A few years back the management team at Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), the makers of Ski-Doo, gave the snowmobile division the challenge and assignment to become the #1 seller of sleds in the world, and the Rev and XP platforms changed the snowmobile world and accomplished just that.
But don’t, not for one minute, think BRP is happy with sitting on top and looking down at what they have been able to accomplish. Quite the opposite is true - the guys from Canada are crazy-passionate about making ‘it’ better, whatever ‘it’ happens to be.
So it was with not just a little anticipation that we walked up to the Ski-Doo haulers in Grand Lake, CO to get our first in-depth look at the 2010 lineup. We had heard rumors about what was going to be offered and were eager to see if it was just so much talk or just what exactly the 'Doo camp was going to deliver.
The first thing you notice about the 2010 Ski-Doo line-up is the sheer number of options you have. Honestly, if you can’t find something in this line-up with the suspension package you want… well, we don’t know where you are going to find it.
For 2010 the Doo guys have released the X-RS sleds which are derived directly from the race sleds. They have also moved the Rev-XP chassis into the fan models. And they have a completely retooled sport-utility offering.
No Big Bang
We had heard the rumors for weeks that we were going to get the 1200 4-TEC Summit, with the 1200 4-stroke power plant. We would be lying if we said we weren’t more than a little disappointed when we opened the front page of the sled brochure to see in big bold type, “Summit 1200 4-TEC Cancelled”. I’m sure there were more than a few people at BRP that were also disappointed. But BRP made a tough decision and the simple line in the brochure explains it best by saying “we still felt that the machine did not meet our high performance expectations”. So no big 4-banger Summit in 2010 - let’s hope for 2011.
Also, with 2012 EPA regs looming we had hoped, although didn't really expect, to see an 800 E-TEC motor offered. The 600 H.O. E-TEC holds great promise for the long-term survival of the 2-stroke snowmobile, and if/when BRP delivers a similar 800cc mill it will be truly news-worthy. The 800R PowerTEK is no slouch, don’t get us wrong, but the promise of 800cc power in an efficient design like the E-TEC makes those of us who are thinking long term about 2-stroke motors pretty excited.
Sprinkled through the Ski-Doo lineup for 2010 are now fewer than five different power plants. On the entry level end we have the 550F (fan) and the standard 600 liquid. Proven, bullet-proof power plants. There is also the 600 H.O. E-TEC we mentioned earlier, that is touted as the most fuel-efficient 2-stroke in the history of snowmobiling and we can’t really argue with that claim. The 800R PowerTEK delivers 151hp, which is a nice amount of go for sure and rounding out the motor offerings is the 1200 4-TEC which Ski-Doo says is a bit stronger than the Yamaha 130 EFI, which will have 4-stroke riders arguing at the bar on a regular basis.
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Before we jump in to the sled offerings, let’s briefly talk about shocks. On one side of the coin BRP is in danger of offering too many options. It can get very confusing to know what is what for the average buyer. And it might be a little intimidating when you open up the sled brochure and see a section dedicated exclusively to the “2010 Shock Lineup”. We’ll sum it up by saying there are nine different shock/suspension options for 2010. Hopefully you can find a shock that works for you.
2010 Shock Lineup
|MC||Hydraulic steel shocks||Great ride quality at a low price.|
|HPG||KYB steel body with high-pressure gas||High-tech, low price. With good dampening capacity.|
|HPG-VR||KYB steel body with high-pressure gas and variable rate||Position-sensitive shock. Very smooth when riding small ripples.|
|HPG Plus||KYB aluminum rebuildable shocks||Lightweight and revalvable.|
|HPG Plus R||KYB aluminum rebuildable shocks with rebound clicker adjustment||Lightweight, revalvable shocks with knob for rebound dampening adjustment.|
KYB Pro 36
|KYB aluminum 36mm rebuildable shock with high/low speed compression adjustment||
Fade-free, high-capacity, revalvable HPG shock with knob for low-speed dampening adjustment.
