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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an 06 300RF and saw one on Cregs list for $4500 (pretty sure he didn't get that for it, but it was gone awful quick). Then saw a good deal on a 2015 550 LT at the dealer (gone now). Then I read the post by gizmo wanting a more aggressive track for his LT..

So, I guess I am curious about the difference in performance between the 300RF and the newer LT. For this thread, I am really only interested in performance, not reliability, gas mileage, or anything else. Any thought would be good, but I would really like to get opinions from people that have had time on both the 300RF and the newer LT.

Comparisons in:
Hill climbing
Maneuverability
Running through trees, sidehilling, etc.
Which gets stuck easier
Which gets unstuck easier
On the Trail
Reversing
 

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This one outa go 10 pages...????

Big difference would be front suspension and engine. 550 has what, double hp? Newer ones also have the LT version with articulated rear option.
 

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I have spent some time on both machines although not a lot. I would have to say the 550 LT is quite a bit better in every aspect you mention except for getting it unstuck, as it is heavier. If you can get a decent price for your RF, I wouldn't hesitate for a second about upgrading to the 550
 

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I have an 06 300RF and saw one on Cregs list for $4500 (pretty sure he didn't get that for it, but it was gone awful quick). Then saw a good deal on a 2015 550 LT at the dealer (gone now). Then I read the post by gizmo wanting a more aggressive track for his LT..

So, I guess I am curious about the difference in performance between the 300RF and the newer LT. For this thread, I am really only interested in performance, not reliability, gas mileage, or anything else. Any thought would be good, but I would really like to get opinions from people that have had time on both the 300RF and the newer LT.

Comparisons in:
Hill climbing
Maneuverability
Running through trees, sidehilling, etc.
Which gets stuck easier
Which gets unstuck easier
On the Trail
Reversing
I had both the 300f Tundra (RF) and a 550 Tundra sport (XU), so not quite what you are looking for, but close. I currently run the expedition sport 600ACE (XP), so that gives me perspective on the floatation of the 16X154. The 300f was super light but significantly underpowered compared to the 550 or 600ACE. If you have any slush, the RF300 is pretty much useless. The articulating suspension on the LT reverses much better. I would say the long track Tundra will get stuck less often, but be harder to get out. Maneuverability favours the 300f, mostly because of the weight. Neither Tundra is very good on trail, go with the expedition sport if that is your focus. The RF tundras were susceptible to A-arm damage, the pogos would likely be less likely to be damaged. Hill climbing depends on how you climb hills. Winding, traversing and crawling "TundraManDan" style probably favours the lighter sled. For anything else the extra power will make a big difference.

Cheers!
 

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This is not an apples to apples comparison. I own a pair of the 300 tundras, and have spent time on the 550lt. You can't do the same things with these sleds.

The 300 is crazy easy to ride, and can wiggle up a hill or through the trees better than any other lightweight sled, I think. Good skis and a full skid plate (and maybe a screwed track) combined with a balanced ride and just enough power make this my favorite sled to dink around on or just creep through the woods. So fun--you can use this for kids, trapping, or for people who haven't ridden before. They'll pull an amazing trailer load, float like crazy, and don't break much. There ARE certain conditions where they outperform the 550, but they're the exception to the rule.

Ultimately, they come up short in track (paddle) and power, and no amount of maneuverability makes up for that on a bigger hill climb. Fishin_chips is spot on about the reversing advantage for the 550 as well.

I find the smaller sleds (shorter track) are almost always easier to get unstuck by yourself. Anyone can throw them around, the tracks are set up to take screws, and I usually just roll them over in deeper snow and they're good to go.

