The snowmobile season has begun for the Snow Goer magazine staff after a foot of snow fell on parts of Minnesota, the magazine’s home state, last weekend. We picked up our Ski-Doo demo snowmobiles from a dealership on Monday afternoon and then hit the trail Tuesday evening for a 50-mile shakedown ride to flex our snowmobiling muscles and flatten a few snow flakes under our 2013 MX Z X E-TEC 600. Yesterday was an all-day ride.
The 2013 REV-XS chassis seems quieter and more easy going than the cut and edgy REV-XP. New sculpted side panels deflect wind around the driver, making for a calmer, more-relaxed ride. Otherwise this new snowmobile feels and drives just like the previous REV-X platform — and that’s a good thing. Handling was predictable, ride quality from the rMotion skid was excellent, ergos were comfortable and accommodating, and run quality was very good. When we ordered this machine in the spring, we decided to go without traditional studs and opt for the Ice Ripper XT track that has studs embedded in the lugs. Rear end traction seems good so far, but more rides this winter when trails are set up will be a better test.
With about 75 miles showing on the odometer, the E-TEC 600 engine felt like it suddenly picked up a considerable amount of power and responsiveness. There was more pull out of corners, quicker acceleration, more grunt and a sharper note from the exhaust when we squeezed the loud handle. The engine continued to get stronger through the day, and now that we’ve run almost two tanks of fuel through it, the E-TEC system should be almost ready to switch over from the pre-programmed break-in mode to normal operating settings where fuel and oil economy should improve and full power potential will be reached. Game on!
Starting about 40 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, we headed west through the towns of Monticello and Clearwater, directly past the Arctic Cat engine plant on Interstate 94 near St. Cloud and then stopped in for a Wally Melt at Wally’s Cafe in Watkins. Trails were in surprisingly good condition for early December. Some sections had been groomed, so even the farm fields were relatively smooth. Groomed parts in the woods were excellent. By mid-afternoon, looping back toward home through Annandale and Maple Lake, snow cover had thinned because it had warmed into the mid-30s F, but it was still great to be out riding. Trail sections in the woods and along tree lines held up well.
Bring on the snow! An MX Z TNT E-TEC 800R is also waiting at our shop, ready to hit the trail while the rest of our demo sleds are dealer prepped. So we’ll make the rounds and pick them up within the next couple of days and hopefully more winter weather will hit the Snowbelt so every snowmobiler can hit the trails and mountain play areas soon.