An extreme review for an extreme year : deadly snowmobile at minus 30 degrees
We're surviving an extreme year so I thought I'd write an extreme review for an extreme vehicle
Riding this thing is a like arm-wrestling a Dobermann or a Dogo Argentino. You give it all you've got but you're still going to lose. I'm a car person which means I like to believe I'm familiar with wheels but snowmobiles have no wheels, they rely on tracks for motion and skags, which look like snowshoes and blades, at the front for steering. This thing is built for use in extreme conditions like hard snow or ice, and I'm not.
Mind you, there’s something unique about it. Because of this girdle + blades layout, you’re basically plowing rails through snow as you go along. You're not steering the snowmobile because it's actually steering you. It feels like you're constantly struggling for grip, like riding on rails as the machine is trying to derail itself. Snow feels smooth and soft under your boots but it somehow feels super bumpy and rough under the snowmobile and you have to wrestle with the handlebar grips all the time. It's a workout.
This particular snowmobile, top of the line they tell me, is 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, which is where I've driven this. It has a 2-cylinder 600 cc engine with 60 hp, which doesn't sound like much but this thing only weighs 241 kg. The top speed is 60-70 mph but it can do that on any surface, and doing 70 mph on ice is like doing 780 mph on tarmac. It can be scary and it's not gentle or subtle. Then again, I guess it needn't be. It wasn't designed for comfort, these things are designed to get you from A to B at minus 30.
Some people would want cars to be faster and more fun with zero comfort. Well, that's what you get with snowmobiles. Dollops of speed, miles of grip and absolute no comfort at all.
Full disclosure? I've driven and reviewed this thing before and the reason I'm doing it again is I feel all bets are off. This year has been extreme so far and twenty years from now, we'll look back on 2020 and think, "we survived it". And not only that, I even survived a snowmobile that actively tried to kill me. Just like 2020.