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HomeFeaturesReal-World Weight Comparison: 2013 Mountain Sleds from Cat, Polaris and Ski-Doo

Real-World Weight Comparison: 2013 Mountain Sleds from Cat, Polaris and Ski-Doo

Most of us have heard the axiom, “You can’t ride a dyno,” referring to the very real disconnect that can exist between high horsepower number produced on a dyno compared to how an engine feels in the real world. The axiom was borne from the fact that there have been a lot of engines (and high perf parts) built over the years that produce a nice big number on the dyno, but that don’t show the same supremacy in the field.

Something along those same lines seems to exist for snowmobile weight in the field versus in the shop.

Here’s an interesting and informative video comparing the weights of 2013 Arctic Cat, Polaris and Ski-Doo mountain sleds both in the snow and out of it.

The sleds:

2013 Arctic Cat M8 Limited 153

2013 Ski-Doo Summit SP 154

2013 Polaris Pro-RMK 155



2013 mountain sled weights without snow

The Test: Weigh each machine in the shop when it’s full of fuel and containing a spare belt and tool kit. Those numbers are shown above.


2013 mountain sled weight gain when riding in the snow

After riding the backcountry for a while, the group weighed the sleds again via the same scale (but this time hung from a tree branch in their riding area). Here’s how much weight each sled gained.


Weight comparison: 2013 Arctic Cat M8 LTD 153

The 2013 Arctic Cat M8 LTD 153 started out heavier than the competition. Thanks to its short heat exchanger and powder-coated tunnel (which don’t hold snow the way the other brands’ sleds do), it gained the least amount of snow weight during regular mountain riding.


Weight comparison: 2013 Ski-Doo Summit SP 154

The Ski-Doo 800 Summit SP 154 heads out on a ride (full of fuel) weighing 13 lbs. less than the Cat, then gains 83 lbs. in snow weight to end up at 641 lbs. wet.


Weight comparison: 2013 Polaris Pro-RMK 155

The Polaris Pro RMK is the lightest mountain sled to begin with, which is commendable. They also gained the most snow-weight, 94 lbs. to be exact, which left it and the Cat M8 at virtually identical weights of 610/611 lbs.


2013 mountain sled weights when in the snow

The colored bars indicate the dry weight. The white bars indicate snow packed weight. Pretty interesting!

Freerider/racer Rob Kincaid sums it up nicely: “Who cares what it weighs when it leaves the shop?!”



  1. I wish they would have done a better job at showing the scale during the snow weigh in. I watched and rematches it, freezing the video and you can’t read the scale well at all during the Cat and Doo weigh in.

    Snow weight is a valid issue. The ice build up in a tunnel of a Yamaha contributes a ton of extra weith to the sled. But, this test is too subjective. Who’s to say the Polaris didn’t gain more snow weight because it is easier to throw around and was ridden more aggressively?

    Take the sleds, run them on the same exact course, same snow, same time and see what they weigh. It could be done in a flat meadow with fresh snow just so every sled can be ridden exactly the same. Have them do a loop, simultaniously with a series of carved powder turns and then weigh them, filled back up. The whole thing could be shot in 5-10 minutes, no editing of the riding or weigh in. That would be more objective and have the sleds all use the same scale.

  2. Look at how much snow is piled up on the ski’s of the Polaris and the Skidoo. Then notice the cat ski’s are turned towards the camera so you can see how much is on them. This test is a joke as cat can make it come out however they want. They are just rying to hide the fact that they have the heaviest 2 stroke mountain sled out of them all. Instead of a stupid teast like this they should have thier engineers working on innovative new things to make thier sleds better like the other 2 relevant sled makers. (sorry Yamaha) You have to evolve or die in this sport and if they dont get cracking in the engineering department Doo and Polaris are going to leave them in the dust. And I am a die hard Cat guy!

  3. Akrider, I realize you can’t read the scale very good in some of the weigh-ins but the numbers are correct, I saw them with my own eyes. Each sled was ran for the same amount of time prior to be being weighed, in the same part of the mountain, same snow conditions, same riding style, same everything! I was surprised by the findings myself!

  4. Jamie: Are you really this blind? THe Cat Ski’s are black and the tops sure look white. You are so way off on this that it is not even hardly worth bringing up. Doo and Poo Suck but you already know this. Why else would you be on a Cat site?

  5. JimR,
    I’m not blind at all. Just not buying this BS. I bet if doo runs the test they come out lighter and if Polaris runs the test they come out way lighter! I love AC and currently run a 2012 procross F8 LXR. I like the sled even though it has had some first year gremlins. I also have a 2010 CFR 800 HO in the garage, a 1980 El Tigre in the garage and a 2005 AC 650 ATV. I like Cat and that is why I would rather see them finding real ways to be the best and lightest sleds out there rather then trying to sell us that less snow stick sto thier heavier sleds.

