Indy Project Sled - Lightweight Hood

Nov. 01, 2005 By

Lightweight Hood

Cost: $400 (US)
Risks: Minor
Benefits: Reduced weight
Tools Required: Drill, sockets/wrenches, saw or grinder if trimming is required
Parts Required: Hood, new graphics
Mechanical Skill Required: Average "shade-tree" mechanical skills

I installed a Body By Northstar lightweight hood after seeing their products at a display in Grantsburg Wisconsin last summer at the watercross there. I was really impressed by their quality and light weight but what sold me was the high-quality finish and the color options. When I saw that I could get an Indy hood in Arctic Cat Purple, I knew right then I had to have one.

No, I'm not contrary or anything. *grin*

Anyway, this is one pricey option, but the weight savings is substantial - my scales told me that I saved 6 pounds, which at the list price of approximately four hundred (American) dollars, that is about $67 per pound. Pretty expensive.

When I first got the hood, it did not seem as substantial as the samples I had seen at Grantsburg and I worried that it would not hold up to trail riding. Before I installed it, I reinforced the hood hinge locations and the instrument pod mounts with a little fiberglass - I just felt better about it after it was thicker. It comes with kevlar donuts epoxied on for hood screens, but that's about it - if you want to mount it on the hinges or mount an instrument pod, you have to drill the holes yourself. No big deal, but just be forewarned.

I also installed an XCR gas tank, so I had to trim the edges of the hood to fit around that. Not a big deal either.

Anyway, I installed it and when I went riding, I kept stopping every few miles or after every big bump to take a look around it for damage, but none ever occured, I am impressed that they were able to build a hood this much lighter than stock and yet make it strong enough to run instruments on the trail.

The finish is just outstanding. There are a few minor blemishes, but with the decals on it and a coat (or two or three) of wax, it looks great. I put a set of '97 XC 440 graphics on it and red hood screens and I think it's a dynamite looking snowmobile. One caveat though: the finish is not exactly "Arctic Cat Purple" - it's considerably darker than the paint you can buy in the spray cans from Arctic. This is a concern if you want to match the nosecone to the hood. I plan to contact Northstar and ask them about this, they may sell matching paint, I hope so anyway.

Still, you gotta think long and hard about this mod, it's a lot of money. For me, the determination of whether it was worth the money or not can't be made yet. If it still looks this good in 3 or 4 years, it'll be a resounding "Yes!" Newsletter
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