KYB Pro 40
|KYB aluminum 40mm rebuildable shock with high/low speed compression adjustment||Tough, race-proven shock with more dampening capacity and high flow/velocity. Fade free.|
KYB Pro 40 R
|KYB aluminum 40mm rebuildable shocks with high/low speed compression & rebound dampening adjustment||
Tough, race-proven shocks with more dampening capacity and rebound dampening adjustment. Fade-free with high flow/velocity.
|A.C.S.||Air Controlled Suspension, GSX and Grand Touring only||Customize your ride on the fly for added comfort in varying trail conditions.|
Cross-Country / Trail Sleds
Ski-Doo’s cross-country line-up falls under the badge of the MX-Z. The MX-Z family of sleds are for the performance, racer knock-off rider. If you want a piece of hardware to travel up the trail with speed and agility you’ll want to be sitting on top of an MX-Z.
The 2010 MX-Z Sport is powered by the standard 600 2-stroke motor and is now built on the Rev-XP platform. You get all the benefits of the XP with the solid performance of the 600 power plant, for an affordable price. The TNT is available with either the 600 liquid or the 550F motor. That allows it to be touted as the "lightest liquid-cooled sled in the industry", with Ski-Doo advertising it at a feather-light 408lbs. If you haven’t ridden one of these you really ought to. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that weight doesn’t matter - it does.
The TNT 4-TEC houses the 1200 4-stroke motor in the Rev-XR chassis. If you are looking for a 4-stroke sled with great trail manners and performance, then the TNT 4-TEC should be on your short list.
Rounding out the MX-Z lineup is the 800R and 600 H.O. E-TEC offerings. Our test crew scored the 800R at 3.67 out of 5. We rode several of the MX-Zs with different shock packages and for sure, as you move up the list of shocks available, the performance is better. Pick a price point and buy in - all of them felt good on the trail, it’s just a matter of what performance level you need out of your suspension.
The MX-Z 800R is a really fun sled to ride on the trail. Don’t be timid, it likes to be ridden and the harder you push it the better it responds. The old cliché, "handles like its on rails", really does apply to this sled. We found it to inspire great confidence when wailing through the corners. Never did it do anything unpredictable, which is exactly what we want in our trail sled.
The 800R power plant makes lots of power and coming out of the corner throttle response is crisp and launches you off down the straight. Admittedly, the brake was a little twitchy. It was smooth through most of the application but would grab hard right at lock up and never at the same point. That was a little tough to get used to.
For our test riders, who are in the 5’10” to 6’1” height range, the bars were a little low and the windshield offers zero protection. But the looks (graphics and colors) of the MX-Z sleds are terrific and we think some of the best looking sleds available in 2010.
The MX-Z in the XP chassis really is a light package. Don’t tell the BRP guys, but we did find a little section of whoops and jumps to play on and every test rider commented that the MX-Z is “light” and that it “flies off a jump and stays predictable in the air”.
We loved the 600 E-TEC motor. It’s smooth, quiet and has comparable "go" to the Arctic Cat 600, though a little less than the Polaris 600. But it uses no gas… in fact we thought maybe it was making gas. It burned less than half the gas that the other sleds we were riding used.
The 800R makes good power, but we noticed a common theme in every 800 we rode, didn’t matter what chassis - the vibration. It was really noticeable, especially when switching from other sleds. It was bad enough that we’re not sure you could spend the whole day on the MX-Z 800R without becoming annoyed, if not down right uncomfortable, because of the vibration.
*X-RS 800R PowerTEK - $11,949
*X-RS 600 H.O. E-TEC - $11,449
*X 800R PowerTEK – $10,949
*X 600 H.O. E-TEC – $10,449
*X 1200 4-TEC - $11,399
Adrenaline 800R PowerTEK - $10,199 (Electric Start + $350)
Adrenaline 600 H.O. E-TEC - $9,699 (Electric Start + $350)
Adrenaline 1200 4-TEC - $10,649
TNT 1200 4-TEC - $10,799
TNT 600 - $7,999 (Electric Start + $350)
TNT 550F - $6,949 (Electric Start + $350)
Sport 600 - $7,499 (Electric Start + $350)
600RS - $10,299
*Special model available only during the Spring Fever Promotion 2010.
Weight matters. Have we mentioned that before? No where is that fact brought out more vividly than when you drop into some nasty hole in 3’ of powder in your favorite back country location in the Rocky Mountains. It’s a little late at that point to be wishing you had lost a few more pounds over the summer.
For the past few years, the Ski-Doo Summit has been the light weight leader in the mountains. And other OEMs have spent considerable time, energy and sleepless nights trying to get their mountain sleds even within 10% of the Summits.
