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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!
  I'm posting this message to get feedback from the snowmobiling community. I am a 24-year-old Minnesota snowmobile entrepreneur! Some of my background is that I have a mechanical engineering degree in chassis and suspensions and have been working in the industry for 6 years now with such companies as Olson Racing, Redline Snowmobiles and Black Magic Motorsports.  
  What I am looking for is consumer feedback about producing custom chassis for the midwest snowmobiles. Now you look in every other area and industry and they all have some form of custom machines. Such as mountain sleds with CMX, RMI, and Tison, also the motorcycle industry has an insane amount of custom bikes like West Coast Choppers and Arlen Ness. But then you look at the every day midwest rider and he has to ride the basic manufacturer setup. Yeah he can change the rear suspension, a-arms, engine, and plenty of other add-ons but it truly isn't a performance custom. What I am proposing is producing polished aluminum tubular frames with increased rigidity and less weight, one-piece hoods and a full rolling chassis. Customers would have a multiple array of choices when it comes to purchasing a custom. They could just purchase the frame and hood and use their own sled for parts to finish the custom or they can contract the company to produce them with a rolling chassis. These frames and rolling chassis would not be one-offs but use different platforms for each manufacturer. This would give the customer great flexibility in customizing his/her sled but yet keeps the price reasonable enough for the average rider to purchase.
 All I am looking for is to see if there is a market for highly modified, highly polished, lightweight and powerful customs! All replies are welcome, good or bad and feel free to add any suggestions you think are necessary. Thanks for your time guys!
 

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Sounds great .... Accept the fact that ALOT of sledders chose to upgrade evey other year. And I would suppose this new custom idea would carry a pretty steep price tag, well you see where I am going with this. I defiantely would keep my harley for years after customizing it, but enjoy changing sleds for diffrent feels and speeds!

Good Luck though!!
 

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I don't see that much of a market for it, but who knows, once you start and word gets out it may realy catch on and take fire..

For me it would depend on the prices.  If the price was right I would consider it.  Problem is that most custom parts are too expensive for the "average joe" to afford.  So, if prices were good, I would "possibly" be interested.
Best of luck to you and I hope it catches on so that you will be able stayin the buisness.  Maybe rather than focusing stricly on midwestern snowmobiles, you could go all across the states via advertisements.  Also do set ups for asphalt racing, grass, mountain, as well as the flatlander setup.  I realize this would be allot more custom machining or whatever and allot more work, but you would reach more people than just a limited few.  Just a though, and you would know better than me probably.haha

Just my though...
 

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I'm a mountain rider, so I dont know how the market is for something like that.  But, I think its a really good idea.  You wouldn't really have any competition (at least for a while), and you know there are those guys out there that need somewhere to spend that extra $13K.  Your new sled may be just what they need.  I say go for it.
 

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i AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU POWERHOUSE. I personally don like to ride the average joe production sled and would be interestd in in a trick new eye catching tunnel. I know that there is a market here for 136 inch tunnels. I peronally would like to have look so start with ZR Cat. Every sled I buy I Chop, Extend and change as much cosmetic stuff as possible. My complaint is that the market is limited and what is avail is nothing great. I hate short tracks.......start with 136"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the great comments guys! Keep them coming.
Just to clarify some of the details, what I am trying to test market is a custom chassis with a few extras on it. It will most likely be a polished aluminum tubular chassis like no one has ever seen. It will have a very centralized mass, stand-up riding and be lightweight and rigid. I am going to market it more towards the average rider, not a complete $15,000 sled. It will be a rolling chassis that the consumer can put his/her engine, suspension, exhaust, etc. into, thus keeping down the cost but giving an extremely custom and high performance look. I hope this helped to clear some of the issues up. Keep the comments a rolling!
 

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I think you would need to offer a complete setup.  there are some people out there that have money to burn, but not the time to put a sled together.

you also have to remember that the snowmobile market is changing very fast.  a sled from 5 years ago is old and outdated. suspention and motor technoligy changes yearly, where as people keep motorcycles for their entire life, sometimes.  

