With new models and a new partnership, Ski-Doo is creating a bridge for future snowmobilers, from pre-elementary school age all the way up into adulthood.
New to Ski-Doo for 2023 are the MXZ 120 and MXZ 200 – diminutive youth sleds that should look remarkably familiar to folks in the youth market because they are very closely tied to product available from two other brands.
Truly new and exclusive to Ski-Doo in North America are MXZ and Summit “Neo” and “Neo+” models – which are lowered, narrow “tweener” or “newcomer” sleds featuring a smaller ergonomics, speed-limited engines see and new rear suspension design. Let’s start from the bottom and work up. (You can read about the new REV Gen5 chassis and how it fits on Summit, Freeride, MXZ and Renegade models by clicking here. )
Sourced Sleds For The Kiddos
The MXZ 120 in particular but also the new MXZ 200 harken back to the days when Ski-Doo made a “Mini Z,” in more ways than one.
Unlike every other Ski-Doo models, the old Mini Z didn’t feature a Rotax powerplant, instead relying on an engine from Honda. Well, the new 120 and 200 not only source the engine but really the vast majority of the sled.
These two new sleds are coming to Ski-Doo under a licensing agreement with Textron (owner of Arctic Cat) and utilize a Yamaha engine (which Textron gets due to its development partnership with that brand). Strip away the plastic, and the new MXZ 120 is more-or-less the same as a SRX 120 or ZR 120, and the MXZ 200 is very similar to a ZR 200 or Sno Scoot.
The MXZs will have separate bodywork from the competitive sleds, and a Ski-Doo snowflap, but otherwise they are pretty much the same sleds. The 120 features a 67- by 10- by .75-inch Cobra track and a 123cc four-stroke engine that produces 6.5 horsepower, while the 200 utilizes a 93- by 10- by 1-inch Cobra track that manages 9 horsepower. The retail prices are set at $3,699 and $4,999, respectively, in the U.S.
One Step Beyond: The Neos
For folks stepping up from those youth models – or others entering the sport brand-new and looking for an easy-to-approach, lightweight and affordable alternative – the new Neo lines in the MXZ and Summit lineup are an attractive new option for 2023.
Both MXZ Neos ride on a REV Gen4 chassis that sits 3 inches closer to the ground, spins a 120-inch long track, turns with Pilot 5.7 skis spread at a 39-inch stance and smaller diameter and narrower width handlebars. Electric start and reverse are standard. Ergonomics, we were told, were designed for people between 4-foot, 10 inches and 5-foot, 10 inches and under 185 pounds. Even the brake and throttle throw are smaller.
Both the base Neo and its Neo+ sibling get their varying levels of power from the fuel-injected 600 EFI engine found on MXZ Sport models last year. It created 85 horsepower in the MXZ Sport but is limited for specific applications in Neo models.
The base MXZ Neo spins off 40 horsepower, and its track is 14 inches wide with 1-inch lugs. The MXZ Neo+ created 55 horsepower and has a 15-inch wide track with 1.25-inch lugs. They both utilize a new, single-shock rear suspension.
The horsepower output is the same on Summit Neo models – 40 for the base and 55 for the Neo+ (rated at sea level), except with a 34-inch stance. The base Summit Neo runs on a 14- by 146- by 1.35-inch Cobra track, while the Summit Neo Plus gets a 15- by 146- by 1.75 Hurricane, both with FlexEdge.
Brief Rider Impressions
We had a chance to ride an MXZ Neo+ earlier this winter at a Ski-Doo sneak peek event and came away mighty impressed. It’s incredible how this tweener/new-to-market segment has evolved so quickly, and Ski-Doo may have the best offering yet (though we’re looking forward to hopefully doing a four-brands shootout at Rode Reports).
The power was good for the target market – Ski-Doo officials said base NEO will crawl up close to 50 mph while the more punchy Neo+ peaks in the mid 60. We were thrilled while riding it on a twisting trail. Like most of the other new “tweeners,” though, it is narrow and is lacking an anti-sway bar, so a little inside ski lift does happen from time to time.
Even more impressive are the MSRPs: A base MXZ Neo costs $6,399, while a Summit Neo is $6,999; Neo+ versions of those same models costs $800 more – meaning $7,199 for an MXZ version and $7,799 for a Summit Neo+. That makes them significantly more affordable than, for instance, a Blast from Arctic Cat or Venom from Yamaha.