That’s why we were so intrigued when we heard BRP was going to have a 1200 4-TEC Summit in the 520lb range. Some said the rumor was too good to be true and as it turns out, at least for 2010, they were right.
For 2010 the Summit family offers power plant options of 600 liquid (Sport), 600 H.O. E-TEC and 800R PowerTEK (Everest and X), and the 800R PowerTEK only for the HillClimb edition. We are pretty sure that just about any mountain rider should be able to find one of those options that fits her or his riding needs.
For 2010 the Summits get some refinements to help in the handling department, and the BRP guys are adamant that any durability issues are a thing of the past. Complaints from more than one rider have been that the Summit is a tough sled to pull over and side-hill and that it always wants to return to center. Not a bad thing necessarily, but often in the steep and deep you want to pull the sled on one ski and hold it there, for oh, maybe all day. To help with this Ski-Doo went to a softer sway bar, longer center shock, reshaped rails, longer by 1.5” front/rear suspension arm, and new shock calibration all the way around.
Our test riders have all spent quite a bit of time on previous Summits and knew exactly what the 'Doo engineers were talking about with the turning/side hilling performance. So we were excited to get out and try the new sleds. To be honest, the 2010 is considerably better than the 2009 as far as ease of turning and maneuverability go, but every one of the test riders complained about not being able to tip it over and carve it. Yes, you can tip it over, we aren’t saying that, but it takes quite a bit of effort and thought, which neither the Polaris nor Arctic Cat mountain sleds do. We did note that the 600 was easier to pull over on one ski than the 800 and our bigger (read fatter) test riders had more trouble than the smaller guys. So we suspect that the combination of body mass, short arms (read short and fat rider) and the way-forward riding position of the Summit make it more of an issue. Add a longer track, like the 163 800R has, and it gets even more difficult.
Our test riders scored the 600 and 800 Summits at 3.27 and 3.62 respectively. The new seat on the Summits is a good change. Brakes are pretty good on the Summits, with the same funny grab right at the end of the travel that the MX-Zs experience. It wasn’t too hard to get used to though. The 600 we rode was the blue/black paint scheme and is a very good looking sled. One of our test riders took the 600 down through some rather thick pine trees and the sled came out with only a few scrapes, surprising when we retraced the path it took.
Throttle response on the 600 E-TEC was spot on. We don’t feel like it is as strong as the 'Cat or Polaris 600, but the E-TEC makes gas. We rode the little Summit very hard keeping up with the bigger mountain sleds we were testing and when we returned to base camp and filled up the 600 sipped a few drops in and was full. It really is pretty amazing the fuel economy this motor gets.
The 800 Summit felt nose-heavy compared to the 600, although it’s supposedly only 4 pounds heavier. The nose dive was noticeable compared to the 600 and as noted above it was harder to pull over and carve than the 600. One test rider commented that it “handled well on the trail getting to the hill, but not when climbing and carving”. Probably not the best thing you want to hear about your mountain sled.
And at the risk of beating a dead horse, the 800 in the Summit had quite a bit of engine vibration. We had a 2009 800 Summit along on one of the rides and it did not vibrate nearly as much as the 2010, makes us wonder if a motor mount stiffness change has been made for 2010.
But less you think we don’t like the Summit, well maybe when a sled goes this good in the steep and deep we find ourselves picking at it. And for sure, with BRP being at the top of the heap everyone guns for them. But line the Summit 800 up against just about anything else in the really deep snow and you’re going to be the first one to the top of the hill most of the time, and that is a prescription that makes a lot of ailments go away.
*X-RS Hillclimb Ed. 154 800R PowerTEK - $11,649
*X 163” 800R PowerTEK - $11,399 (Electric Start + $350)
*X 154” 800R PowerTEK - $10,999 (Electric Start + $350)
*X 154” 600 H.O. E-TEC - $10,449 (Electric Start + $350)
*X 146” 800R PowerTEK - $10,699 (Electric Start + $350)
Everest 163” 800R PowerTEK - $10,999 (Electric Start + $350)
Everest 154” 800R PowerTEK - $10,599 (Electric Start + $350)
Everest 146” 800R PowerTEK - $10,299 (Electric Start + $350)
Everest 146” 600 H.O. E-TEC - $9,599 (Electric Start + $350)
Everest 154” 800R PowerTEK (Sea Level) - $10,699
Everest 146” 800R PowerTEK (Sea Level) - $10,399
Sport 146” 600 - $8,099
*Special model available only during the Spring Fever Promotion 2010.
