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Long-Term Test: 2016 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry 800

The 'sno-mance' started early with this sled
2016 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry 800 snowmobile review
Ryan Thompson - RLT Photos
I was not alone; all the guys (and girls) had a slight crush on 2016 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry 800. Some more than others. However, there wasn’t anyone in our riding group that had a huge disdain for anything about this sled. As always, there were some slight changes we would make, but let’s start with what we liked.

First, we tested the standard in-season Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry, not the X model. Honestly, this one is darn near as good as the X! Anyway, for 2016 the Backcountry stretched out from a 137-incher in 2015 to a 146-inch for 2016, creating much more fun off trail. But what continued to surprise us the most was how comfortable this sled was at pace through the trails. The seat was super comfy (more than the X-RS) and the medium windshield was significantly warmer.
2016 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry 800 snowmobile
It seems like every manufacturer has a new orange sled these days, so as much as we liked our orange demo sled, the matte black option lends itself better to wraps.
The deep-keel Pilot DS 2 skis, paired with the slightly narrower 38.3-40.1 adjustable ski stance, had some folks worried that trail cornering ability would be sacrificed (especially for shorter people, who have a harder time reaching higher mountain-style bars on the Backcountry). We did not find that to be the case, however. Since this sled still had a sway bar and reacted well to body movements, it still had plenty of trail prowess. Was it as good in the super-tight corners as an MXZ or a Polaris Pro-S? No. But it came pretty darn close! It was warm, the ergos were great (even with that bigger track), and the 800 E-TEC didn’t give up much once we hit the long straightaways. When we asked our test riders if they’d purchase this sled for themselves, every one of them answered, “Yes.”

Ski-Doo really tried to push the 2016 model more toward the off-trail market, rather than basically just a long-lug track sled with different handlebars in 2015. Model year 2016 moved this sled to the REV-XM chassis to take advantage of off-trail amenities like the 16x146x1.6 Cobra FlexEdge track, tMotion (laterally hinging) rear suspension, mountain skis, bar riser, etc. By all means, this sled kills it when you jump off the beaten path to hit the deeper snow. We still think a factory “quick disconnect” sway bar should be standard from the factory on all Backcountry and Freeride sleds, but so far Ski-Doo doesn’t offer that. If you want to install the kit yourself, the cost is just $69.99 (part #860200811).
2016 Ski-Doo Renegade Backcountry 800 snowmobile review
Ryan Thompson - RLT Photos
We were also surprised at how good the 1.6-inch lug on a 146-inch track was off-trail. This sled is nearly perfect for a 50/50 on-trail/off-trail sled. Honestly, with a 1.75-inch or 2-inch lug on this sled, there wouldn’t be many places you couldn’t go. But the 1.6-incher meant that this sled was stupid fast in the straightaways for such a long machine.

Finally, we can’t say enough about how much we like the tons of storage options available with the LinQ system. Add a 2-up seat, lots of bags, racks for snowboards or whatever you like. This sled could really be a do-anything sled with all the options available and the ease of installing, uninstalling or changing them.

Real World wins
In our Real World testing, this sled turned out to be the second lightest of all our demo sleds at 571 pounds, totally wet. It was second only to the much smaller 600cc Polaris Switchback Pro-S.

The Backcountry also got high marks in fuel economy, coming in with a season average of almost 16 mpg.

The only downside of this sled that we could come up with was the shock package, which was a little soft at times, which seemed to add to the deeper keeled skis hooking in the corners. However, both of those things were certainly condition-dependent and could be changed.
PROS – Warm, comfortable, great power, extremely capable off trail, ample storage, Swiss Army knife-style sled.

CONS – Can sometimes hook and high-side in super tight trail corners; break-in takes over 400 miles, which is extremely long.
Engine: 800R E-TEC direct-injected twin 2-stroke HP: 158.3* Exhaust: Single tuned pipe, baffle muffler Drive: TRA VII primary, QRS secondary Ski Stance: 38.4-40.1 in. adj. Front Susp.: RAS 2 w/HPG Plus shocks (8.3 in. travel) Rear Susp.: tMotion w/ HPG center and rear shocks (14 in. travel) Track: 16x146x1.6 in. Cobra FlexEdge Fuel Tank: 10.6 gal. Rec. Fuel: 91 octane Dry Weight: 462 lbs. Wet Weight: 571 lbs.* Price: $12,449 US / $14,099 CA (+$400 extra for E.S.) Real World Stats*:  Top Speed: 88.15 mph ¼-mile time: 14.28 sec. Season Avg MPG: 15.54
*AmSnow tested
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