I drove the LT in some steeper areas around here and found it underpowered for that. They don't climb as well as a summit 550 with a shorter track--I think they're geared wrong, because everything else about the tundra should have given it the advantage. I ended up going with the Indy 550 instead of an LT because of this, and I'm glad I did so far.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I find my lt 600 is a much better sled then the 300rf. I'm in ontario, and any hill climb I find is very easily done on both machines so I can't comment on that. One thing I do like about the lt 600 is the size. I'm a very tall rider and like how tall the sled feels. Also makes it much easier to carve around and transfer weight. As far as getting stuck I have learned not to lift the 600 like the 300rf. Instead dig the front and the side to break the "snow suction" and the sled will drive itself out of 90% of the situations. As mentioned driving on trails is not ideal with the pogos, but if you plan on doing much trail riding get the exp sport. As far as maneuverability and tree riding I found the lt much easier at creeping along or carving through the trees. There is definetly a bit of a learning curve for one sled to the other but once you figure the lt out you will love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry for the delay in responding.
Plenty of good comments here and if/when I am looking for a new sled, the LT is the direction I will likely go, unless my riding preferences change. Not surprised everybody likes it better, just by how much. As mentioned, both sleds have a learning curve and it depends on how you ride them. I did get on a sport once, but only on a lake so I didn't get a chance to really test it. I came away thinking that it was a nice riding sled with good spunk, but was not as flickable for a 160 lb wimp.
With mine having a longer track and lower gearing, traction is better as well as reversing. Still might not be as good as the newer LT, and there is no getting around the HP issue, though that can be helped some with riding style.
So, just out of curiosity, my sled will GPS about 27-29 mph in deeper snow pretty consistently. Anybody have GPS numbers for an LT?
Hey Chip
What year 300 did you have? Mine is the 06 but I have the aftermarket belt and springs in the clutch and the clutch is adjusted for a little higher rpm as well. Before I did that, the sled was a dog-not that it isn't still underpowered.
I have had mixed results in some serious slush with mine and have wished for more power to get the speed to carry through the slushy spots. Once, we were caught out camping during a pretty good storm. The heavy snow caused a significant amount of "almost over the boot" slush covered by a nice white blanket of snow. When we were leaving, I had a passenger and 4 packed sleds in tow. We didn't realize how bad it was until we were totally committed. He kept yelling "Floor it! Floor it!" I finally yelled "It is! It is!" I heard an "Oh F%&*" then silence. We made it, but it would have been a nightmare hauling those sleds off the lake if we didn't. This was before the track upgrade and I was very impressed that time.
I know what you mean about the A arms. I haven't damaged them yet, but I'm waiting. I would much rather have the front bumper and pogos on the newer Tundras.

Here is a couple of pix of the load that day once we got up on a packed trail. I have always wondered if having the snowmobile loaded with 2 guys and a couple of duffle bags on the back help with traction?
That is my friend Dan, With that kind of set up the guy on the back of the sled faces backwards to better watch the gear. Actually works pretty well and you both have a back rest...
 

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Hey Chip

What year 300 did you have? Mine is the 06 but I have the aftermarket belt and springs in the clutch and the clutch is adjusted for a little higher rpm as well. Before I did that, the sled was a dog-not that it isn't still underpowered.

My RF was a 2009, in great shape. I bought it as a second sled, for breaking trail and funnin' around. The day I stuck it in front of the house (in the slush) was probably when I decided to sell it. I drove my Expedition Sport through the same spot the next day and the difference in floatation was such that I couldn't even tell I was in slush. Amazing floatation with the skins and 16" long track. I deal with slush all of the time, that was a deal-breaker.

I do miss the light weight, though. I still find myself watching for an '05, I would love to have a modded Tundra a la TundraManDan or B550.

Not sure I have the skills, time and/or perseverance to complete that project.

Oh well....
 

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Hi Steve,

I was looking at the modifications that you have made to your 06 Tundra. You had this list but also did the clutch modifications:

1. Swapped to a Challenger lite single ply 146x16x1.75
2. Swapped drivers to 2.86 7 tooth extrovert drivers. (13% smaller dia. then original and changing pitch gave me more track options)
3. Rail extensions were already slotted for 8" wheels so did that also. I think you also lengthened the strap.

You have not changed the gears in the chain case to my knowledge so you can still add 3T on the bottom if more power is needed. I'm not sure if you raised the back 1.5" which seemed to help the approach angle on mine. The new LT is a great machine in many ways. However, I think yours would be very close to one on performance because there is no comparison what-so-ever between an 06 RF with a stock track and a 144 or 146 16" track. You will certainly notice the weight difference when compared to the 550 or ACE LT.

Why don't you keep your RF and also get a new LT and do some comparisons for us because as you know the difference between your sled when stock and after modification is like night and day. I do know that you had an engine failure which is extremely disappointing - I also know that feeling. However, I still believe that the 300 single is a more reliable motor than the 550F for several reasons . . . single carb, one cylinder to cool, and no cylinder away from the fan. However, if you do decide to sell your RF someone will get a unique machine that will walk around stock single cylinder Tundra's - old or new style (because of your mods).