Renegade. We think that’s a bit of marketing genius. Every once in a while a sled manufacturer comes up with a name that just describes what we are after. Ski-Doo has done that with the Renegade. If you are one of them you know exactly what we are talking about. Groomed trails probably aren’t your preference although you can give the racer want-a-be a run for his money. You like those back country logging roads in the upper Midwest. You like finding your own way places. Yup, Renegade.
For 2010 Ski-Doo has moved all of their crossover offerings in to the Renegade lineup. You get your choice of 4 different motors: 1200 4-TEC, 800R PowerTEK, 600 H.O. E-TEC and 550F. You can use those motors to spin either the 1.25” or 1.75” track.
The Renegade scored a combined 3.38 with our test riders. Power from the 800 and 600 motors is good and throttle is good on the 600 but a little lazy on the 800. The 800 also had a very stiff throttle pull. We didn’t look in to it much but it may be a cable routing issue.
On trail performance for the Renegade is very good and in the Crossover segment we would say that the Renegade favors on-trail instead of off-trail performance. Get off the groomed trail and it’s very hard to lean over and carve or turn. It wants to go straight. Our test machines had the ski stance set wide which may well have affected this.
If you buy a Renegade, buy a different windshield or install hand guards. In deeper snow your hands catch a lot of snow being thrown up by the skis. Keeping them warm is near impossible. Plus having guards isn’t a bad idea if you are going to be winding down a back country narrow trail through the trees. The running boards are great, nice and wide with lots of grip. And as was the common theme with the 800R powered sleds, vibration was an issue.
*X 800R PowerTEK – $11,149
*X 600 H.O. E-TEC – $10,649
*X 1200 4-TEC - $11,499
*Backcountry X 800R PowerTEK - $11,399
Adrenaline 800R PowerTEK - $10,499 (Electric Start + $350)
Adrenaline 600 H.O. E-TEC - $9,899 (Electric Start + $350)
Adrenaline 1200 4-TEC - $10,849
Backcountry 800R PowerTEK – $10,699 (Electric Start + $350)
Backcountry 600 H.O. E-TEC - $10,149 (Electric Start + $350)
Sport 550F - $6,799 (Electric Start + $350)
*Special model available only during the Spring Fever Promotion 2010.
Luxury Performance Snowmobiling
At some point in your riding career you get to a point where you want trail performance but you also gain an appreciation for some of the more comfy things in life. Enter the GSX from Ski-Doo. Offering 3 different trim levels: Sport, LE and SE, the GSX has the solo touring/riding bunch covered in capable, high end comfort and performance.
As with other lines from BRP you get your choice of 550F, 600, 600 H.O. E-TEC and 1200 4-TEC. No 800R motor isn’t offer in the GSX and this is where we were half expecting to see an 800 E-TEC offering. But the 600 H.O. is a great motor for the GSX and delivers great mileage, good strong power, and reliability.
The Sport GSX is your entry level offering and can be had with either the 550F or the 600 liquid motor. It comes with all the basic touring features you would expect like mirrors and a 12volt outlet to plug your visor in to. Step up to the LE and SE and you get even more features along with the other motor options. Really, just about anything you could want is available for the GSX rider. Heated seat, tilt steering, multifunction gauge and even ACS (Air Controlled Suspension).
SE 1200 4-TEC - $11,849
LE 1200 4-TEC - $11,199
LE 600 H.O. E-TEC - $10,299
Sport 600 - $8,299
Sport 550F - $6,699
If two-up touring is your cup of tea, then the Ski-Doo Grand Touring sleds are your sugar and crème. As with the solo touring sleds, the Grand Touring comes with the choice of a 550F, 600, 600 H.O. E-TEC and 1200 4-TEC motor. To be honest, if you are really doing 2 up touring the 550F is a bit underpowered. The 600 liquid offers better performance for when you have 2 people on board.
Available in the Grand Touring is the Sport (550F/600), LE (600 E-TEC/1200 4-TEC) and the SE (1200 4-TEC). As with the GSX solo touring sleds, all the amenities are available. The GT even has an optional 2+1 seat that converts from 2 riders to 3 quickly and allows you to take the little sledhead along with mom and dad.
