Full-Season Test: 2011 Ski-Doo Renegade E-TEC 800R X

2011 Ski-Doo Renegade E-TEC 800R XLike any good marathoner, our 2011 Ski-Doo E-TEC 800R Renegade X demo sled just kept running last winter. It spent more weekends on the trail than in our shop from December to mid-March. Repairs weren’t ever required, giving us reliable, long lasting performances for 2,987 miles. Well, except for a few drive belts …. One reason the Renegade got so much use was because it was a darn fun sled to ride. It felt light and precise, it handled exceptionally well for a long track — even better after we installed aftermarket skis — and its powerful E-TEC 800R engine made smiles come easily when we pushed the throttle lever. Another reason for its frequent use was for us to evaluate the bevy of aftermarket products we installed on it. Tests began right after the start of the New Year, when it was broken in and loosened up. With 500 miles on the odometer we hauled the machine to TEAM Industries in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, to install and calibrate the company’s Tied secondary clutch. We spent a day making runs on lake near TEAM’s shop and left with a good setup, and a drive belt that was shot. TEAM Industries Tied secondary clutch We only got 550 miles out of the original hoop, and our Renegade continued to wear out belts about every 800 miles for the rest of the season. None of the belts blew up, but cords pushed out the sidewalls on some belts, power delivery became lazy or engine speed at wide-open throttle dropped about 200 rpm. There’s no way to prove what should shoulder the blame for the short belt life. Was it the aftermarket clutch? Perhaps the drive clutch is to blame? Maybe the belts aren’t durable enough for the engine? And yes, we were careful to break in each and every Ski-Doo -391 drive belt for about 40 miles before giving it the berries. By mid-January we kept pounding the miles. Your author and two buddies made a cross-country backpack trip from the Snow Goer shop in the Minneapolis suburbs to central Up North Technologies cargo rack Minnesota for one night, then we turned around and headed home the next morning — a 403-mile round trip. Split Rail Dual Axis ski A long section of trail between each day’s starting point and destination went through fertile Minnesota farm country, and snowmobile trails there followed tree lines along fields. The snowmobile clubs in this area must be short on help — or too busy harvesting crops in the fall — because signage was scarce, at best, and if there was a directional sign it was usually at the apex of a turn, and lacking any reflectivity. This caused our group to blow through a few turns after dusk. Snow was deep in those corn and bean fields, but fortunately our Renegade’s 137-inch track kept us afloat. Oil range all season was less than we expected from an E-TEC engine. On average, we could run the sled for 200 miles on a half-tank of oil. With a 3.9-quart oil tank, the ratio factors out to 102 miles per quart of full synthetic lube from Ski-Doo. That’s respectable, but not incredible. We know that the amount of oil an engine burns is directly proportional to how much fuel it uses, but one of Ski-Doo’s marketing messages has been that owners will save money because its direct-injection two-strokes use less gas and oil. Perhaps we ran this 800R engine harder than average, but nonetheless we assumed the sled would go farther before the low-oil warning incessantly flashed and beeped. Ski-Doo should enlarge the reservoir so the next time we’re 380 miles into a 400-mile journey we won’t have to stop at a gas station and top it off with a $14 quart of oil. 2011 Ski-Doo Renegade E-TEC 800R X $12,249 Modifications: TEAM Industries Tied Clutch; Split Rail skis; Custom Axis shocks by Hygear Suspension; Up North Technologies cargo rack Average MPG: 13.25

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