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I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old.  My original game plan was to buy a used Kitty Cat for the 4 year old to learn on and then get her a ZR120 the following year if she is ready and enjoys riding.  Then pass the Kitty Cat down to my son.  I was talking to some people and they said the snow needs to be perfect condition for the Kitty Cat to run well.  The reason being the engine is mounted forward which causes the skis to sink in the snow.  Is this true?  I have never heard this before.  The last thing I want to do is get her a sled that is going to always get stuck and she will get frustrated and discouraged from riding...

Any past experiences or opinions would be helpful.  Thanks.
 

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I would forget the kittycat.  Any of the new 120s like the Skidoo MINI Z, Arctic Cat Z120 and that polaris kids model are much better in terms of what they can do.  They also look more like a real sled and not like a box with a engine in it.

However i dont really agree with these kid sleds.  I would suggest waiting till there a bit older then buying a 380fan or even a vintage fan cooled.  You can still limit the throttle and its a sled that they can grow into and it offers real sled handling.  I dont think going 5km/h or what ever these little 120s do is fun for any kid for a long time.  At least with a 380 you could one day trail pass it and go for rides with them.  

I remeber i started on a 294 silverbullet and it scared me.  I dont think i ever went passed 15mph and somtimes 20mph.  It could have done 50mph but i never wanted to.  I think that if you lay out the rules for your kids and tell them not to go passed 15mph or whatever they will do the same thing and have much more fun on a practical sled.  

IMO.  

See ya
 

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Machzzzz1,

You hit the nail on the head with your thoughts about getting an older fan seld for kids.  I bought a new kittycat for our daughter back when she was younger, but she out grew so quickly, it just wasn't any fun for her.

About this time the first 120's were coming out.  Upon checking the physical dimensions of the AC 120, I found the distance from the center of the handle bar to the farthest rear seating position wasn't much longer than the kittycat she had.  I couldn't justify getting one, only to have the same cramped seating position with a little better flotation/stability.  (maybe thatswhy they now offer the optional seat that lets the kids sit farther away from the handle bars.

Anyway, I restored my Dad's first sled he never got rid of, a 1970 panther 399 kohler, put a hose clamp on the handle bar to stop the flipper at 20 mph and sent our daughter out into the flat alpha field.  You never saw such an excited kid!!!  The sled is a little long, but it was more fun and functional for her than a 120 would have been.

The following year I found a '79 250 Lynx in good shape.  Great sled for kids.  The ski stance is a little narrow, but other than that they work great.  Gotta mix gas/oil.

This past spring I scored on '79 Jag 340 FC oil injected sled.  Other than a good cleaning and a couple mechanical fixes, it too was in great shape.  This is what our daughter will take her snowmobile saftey test on this winter.  With a wider ski stance and ski shocks, and a little heavier, it should rind/handle better for her than the Lynx did.

Bottom line is if you can find a '70s Jag, Enticer, Colt or (not sure what the Doo model would be), IMO they are the best thing for kids to learn on, before getting them on a late model IFS type sled with more HP.

David
 

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I want to see a 3 or 4 year old big enough to safly ride a 250 pus size sled. 5 or 6 maybe. They have older kids racing the minis. The minis are the best choise to start a small child, to get them to like the sport kust like lil 50 and 70 quads. a kid will enjoy it alot more also.
Caleb
 

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Forget the kitty cat, pick up a used 120 then Look for a lynx, jag, bravo for when they get a little bit bigger.
 

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rx-1 said it a bravo is a perfect learner sled to start with, i started out with a 88 safari Citation.
 

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I don't agree with the boredom comment. Depending onthe available size of riding area the 120 should be OK. My nephew who just turned 5 got a electric Jeep last year on his 4th birthday. He just rides it in a suburban back year & still has a ball with it.

The 120s run much better in any snow conditions. I think the Kitty Kats need the snow to be packed down or else they're stuck.

A note on legalities, in Ontario, I don't think a rider can go off his property unless he or she has the operators license which they can get at 12. A younger rider with a larger sled may be tempted to wander.  
The 120 may keep them closer to home.
 

