What’s new from Ski-Doo for 2015? How about better handling MX Zs and Renegades, notably longer Summits, more sleds equipped with ACE engines and their high-tech features plus a finger-throttle option and revised DESS technology. And if that isn’t enough, how about some of the loudest and proudest colors and graphics in the history of the sport.
What follows is a preview of Ski-Doo’s 2015 lineup. A ride preview of the T3-equipped Summits can be found here. For a full report, pick up the April issue of Snow Goer magazine, which mails to subscribers starting March 5 and hits the newsstands on March 18.
Better Handling MX Zs & Renegades
For the past couple of seasons, Snow Goer magazine testers have gushed about the rMotion rear suspension’s premium ride quality and heaped praises upon the REV-XS chassis platform, while at the same time critiquing the front end, mainly due to its nervousness in rutted out trails.
For 2015, Ski-Doo officials say that problem is solved with the second generation Response Angle Suspension – or RAS 2 in Doo speak. To the eye, the geometry changes on the dual A-arm front suspension are subtle: the spindle is nearly a half inch (12 mm) taller, which moves the upper ball joint up an equal amount. But that change moves a sled’s roll center 38 mm (about 1.5 inches) higher and closer to the machine’s center of gravity while also limiting camber change as the suspension cycles through its travel.
The net effect, according to Ski-Doo officials, is that RAS 2-equipped MX Zs and Renegades will be more stable in bumps and will corner flatter overall. And that matches the rMotion rear particularly well.
While tampering with the front suspension, Ski-Doo engineers also took away 1.76 pounds by redoing some forgings and utilizing chromoly.
“One of the first benefits of the RAS 2 is more stability when you are bashing into big bumps,” explain Ski-Doo Snowmobile Product Manager Pascal Vincent. “It is more stable than the current front suspension. Plus, because it’s taller, it reduces bump steer induced by camber change. The camber, instead of going negative, it goes slightly positive.”
This new front end is found on all MX Z and Renegade X-RS, X, TNT, Adrenaline and Backcountry models as well as on T-3 equipped Summits.
As far as models go, the biggest news in the MX Z and Renegade lineup is the addition of a X-RS version of the Renegade, and FlexEdge tracks on Backcountry models. The race-ready/super-aggressive X-RS models come with KYB Pro 40 clicker shocks, a reinforced chassis, wide running boards, forward steering post and a top-line gauge, and can be ordered with electric start. The MX Z X-RS versions can also be ordered with either a 15- by 120- by 1.25 inch RipSaw or the same sizes Ice Ripper XT track, or a rMotion Quick Adjust system; the Renegade X-RS can be ordered with a 15- by 137- by 1.25 inch Ice Ripper or a 1.5-inch RipSaw.
ACE Expansion & Adaptations
The quiet and efficient ACE four-stroke engines from Rotax have started to gain a notable following, to the point where Ski-Doo is upgrading its 600 ACE and adding a unique throttle to that and the 900 ACE sleds to make some of the easiest-to-control snowmobiles even easier on their drivers.
For 2015, the two ACEs will be found in more Ski-Doo models, the 600 ACE will get many of the driveline featured that came with last year’s 900, and a new throttle gizmo is aimed at making each machine easier to cruise with.
The 900 ACE is working its way deep into the utility and utility-crossover markets, as Ski-Doo will utilize the engine in Expedition and Skandic models for the first time after limiting its use to MX Z, GSX, Grand Touring and Renegade models last year. The 600 ACE will be in MX Z, Renegade, Grand Touring, Expedition, Tundra and Skandic models.
Meanwhile, the intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) system that made the 900 ACE such a technological star (and Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year last year) will now be found on all 600 ACE applications. Coming with it is the light throttle pull of the throttle-by-wire system, along with multiple driving models (Sport, Standard and Eco) and programmable learning key technology.
To make these easy-going cruising engines even easier, Ski-Doo is also adding a throttle mechanism that will allow the driver to decide whether he or she wants to push the throttle with a thumb, or rotate the throttle block around to the front of the bar and pull it with their fingers. The rotating throttle block is toolless – just grab the block and rotate it around the bottom of the handlebar.
High-Tech Tether Solves Little Problem
Ski-Doo’s Digitally Encoded Security System – which relies on a tether that matches the sled rather than a key to start the snowmobile – has long been a staple and unique selling proposition for team yellow, but owners of the mustard buckets are quite used to occasionally having to wiggle the tether connection on startup to reset the system after hearing repeated beeps.
That won’t be necessary anymore, thanks to a new magnetic tether end that snaps into place above the DESS port and relies on very low-power radio frequency technology to close the loop. It’s not a longer-range radio wave like those found on many automobiles that allow a car to be started even if the keyfob is in the driver’s pocket. The new RF DESS will be found on most 2015 Ski-Doos.
Loud Color & Graphics
Ski-Doo has gone loud for 2015. Dazzling Fusion Red, Race Orange or Lava Red hoods and spindles, neon Sunburst Yellow or Race Orange tunnels, painted suspension rails that beg for attention and skis so brilliant that they look like they could glow in the dark or melt the snow await buyers willing to take the risk of living on fashion’s cutting edge.
Many models will be available in both super-bright colorations and more muted tones, but for others, like high-end X-RS models, the wild colorations are the only option.
Mountain Sleds For The Flatlands?
The biggest changes in Ski-Doo’s Summit lineup come with the T3 package. Check out this story for details and a ride evaluation on the longest of the new longboards.
