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  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on Kids Starter Sled

    Any good recommendations on older sleds for a 12 year to start driving? I realize I want lower cc's, but not sure about decent quality on older sled. Suggestions appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I would look for a 340 Indy Lite from around 2000-2002. It's about 3/4 the size of a full size sled. If you want a full size sled, I'd get any Indy 500 liquid cooled which they will be able to ride for years. If you want less HP, an 488cc fan cooled Indy Trail would be a good starter sled also, but I'm not a big fan of fan cooled engines.

  3. #3
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    Man, there are a ton of them. For me personally, I looked for a fan-cooled sled, trying to keep the power down until they can handle the sled good. I just bought a 1980 John Deere 340 Trailfire for my boys. But, you can find many newer, lower powered sleds for under $1000.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2012
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mj54 View Post
    Any good recommendations on older sleds for a 12 year to start driving? I realize I want lower cc's, but not sure about decent quality on older sled. Suggestions appreciated.

    When i was 12, i started on a 1997 MXZ 440 Fan cooled. Skidoo has made some version of this sled every year, but in the 2000's sometime it was bumped to a 550fan. These sleds handle very well and are bullet proof and almost maintanence free. My old 440 has over 20,000 miles on it and is still chugging. They dont have too much power, if i remember correctly the 440's had about 50 HP and i think the 550's have around 70ish. IMO they are a perfect starter sled for a youth rider as they only go about 70 mph. If you have more money to spend the 600 ACE from ski-doo is also really nice. Not to much power, easy throttle and very reliable and light weight. I think polaris and AC make fan cooled sleds as well if your brand biased. There was a nice mxz 440 fan in the classified section on here not to long ago that looked like a nice sled, not sure if it sold or not. If your looking for a little more power the 500ss is also a very nice and reliable sled. Good luck

  5. #5
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    I would go with a fan cool sled for their first sled all day. They are lighter and easier for the young ones to handle. We started our (than) 11 yr. old out on a 1995 Yamaha Ovation 340. Great starter sled. She is now 13 and we have moved her up to a 2000 Arctic Cat ZR this season. The 7 yr. old is now riding the Ovation around the fields as he has moved out of the 120’s (to big).

  6. #6
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    Mine started at 10 on Polaris Sport 440's I got a couple for sale

    Bradzoo

  7. #7
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    Dec 2010
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    White Pigeon, Mi 49099
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    Depending on how much you want to spend. Ski-Doo has the new 900 ACE. It has a programmable learners key. If experience rider would also want to take it for a spin then select the mode you want from the three position selector switch.

  8. #8
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    I have a 1990 indy sport 340 fan in great shape. Perfect starter sled! I have a brand new seat cover for it that I will be putting on. Just cleaned and synched the carbs. Runs Great. If your interested, I'll let it go for $800.

  9. #9
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    freestyle 300 DOO if u can get one they are way hotter than a 120.
    if u get a deal u will pay 2500 but more likely 3 to 3500.only made a few yrs I think 06 07 08? same as a lynx in Canada. they also made a 550 136 that is imposable to find
    u will not loose a dime on it and when u re post for sale if u get that far cuz a buds kid will want it it will sell in less than a week .
    or yeah go out and buy some old out dated pile of junk that when u are done with it U may get 100 bucks in scrap.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2011
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    Green Bay, WI
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    My kids started with an Indy lite. Then boy two had a little 380 mxz. Next fall kid 3 will have a 380 too. Great little sled. The last one went about 60 mph. Very reliable. Took him to Michigan riding. Great learning. Don't want to put him or her on a 100 mph machine at age 12. Dangerous combo in my opinion.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2009
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    Hebron IN.
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    i am in the same boat looking for a 1999 to 2001 phazer for my 13yr would like to stay in the 1999 to 2001 year range not brand loyal but my son wants to ride the same brand his dad rides anyone have one and would you recommend one for a 13yr old

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezra View Post
    freestyle 300 DOO if u can get one they are way hotter than a 120.
    if u get a deal u will pay 2500 but more likely 3 to 3500.only made a few yrs I think 06 07 08? same as a lynx in Canada. they also made a 550 136 that is imposable to find
    u will not loose a dime on it and when u re post for sale if u get that far cuz a buds kid will want it it will sell in less than a week .
    or yeah go out and buy some old out dated pile of junk that when u are done with it U may get 100 bucks in scrap.
    Yeah, kind of like those old out dated kitty cats that you can pick up all day long for a 100 bucks.