I think you would have to get some of the magazines to test your design... than you would get buyers, but the word will be hard to spread. good luck in your endevor, and send pictures of whatever you create


- Jason
 

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I'm interested as long as you also make products for older sleds..or are you saying that the chassis will be a one size fits all deal? Just drop an engine in and go? I would definitely be in the market for a chassis reinforced in such a way that a 300 lb rider can ride hard and not worry about the frame and running boards bending and twisting. As long as my 670 and hood/bellypan fit on it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For all you guys that want something trick that you can brag to your friends about! Well I could be the man to bring it to you, but I need input so I can produce something that everyone wants.  Let me know what your dream sled would comprise off: tubular chassis, completely polished, custom carbon fiber hood, no belly pan just a skid plate so you can show off all the trick parts?  Do you want to be able to just buy the chassis and swap parts or do you want to be able to order on-off sleds or better yet a combination of the two? Guys I need to know or else you will be stuck riding the same old OEM’s with only small revisions from year to year! Throw some responses back at me!!
 

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This is just a suggestion but you should try and figure out a way to put a 136" skid or longer on the new Rev. Bombardier doesn't seem to be eager to do so but I'm sure there would be a market for it (me being one of the customers). Such an add on would be easy to make only problem is that probably a lot of compagnies (eg A.D. Boivin) will probably come out with something similar.
 

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POWERHOUSE, I had a simular idea to your butmine involved high performance vintage sleds with modern technology intergated into the old chassies. like modern rear skids ,IFS,hyd. brakes, high output engines, and stuff like that. But I just don't know if there is a market for that kind of thing
I am currently working on 2 diffrent sleds, but ones mine and the other is for my freind who is building a custom computer for me but thats it.
 

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PowerHouse...I think you are on the right track...think about what you would like from a performance shop and build your business on that foundation. Just make it easy for us to get a hold of you!
 

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flyntripple, you and your buddy should build a sled with a built in computer so you could log on to this site while ridding and the idea of a talking sled would be pretty cool too. I'm kinda tired to talk to my sled and not have any replies from it
 

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Lightweight, big tripple engine, a-arm front, big travel rear, and a way to order aftermarket parts for it!
 

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AC, thats what my freind told me
 He's only 16 and him and his other freind started a custom built computer biz or some thing? I'm to cheap to buy one from him so I told him I would build him a custom sled for a custom computer. He wants a L/C ski-doo 467cc engine out of a old Everest put in a old JDX and M-10 hung out back w/ custom IFS up front
 I think his partner is kinda pi$$ed at me but he'll get over it, I hope.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What I am looking at doing is offering customers the opportunity to call and order up a new chassis. Such as if someone owns a ZR 800 but doesn't like the rider ergonomics or chassis rigidity. I basically would build him a new chassis or modify one of my own preexisting platforms to suit his needs. Say he wants a centralized mass, standup riding, and rigid frame I would build him a custom frame so that he could use most of his components in the new tubular frame. Yes I would offer many other add-on products to go along with this but the basic concept would be a frame swap. This would give the individual customer the ability to customize the sled to what he wants but still keep the cost down. He would either use most of the components of his own sled and assemble it himself or he could have the company do it. I know what you are thinking: what about the components  that won't fit or need to be changed? I would offer the needed components into the package such as a different hood, fuel tank, seat etc.  Yes this is a customization to a sled so there will be probably  $3,000-$5,000 added cost, but if you think about what the average rider puts into his sled to make it stronger, lighter and more his own, this cost is well within range.
This versatility would give each customer what he feels is most important to him in a sled but in doing so keep the cost of customization down by using crossover platforms. Hope this helps a little more in my ideas, I really appreciate the comments and hope to here a lot more!!
 

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Powerhouse~ Sounds excellent!  Let us know what you come up with!
 
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