You can install a twist throttle on your snowmobile. However, while this may increase your comfort level, you will sacrifice safety, maneuverability, and precision. Therefore, the thumb and hand throttle are preferable.
Twist throttles are popular among e-bikes for maintaining steady motor speed, especially in cold weather. Therefore, they can significantly increase the speeds at which your bike will go.
In this article, I will go into detail about whether you should put a twist throttle on a snowmobile. I will also provide alternatives to a twist throttle that will work better for your snowmobile than a twist throttle.
Twist Throttles: What Are They and What Do They Do?
A twist throttle is a type of throttle for modulating power on an e-bike or motorcycle that relies on the motion of the grip. This kind of throttle is common in motorcycles, whereby the downward twisting motion on the twist throttle activates the motor.
You connect a twist throttle to the handlebars, and twisting it downwards determines the speeds at which your bike will go. To this end, you can turn the throttle to increase the speed at which you’re moving or hold it steady to maintain your current speed.
Twist motors are preferred in motorcycles and e-bikes because they provide better control and help maintain steady motor speed. On the same breadth, the twist throttle allows you to control motion with your entire hand instead of just a thumb as in the base of a thumb throttle.
Relative to the thumb throttle, twist throttles are easier to use during colder weather when compared to the thumb throttle. This is because there is less concern about your thumb freezing up when using a twist motor than there is when using a thumb motor.
What Kind of Throttle Do Snowmobiles Use and Why?
Snowmobiles use a thumb throttle. This is preferred to the twist throttle on snowmobiles because it allows better control of the throttle without taking anything away from maneuverability. However, it’s common for sledders to suffer from thumb pain. So, many will turn to the hand throttle instead.
I’ll go over a few reasons why the thumb throttle is used (and preferred) on snowmobiles below.
Thumb Throttles Are Easier To Navigate
One of the common reasons why the thumb throttle is preferred to the twist throttle on snowmobiles is that adding a twist throttle to the snowmobile means that you will have to remove the lever from the handlebar to accommodate the throttle.
However, removing the lever from the handlebar has its disadvantages. The first of these disadvantages is sacrificing precision that you would otherwise enjoy when using a thumb throttle. Allow me to elaborate.
With a thumb throttle, your hand always lies over the throttle. Accordingly, you can either stop the motor or boost power to your snowmobile almost instantaneously. This comes in handy during emergencies since it allows you to react faster to unforeseen events.
In contrast, a twist throttle does not provide the same ease for navigating emergencies, which means that it will be harder to escape potentially dangerous situations.
Thumb Throttles Are Convenient
The second reason that the thumb throttle is preferred to the twist throttle on snowmobiles is primarily a matter of convenience. When using a twist throttle, you need to twist your hand to reduce engine power and slow down when faced with an emergency. However, all you need to do is remove your thumb from the lever without releasing your grip on the handlebar.
Thumb Throttles Are Easier To Maneuver
Thirdly, it’s easier to maneuver a snowmobile fitted with a thumb throttle. It will allow you to make a critical and instantaneous maneuver, especially when your body weight shifts to one side, increasing the risk of toppling.
Can You Put a Twist Throttle on a Snowmobile?
You can put a twist throttle on a snowmobile. The twist throttle is a viable alternative to the thumb throttle on a snowmobile, especially when the sledder experiences thumb pain, suffers from cold hands, or is uncomfortable with the rigid hand position.
When using a twist throttle, you do not have to press down or release the snowmobile lever with your thumb to increase or decrease speed. As discussed above, you only have to twist the handlebar, which can solve some of the issues associated with the thumb throttle.
However, you will sacrifice quite a bit on maneuverability and precision. This is because while the thumb throttle may put immense pressure on your fingers and especially your thumb, the twist throttle places this pressure primarily on your wrists.
Secondly, while you can solve the problem of cold hands with a pair of winter gloves when using a thumb throttle, it’s difficult to twist the twist throttle with gloves on, which leaves your hands susceptible to freezing during colder weather. Additionally, the thumb throttle often compensates for the cold by heating up, a feature that is not available on the twist grip.
A review of online forums and feedback from people who have tried this option also reveals that it’s not an effective fit for your snowball. For instance, fan feedback from Snowmobile Fanatics reveals that the twist throttle on snowmobiles is prone to freezing.
The twist throttle mainly freezes because of dust accumulation on the handlebars when you drift on the snow. This snow will then melt on the handlebars and seep into the twisting mechanisms, which results in freezing.
Additionally, the thumb throttle works well on snowmobiles because it considers the side-to-side swaying, as previously discussed above. It’s important to note that the twist throttle works excellently on motorcycles because the ride sits relatively still and leans forward, making it easy to twist the throttle.
In comparison, it would be challenging to twist the throttle while leaning on one side of the sled, which means your risk of falling off increases when using a twist throttle on your snowmobile. This becomes even more challenging when your hands are small.
Therefore, while you can put a twist throttle on snowmobiles and many sledders do, it does not work as well as it would on a motorcycle, and you will sacrifice a lot in terms of control, maneuverability, and even safety.
Other Alternatives to the Twist Throttle
If you’re unhappy or uncomfortable with the thumb throttle standard on most snowmobiles and you don’t want to sacrifice maneuverability and safety by using a twist throttle instead, consider the following alternatives:
The Thumb Throttle
The thumb throttle is essentially a lever on your snowmobile that you can press or depress using your thumb to control engine power. There are good reasons why it’s the preferred throttle on most snowmobiles, as has already been discussed.
The Hand Throttle
The hand throttle is the preferred alternative to a thumb throttle. The main difference between a hand throttle and the thumb throttle is that you can control motion with your entire hand in the former instead of just the thumb.
This may help to reduce any pain or strain on your thumb that is common when navigating your snowmobile using a thumb throttle.
The Half-Twist Throttle
The half-twist throttle is also an alternative to the twist and thumb throttles on your snowmobile. Unlike the twist throttle, you only need to twist your hand partly to control engine power on your sled. This would help alleviate the pressure on your wrist associated with twist throttles.
The twist throttle adopts a twisting motion on the handlebars to control your motor speed. While it’s a popular option for motorbikes and e-bikes, it’s not ideal for snowmobiles because it compromises key aspects such as maneuverability and safety.
If you’re not happy with the thumb throttle on your snowmobile, I recommend trying out the hand throttle or half-twist throttle instead before making a shift to the twist throttle.