If this was modified by an owner for racing (as it would appear) then it is that owner (seller) that misrepresented the product, not the manufacturer.
If that owner modified it in such a way that it is "the fastest sled around" and is not set up for driving slowly, then the only problem here is that this owner did not inform the buyer that it was set up only for this purpose and that it would overheat if it were driven slowly.
What I find most troubling about this story is the lack of accountability by the manufacturer. I wish there were some mechanism whereby we could bring manufacturers of faulty products to address issues in a fair setting, similar to a small-claims court - somewhat informal, but with enough teeth to make things happen. Very few people have the resources, time or resolve to pursue issues of this nature, and manufacturers know it, so they stonewall until the complainant just gets tired and goes away. For now, probably the best solution is to make as many as possible aware of manufacturers who treat their customers this way so that the rest of us can avoid buying anything from them. I will certainly think twice about buying anything from Kawasaki.
I think the sled chosen didnt match up with the intended use. Back in that era I had 2 Cats, 1 Puma and 1 Panther. The Puma was just like that Kawi and powered by Kawi. Each had their place though the Panther actually hill climbed better due to the suspension.
As for safety..you're kidding right? Its a high speed snowmobile.....
This has racing numbers on it. Was this purchased used and modified? If so, maybe the previous owner modified it to perform specifically at full speed for racing?
If this is the case, it would make sense. Racing machines are often set up for all out performance without any regard for driving slowly, which is not what they were set up for. Just try to drive a top fuel dragster running nitromethane at 40MPH for half an hour. There not might be an engine left. But - if you ask it to hit 300MPH in 5 seconds, this is right in its zone...
Back when this machine was produced, it was all about speed. Manufacturers were competing for customers by producing the fastest machine around. Obviously, the sacrifice was "ride-ability"... Sure, it was fast, but nothing more.
Interesting, we've got a Kawasaki Jet Ski with a similar issue (same basic engine). With lake cooling, obviously over-heating is not an issue, but that ski only likes to go flat out (and as with your sled, does that very well). Any other speed and it surges and porpoises badly. I'm agreed that it's just not fun to ride at a leasurely pace. Either they're not designing the full speed range well, or we're all getting older. My vote is that both are true !
I would think there would be some recourse in terms of having these machines meet safety regulations regarding speeds. Unless you can regularly ride wide open spaces without the threat of trees, roots, or low hanging branches, the single high-speed mode is an accident waiting to happen.
Too bad. Some of the most fun I've had on snowmobiles has been through the trails with friends. It's nice to be able to go online and review products like this now. I hope that as consumers start to use the internet and become more informed manufacturers start to develop products for the real consumer. Not just what some marketing guys thinks the consumer wants.
Looks like the Kawasaki engineers just figured that everyone only wanted to go fast and that is how they designed the machine to run. At least you were able to sell it to someone that hopeully likes keeping the pedal down.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.