Acceleration testing is always fun, and this year we were able to do it with some of the most Real World conditions possible. That’s just one of our goals that we try to recreate every year at the Real World Shootout.
In acceleration testing, we ask ourselves, “How would consumers best gather results if they had to conduct their own tests?” Just about everyone has found an open field or lake or testing strip (with permission, of course), packed or groomed, and lined up next to their buddies. And that’s exactly how we always set up our acceleration test every year.
This was not a professional race track, and that’s on purpose. We want a "Real World" scenario. So, with some assistance from the town of Munising, Mich., we commandeered a private test area and made our own track of more than a mile, giving us ample time to find top speed and a safe shutdown area. We spent two days packing down the track, giving it time to set up, and grooming it down again. And best of all, the weather blessed us with bright sunny skies for our test days and cool temps at night over our purpose-made test strip.
With everything in place, it was up to AmSnow
test rider and snowmobile drag racer Butch Veltum to keep our test fleet on the straight and narrow. It was time for the sleds to perform and let the chips fall where they may.
But acceleration testing is only one aspect of the Real World Shootout. We are also wet weighing the sleds, spending time taking numerous fuel efficiency readings, trail riding and “seat of the pants” testing, as well as testing new accessories, products, and even new software and performance tracking equipment. It’s all done over the course of five days with the same group of riders each year. The idea is to be able to continually build a base of information that consumers can then look through, dissect and draw comparisons.
Before even starting to compare and test these sleds, we put well over 500 “break-in” miles on each of them. The 4-strokes all had their first oil changes and service done on them, and the 2-strokes had all eclipsed the specific manufacturer break-in times and count-down timers, done to respective OEM guidelines.