  6. Doo and Poo would have to cheat to make it work out for them. Cats not having the rearword cooler is the main reason it is lighter than the Doo real world wet and dead even with the pop can poo. Use some thought and read the article before you jump to wild conclusions like you just did.

  7. The concept of the test is valid and I really like the idea. From what I’ve seen with my buddies’ M8 and 1100T is the a-arms hold less snow in certain conditions and Cat may very well have a better idea with their heat exchanger design. But, I’m skeptical of any test performed by an OEM with the goal of showing their product is better.

    I’d like to see a similar type of test performed by an objective 3rd party with more controls. The results would be much less questionable. Again, this is a really cool concept, but it’s like watching a Ford produced commercial with the other trucks being compared. No surprise at the end the Ford is better. Chevy, Toyota and Dodge have all done similar types of videos. No OEM is going to produce and release the results of a test that shows their competitor did better. With that said, in science you have to be able to replicate the experiment over and over and get the same results to show the theory is true. It would be interesting if the other OEM’s do a similar test and get different results. Kind of opens up a can of worms.

  8. Exactly AKrider. I would be skeptical of the results if doo or poo performed the test and thier sled came in the lightest. It’s just too easy to make sure a little extra snow is stuck on the comptetitions sled or a little less on your sled before the weigh in to be a creditable test.

  9. I totally get/understand why people would be skeptical of the results, because they’re from an OEM. I’d feel exactly the same if it were another manufacturer doing this.

    That said, you only need to look at the snow that collects on your sled’s heat exchanger (whether it’s a short track or mountain sled) and see that it’s a magnate for the stuff. So it stands to reason that more heat exchanger surface will result in more snow weight.

  10. Hey John,
    Since your web-site (which is awesome by the way) is called Arctic Insider… any chance you could give us the inside scoop on something for 2014? Maybe a hint of what cat has up it’s sleeve for a direct inject 2 stroke to compete with the E-tech? C-mon man… toss us some real inside information!

  11. Jamie,thanks for nice words about this place. I appreciate it.

    New for 2014? I’m sworn to secrecy on such matters. But I will let this one slip: There will for sure be new graphics.

  12. Looks like a 4th party may actually be needed since there are 3 different brands here, lol, lets let Yamaha handle this… =0 yeah, right!! (Read below)

    Ak, you meaning biased like Yamaha did a few hrs ago when their 4 stroke was supposedly lighter than a certain cat which they (Yamaha) had that cats hood zip-tied shut to not allow the public to see added weight they’d stuffed into it to lie to the public?
    Kind of hard to appear to be honest under those conditions IMHO

  13. Gee, thanks for the inside scoop John. I met you at the Arctic Cat 50th last year and now have a nice Arctic Insider decal on my tool box at home. Those things are everywhere!

    Rusty – Thats what I am talking about. I dont believe any of those tests put out by a single manufacturer even if it’s AC. Let a third party non biased company do the testing. (Not some Magazine getting lots of advertising dollars from the manufacturer either)

  14. It’s easy to be skeptical but what benefit to Mr. Kincaid’s and Arctic Cat’s credibility does this provide if they with any purpose hedged the result’s in Cat’s favor by such a drastic amount. I am sure there is some similarities we can find if we do this in different sno, riding conditions, short vs. long tracks, etc. The results may not be equivalent, but over the course of a few tests I believe you will see a trend, Arctic Cat has zero benefit in blatantly lieing. (just my opinion)

  15. Amen Derek!

    Lying never gets anyone (larger corporations anyhow) anywhere as they are easily found out thru testing independently as mentioned, then the world wide web along with the massively popular social webs tend to be the daggers in their (corporations advertising credibility) hearts

  16. Rusty,
    You must be referring to the ad where Yamaha hung an ’07 Phazer next to an F-body Cat? The Cat had e-start and reverse and weighed more than the Phazer. I never heard anything about weight being added to the Cat. Very interesting! I never even questioned the truth of that ad. It would have been super easy to disprove.

    Doo ran a comparison between a bunch of their competitors sleds years ago. They drag raced them or something. I recall thinking that video was pretty hokey.

    This has been a great topic John! Too bad the test didn’t include a Yamaha MTX. Would have been funny to see how it gained 100lbs from snow and ice with the under tunnel exhaust.

  17. Ak, the pics clearly showed the hood zip-tied closed, plain and simple, no 2 ways about it,, and that is a no-no in my eyes if trying to prove something legit,, the mags editors were appalled that Yamaha would do such a thing but they did do it?

  18. If nobody trusts AC, and anyone trusts Arcticinsider, maybe John should try to replicate the same test to see if the same results happen.

  19. Only thing I don’t trust AC about is how the current CEO’s have screwed the smaller dealers who’ve been there for them over the lean years after they literally kept Cat afloat thru it all….

