Montana-based Snow Goer magazine contributor T.J. Krob has been riding a fleet of deep-snow sleds provided by Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha this winter. Here are his initial thoughts about the 2017 Ski-Doo Summit X 850 E-TEC, an all-new mountain sled based on the award-winning REV Gen4 chassis.
The 2017 Ski-Doo Summit X 850 E-TEC 165 Snow Goer demo sled is the machine I was most excited to ride this season. First rides and impressions on the prototypes last winter and spring were great, and that had me wanting to spend more time on board to get more familiar with the machine and its capabilities.
First rides this season in early December confirmed what we noted by last season: The 850cc E-TEC powerplant indeed has wads of power and the chassis is well-balanced from front to back and left to right – it’s an absolute riot to ride. Low- to mid-range power is super quick – spooling quickly upon any throttle input. Clutching and suspension calibrations were delivered as perfect as we’d hoped for out of the box.
With all that power spinning the tall, far-spaced lugs of the 165-inch track, I had to snug up the track two full turns on the adjusters after just one ride. An accessory Ski-Doo LinQ rear storage bag went on at the start of the season, and has proven excellent in toting gear around, but also holding a readily accessible shovel for digging out fellow riding comrades.
The Summit is a chilly ride. Even with the incredibly good warmers cranked up, the backs of the hands are bombarded with cold wintry pow and air thanks to the Summit’s small body.
The section of the running board rearward of the chaincase/brake covers are excellent. They evacuate snow, offer great grip and are wicked strong – two thumbs up for those extruded boards. But the front section under foot near the chaincase and brake cover are incredibly slippery – a characteristic other Snow Goer testers and I didn’t notice when riding the prototypes. A smooth finish on the board up into the footwell makes the feet slide around like a hockey puck on ice.
Riders who’ve been riding heavier/less nimble sleds and then climb aboard the all-new Ski-Doo Summit X that’s based on the REV Gen4 platform will likely override it and put too much force into the machine. The machine is so responsive and feels so light that soem riders might have to cut their rider input in half. The new Summit X 850 begs to be climbed, cornered and, most certainly, carved.
The Creamsicle-colored snowmobile has proven to be a head turner, not only for its looks, but for its performance, too. And it’s a fun machine to boot! I recently installed a Ski-Doo Adjustable Limiter Strap and shorter handlebar riser, so I look forward to finding out how well those work.