There was one person on this forum who insisted that on the 300F the bearings in the bottom end would fail because synthetic was not sticky enough -- perhaps he was right. After your experience I think I will switch from synthetic to a synthetic blend in my 06. I've been pre-mixing non-synthetic in my 94.

You are talking about an 80 pound weight difference between the two machines which does make a difference. For example in that last ride where I had to cross a stream 3 times the cat was falling through the ice and my Tundra was not. Also, when you get a new LT on its side in 2 feet of powder and try to upright it you will be in for a mighty challenge. I do not have a power problem the way my Tundra is geared, it does not stall out, but cannot approach a hill at anywhere near the speed of an 800. However, in a lot of the places that I like to ride you cannot use any more power than what the little 300F has since you are at the limit of handling in gnarly terrain.

That said, there is one machine that I personally would like to purchase were they not so darn costly. My choice for price and performance would be a Skandic WT with the ACE. The reason is that where I live the temperatures to not often drop that low and once you are so big, then why not go big -- i.e. you can't lift anything heavier than your RF anyway. So, I would go for the extra 4" of track width and probably better backup capability than a Tundra LT. However, I would have to also keep one of my lighter Tundra's for tight, twisty, in the tree rides. I'm guessing that I would not be able to wear out or break an ACE engine. The motor would be super reliable like my 4-stroke motorcycles.

The most appealing aspects of the new Tundra LT for me are; the ACE engine, the pogo front-end, and the 154x16 articulating track -- especially the articulation aspect. Wide skis or skins would be necessary to help float that front-end where a lot of the extra weight is and also help with the stability because the one I rode felt top heavy compared to my 06. That is another reason I would consider the WT (or a SWT but you may as well forget side-hills with an SWT).

My main point is that your 06 is not stock and most of the comparison replies are stock 300F compared to the new 154" LTs. As you know that is not really a performance comparison with your machine. With all of that being said, I'm sure that a nice smooth new Tundra LT would be a very enjoyable ride. There are many variables in your performance questions such as "on the trail". That could mean different things. The 550 would win on the open trail where power is it but the 300F would win on the very tight little more than machine width winding trail. It is all about where you ride, your riding style, and what you enjoy best.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey Dan
Ya, it would be really fun to get the lt and run them side by side. I would love to do that. Since modified 300s are pretty rare, I did not figure anybody would have experience with both a modified 300 and an lt. Not the ideal comparison, I know how mine handled before so the information is still helpful. Also would be more helpful for others that might consider getting a new sled vs modifying what they have.

Owning only one sled is a lesson in the art of compromise. Uses/Riding style, cost, weight, rider strength etc all play a part in sled and modification choices. Attitude is also important too. How you see these compromises plays a big part in how much you enjoy riding your sled as well. I enjoys seeing the results in what I have done. However, not really being able to do much about hp on this sled bugs me a little. Though the mods I have made make hp a little less important, I still look at other option such as the lt.

PS: still looking for a GPS reading on the lt in deep snow. Though the info would be a little subjective, I am interested in it to help gage the difference in things like carrying speed into a climb etc.
 

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Owning only one sled is a lesson in the art of compromise. Uses/Riding style, cost, weight, rider strength etc all play a part in sled and modification choices. Attitude is also important too. How you see these compromises plays a big part in how much you enjoy riding your sled as well. I enjoys seeing the results in what I have done. However, not really being able to do much about hp on this sled bugs me a little. Though the mods I have made make hp a little less important, I still look at other option such as the lt.
Steve, your words are spot on. I have modified my '07 Tundra so that it is capable of doing most of those things that I enjoy most, but it isn't capable of doing all things well. I watch the introduction of new models every year in anticipation of a sled that is close to the do-everything sled that I dream of. I have come to the conclusion that BRP is not going to make that sled.
I recently purchased a 2016 Expedition Sport 600ACE; not to replace my Tundra, but to complement it. I chose the Expedition Sport because I wanted a sled that I could occasionally ride trails with friends and not be holding them back. I didn't want a strictly trail sled because those days when I ride alone, I can ride longer distances from my home on the trails to get to new areas to explore. The Expedition Sport is not only faster than my Tundra, but the wider front end makes handling so much nicer on the trail; both straight-a-ways and curves/corners.
Could I have gotten by with one sled? Sure, I have for years. Is life better now with two sleds? Absolutely. Will I always own two sleds? I don't know. Will there be a day when I don't own any sleds? Of course. In fact, we're all going in that direction. In the meantime my wife tells me to enjoy my retirement because it doesn't go on forever.
I had the covers open on both of my sleds yesterday. The 600ACE engine compartment looks intimidating to me. The 300F looks reassuringly simple. If anything, having a 600ACE really makes me appreciate the 300F even more.
Everyone's financial situation is different, but if you get a sled with more horse power, you can always sell your '06 at a later date if you find you no longer want it or can't afford having two sleds. There seems to be some demand for the single cylinder RF sleds. I have a list of people waiting to buy my '07 Tundra.
 