    Really “pi$$e$” me badly! (Note the dollar signs)

  20. Unfortunately Rusty every manufacturer does that. Polaris, Doo, hell my local dealership dumped Doo and is now stricly Cat in the sled department. Guess that tells me something I guess.

  21. JimR, go to forums and read thread titled “Shocker of the year”.

    That is just ONE dealer I make reference to as I have been affiliated with them since early ’80’s. they were there for Cat thru the thick and thin years…. Jerry along with a few other dealers who shall remain nameless (but open to all’s imaginations as to whom they may be) literally pulled Cat back from the ashes of early middle portion of ’80’s yet get dumped on when some greedy CEO’s feel welcome to self entitlement vs possibly awarding such dealers for support of the rebirth of what was once a dead and left for naught company.

  22. Very interesting comments all in all. I have owned many many sleds of all brands over the years. I just bought a new 2011 M8 162 after pondering and testing all season. I bought this sled after riding an RMK 800 for a couple of years. Why buy a 2 year old NEW sled you say? Power, reliability, ride ability, and durability. I ride in the northern Sierras and live in Reno, NV. People can ride or buy whatever sled they want here. The guys I have ridden with are not brand loyal or biased. They will and have tried every sled made. These are the guys riding the most extreme lines, taking the most risk, and breaking the most sleds. MOST of them are riding CAT. I do see a few XPs, XMs, and a couple of RMK Pros. I weigh 154 pounds, am 5’7″, and I’m 54 years old. I’d like a light sled too. But, despite all the controversy and discussions, light weight is not the only consideration.

  23. Ha!! My Nytro 162 weight is looking better all the time. Wonder how much weight is in a longer tack. Love my sled with turbo. Just reduced the stance with CR spindles and A arms. Can’t wait for snow and to help you guys out of the deep:))

  24. Hahaha, of course they compare a m8 limited against a summit sp. of course the cat will be lighter . If they want to do a real test they should you a summit X. Also the doo is going to better in powder any ways because it has t motion and a wide flex edge track.

  25. You grumpy old men should get out and ride your sleds and stop this lame back-and-forth. Pick one, buy it, and ride it like you stole it.


  26. I’ll bring this one up from the dead because it’s an important topic, especially for Cat and for a guy about to purchase a new sled and having a hard time talking himself into a Cat over a Polaris.

    I’m 29 years old and I race in the proclass in Motocross with 25 years experience in riding. I AM NEW TO SNOWMOBILES, I’ve just a couple days under my belts with a variety of different sleds. Two factors affected my riding performance while learning to jump, boondock and climb. Those factors were Weight first and horsepower second. As long as other factors are similiar few else matter. I do count reliability which I give to the Cat in the 800cc category which, to me and my buddies is all that matters. Cat needs to do only one thing to win this war, get within 15lbs of Polaris. Snowmobiles are so far behind compared to say motocross where hp and weights are so close as is handling. It’s pathetic how this industry doesn’t have down suspension yet and is still experimenting like moto was in the 1970’s and 80’s. My message to cat is get on a diet, consider a boring the 800cc to 900cc or 950cc and then maybe a nice LCD screen like the new Polaris has. I bet you fly me to your factory and I can sit down with a hole saw and some other tools and we’ll have your sled down to competitive weights. You’ll find your reliability issues are decreased when the weight of the machine is decreased, it’s less work on the engine and drive system. I’m well known in the street-class for racing cars and well known in go-karting for getting weights down and turning unofficial lap records behind the cameras. One thing has always shown to be true, WEIGHT matters, we know Cat is competitive in all other fields.

  27. As for this test, for all we know they weighed them with lead on the other brands or even honestly making a mistake with varying amounts of fuel remaining.

    11 gal. x 6.3lbs per gal. = 69.3 lbs of adjustable weight right there! Do this test with a representative from each maker or do it with a hired 3rd party and we’ll buy the story. Just to keep the honest folk honest.

  28. ONE MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: This article claims OVER 94lbs of snow on the Polaris, since SOME fuel must have been used by the time they weighed that means about 100lbs of snow was on the vehicle.

    Do we believe this? Water weighs ~8lbs per gallon, when snow melts it makes very little water.

    When we sled on a Polaris and park it right after does 13 gallons of water melt and pool on the trailer and garage floor? Imagine 13 milk jugs worth the water. That’s a lot of water. Possible? Maybe. We can’t say one way or another without another test.

    Imagine riding around with 13 milk jugs zip tied to your sled. It seems like an excessive amount. In the form of ice I could see in the tunnel about half that at most, and an extra gallon total on the rest of the sled. We need better tests than this very bold claim.

    Arctic Cat, if you can do this test again and prove it true and fair, you’re going to make a HUGE positive statement for your company. I’m a Cat guy already and struggling to stay on board. WIN ME OVER PLEASE!!!! I want to proudly wear a cat logo on myself.

    Make me eat these words.


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