Ski-Doo has set a precedent for itself over the past few years that snowmobilers should expect exciting, new snowmobile technologies and designs from the company every year. Over the past few years, Ski-Doo has released the lightweight REV-X chassis that changed rider expectations for how much a snowmobile should weigh and unveiled E-TEC direct injection that set a higher standard for fuel economy and run quality for two-stroke engines. Now for 2012, Ski-Doo has an all-new rear suspension design that offers easier tunability for the rider, not to mention excellent ride quality.
There are other changes and updates to the 2012 Ski-Doo snowmobile lineup, including more storage options, track choices, improved brake performance and expanded use of the E-TEC 800R engine.
2012 Ski-Doo rMotion Rear Suspension
We took a test ride on board a 2012 Ski-Doo MX Z with the rMotion rear suspension last month, and we were impressed with its performance. Could it be the new benchmark for rear suspension comfort, performance and adjustability on snowmobiles? Further testing this spring against other machines will help us decide.
The rMotion is a rising rate design, meaning the suspension gets progressively firmer as it’s squeezed farther into its travel. The rMotion suspension will be standard on all 2012 MX Z X and MX Z X-RS sleds.
The rMotion rear suspensionis an all-new design that looks similar to the Ski-Doo SC-5 skid, but it’s actually quite different. The front torque arm is 4.5 inches longer than the arm on the SC-5, and that attaches the torque arm farther back on the rails, resulting in geometry that helps this suspension provide a supple ride over the choppy bumps while still being able to absorb big hits when ridden aggressively.
The rear mounting linkage is new to Ski-Doo suspensions, but it’s similar to designs that have been used by other manufacturers. Ski-Doo engineers say this mount system is another key component of the suspension’s design. It increases suspension travel and reduces weight transfer. Ski-Doo lists the rMotion’s travel at 15.5 inches.
Riders can select from two mounting points for the rear shock’s shaft eyelet. The stock, lower mount point is the high-performance setting; the upper mount is the sport setting, generally reserved for riders who are looking for softer suspension action. This shock is inverted, too, meaning the body end is bolted to the rear torque arm to reduce unsprung weight and make it easier to access the shock’s clicker.
Coupler blocks that control weight transfer can be adjusted with gloves on the hand. Riders can simply push the red, spring-loaded button and turn the block to adjust weight transfer and ride quality.
To read more about the Ski-Doo rMotion rear suspension, our test ride and impressions of the 2012 Ski-Doo snowmobiles, CLICK HERE.
Other changes to the MX Z line include storage within the seat on X and X-RS packages. There’s enough space — 1.3 gallons — behind the two little plastic doors at the back of the seat to hold a pair of goggles and bottle of water. Track options have expanded, making the Ice Ripper XT with embedded carbide studs available on X and X-RS machines. TNT models are standard with the 1.25-inch Rip Saw, up from the 1-inch scoops last year.
2012 Ski-Doo GSX
The 2012 Ski-Doo GSX is available in either SE or LE trim. The SE package is the top-of-the-line solo-cruiser from Ski-Doo that’s built solely on the larger REV-XR body that offers its passenger more shelter from the elements. The 137-inch SC-5 rear suspension with Air Control Suspension provides more stability and comfort than a short track, and it’s wrapped by a 137-inch RipSaw track with 1.25-inch lugs. Engine options for the 2012 Ski-Doo GSX are the standard 4-TEC 1200 or new for this year, the E-TEC 800R that puts out 163 hp, according to Ski-Doo. A larger tunnel bag offers more cargo capacity and stainless steel brake line improves performance and feel from the Brembo brake.
Go for the GSX LE with the E-TEC 600 H.O. if you want a lighter, sportier solo-touring It’s housed in the REV-XP body and gets the upgraded brake and new tunnel bag, too. The LE is also available with the 4-TEC engine and XR body. LE machines ride on a standard rear suspension and lack a few of the luxury accessories.
2012 Ski-Doo Spring Options
Sledders who order a Ski-Doo this spring have more options than before to customize their machine with tracks, graphics and suspension.
Spring-only 2012 models, including the Renegade Backcountry X, Renegade X, MX Z X and MX Z X-RS, can be ordered with special graphic wraps kits, including Drop Zone, ID and Tag, that complement each machine’s color scheme. The Camoplast Ice Ripper track is another option on all of these machines, and it adds traction with carbide studs embedded in the 1.25-inch track lugs.
MX Z X and X-RS buyers can also select the Quick Adjust suspension system that makes it easier to adjust torsion spring preload and clicker settings than with the standard rMotion skidframe. The rMotion Quick Adjust system has a hydraulic adjuster for the torsion springs. A large dial mounted on the left running board behind the driver allows riders to set spring preload for their weight. The right running board has a similar unit for the rear shock’s reservoir and compression damping clicker.
In the deep snow segment, the Summit X is only available for order in spring, and its bonus features compared to the in-season Summit SP are the updated PowderMax II track with new 2.5-inch lugs. Track lengths are 146, 154 or 163 inches. Shocks are HPG Plus at all four corners. The Summit X is available only with the E-TEC 800R engine.
Freeride models are their own model, no longer filed under the Summit nameplate. The 137-inch Freeride is aimed toward the low-elevation boondock customer because it has the SC-5 rear suspension. Bump up to the 146- or 154-inch model and you’ll ride on the SC-5M-2 skidframe. The standard track is the PowderMax with 2.25-inch lugs, but the PowderMax II is an option. The models come standard with an all-white color scheme, but three graphic upgrades are available: Mean Clown, Out of Bounds or Tag. All Freerides come with KYB Pro 40 shocks and the E-TEC 800R engine.
Another Ski-Doo model only available in the spring are the Expedition SE, which is powered by the E-TEC 600 H.O. or 4-TEC 1200 four-stroke.
Pick up the Spring 2012 issue of Snow Goer magazine for more information and photos of the 2012 Ski-Doo snowmobiles. Look for it on newsstands in early March.