We had seven demo sleds to ride last season, but without a doubt the sled most often chosen by Snow Goer staffers was the 2009 Ski-Doo MX Z TNT 600 H.O. E-TEC. It was our favorite not only for its fun, lightweight performance, superb handling and good ride, but the E-TEC direct injection set it on a pedestal above the other snowmobiles in our fleet.
This engine ran perfectly day in and day out with precise and quick throttle response when running through the woods and a hard pull all the way up to the top end. Whether it was minus 25 degrees or 40 degrees above, one quick yank on the recoil rope was enough to light the 120 hp engine.
It idled with an odd hum and rhythmic “tick, tick, tick” unlike anything we’d ever heard from a two-stroke. The engine was quiet. When we squeezed the throttle a bit, the clutches seamlessly engaged without even the slightest clunk. We eased into the gas further and the sled rolled out of the hole smoothly, like it was powered by an electric motor. Squeezing harder against the flipper, the sled had a hard pull that seemed like it could run with an 800cc two stroke. Through all rpm, the engine performed like a sewing machine. Smooth, quiet, precise.
A driver’s input really affects a REV-XP MX Z’s direction. Pulling down on the inside end of the handlebar really helps keep the inside ski on the ground through corners. Other people who test rode the sled were amazed at how well all aspects of the sled worked. They commented about its quick power, sharp handling and good suspension. More than one person, though, complained that it was a cold sled.
Storage, or lack thereof, is another strike against TNT package MX Z sleds. Without a trunk, there’s no place to stash a hat, gloves, map, tow-rope or even a book of matches. Based on all of the great technology Ski-Doo engineers build into their sleds, you’d think they could come up an ingenious way to incorporate cargo space without disrupting the machine’s chiseled lines. Until then, REV-XP riders will have to rely on add-on cargo bags like we did.
After about 1,200 miles, the sled had lost its spunk. It became lazy when trying to accelerate out of corners and peak engine rpm was down about 500 revs from where it spun at the beginning of the season. The sled had become anemic. The problem was due to a worn drive belt.
We had kept deflection adjusted correctly and the belt was structurally sound without burnt spots or delamination, but by this mileage point it had become limp, like a piece of rope. After installing and adjusting a new belt, the sled performed perfectly, again. Peak rpm was restored back to 8200 and the machine again leaped out of corners.
This MX Z made a wide range of riders happy. From aggressive riders who’ve been snowmobiling for more than 20 years to wives with but a few hundred miles under their belt. Experienced riders liked its quick power, good ride and sharp handling while the Missus appreciated the lightweight chassis, sure-footed handling and the throttle lever’s easy squeeze, not to mention a tall aftermarket windshield.