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Snowmobile Suspension Tuning, and Turbo Idiosyncrasies


by Marc Cantin ,

A short explanation

Pascal Bastien, our resident snowmobile expert, recently rode two Arctic Cat machine, a Touring model with an atmospheric motor, and a sportier model with a turbo and 177hp. His impressions have already been published on Here are my comments about two key features of these machines: the adjustable suspension and the turbo on the Z1 Turbo Sno Pro model.

The adjustable seat and handlebars allow larger riders like me to sit comfortably while being able to move.

The black art of suspension tuning
Factory suspension settings on a normal snowmobile put significant weight on the skis, increasing their grip in corners and providing the rider with good control of the trajectory.

There is a tradeoff at work here, as the more weight you put on the skis, the less remains on the back, thereby reducing traction and the ability of the machine to put power to the snow. The machine loses out on acceleration, wasting all that expensive power.

So what is a guy (Gal) to do? Try different settings, that's what! Why? Because factory settings are aimed at the "average" user, likely 1.3 persons, with some rear weight bias, riding easy trails at a relaxed pace. And as you well know, averages are meaningless - with one foot on ice and one in boiling water, on average you are comfortable, right? We are all different and all ride differently. That is why you should take out the tools and take out some rear preload to make your machine steer better, or add some to help it shoot out of corners better.

Try different settings in small increments, and you will enjoy your machine twice as much, as you make it do what you want, not what Mr. Average would expect.

The rear suspension of the Z1 Turbo is more rigid so as to effectively manage all that power and speed.
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