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Why So Few Wild Custom Sleds?

Arctic Cat of the future?

Will future Arctic Cat snowmobiles look anything like this?

I doubt it. But it does beg the question: Why aren’t there wild custom snowmobiles, built primarily to LOOK unique, like there is with motorcycles and automobiles?

Custom motorcycle (not an Arctic Cat)

Custom motorcycle

Custom car (not an Arctic Cat)

Custom motorcycle (not an Arctic Cat)

Custom car (not an Arctic Cat)

I suspect that part of the reason there aren’t many wild, custom sleds, is that the number of snowmobile enthusiasts is far less than motorcycle enthusiasts, which means there are probably fewer customizers, thus fewer possibilities for such sleds.

I also suspect there are a fair number of people willing to spend $100,000 on a custom motorcycle that can’t be ridden any further than the one-mile from the trailer to the bike show, but not so many snowmobilers who are willing to spend that kind of dough on a trailer queen.

Maybe the short snowmobile season is also a factor?

For sure it would help if snowmobiling had a “reality” TV show of a dysfunctional family, constantly fighting about some project build they’re trying to finish, and are running low on time and patience.

There are many custom snowmobiles, of course, but they seem built for performance rather than show. Maybe it’s in the DNA of snowmobilers to focus on performance rather than style?

Do you agree with me that there aren’t so many wild, custom sleds? If yes, got an opinion why?

Arctic Cat drawing by Nathan Blomker



  1. On some levels, I think there are quite a few mod sleds out there but not to the crazy level youve pictured because snowmobilers tend to be more functional. Look at all the mountain sleds (Lightweight turbo’d mods like Brett Rasmussens). Or look at the growing custom vintage scene like Dimmermans sled with a triple Tcat motor. Snowmobiles are always lagging behind the car or motorcycle scenes too. Hell, it wasnt up until a handful of years ago that custom graphics kits were accepted on snowmobiles. Everyone was afraid to remove their warning decals until guys like Rocky Cutsforth that you featured started making it “cool” to have something different than stock.

  2. It takes a lot more brains than I have to create art out of machinery! When I went to school in the 70’s, a cool car was a two-door, back end jacked up with wide tires, the gas tank and rear end were painted, shag carpet in the back window with speakers. Of course my first car was taken to the school shop, the kids smashed out the windows, the seats were taken out, kids in welding class made roll bars out of 4″ mill pipe and was made into a dirt stock car. I painted flames, numbers, and sponsors on it.
    I guess it’s O.K. to put a lot of money into a vehicle, bike, or sled you don’t intend to drive, just look at. Makes for good conversation!

  3. one would think that hollywood would have done something by now… maybe part of it is that sleds are such a wild crazy machine in the first place that there is no need to take it to the next level?

    yamaha got a little crazy in the 80’s with the phazer,exciter,sno scoot and the inviter or what ever it was called..

    did’nt cat get a little nutz too with the prowler?

  4. I think Arctic was on to something in the late 60’s – early 70’s when they had big hoods, and still had the engines and exhaust sticking out! Now our race sleds have triple sized the engines and reduced the package.
    I always thought I’d like to take a new sno-pro and a 1968 Panther, and make one machine. Wouldn’t that be cool to have a new chassis and engine with the big square hood off the 68 Panther, blue windshield, and yellow leopard seat? I think the drag sleds are close to the custom cycles…only good for a ride under 1 mile, but you can stare at them all day long. They just look fast sitting still, like the guy driving a hot car in the parade…you can see the car looks like it will go 200 mph, but he holds it back to 1 mph!

  5. I agree. We saw a rev on the trail back in 2001 (prototype/demo) and we had no idea what it was. …lol. I was on a s-chassis Mxz and friend were on Indy’s.. It looked like a space machine to us.
    As far as custom goes. I think the most creative people get is with airbrushing/powder-coating/lighting/decal kits. And thats fine by me. While I do like custom in certain mediums, sleds would just be ridiculous.

  6. If you think about it, its not terribly complicated to make a frame for a bike when you compare trying to build a custom chassis for a sled. Granted maybe you could use a factory bulkhead chassis(in fact I think you would almost have to) and then modify from there. There is so much engineering that goes into the chassis of a sled, it would be hard replicate. But I do agree it would be so sweet if there was a show out there that did something like this. In fact it is needed to keep expanding the interest of snowmobiling to people far and wide.

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