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Hey Dan
Ya, it would be really fun to get the lt and run them side by side. I would love to do that. Since modified 300s are pretty rare, I did not figure anybody would have experience with both a modified 300 and an lt. Not the ideal comparison, I know how mine handled before so the information is still helpful. Also would be more helpful for others that might consider getting a new sled vs modifying what they have.

Owning only one sled is a lesson in the art of compromise. Uses/Riding style, cost, weight, rider strength etc all play a part in sled and modification choices. Attitude is also important too. How you see these compromises plays a big part in how much you enjoy riding your sled as well. I enjoys seeing the results in what I have done. However, not really being able to do much about hp on this sled bugs me a little. Though the mods I have made make hp a little less important, I still look at other option such as the lt.

PS: still looking for a GPS reading on the lt in deep snow. Though the info would be a little subjective, I am interested in it to help gage the difference in things like carrying speed into a climb etc.
Well, they bought 4 of them where I used to work based on my recomendation; two 550 LT's and Two ACE LT's. I went out with them one time after I retired. Both the 550 and ACE are very nice machines. I love the big articulating track. I did not much like the way the hood came apart. I liked the POGO front end design. The only one I rode was the ACE. It had a very top heavy feel but perhaps that is a matter of getting used to. It had a slow but powerful acceleration curve never seeming to rev very high. It felt like is should be geared down a bit. With some effort I could put in a track with my modified RF that the LTs found to be difficult to negotiate but I tried hard to make tight turns and through places where you could not use the speed of the LTs. One guy turned the ACE on it's side in the deep powder. It was buried. The 2 of us could not upright it. So, I started it up and it had enough traction on it's side that with some pushing it uprighted itself. Another guy on the 550 LT got a small log stuck in the track. We could not figure out why it did not have enough power to get unstuck untill we discovered the log/branch. Yet another person who was a very good rider simply raved about how good the LT could carve and he did make that look easy. I wish I had more time on the machines. An inexperienced rider will easily flop an LT on it's side.

I did observe the other riders. My thoughts based on mostly the specifications are that:

- Either LT would likely beat your machine on a straight on hill climb

- You would feel more comfortable on a side-hill with your machine

- When the going is real tight and slow your machine would come out on top

- However, with a skilled rider using the reverse of the LT it will be surprising what they can get around in the tight stuff

- The 550 would have overall better tight woods, slow going performance than the ace because it has less front-end weight (that is where all the extra ACE weight is)

- Both LT's will likely pull more than your machine

- However, I personally would still gear an LT down

- The LTs would beat your machine in a race on an open road

- Your machine would beat them on a tight winding narrow trail race

- The LT will likely back up better although I'm guessing yours reverses pretty well with the deeper lugs

- Yours will get unstuck easier in situations where the LT is so stuck that reverse is useless

- The LT will pull a heavier sled load (maybe as it depends on the gearing -- yours is geared down. An LT has plenty of room in the chain case to be geared down)

- Neither will get stuck unless the rider attempt something the he knows he might get stuck in. They should be pretty close. The LT will get be less likely to get stuck with a planned reverse approach (but that high gear ratio hurts reversing). The RF of yours will be less likely to get stuck when negotiating side hill situations.

- yours will get much better gas milage than a 550 LT when not pulling a big load

- The ACE should get the gas mileage award

- The 300F is a more reliable motor than the 550F (my opinion)

- The ACE is more reliable than either 2-stroke but is dependant on a battery making it more likely that you could get stranded

- Both LT's will feel top heavy compared to yours - higher weight and same ski stance.

As for utility, they both have their advantages.