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Kids are spoiled these days!!  I remember the old days...

My first encounter with a sled..  My neighbors dad purchased a 1980 Blizzard 550 fan.  One day after school.. we decided we better go make sure it was okay in the garage.  Next, we thought we better make sure it still ran okay.  

My friend fired it up.. the accelerator stuck.. and the thing went sailing out the garage.. and sped down the hill directly towards our neighbors across the way.  After making across the road at 90km/h.. it ended up flying end over end across the ditch and rested upwards.. the windshield went bye bye.

This was very tough situation to cover up.
 

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Kitty Cats are great on hardpack, but anything more than 5-6 inches of powder and there's no hope.  They're light sleds that are easy to get unstuck, but not if you're 6-7-8 years old.  Or younger.  It was only 14, 16 years ago or something that I used to ride one, so I remember it well.
ONe thing tho, 8mph is pretty slow, but still it never, ever got boring.
 

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I started out on a 70's kitty-kat and even though it would get stuck in deeper snow, it was a blast.  Then again, the 120 looks and acts like a normal sled, just miniature.  Safety is a must with your little kids so I would probably stay away from anything over a 340.  My brother started out on a jag 340, and his first time out on it, he squeezed the throttle as hard as he could and it took off down the road, it ended up in a ditch and him near it; after that he was very cautious.
 

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I would say buy the 120 ,disregard some of the posts about the bigger sleds till they are teens and have experiance,the 120's with stock engines can run around 15-18 mph,remove the govennor rod and gear.that is a nice improvement over the 8 mph they do stock which will get old after the first year.before I get slammed on this reply I will just say bring your 250's and 380's on down to the fort 500 in fort recovery ohio this fall and race.the ossra directers have a mini z that will smoke older 340 and 440 fans on the grass in 500 feet.it has a pretty hot briggs out of a race cart in it that has around 20-22 hp.this sled has been around since the first mini z's with their their grand daughter and now their grandson.
 

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My thinking is that if you get them a small 120 they will be used to pinning it just to get the 5mph.  When they get a bigger sled they will drive the same way.  

Listen to me and start them off on a fan cooled vintage or somthing new just low powered.  The power will scare any young kid and keep them in check for the rest of there lifes.

It worked for me, my bro and everyone of my friends that started this way turn out to be a good driver.
 

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I would say go for the 120.  Like some of the posts said after a year there is alot of stuff you can do to a 120 to make it go faster as your kid gets older.  The biggest thing I have against a you kid riding a small fan is the frame wasn't designed for their size.  They can't touch the floor boards and they don't have the weight to learn how to lean and control the sled which i have seen be a problem first hand.  With a 120 the frame was built for a young kids size.  I learned to ride on a mid 70s tx340 but I was around 12 at the time.  I also disagree with machzzz1s statement that the power will scare them it didn't take much time for my brother and I to learn how fast both the sled and our 4wheelers could go.
 

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Sled Dogg & others,

I should have been more clear, I by no means am suggesting that a young child (4-5-6-7 yrs old) be put on an older fan sled as their first experinece to sledding.  To answer the original post, I'd start a young child on a 120 as opposed to a kittycat.

The point I was trying to make was that instead of keeping an older child (8-12 years) on a 120, look at putting them on an older fanner for a year or two before putting them on a late model indy/phaser/cougar/plus.  

David
 

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If you can find a good deal on a 120, go for it, kids do not get bored of them if you put them in a small field and let them do what they want in there, it gives them the freedom of normal sledding but it is also safe.

David, I am totally with you, when I started, I started on a kitty kat as stated before, from there I went to a 81 yammi enticer 300, and then to a friendly jag 340 and finally to the phazer which I drive now.  I think I can call myself a good and safe driver and sooner or later, I'll be on a 700!
 
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Keep one thing in mind, the 120 will be harder to steer,(more weight), than the kitty cat.  I bought my 4 year old daughter a kitty cat so she can build her upper body strength up.  The kitty cat worked great for alot of years.  My dad put me on a 73 Viking 300 when I was 5 and had trouble steering it at first until I got stronger.
 
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