You remember the famous Formula Zs of the 1990s, don’t you?
Launched in the era dominated by the Polaris Indy XLT, the bright red Formula Z carved its own niche when unveiled for the 1994 season. Found in the F chassis, it was the middle-displacement MX Z before there was a middle-displacement MX Z. That is to say, it was the (relatively) lightweight performance special sled for trail riders with an attitude. The Formula Z featured the absolutely bulletproof Rotax 583, a roughly 105 hp twin that just ran and ran. We’ve heard of several people who have more than 10,000 on this engine without a rebuild.
If you’re shopping on the used market, though, finding the sweet spot is a bit of a trick. For the price, the 1995 is most appealing because it has a hydraulic disc brake (the ’94 was mechanical) and rebuildable shocks (post-’95, such features came off of the Formula Z and were reserved for MX Zs). Plus, it was red. When the Formula Z went purple in 1997, it lost some of its appeal to us. But the ’96 did get the SC-10 rear suspension, and the ’97 came in the S-2000 chassis.
When shopping in this era, expect some rust on steel components and the exhaust. Also, check the rear mount of the trailing arms — it’s not uncommon for that mounting point to be pushed back if one of the previous owners hit something hard. One other thing of note: The C-7 rear suspension found in the ’95 had a single limiter strap on the front arm that tended to fray and break. The problem? That part is no longer available from Ski-Doo, and no aftermarket company has stepped up to make one, so you might have to fashion your own solution if yours wears out.
MSRP New: $6,199
Current Value: $900-$1,500
Engine: 581cc, liquid-cooled twin