You asked for it, and now you’ve got it.
Once again for this week’s Friday Fast Five here on SnowGoer.com, we offer some feedback after riding the 2014 prototype snowmobiles earlier this spring at the 2014 Rode Reports. This week’s focus is Ski-Doo. Enjoy. And click here to get information on all of the 2014 snowmobiles.
2014 Ski-Doo MX Z Sport 600 Carb
With its $6,999 suggested retail price, the MX Z 600 carb is perhaps the best deal in all of snowmobiling. It features the light and responsive REV-XP chassis platform, a 1.25-inch RipSaw track and other quality features formerly reserved for more expensive sleds. The downside? It has carburetors. Ten years ago, we thought carbs were just fine, but when riding it at Rode Reports, the changes in weather and altitude definitely affected this MX Z’s performance while injected sleds on the same outing purred right along. Furthermore, the throttle pull was heavy compared to all of the current injected sleds, and of course you’ve got the potential for carb maintenance issues. A couple of our testers stated that it would take a lot of incentive to get them to go back to cleaning carbs and changing jets, but if you’re already used to that program and haven’t gotten “spoiled” by injected sleds, the MX Z Sport 600 is very hard to pass on.
2014 Ski-Doo GSX SE E-TEC 800R
We’ve long touted the smooth ride and predictable, light handling of Ski-Doo’s under-rated GSX lineup, but now those already really good machines become great with the addition of the sport’s best rear suspension. That’s right, a 137-inch version of the incredible rMotion rear suspension has made its way onto GSX models. In this case, it also comes with Air Control Suspension shocks, which allow the driver to select from up to five settings utilizing handlebar-mounted switches. That technology is neat and all, but the rMotion skid itself is so great that having the air control switches seems like overkill. With the standard electric start, mirrors, tall windshield, new storage bag, four-position tilt steering, heated visor outlet, separate 12-volt power outlet and the protection of the REV-XR chassis, this is a true high-milers special.
2014 Ski-Doo Freeride 137 E-TEC 800R
Go ahead and blow up the photo of this sled, then come back… Back now? OK, did you love the look of this white, grey and manta green sled, or hate it? That was the source of a big debate among our team, and we had people on both sides. The longer Freeride snowmobiles from Ski-Doo are aimed at high altitude riders, but this one machine, featuring a 137-inch track with 2.25-inch lugs, features low-altitude (sea level) settings in the clutches and injection system, and an rMotion rear suspension. With these features and an adjustable 38.4- to 40.1-inch ski stance, the Freeride is certainly a better choice for flatland boondockers than the narrow Summit with the tMotion, but those big track lugs are big old shovels on the trail.
Ski-Doo MX Z TNT ACE 900
There’s no question that the most high-tech engine in snowmobiling has got to be the ACE 900 from Ski-Doo/Rotax, but is it the right powerplant for you or your family? It’s certainly interesting, with 90ish horsepower, four stroke dependability and probably the lightest throttle pull ever on any snowmobile. That light pull is enabled by a throttle-by-wire system that allows electronics to replace a cable connection to the throttle bodies. With three different driving modes (Sport, Standard and Eco), a driver can choose his or her own power curve, but whichever they choose the feeling is a bit different than what we’re all used to, with a split-second lag between input and reaction. The feeling was minimal in the Sport mode when we tested it at sea level in Quebec, but felt exaggerated at altitude. We’ll see how the production models come out, as we’re sure Ski-Doo engineers are still dialing in the calibrations.
2014 Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline E-TEC 600 H.O.
All four snowmobile manufacturers have learned in their studies in recent years that a certain percentage of riders who buy crossover machines rarely leave the trail. Instead, they buy the crossover for the longer rear end, which allows for more travel and better bridging between bumps. With that in mind, many manufacturers have built “more extreme” crossovers – Assaults and Backcountry Xes, for example – but the base crossovers still sell very well. Such is the case for Ski-Doo’s Renegade Adrenaline E-TEC 600. Our test ride found that this machine fills its niche very well – it’s a well-balanced, stable, dependable and fun trail machine first and foremost. Now in the REV-XS bodywork, it feels and looks more modern for 2014 and has better wind protection. Plus the longer tunnel allows more storage options from Ski-Doo or the aftermarket. The 137-inch track definitely allows more floatation than a short-tracker, so it is capable off trail, yet its 42.4 inch ski-stance further enforces its trail-oriented nature. It’s a great sled for the 90-percent trail rider, but the 50/50 rider should reach for the Backcountry versions.