Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
The Snowrama II concept is a continuation of a series of ideas pertaining to the future of the snowmobile. (See Snowrama I). This time we are looking at track icing, wind protection and getting some leverage on your Ski-Doo.
I started driving my own snowmobile (a 1980’s Ski-Doo Élan) when I was 6. I have ridden every winter on dozens of different machines, and I still ride today. I had many ideas back then on how to improve the sled, but time flies, and here we are, almost forty years later. I’d like to share some of these ideas with you now.
How It Works
Track stand: One thing we had a problem with back then was the snow on your sled would melt after a ride. The water would accumulate on the track and freeze overnight. In the morning, we had to break the ice. Most of the time that would increase the load on the transmission.
Of course the icing situation depends on many conditions (if you store your sled in a covered garage, the temperature, etc.) but I thought about a simple fix. It would consist of a retractable track stand that would pull out from the sled. This stand could also be used to heat up your engine and CVT transmission in the morning.
Extending bumper handle: When you get stuck in snow—not if—a slide-out bumper handle that increases the leverage to lift the sled up would make using the sled easier. This handle could be latched with a clip or a rubber band and it could be made to slide into the snowmobile’s frame. Of course you would want this at both ends!
Morphing windshield: I once had a Mach 1 with a small black windshield. It was really cool, but trust me I was freezing to death even with a leather suit. I noticed that windshields are now designed to extend up, and I think it’s a good area to improve.
Could these shields also extend on each side? Could they be raised electrically on the fly like a power window? Would it be possible to use smart plastic to alter the transparency of the windshields? Adequately shielding the rider from the windstream will make him crave more rides.
Exoskeleton: It’s always a challenge to find the perfect place to latch your snowmobile on your trailer. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some visible anchor points on the sled? It would be cool to see the frame stick out on the front of the snowmobile like an exoskeleton (See image 2) frame on which you could secure your tie down. Maybe this could even become a future trend.
What It’s Used For
These ideas are pretty much self-explanatory. There is a cost and a benefit for each one of them. Personally I don’t mind adding a few pounds on the snowmobile to get more features. Then again, its always fun to ride on an ultra light sled in deep snow. It all depends on your dominant riding style. In any case, if you have some ideas of your own, feel free to contact me and we’ll see how we can improve things.
I would like to thank Boris Schwarzer who created the renderings of the Snowrama II concept. Schwarzer is based in Michigan and attended the College of Creative Studies. He also created the images for the Spike commuting car, the Joust personal transporter and the Urban Link tuk-tuk.
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