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2008 Snowmobile Of The Year

Snow Goer staff

The Ski-Doo MX Z 600 H.O. SDI X.
In the near future, 2008 will be remembered as a year that Ski-Doo influenced the snowmobile industry, again. In 2003, the REV chassis made every subsequent new snowmobile platform configured with the rider-forward design. For new machines subsequent to the 2008 model year, there will be a forced emphasis on building lighter sleds due to the new REV-XP chassis.

The weight of the MX Z 600 H.O. SDI X is remarkable. It can’t be considered a weight savings or a weight reduction from the model it replaced. It would be impossible to remove more than 50 pounds from the prior REV chassis and maintain the required strength. The entire REV-XP snowmobile, system-by-system, shared the same development criteria: redesign everything for light weight, better performance and more appeal.

The sled uses the same 600-class semi-direct injected engine as used in Ski-Doo snowmobiles since 2004. While the company has a newer, next-generation engine with its Rotax 800R, the 600 H.O. SDI engine remains the industry gold standard for its near-perfect blend of power and economy.

It’s the engine that also reveals the true engineering accomplishment of the new

REV-XP chassis. Because the engine is identical to what was used in the 2007 X package MX Z 600, all the hardware that requires it to run is the same. Going from REV to REV-XP, the difference in the chassis is 61 pounds.

That weight reduction makes the sled more responsive. The engine, which no longer makes the most power in the class, feels stronger. Ask any physics teacher what the biggest enemy is to horsepower: It’s weight. With equal power, the lighter sled is faster. Power builds quicker. Acceleration is more rapid.

Driver input is easier than ever thanks to less weight to manipulate and an easier cockpit to negotiate. Riders have more freedom and flexibility for sitting and standing. Footrests allow drivers to hang off easier and farther for greater cornering control.

It’s those same rider position changes that make the REV-XP chassis more comfortable. For those who don’t want the sportiest, most taut suspension in the X-package, the GSX has the same engine and chassis benefits but adds a more plush suspension and more luxuries. The REV-XP is better suited to comfortable touring than REV machines were, with the added benefit that a lighter sled is less fatiguing making it easier than ever to ride farther.

While that combination of all the new chassis benefits makes for a fantastic snowmobile, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it meets our criteria: The Snowmobile Of The Year is based on innovative, trendsetting representations of the future and a unique and positive impact on the sport.

While there is innovation with the driveshaft, brake system and clutching, the biggest technological influence may be in the weld-eliminating chassis fasteners inspired from the airline industry. And while the innovation is easy to defend, there is no denying the influence this machine will have on future snowmobiles.

With its 2008 MX Z 600 H.O. SDI X, Ski-Doo has proved it’s possible to build snowmobiles with all the modern requirements of power, handling, comfort and EPA cleanliness. This snowmobile also means that a new requirement is light weight.

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