The GT lineup is aimed at the 2 up touring riders and because of that Ski-Doo put quite a bit of effort in to the passenger’s comfort. Heated seat, adjustable handholds, extra tall windshield and even side panel wind deflectors combine to make the experience of being a passenger a comfortable and enjoyable one.
SE 1200 4-TEC - $12,499
LE 1200 4-TEC – $11,399
LE 600 H.O. E-TEC - $10,499
Sport 600 - $8,399
Sport 550F - $6,999
One look outside of the Ski-Doo haulers and we couldn’t help but be surprised by the number of utility sleds. There were a lot… no fewer than 8 different models 5 different motor configurations available. Along with the 1200 4-TEC, 600 E-TEC, 550F and 600 liquid, the Tundra, Expedition and Skandic also have the V-800 4-TEC available.
The Expedition sleds are designed with the 2 up touring/utility user in mind. The Expedition is built on the REV-XU platform, a rugged chassis designed to be used in the utility world. New for this year, the Expedition is available with the big 1200 4-TEC motor. That, combined with the weight loss from the older Yeti II chassis you get a utility sled that is light for the class but with plenty of power and incredible fuel mileage.
The Expedition’s rear suspension is the RCG-A suspension which incorporates an interesting rear articulating arm. When allowed to float during backing the rear 10” or so of the suspension articulates up, allowing the track to climb up on the snow instead of digging in. It can also be locked in the down position and give you full foot print for towing or other high traction situations.
The Tundra line of sleds gets a pretty big overall for 2010. The first thing you will notice is the Lynx Telescopic Suspension (TLS) up front. Call them pogo sticks if you will, but the Doo engineers knew what they were doing. By using the TLS front end and allowing the whole front end to be belly pan they dramatically improved the floatation of the Tundra. Numbers like 65% more floatation were thrown out. We don’t know how those are calculated, but for sure the thing floats like nothing else with that tub under the front end.
But don’t think it makes the Tundra harder to ride. No, the Tundra does even better what it has always done well, off trail work. And if you need to do that off trail work with 2 people the Skandic is there to provide you what you need. The Skandic does remain in the Yeti II chassis and offers great off trail work capacity for even the biggest tasks. The Skandic has motor options of 550F, 600 liquid and V-800 4-TEC.
Yes, Ski-Doo, probably better than anyone, understands the importance of the Utility/Work sled. They aren’t just dabbling in this area, but offering utility users all the options they need to get the work done.
*Expedition SE 1200 4-TEC - $12,599
*Expedition SE 600 H.O. E-TEC - $11,299
Expedition 1200 4-TEC - $11,799
Expedition 600 H.O. E-TEC - $10,499
SUV 550F - $8,999
WT 600 - $9,399
WT 550F - $8,799
SWT V-800 - $10,699
Tundra LT 550F - $7,649
Tundra Sport 550F - $6,849
Tundra 550F - $6,249
*Special model available only during the Spring Fever Promotion 2010.
Ski-Doo has forged ahead this year with a very broad, comprehensive line-up. They are acting like the #1 snowmobile seller by offering customers a myriad of options to satisfy just about every need. The BRP gang keeps doing what they have done so well the past 5+ years, build sleds that set the standard in the industry.
The changes to the Summit suspension are a step in the right direction. We hear all the time that you “just need to learn to ride it” when we talk about the Summit’s handling. Frankly, with all the great offerings from Yamaha, Arctic Cat and Polaris, we don’t want to have to relearn how to ride. BRP recognizes that and is working to fix it. For some of us the changes weren’t enough, but for others this will convert them to the XP.
The MX-Z just might well be the best trail platform we’ve ever been on. It’s very fun to ride and 'Doo does the tradition of racers like Blair Morgan proud with that lineup.
We did notice a couple of strange MIAs in the Ski-Doo lineup. The entry level Summit is now a 600 liquid sled. The BRP 550F motor is a very good motor and not offering that as the low end option in the mountain segment seems like a bad choice to us. Lots of people out there are looking for an inexpensive entry-level sled and the 550F would allow for the entry price to be even lower.
Yes, Ski-Doo is #1 in sales and the 2010 line-up is proof positive that they are not satisfied with just being #1.