After logging about 50 miles, I got comfortable with the 600 Fusion and could ride it through the rough as fast as I dared to pull the trigger. The IQ chassis ate up the bumps like nothing else. The sled pushed in corners too, but after a little practice, the push didn’t seem to slow me down. This new engine feels the strongest of the bunch out of the hole and on top end.
I like the contour of the seat. It was easy to move around on. The footrests are nice and flat and just the right size for my size-10 feet. The running board traction keeps feet planted.
The Ski-Doo MX Z 600 H.O. SDI Adrenaline was my No. 1 choice after our first day of testing because it feels light and handles well. But after I got used to the Fusion, the MX Z fell to second place.
The MX Z’s suspensions soak up everything from small trail chatter to medium-sized bumps, but the seating position gives the thighs a workout in the rough.
The REV chassis is twitchy in the corners. It surprises me, sometimes, for the way it reacts to driver input. It doesn’t take a lot of body English to drive through a corner, but it’s so sensitive to input that it feels twitchy.
Through a turn, the rear end might start to come around if too much driver input is given, which might cause the inside ski to lift. When coming into a corner and letting off the gas, too much weight transfers onto the skis and the rear loosens.
Besides the engine stumbling occasionally in the rough, it performed well. It’s not the strongest engine in the group, but its bottom end was strong.
My third choice is the Arctic Cat F6 Firecat. If the trails are smooth and curvy this is a fun sled. It is set up for those conditions and would be hard to beat there.
Cat suspension engineers must have changed the shock valving from last year’s F6 Firecat. The 2006 sled seems to handle the big bumps better and the suspensions soak up more chatter, but it still transmits too much chatter to the rider. For my liking, I’d soften up the low-speed calibration to the shocks to help it suck up the small ripples.
The Firecat has a comfortable seat. Padding is just firm enough for me. The hooked handlebars are especially great for hanging on when railing through corners and aggressive riding.
The 600 EFI II engine has good power; probably second in the class. It has good acceleration and lots of top end.
My fourth pick is the Yamaha Nytro. The gauges and the fit and finish are good. It sounds like a sport bike when it spools up, but it’s still quiet and smooth. The new seating position on the Nytro is awesome for aggressive riding. It moves a driver forward and into a more aggressive position.
The Nytro is slower than the rest of the machines to accelerate, which might have been due to clutching. The power delivery was slow to begin with, but was better in higher rpm.
The front suspension worked well in most trail conditions, except for big, high speed bumps. The rear suspension feels like its resistance to compression lessens as it moves through its travel.