Ski-Doo took the wraps off of its new race sled for the 2014 season on Friday, showcasing a new steering system and new suspension geometry, which for active snowmobilers always begs the question: Will any of this stuff end up on consumer trail snowmobiles someday?
This time, however, the MX Zx 600RS (for Race Special) actually follows the consumer sled – moving to the REV-XS chassis platform two years after that body work was released on select consumer sleds.
The XS body work, though, was expected. New and maybe a bit unexpected on the race sled is the new rack steering system, larger carburetors, a longer track and longer and revised rear suspension.
At the official release at the Haydays Grass Drags & Swap Meet on Friday, September 6, Ski-Doo didn’t actually have its race sled there – it will be built in October, according to a Ski-Doo race department official. Instead, the snowmobile on display was the Pro Open snowmobile that Robbie Malinoski raced last year; Ski-Doo Public Relations Manager Steve Cowing explained that many of the things that the Pro Open race teams used on their sleds last year are being incorporated into the stock 600 race sled this year for all racers to enjoy and benefit from.
Multiple Changes for 2014 Ski-Doo MX Zx RS
The changes to the race sled range from the front to the back of the sled.
Up front, Ski-Doo again tampered with its front end geometry, going to a slightly taller spindle and a new mounting location for the upper A-Arms. The new geometry created better caster characteristics as the suspension works through its travel. Also, a new rack-style steering system is being used – Cowing described it as “power steering” but there’s certainly no motor like the Yamaha electric power steering system. Instead, a rack system with a link creates more leverage, reducing steering effort by a decreasing amount as the bars are turned – 20 percent less effort for the first 5 degrees of bar turn in either direction, one race official said, and then decreasing gradually, to the point where there’s no change at full-lock turns.
Combined, these changes result in no bump steer or change in caster angle, Ski-Doo officials claim.
In back, Ski-Doo stretched the rMotion Racing rear suspension to match the new 128-inch track. Also, Ski-Doo went with a 2.75-inch longer front arm with new mounting points. The longer track and longer arm caused designers to lessen the coupling on the rear suspension, and a longer and tilted tunnel was incorporated to give more room for tail landings. Ski-Doo is promising better traction and bump absorption at big-bump snocross courses.
For power, the 600 Rotax twin gets bigger, 40mm carbs, a new intake tract and VForce3 carbon fiber reeds. “We’re going to bring in more air and more fuel, and as you know that’s the magical way to make more horsepower,” Cowing told the racers and race team members in attendance. The engine will also have increased cooling capacity and improved clutch and ECM calibrations in stock form, Ski-Doo said.
A Ski-Doo race department official said in stock form, the sled will have a stronger bottom end with these changes. However, the big change will come in Pro Open, as tuners who add more power-making capability will now have bigger carbs to work with.
The new bodywork includes side panels off of XM-chassis Summit mountain sleds, to give racers more room to slide around the body panels.