How Fast Can A Snowmobile Go, Know The Secret

How Fast Can A Snowmobile Go

How Fast Can A Snowmobile Go On Any Terrain

Can you guess the first question of a performance-minded snowmobile buyer? My experience says it’s typically how fast can a snowmobile go. For most beginners, the answer will work like a horsepower rating. The bigger, the better.

Well, it’s not the case for a snowmobile. Numerous factors can affect the speed of the snow vehicle. So it is simply impossible to specify a particular number as the top speed for a snowmobile.

You must be thinking about switching to another site for numbers. But believe me, I have found them pretty vague. If you do not consider the weather, technical condition, or terrain features while assessing the top speed of a snow vehicle will be a wild guess.

And one thing I have learned from spending numerous hours wandering over the ice. And that is when you are on a snowmobile, no guessing game will work.

How Fast Can A Snowmobile Go Really?

How Fast Can A Snowmobile Go

The highest speed of snowmobiles ranges between 8 to 140 mph. And this is related to the engine size. Bigger engines generate more power and more speed. If you start the research, the diversity in engine size will simply stun you.

Snowmobile engine size varies from 120-cc to a massive 850-cc. It is obvious that you will get the highest thrust from the big-daddy rather than the tiny toddlers. Let’s dig into the details.

120-cc Engines

These 120 engines can be considered kiddos in the snowmobile world, but they can also punch some power. Typically the speed is between 6 to 8 mph. However, some of the machines can reach up to 20 mph with special mods. weather-specific

A single-cylinder with 4-strokes does all the magic. These engines are highly terrain and weather-specific. Too much elevation and too cold temperature can slow you down. 

Vintage 250-cc Engines

I can still recall my Uncle Ricardo’s 1973 Ski-Doo Elan T Rotax snow vehicle. It was a classic piece of machine that can run like a racehorse over any thickness of ice. I never got a chance to kick the starter, but the engine performance and manoeuvrability were out of the world.

The top speed was around 40 mph. Fuel efficiency was not optimum like any modern engine, but it was decent. 

340-cc Vintage Engines

Yamaha Enticer was one of the legendary 340-cc snowmobiles that Powersports lovers still love. This machine can reach up to 55 mph in suitable conditions. Like any vintage snow vehicle, the Enticer has reasonable fuel efficiency.

The engine thrust is adequate to keep the speed limit around 55 mph.

440-cc Engine Speed

If you are an entry-level snow tauter, the 440-cc is the perfect machine to start the venture. The liquid-cooled engine can run the snowmobile up to 90 mph. According to the engine condition and environment, the speed range varies between 70 to 90 mph.

Yamaha Exciter or Polaris 440 is the most popular among the 440 engines. You love the maneuverability and durability of the machine, even in the harshest conditions. 

500-cc Engines

This range marks the transition between beginner and intermediate levels of snowmobile adventure.  Reaching up to 100 mph is not a big deal for the engine if the condition is favorable. Like an aeroplane, these snowmobiles need a stretch of land to speed up.

Are you wondering about the length of the stretch? It’s around ½-mile. EI Tiger or Sno Pro 500 from Arctic Cat is one of this range’s most famous models.  

600-cc Snowmobile Engine

The 600-cc stock engines are famous for insane speed and efficiency. You can easily go up to 105 mph in favorable conditions. And if you can run some modifications, the speed limit will be insanely 110+.

For long-range movement or excursion, you can pick these mighty 600-cc machines. Ski-Doo MXZ and Polaris XC are the most remarkable models of this range.

700-cc Engines

The typical highest speed of 700-cc snowmobiles is 110 mph. A few models can go a bit faster, but that will require both modification and favorable conditions. Otherwise, you have to stay between 100 to 110 mph in any snow condition.

Polaris XC 700 is an excellent vehicle with such a powerful engine. When you look for some extra speed and power, don’t miss this model.

800+ cc Engines on Snowmobiles

Both 800 and 850-cc are the beast of the snowmobile community. They can produce up to 200-HP to drag a snow vehicle with lightning speed. You can easily run at 110 to 120-mph speed.

Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Ski-Doo make some of the most famous snowmobiles with high-powered 800 or 850-cc engines. These models are insanely fast and highly efficient.

1000+ cc Engines

Yes, there are snowmobile models that come with 1000+ cc engines. If you want a massive thrust behind your snow excursion, these mighty machines will keep you on the run. The 2015 Yamaha SR Viper, 2015 Arctic Cat XF 7000, or Ski-Doo 1200 4-Tec Renegade are some of the most powerful snowmobiles.

You can get up to 136-HP from these vehicles. And this massive power will give you 125-mph or more in a favorable condition.

How Fast Can A Snowmobile Go

What Factors Affect the Snowmobile Speed?

I am sure you have noticed the continuous use of the word “favorable conditions.”  Yes, favorable conditions can significantly impact how fast can a snowmobile go. All the big numbers that are alluring you will be on the surface if everything favors your snowmobile.

The condition elements include the aerodynamics of the vehicle, outside temperature, terrain features, and many more. I have compiled almost all the significant observations from the pro riders and maintenance experts to make things easy for you.  

