But the sled factories grew weary of handing sales to other companies, and in recent history they’ve started to make better riding gear that more than matches the brand of machine it accessorizes. Many of these new softgoods are desirable and work like they should.
Last season we tested two products from BRP’s clothing department: the new Pro Snowcross Helmet and the Sno-X Gore-Tex gloves.
Ski-doo’s new Pro Snowcross helmet is a moto helmet constructed of carbon fiber reinforced fiberglass composite. It’s a one-piece shell that meets both the DOT and the more stringent Snell M2000 standards.
The helmet is available in a matte black, which we tested, and a limited-edition yellow and orange Techno-Bee version, which is race-legal. It gets the designation for the swatch of hi-visibility orange on the rear of the helmet, which is appreciated on the trail, too.
The helmet has vents at the top of the helmet and the cheeks, and exit ports on the rear. It also has a rear spoiler that helps direct airflow around the back of the head to reduce buffeting.
The padding is comfortable and the venting kept our head temperature regulated in cold and warm weather. Airflow on the outside of the helmet was also good, and its light weight (3.3 pounds) was comfortable to wear all day.
To go along with its Pro Snowcross helmet, BRP and Smith partnered to create a pair of goggles with a custom shape for the facial area of the helmet. The lens frame fits into the helmet design perfectly, making a good seal around the face. It’s the best helmet/goggle combination we’ve tested.
There are a few things on this helmet that could be improved. One is function: The chin bar honeycomb vent has large holes. It vents fine, but an additional air filter like on many other helmets would still vent adequately and block a direct wind blast on colder days.
The other improvement area is cosmetic. The adhesive that secures the rear spoiler to the top of the helmet is plainly visible, which weakens the build quality. Other designs have spoilers molded into the helmet shell.
The Ski-doo’s P Sno-X Gore-Tex gloves are a medium-weight glove with snowmobile-specific features.
Thanks to the Gore-Tex fabric, the gloves are waterproof and breathable. The back hand uses stretch nylon for a secure, form fit and a neoprene wrist has a hook-and-loop adjustment for good closure. Grips on the palms are in the right places to avoid handlebar slips, and a small helmet/goggle wiper is on the left index finger.
Those who usually wear thin gloves might think these gloves are too bulky on digits. However, we didn’t think the insulation and material thickness was too restrictive to manipulate controls. The gloves have 60-gram Thermolite on the palms and 120-gram on the back. The thinner palms aid dexterity and control.
The gloves kept our hands warm and dry whenever we put them on. Ironically, the only time we wished we had a different pair is when riding a Ski-doo’s “X” sled. The poor wrist coverage, combined with the poor wind protection on our “X” package MX Z, created a cold draft on our watch line. Machines with better wind protection did not present the same problem.