Havent had the chance to ride on the new platforms yet. Am looking forward to it. Have two RMK's a 600 and 800 and I usually ride the 600 since it's eaiser to throw around in the snow. Rode an 800 Summit last year (Not last years model). It did have, of course more power than my 600 but that was the only difference I noticed.
As for the RMK's. They are still a very popular machine up here. RMK's and Skidoo's run neck and neck. The new M Series from Artic Cat are catching on.
Personally the Edge Chassis RMK is still my favorite Mountain sled. It has everything you need (power, predictability, mauverability, comfort, good trail manners and it's the best in snow) plus the list of aftermarket parts available is endless.
If you want a stock sled, it's awesome, if you want to build a sled, it's the best place to start.
It's really sad to see them gone.
The polling on the snow (around here at least) seems to favor the 800 rev's. Many long term brand loyalist have switched to them and seem real happy. Even know acouple guys that did the 1000 summit and 900 polaris's last year that are on them and love em. (I don't have one btw, so there is no bias).
Well in the next 6 to 10 years when I'm shopping for a 2006 model year mountain sled, I figure I'll be looking toward Yamaha 4 strokes for the best/longest lasting used engine, even though I like 2 stroke power characteristics. I think there's little to no argument that Skidoo has the cleanest and most powerful new engines across the board, but also looking at their lubrication requirements I wonder how they will hold up. How many people are actually going to use XPS-II for the entire life of a 7 year old sled? And will these engines have a reduced lifespan compared to other models even when properly lubricated?
I'm skeptical, but I was skeptical about Japanese cars too (basically for the same reasons) until I got my first Honda Civic in 1994 (an 84 CRX) and have refused to buy any other car model since. How, I asked myself, can Honda get all this power and effeciency out of those tiny engines and expect them to last? Well I don't know how they do it, but I've never had an engine failure or major problem on any of my Civics and they have all gone past the 250,000 mile mark under very extreme daily driving conditions. Somebody wrecking them has been the only way I've been able to kill a honda. The point is, the proof is in the puddin, not necessarily what seems to make sense. I believe Honda simply has superior engineering, and it sure seems like BRP is committed to superior engineering as well. If BRP's designs really are as great as I and everybody else believe, they will probably hold up really well in general.
So of course we really don't know that the 4 stroke sled engines are going to last a lot longer than 2 strokes even though I can list several reasons why they should in theory. But if people treat them like their car and never change the oil...or if the design/engineering is poor...well just the opposite may turn out to be true. I think Yamaha engineering is excellent in general, as is BRP's. We're just going to see how history views today's advancements after the hype is gone. I sorta feel the same way about the REV chassis. It is great, although it certainly didn't blow me away. I would not pay a premium for it. In fact, after I rode both a 2006 and a 2001 Summit 600 I preferred the 2001 chassis hands-down. The REV is still a snowmobile, not a whole new experience. Yeah it's light...for a snowmobile. It's still a heavy machine. And how easy does that light chassis bend or fail? I don't know, but at least on the '01 I could stretch my legs out when necessary. On the '06 I rode that's simply impossible. Yes I understand "rider-forward" in theory. I was totally sold on the idea before I rode one. Now I don't see the point. I mean, scoot forward when you need to be rider forward and then scoot back going downhill or to relax when you can. Why force the rider into a crouch at all times? It's not appropriate for every condition. I hate it, personally. You still have to stand when it matters so what's the point? From an engineering point of view I get it. My body does not get it. If I was about 5'5" tall it probably would have been perfect...but that '06 sled had no accomodations for me and halfway through the day my knees were screaming "never again". To be fair, I've been told that I was riding the basic seat and there is a better one...I hope so because that seat absolutely sucked...I've never hated something on a sled like I hated that seat.
In the end, my used buy will really come down to who is in a hurry to unload their sled in the spring/summer at a sacrifice price and can I cheaply fix what's wrong with it. The crystal ball is pointing to yamaha but the green paper will dictate the final purchase when the day comes. I may end up getting a less popular sled because they aren't/won't be as much in demand and probably have a lower used value. I certainly would buy any of today's mountain sleds for the right price. They all have features that I really like. I'm so glad reverse has finaly come to mountain sleds!
In the next 2-3 years I'll definitely be looking toward post-rotary-valve but pre-Rev Summits as my used sled of choice, but something tells me these sleds are going to hold their value too well and stay in demand, putting me out of the market. Yamaha intrigues me as I said, but their value may stay too high for me as well, especially if these 4-strokes turn out to be super-durable like people are hoping. Arctic Cat has been the cheapest and easiest for me to work on. It seems like they charge less than everyone else for the same parts. Couple that with their recent decline in popularity (like everyone except skidoo) to depress prices, and their current emphasis on rider comfort (bingo) and I think that adds up to the best value overall a few years down the road. All the RMKs since 2000 have looked pretty great to me as well, their current seat design looks perfect (tall, narrow, flat), and Polaris certainly seems to have lost consumer demand as well which should bring the used prices down.
My fantasy sled is electric powered in world where battery technology allows that to be feasible. Seems like the CVT clutch and the electric motor would be a match made in heaven. Well I can dream. At least I'm at work getting paid while I write these huge rambling posts...
Prior to 2006 i would of said the edge rmk's. i would go for a m series or rev for a current year. i bought a 2006 1000rt summit this last march....i love the power. working on dropping it down to as close to 500 lbs as possible.