    Kids sleds hold value. Its called supply and demand. A 340 faner is a perfect sled for a kid starting out thats too old for a 120 and not old enough for a newer hot rod.

  13. #13
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    Dec 2009
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    Northern IL & East Shore Rd.
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    Any 80's yamaha. SS, exciter,bravo, ovation, srv. Can't go wrong cheap to fix, lots of parts available. I love the old 440's and 340's

  14. #14
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    May 2012
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    I'm with snoluver on this one. I own a few " starter sleds". At 12 years old buy that 340,or 440 ultra clean sled for $750. If your kid is into it and takes care of that starter sled,buy the $2500 dollar 500 or 600 . When they hit 18 ,they can buy any sled they want.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezra View Post
    freestyle 300 DOO if u can get one they are way hotter than a 120.
    if u get a deal u will pay 2500 but more likely 3 to 3500.only made a few yrs I think 06 07 08? same as a lynx in Canada. they also made a 550 136 that is imposable to find
    u will not loose a dime on it and when u re post for sale if u get that far cuz a buds kid will want it it will sell in less than a week .
    or yeah go out and buy some old out dated pile of junk that when u are done with it U may get 100 bucks in scrap.
    Everyone has a different situation when it comes to this. I, myself, could not imagine spending $2500-3500 on a starter sled for a kid. A starter sled that may get damaged by inexperience. If you can swing that much on a starter sled great, I prefer to start with much less investment.

  16. #16
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    Dec 2009
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    Land of Cheese
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    I held on to a 95 340 Puma Deluxe that I bought new in 1995 for my wife. She rode it two years then we had our first son sold thesledto my dad so my youngest sister had something to ride she was 14 at the time. Eventually the sled went in the back of the garage with only 900 miles on it. 10 years later my oldest started driving it (2) CDI bixes later and having to tow it home twice because of CDI failure its still going only about 2500 miles on it now though.
    My 12 year son will drive it this year again but he is already complaining about how bad it rides. I told him to get a job and save his money and he can buy what he wants.

    Anyway I would look for a good 340-440 fan cooled sled. Easy to work on not terrible on fuel.

  17. #17
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    It doesn't matter who's 340,440 you buy. They were all great. Our Puma has over 6k on it. The mileage says it all,they like to ride it!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr37 View Post
    Everyone has a different situation when it comes to this. I, myself, could not imagine spending $2500-3500 on a starter sled for a kid. A starter sled that may get damaged by inexperience. If you can swing that much on a starter sled great, I prefer to start with much less investment.
    OK fair enough.
    but ask your self this
    u have a guys trip planed
    every one is loading up at your shop to head out on a 7hr drive north.
    some guy shows up on a old xlt is he coming with u?
    if so u are a nicer guy than me
    I am not trashing my limited free time on trips towing some old pile out of the woods. then going out scrounging parts to get some guys heep going cuz he did not want to spend the money to play with the big boys.

    same goes with your kid but worse now U have the kid whining and the old lady bitching that u were to cheep buy the kid something decent to ride. now u get to listen to that for the whole toe in that night in the cabin and the whole ride home and prob on your 59th anniversary.
    andI don't think insurance on a 3k sled is more than 100 bucks a season and if u are sending any kid out on a sled even a 120 with out insurance u are insane
    and by the way the freestyle is a mid size chasi and very ez for a kid to drive.
    1 of my buds kid is 7 and rides one. we drove 5hrs 1 way to get that one.
    and 1 more has been floating from kid to kid around our crew from new there is a waiting list for them
    Last edited by ezra; 11-14-2013 at 10:24 PM.

  19. #19
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    THere are a couple of good looking Yamaha Bravos for sale in the classified. They are light, easy to turn, and run forever.