As for fun, that sort of depends on where you ride. If going with a group of other snowmobilers the LT is going to keep up better as most like to ride fast. I don't much enjoy the open road on my Tundra, but love the machine once I get to the tougher slow moving terrain and conditions.

A lot of people complain about the tippyness of the LT. However, I keep thinking about those two guys who placed (3rd I think) in the big tough race in Labrador (Cains Quest). Their ski stance was unmodified and they drove many sections at high speed (Tundra Extremes). They said that others would wait for them to break trail in the tough spots. They were experienced riders and that story told me a lot about the LT.

Dan
 

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Also Steve,

B550's 277 has a bit more spunk since he had the head milled and the motor ported (or perhaps polished). I looked into head milling for mine and due to the offset head design it would be complex and expensive. A higher compression head would be the best way to make up for performance loss at high altitude. In the old days, skidoos shipped to Colorado had high compression heads. For an example an Elan with stock head was rated at 12HP but with the high compression head at 18HP. Porting is tricky so perhaps polishing the ports is the best bet.

Dan
 

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I found this video from 2012. I was helping with a training sessions and there were 2 new 550 Tundra LTs and 2 new ACE Tundra LTs. If you watch the entire video you will see:

- excellent rider carving nicely with an LT -- at 9:50 - 10:25

- novice rider with an ACE Tundra LT on it's side at 10:50 - 12:43

- I get my first ride on an ACE at 15:50 - 16:06

- Tundra LT's can get stuck - especially with novice riders at 17:20- 18:20

What I think that the video shows is that the LT with 32" ski stance is very agile with a good rider. Watch that guy carve nicely. But, as you can see riders not familiar with it cannot keep it upright. That 4-stroke is certainly smooth and quiet - smooth acceleration with no sudden burst of speed.


The snow that day was very deep, soft and cold and at high elevation - perfect conditions.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey Dan

Nice vid and write up. If and when I need a new sled, it will more then likely be an LT. Not sure whether it would be the ace or not. Of course, the Expy sport looks pretty nice too.... I might do to much riding in the trees for that though. And of course, my riding might change with a new sled. Most guys around here don't care to ride with a guy on a little 300rf lol...

Steve
 

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Hey Dan

Nice vid and write up. If and when I need a new sled, it will more then likely be an LT. Not sure whether it would be the ace or not. Of course, the Expy sport looks pretty nice too.... I might do to much riding in the trees for that though. And of course, my riding might change with a new sled. Most guys around here don't care to ride with a guy on a little 300rf lol...

Steve
I hear you Steve. If you really would like to switch machines I would go for it. You will not be disappointed in an LT. I'm also guessing that a 550F would bolt right on your RF (would hurt performance in some places and help in others). Myself, I don't really enjoy riding with the "GO Fast" guys. The person I ride with occasionally on the M162 goes with me because we help each other out when in trouble. He does not really like the tough and tight slow going conditions where the Tundra excels and sometimes I just park and watch when we get to the open bowls. He does enjoy the beautiful scenery in the places we explore. It is an odd combination of machines. My guess is that a Summit or Freeride (and 800s to be sure) are the only skidoos that would give you any respect from the mountain crowd. Where I live it is very rare to see any type of newer snowmobile other than a Summit. I've never seen a Tundra LT other than the ones I recommended for where I used to work. A few weekends ago I may have seen an expedition sport. All skidoo riders have a summit but I mostly see Arctic Cats.

Good luck with your snowmobile decisions and if you sell your Tundra, hopefully someone who will appreciate its good points will get it. If you end up with a Tundra 550F be sure it is not a 2010 unless the piston/carb problems have been fully resolved because as you know engine failures are not any fun at all. The RF LT 550's did not have problems and as I understand they were solved in the 2011 models and beyond. Unfortunately, just like with software on computers, the real test of a first year snowmobile is with the users.

As a side note, this is a great snow year where I live. My home is only at 7500 feet and there is 3 feet on the ground. The snow just gets deeper and deeper as you go up in elevation. I can have fun plonking around the house. The only problem is that it seems I have to spend more time plowing snow for myself and everyone else than I do riding.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey Dan

The snow year is isn't real good here. Hit 48 here the other day. We are supposed to get 6-10" tonight but I remain skeptical. I am still waiting for enough deep stuff to do a good comparison between my skis with and without skins for another thread....
 
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