake effect snow built up trail systems. Groomed trails with heavy traffic turned icy especially in the corners so carbide wear rods became the norm. The sled manufactures developed skis that allowed the carbides to penetrate through the snow into the ice for traction. Floatation is not an issue on groomed trails where most riding is done.
As of 2010 despite all the front suspension changes none of them got rid of darting. The only thing that worked was different profiles, but they were only temporary and always came with handling trade-offs. Pushing / Heavy Steering / Expensive
Cash flow wise, this situation is good for business so I doubt they will ever change their strategy!
Even after coming out with heavier 4-stroke engines and rider-forward positioning they are still holding onto their strategy even after adding all this extra weight up front!
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