Trail test: 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS

Go ahead. Ride aggressively on the 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS. It can take it.May 4, 2010

Like one of Hollywood party girl Lindsay Lohan’s nasal passages, the 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS snowmobile is built for speed. Also similar to Ms. Lohan, the snowmobile has a rough edge or two, but it looks good, moves fast and knows how to have fun.

We spent two separate afternoons on board the race-bred MX Z at our annual Rode Reports testing event in West Yellowstone, Mont., this spring and learned that this machine has been expertly calibrated to meet the needs of aggressive riders while not being so firm and unforgiving that it becomes unpleasant a few miles into a rough trail.

Praise For E-TEC 800R Engine

The most-redeeming quality of the 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS is its E-TEC 800R engine. We’ve been raving about the direct injection snowmobile technology since we named the MX Z E-TEC 600 H.O. TNT as the 2009 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year, and we’ll continue to praise it until something better comes along (will something better come along?). From one quick pull on the cord to clutch engagement, mid-range up to full-throttle operation, the fuel induction technology makes the powerplant run cleanly, crisply and precisely. This fuel system is the real deal.

The 2007 version of the Ski-Doo MX Z X-RS was a miss for trail riders. Its suspensions were calibrated too firmly to offer a comfortable ride through the wide variety of conditions that snowmobilers face from day to day or mile to mile. Instead, it pounded the rider. Fortunately, the 2011 version is surprisingly compliant and versatile.

The reinforced chassis and suspensions are controllable and absorb hard, sharp-edged chop and big bumps at high speeds while also offering a smooth ride over those same bumps if you ease off the throttle for a slow-paced ride. It feels light and nimble while bombing over the craters.

MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS Built For Hard Riders

There’s no doubt that the MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS is built for aggressive riders and racer wannabes. From its race-style controls on the handlebars to the race-tuned KYB clicker shock absorbers and the flashy color scheme, this sled is more about function and less about form. The stripped-down handlebars with 5-inch riser and pipe preheat switch straight off the MX Zx race sled serving as the electronic reverse button is a raw look, but this also means fit and finish isn’t as good as we’re accustomed from Ski-Doo.

MX Z X-RS ergos are set up for hard-chargers. We already mentioned the tall handlebar riser, but the seat is tall, too. The firm durometer coupled with its unique shape made one tester say, “It’s like I’m sitting on a basketball.” The forward-mounted steering post helps put rider weight forward and accommodates a stand-up riding style.

— Andy Swanson

The 2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS has shocks, ergos and other features to suit the demands of aggressive riders.
2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS Hits

  • REV-XP familiarity
  • Smoother performance than carbureted version
  • Suspension
  • E-TEC precision

2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS Misses

  • Price
  • Vibration at idle
  • Seat shape

2011 Ski-Doo MX Z E-TEC 800R X-RS Specifications

  • $12,999
  • Engine: Make/Name: Rotax E-TEC 800R
  • Layout: liquid-cooled, case-reed inducted, twin
  • Type: Two-stroke
  • Bore/Stroke: 82mm x 76mm
  • Peak rpm: 8150
  • Claimed output: 155+ hp
  • Front Suspension: Dual A-arm; KYB Pro 40 R shocks; 9.5 inches of travel
  • Rear Suspension: SC5; KYB Pro 40 shocks; 15 inches of travel
  • Track: Rip Saw; 15x120x1.25

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