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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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...
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.....
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.
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.
First, I want t o clear the air on ONE major issue at hand. I do not know who KURT McQUEEN is. But, I can tell you that he has PLAGIARIZED this Comment from me! Furthermore, the photo of the snowmobile shown is NOT that of a 1980 KAWASAKI INVADER 340. I bought it brand-spanking new from a dealer of farm equipment in Riverhead, L.I. N.Y. in the early winter of 1980, and brought it to friend's farm in upstate NY immediately thereafter. It was a replacement for a RUPP NITRO 340, of which I bent the frame. The INVADER was a medium blue w/ black accenting, and featured a fold-down headlight. Finally, I still have the original sales literature brochure that KAWASAKI published back then.
I made this comment several months ago in response to another person's rant about a vehicle in which he was having a major operational problem. When I responded to that incident, I prefaced my remarks w/ the statement that even though it was "off topic" and dated (in the early 1980s), I still felt it was a prime example of the great disconnect between consumers & the manufacturers.
Answering some of your comments:
1) I agree. The TOTAL LACK of concern for me as a consumer was outstanding. I was tempted to write to the Ohio Atty Gen's office w/ a formal complaint. The original selling dealer was of no help either. I petitioned him several times, and he finally admitted that he could not get any satisfaction from the factory either.
2) Well, KAWASAKI is long since out of the snowmobile business, so I wouldn't concern myself w/ purchasing another one. Besides, living in FLA, we really don't get that much annual snowfall, so it might not be a wise decision.
3) I had friends who owned ARCTIC CATS. One of them was a 440 liq. cooled sled. It was a BEAST! Right out of the box!!!!! Besides, the INVADER was a 340, and it was a 2-person sled, considered to be an all around traveler. It was NOT specifically designed as a "go-fast-ONLY!" sled. The reason I titled my comments was because as it turned out, that's the ONLY way the engine temp. gauge would stay in the normal zone.... when it was basically close to flat out in spite of the fact that there was BOTH an upfront radiator AND an additional radiator in the tunnel which got snow splash from the spinning track. The problem was that the cooling system was NOT designed correctly from the outset, and that is why the factory refused to address the issue because they were well aware of the design deficiency. But, since it was NOT a safety issue, and laws were a lot more lax then, they were able to successfully ignore the pleas of dissatisfied customers.
4) The INVADER was NOT advertised as a "racing" sled. The brochure specifically shows families astride enjoying it. Furthermore, I KNEW I'd be traveling w/ companions, and the bulk of our trips was through the wooded trails, so I certainly would not have purchased this machine under those circumstances.
I hope this clarifies the situation. I have written Bob Spiegal in a separate e-mail with regard to the plagiarism. Let this be a lesson to all of you. Be VERY alert when posting items on these forums. It seems there are a number of totally immoral & unscrupulous persons who will stoop little for a few seconds of the limelight!!!!
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