Aerodynamics and Wind Speed

Have you ever tried to move against a strong wind? It’s really hard, isn’t it? The same goes for a snowmobile. It is always difficult to run against a strong wind. But if the wind is in your favor, you can have some extra push.

The aerodynamics of the windshield plays a vital role in diverting the gust of wind. If the shield can slow the wind efficiently, you will face a manageable wind resistance. However, a shield with the least aerodynamic design will significantly lessen the speed.   

Terrain Features

Flat plains are more favorable for snowmobiles than up hills. When planning to go climbing hills, snowmobiles may not be a good option. But if you go downhill or ride on a flat plane, you will have a memorable experience with a snowmobile.

Lush green grass cover may be soothing for the eyes but not great for your snowmobile tracks. The vehicle will face more resistance on grass rather than on snow. It’s not like I am discouraging you from riding on the grass but it won’t be a great experience. 


Temperatures do not impact directly on the engine but affect the air density. And the air density is one of the key factors for the maximum speed of the machine. Cold air is much denser than warm air. When engines take in thick cold air, it produces more energy using the same amount of fuel than warm air.

Besides, snow turns into ice at a cold temperature. And compact ice exerts less resistance on the tracks than loose snow. As a result, you will get less resistance but more power in low temperatures.

Let me share a real-life scenario. A 650-cc snowmobile can reach up to 95 mph at 25 F, whereas it can reach a staggering 115 mph when it’s -20 F. It’s really cool to ride in the cold!


A well-maintained machine can generate high speed quicker than a snowmobile rather than a device with irregular maintenance. If you keep an eye on the engine oil, filter, and electronics, the vehicle will ensure the smoothest acceleration and better speed.

Pro riders and snowmobile fans tend to check the engine and other components almost on a weekly basis. If you are looking for the maximum thrust from the snow vehicle, keep them checked and oiled.


Heavier snowmobiles will hardly reach the maximum speed. The engine consumes a world lot of energy to run that weight. So you will end up below the highest limit of the engine. However, you will have better control over the movement.

Lighter snowmobiles will have greater speed, but it may compromise the maneuverability of the machine. It’s up to you which one you prefer most between speed and maneuverability.

Top Speed vs Acceleration: Which one is Essential?

No matter how much is the top speed of a snowmobile, you will probably skip that if it takes forever to reach that number. Do you see what I mean?  Acceleration is equally, sometimes more, important, like speed. Faster acceleration means the engine has adequate force to reach the top speed in no time.

And when I say “no time,” I mean it. The world record of acceleration for a snowmobile is 0 to 60-mph in 1 second. It’s insane, isn’t it?

Most of the stock snowmobiles take 3.5 to 5 seconds to reach 0 to 60 mph. Interestingly, most of these models come with higher engine volume or cc ratings. It makes sense because bigger engines are powerful enough to reach top speed quickly.

History of Snowmobile: Kalenze to Cool Models

Harold Kalenze was the pioneer of the machine that now rides on the snow. He invented a propeller that moves over the ice while carrying people. He included a steering wheel and made the vehicle two-sitter.

A few years later, another inventor Ray Muscott invented a snow sleigh and got the patent. Rather than a propeller, Ray’s machines had rear tracks and front skis. Now navigating through the ice was like a breeze for these “Snowflyers.”

Joseph Bombardier was the brain behind revolutionizing the snow flyer design and making it a modern-day snowmobile. He makes the machine safer, more maneuverable, and more durable than ever. Bombardier design was not only comfortable for the rider but also made the riding popular as a Powersport.

Snowmobile Safety Tips

  • Do not ride alone. Either have someone with you on the vehicle or ride with another one.
  • Drink and Drive are equally dangerous when you are on a snowmobile.
  • Keep the speed under control. The best nighttime speed is 40-mph.
  • Gear up for safety. DOT-certified best snowmobile helmets with breath boxes, goggles, and vests are essential for any ride.
  • Avoid riding over the frozen lakes or rivers. If it is unavoidable, always wear a life vest for extra safety.
  • Stay to the extreme right of a trail.
  • Follow the designated snowmobile trails. Trespassing is a serious offense.

Speed Should Come with Safety

It is not very difficult to avoid any unpleasant accident while riding over the flakes of snow. Maintain a few basic rules, and things will be great. And keeping the speed under control is one of them.

You know how fast a snowmobile can go. But pushing towards that limit can make things turn into a disaster. Anyone who loves snow riding will keep the speed under the limit and enjoy the excitement with safety.

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Jason, a helmet enthusiast, is the owner of shares his innovative idea that helps people get the proper knowledge of helmets and their accessories to go ahead!

Helmets are usually life-saving elements to run! That's why, an expert on helmets, Jason built this site to express his gathering knowledge and first-hand user experience over decades.

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By Jason

Jason, a helmet enthusiast, is the owner of shares his innovative idea that helps people get the proper knowledge of helmets and their accessories to go ahead! Helmets are usually life-saving elements to run! That's why, an expert on helmets, Jason built this site to express his gathering knowledge and first-hand user experience over decades.