FINGER THROTTLE OPERATING MANUAL
WARNING: Inexperienced operation of a finger throttle can lead to death or severe injury. Read the following operating manual before use.
FINGER THROTTLE OPERATING MANUAL
BE AWARE OF THE HAZARDS
- ONLY USE ONE FINGER - Never use more than one finger to activate the throttle lever at all times. Using more than one finger to activate the throttle can cause uncontrollable acceleration of the snowmobile, due to lack of grip on the handle bar. ONLY use your one index finger to activate the throttle. Your middle finger must remain on the handle bar for grip at all times. If your middle finger is used to activate the throttle, you will lack grip strength on the handle bar, which will cause you to pull the throttle in attempt to hold on. If you have any disability which limits the use of your middle finger, ring finger and/or pinky finger in your right hand, you should not attempt to operate a snowmobile with a finger throttle.
- CAUTION WHEN LOADING - Take special caution when loading the snowmobile onto a truck or trailer with a finger throttle. Loading a snowmobile is a dangerous task which requires good throttle control. Any error in throttle control, or incorrect hand placement can cause your machine to accelerate up the ramp out of your control. DO NOT attempt to load your snowmobile until you are competent using a finger throttle, and have good throttle control. NEVER let others load your snowmobile for you, unless they are competent using a finger throttle.
- AVOID TREES AND BRANCHES - If riding near trees or forested areas, the finger throttle should only be used with the added protection of a Munster throttle guard installed. The finger throttle is mounted in front of the handle bar which makes it susceptible to accidental throttle activation from foreign objects. An example of this would be if a tree or branch came into contact with the throttle lever to activate the throttle. Another example, and a much more dangerous scenario is if the throttle cable gets snagged by a tree branch. A snag can cause the throttle cable housing to stretch, and would result in the throttle sticking wide open and the snowmobile accelerating uncontrollably. Alternatively, a tree or branch can cause damage to any one of the throttle components resulting in uncontrollable acceleration of the snowmobile. Although a Munster throttle guard will help protect the lever and throttle cable, it will not ensure that accidental throttle activation will not occur. It is still possible to snag the throttle cable on a branch and/or damage other components of the finger throttle even with a Munster throttle guard installed. Use discretion if riding in the trees, and avoid trees and branches at all times.
- THROTTLE SAFETY SWITCH BYPASS (POARIS AND ARCTIC CAT ONLY) - On Polaris and Arctic Cat machines, the Throttle Safety Switch (TSS) has been bypassed and removed in order to use the finger throttle product. The throttle safety switch is an OEM safety mechanism which helps deactivate the machine if the throttle is stuck open unintentionally, either from damage to throttle components, or from something obstructing the throttle linkage. By bypassing this safety mechanism, the machine will not deactivated in the event the throttle sticks open. This means that if the machine’s throttle gets stuck open for any reason, the machine may accelerate out of control, even if your finger is released from the throttle lever. This includes accidental throttle activation during start up. Always inspect and cycle the finger throttle to ensure it is functioning normally before start up. If for any reason the finger throttle doesn’t cycle normally, DO NOT START THE MACHINE. Inspect further, and make sure the throttle linkage is functioning normally before start up. Always wear your tether before starting the vehicle.
- “WHISKEY THROTTLE” AND THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSCLE MEMORY - Throttle control, just like any other motor skill requires muscle memory to be done effectively and efficiently. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed with little to no conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates efficiency within the memory system. When learning how to use a finger throttle, throttle control is often slow, stiff and easily disrupted without attention. This can make throttle control feel unnatural, but it can also pose a threat to the operator. If attention is drawn elsewhere, the operator can forget to let go of the throttle in a critical situation. Often times, an unexpected lurch in acceleration is enough to cause the operator to draw attention away from throttle control, and in turn lead to more acceleration. This is what is commonly known as “Whiskey throttle”, and it can happen with any vehicle where there is an absence of muscle memory for a certain throttle control system. Muscle memory and intuition go hand in hand. If throttle control feels like second nature and intuitive, then it is a good indication you have established good muscle memory. If your finger throttle feels unnatural, and you’re constantly thinking about your throttle position, then you probably haven’t established very good muscle memory yet. Make sure you understand your ability, and practice in a safe open area while learning to use a finger throttle.
If it’s your first time using a finger throttle, find a safe wide open space to get familiar operating the vehicle with a finger throttle. It should be a flat area with no hazards in close proximity. Wear your tether, as well as your helmet and any appropriate safety gear. A tether should always be used while operating the vehicle with a finger throttle.
If a safe area isn’t available, or if the vehicle needs to be transported first, it may be useful to flip your finger throttle around and use it as a thumb throttle when loading, or when riding in higher risk areas. The comfort and familiarity of using your thumb may be a good strategy when riding in higher risk areas. However, if flipping your throttle to use as a thumb throttle, pay close attention to your throttle cable routing, and make sure your throttle cable is clear of any pinch points. Check that your steering will not put tension on the throttle cable in either direction. Improper throttle cable routing can cause the machine to accelerate uncontrollably if the throttle cable is pinched or stretched by the steering linkage.
Before starting the snowmobile, visually inspect that the finger throttle has been installed correctly, and that your throttle lever functions normally. The finger lever should pull with ease activating the throttle all the way. When the lever is released, it should spring back to the same position without any resistance. The throttle cable should have about 1/8 inch of cable play in the lever at its rest position. It is good practice to inspect your throttle before every start up.
In a safe area and with your tether on, start the machine. With a firm grip on the handle bars, use ONLY your index finger to pull on the throttle lever to engage the throttle. Never use more than one finger to activate the throttle. Practice engaging and disengaging the throttle to rev up the motor without engaging the clutch to start. Once comfortable, try engaging the clutch and move the machine forward. Practice riding around in a safe area until you’re comfortable enough progressing to the trail and so forth.
Throttle control with your index finger may feel weird at first, but take your time getting comfortable learning the new controls. Mid RPM throttle control tends to feel particularly weird, where as the full throttle and no throttle positions tend to be more predictable. This is because the mid throttle requires more finesse, where as the full throttle and no throttle positions are much more crude. For this reason, the finger throttle may feel less comfortable on the trail where mid throttle control is required, and more comfortable off the trail in deeper snow conditions where throttle control tends to be more off and on. It is important to understand your comfort level in different scenarios while getting used to the finger throttle, and not to put yourself in any technical or dangerous situations. Give yourself lots of time to learn. Your finger throttle control should feel like second nature before riding in any higher risk areas. Loading your snowmobile onto a truck or trailer with a finger throttle should only be performed once fully competent and comfortable operating a finger throttle.
TIME FRAME FOR LEARNING
The time that is required to feel comfortable using a finger throttle depends on the person. Some feel comfortable using a finger throttle right away, while others take weeks. The average person takes about 2-4 days of riding before the finger throttle starts to feel intuitive. It is important to gauge your comfort level, and progress at your own rate.