  20. #20
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    Dec 2009
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    Inver Grove Heights, MN
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    There are tons of 380's around, and a lot of them have been "the wife's sled". Not real expensive and not real costly to go thru and put into reliable condition. (or at least what we all think will be) cause I've been there when my brand-new sled has takin a dump on me and had to be towed too..

  21. #21
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    Dec 2009
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    Cloquet, MN
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    Our kids started on a 120. Then we got a 440 Supersport. My daughter rode that last yr on trails and now we bought a 500 XCSP for her to ride this yr while my son takes over the 440 for his first year. Probably a bit to much sled for my daughter but she's a very cautious rider

  22. #22

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    My 14 year old daughter is running my 800 summit 146 ,12 year old daughter now gets my 800 xp. both my hand me downs with over 9000mi each not worth trading in. they were both taught how to ride and respect the power of big twins. my friends kids are running around with mid 90s sleds that ride poor so they don't want to ride much

  23. #23
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    Wisconsin
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    I don't know what older sled means to you, but my recommendation would be 2007 Yamaha Phazer. good quality but I like the 4 strokers... just my thoughts

  24. #24
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    So my family has been miserable this entire time. They can't have fun unless they are on a 800 twin? Hold on, I need to send my 12 year old to pick up his Grandpa at the air port. Should he take the z06,or the M5? Wait,it looks like snow, maybe he should take the H1. Does it matter that he is still in grade school,and doesn't have a drivers license???

  25. #25
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    lake villa
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    my son started on a 120. 2 years later he got a 88 sno scoot. 3 years after that 2002 polaris 440 fan. i think the sno scoot was the best trainer.

  26. #26
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    Oct 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodtic View Post
    So my family has been miserable this entire time. They can't have fun unless they are on a 800 twin? Hold on, I need to send my 12 year old to pick up his Grandpa at the air port. Should he take the z06,or the M5? Wait,it looks like snow, maybe he should take the H1. Does it matter that he is still in grade school,and doesn't have a drivers license???
    Best one yet. I confess I used to ride (back when I used to ride) a teeny weeny little 340, as an adult. I had fun, enjoyed the scenery, and even raced. I guess we didn't know any better back then. Things have sure changed. If I didn't know better, I would think that snowmobilers today are all real fat, real rich, and in a big hurry to blow past everyone. Just like big city drivers. I break out laughing every time I see a shiny, full size hummer up here. Overkill on the highway, and totally useless on a tight, narrow road. No doubt the safest vehicle (for yourself) would be to drive a logging truck. I guess the tank mentality applies to sleds also, like bigger is somehow safer? The main goal should be to have fun, regardless of what others tell you that is supposed to be. I won't even dare to suggest other outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating are good for kids to diversify their interests and develop a well rounded athleticism instead of riding all the time.

  27. #27
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    Oct 2012
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    Twin lakes, WI Palatine, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwikgren View Post
    Best one yet. I confess I used to ride (back when I used to ride) a teeny weeny little 340, as an adult. I had fun, enjoyed the scenery, and even raced. I guess we didn't know any better back then. Things have sure changed. If I didn't know better, I would think that snowmobilers today are all real fat, real rich, and in a big hurry to blow past everyone. Just like big city drivers. I break out laughing every time I see a shiny, full size hummer up here. Overkill on the highway, and totally useless on a tight, narrow road. No doubt the safest vehicle (for yourself) would be to drive a logging truck. I guess the tank mentality applies to sleds also, like bigger is somehow safer? The main goal should be to have fun, regardless of what others tell you that is supposed to be. I won't even dare to suggest other outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating are good for kids to diversify their interests and develop a well rounded athleticism instead of riding all the time.
    I started off on a formula 380 and those were some serious fun when your ten and don't know anything better or don't get to ride very often. At 18 I'm now on a 700 triple and love being able to rip, but maybe that's just the teenager in me.

  28. #28
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    Thanks for all the input. It was really appreciated.

  29. #29
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    This is a 12 year old on a Polaris 440 Sport, none of my boys ever complained about suspension travel or speed with one of these, they were just happy to be on their own sleds and having fun.

    004.jpg

    Bradzoo

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