The most notable upgrades to non-T3 models are a direct reflection of the non-mountainous places where these mountain-focused sleds are being sold these days.
For 2015, Ski-Doo buyers will be able to order their Summit X or any Freeride model with sea-level calibrations. This is directly targeted at customers who ride their Summits on the powder-filled meadows, hills and laketops that are found lower than 4,000 feet of altitude, Ski-Doo officials said. Last year, only the Freeride 137 got such flatland options.
Elsewhere in Ski-Doo’s mountain lineup, the Summit SP 600 H.O. E-TEC will get a new PowderMax 2 FlexEdge, while the Summit Sport will get a narrower ski stance (adjustable between 35.7 and 37.4 inches) to match the bigger Summits and improve sidehilling capabilities, plus better handlebars.
The Freeride 137 model gets the FlexEdge track but keeps its rMotion rear suspension instead of going to the full tMotion/FlexEdge combination found on longer Freeride and Summit models.
CHANGES BY MACHINE
RAS 2 front suspension, transparent handguards, RF DESS key
MX Z X-RS 800R E-TEC
MX Z X-RS 600 H.O. E-TEC
MX Z X 800R E-TEC
MX Z X 600 H.O. E-TEC
MX Z X 1200 4-TEC
RAS 2 front suspension, transparent handguards, track update, RF DESS key
Renegade X-RS 800R E-TEC
Renegade X 800R E-TEC
Renegade X 600 H.O. E-TEC
Renegade X 1200 4-TEC
Renegade Adrenaline 800R E-TEC
Renegade Adrenaline 600 H.O. E-TEC
Renegade Adrelaine 1200 4-TEC
RAS 2 front suspension, RF DESS key
MX Z TNT 800R E-TEC
MX Z TNT 600 H.O. E-TEC
MX Z TNT 1200 4-TEC
RAS 2 front suspension, rotating throttle, RF DESS key
MX Z TNT 900 ACE
Renegade Adrenaline 900 ACE
Move to REV-XS platform
MX Z Sport 600 Carb
Renegade Sport 600 Carb
Move To REV-XS platform, intelligent Throttle Control technology, rotating throttle, RF DESS key
MZ X Sport 600 ACE
Renegade Sport 600 ACE
RAS 2 front suspension, FlexEdge track, REV-XM running boards, transparent handguards, RF DESS key
Renegade Backcountry X 800R E-TEC
RAS 2 front suspension, FlexEdge track, REV-XM running boards, RF DESS key
Renegade Backcountry 800R E-TEC
Renegade Backcountry 600 H.O. E-TEC
T3 Package: new track, lengthened chaincase, updated rear suspension, DS 3 skis, RAS 2 front suspension, light muffler and other weight savings, plus RF DESS key
Summit X w/ T3 800R E-TEC 174 and 163
Optional sea-level settings, RF DESS key
Summit X 800R E-TEC
RF DESS key
Summit SP 800R E-TEC
Summit SP 600 H.O. E-TEC
GSX LE 600 H.O. E-TEC
GSX LE 1200 4-TEC
New grab strap, handlebars, narrower stance
Summit Sport 800R PowerT.E.K.
Summit Sport 600 Carb
Available sea-level calibrations, FlexEdge track on all, RF DESS key
Freeride 137, 146 or 154 800R E-TEC
Premium handlebar control, RF DESS key
GSX SE 800R E-TEC
GSX SE 1200 4-TEC
RF DESS key, rotating throttle
GSX LE 900 ACE
Grand Touring LE 900 ACE
SilentDrive System on all models, premium handlebar control, RF DESS key
Grand Touring SE 1200 4-TEC
Grand Touring LE 1200 4-TEC
Grand Touring LE 600 H.O. E-TEC
REV-XS chassis, new handlebar control, hooked aluminum bars, RF DESS key
Grand Touring Sport 550 Fan
REV-XS chassis, intelligent Throttle Control technology, rotating throttle, new handlebar control, hooked aluminum bars, RF DESS key
Grand Touring Sport 600 ACE
Pilot DS 2 skis
Expedition SE 600 H.O. E-TEC
Expedition SE 1200 4-TEC
Expedition LE 600 H.O. E-TEC
Expedition LE 1200 4-TEC
Skandic SWT 600 H.O. E-TEC
Skandic WT 600 H.O. E-TEC
Skandic WT 550 Fan
Pilot DS 2 skis, rotating throttle
Expedition SE 900 ACE
Expedition LE 900 ACE
REV-XS platform, hooked aluminum handlebars, rotating throttle
Expedition Sport 900 ACE
REV-XS platform, intelligent Throttle Control technology, hooked aluminum handlebars, rotating throttle
Expedition Sport 600 ACE
eDrive 2 primary clutch, hooked aluminum handlebars
Expedition Sport 550 Fan
Forward steering post, REV-XM running boards, handlebar control, LinQ cargo system, LED taillight, RF DESS key
Tundra Xtreme 600 H.O. E-TEC
New handlebar control, rigid grab handle, intelligent Throttle Control technology, rotating throttle
Tundra LT 600 ACE
Tundra Sport 600 ACE
New handlebar control, rigid grab handle,
Tundra LT 550 Fan
Tundra Sport 550 Fan
Pilot DS 2 skis, 900 ACE engine option, rotating throttle,
Skandic SWT 900 ACE
Skandic WT 900 ACE
Pilot DS 2 skis, intelligent Throttle Control technology, rotating throttle,
Skandic WT 600 ACE