New 2018 600cc Racing Snowmobiles

Hot sleds and fiery competition! Snocross has a lot of speculation around it this season but the stock race sleds are no doubt getting technology upgrades!
2018 Ski-Doo MXZx 600RS
2018 Ski-Doo MXZx 600RS
Unlike last year’s release, which didn’t have too much to offer for upgrades from the previous 600 racer from Ski-Doo, the 2018 MXZx was almost completely redesigned specifically for winning on North American and European Snocross tracks. The for-racing-only Rotax 600RS E-TEC engine is new for 2018, with more horsepower and extremely fast dynamic response. Direct injection from the E-TEC motor makes its racing debut, combined with the booster injectors first deployed on the Rotax 850 E-TEC. Together these technologies deliver that quick response and contribute to the overall power gain. A new lightweight exhaust system has been added, along with a new, larger bore piston. The engine also gained a little displacement as it grew to 599.4cc for 2018, compared to 594.4 from 2017. This power-pack was configured to fit in the efficient REV Gen4 platform, with its unique look.

If what’s under the hood wasn’t enough, the 600RS comes with a laundry-list of other upgrades. A new taper/tilt tunnel, an MX inspired seat and a new racing foot-box on the chassis. The new RAS 3 front suspension got a makeover with longer KYB Pro 40 R shocks, a taller spindle and lightweight Pilot R2 skis attached to rack steering with mechanical power assist. The rear suspension got some lighter components along with a wider 46mm KYB Pro series center shock and a new calibration and motion ratio. The rear suspension did lose almost an inch and a half of travel from last year, but the front of the sled gained travel, going from 9.5 to 10.3 inches. More importantly the shocks and geometry here are a big upgrade.

The Ski-Doo comes with the racing pDrive primary clutch and the same TEAM TSS-04 secondary, but this package includes a new slip gear and final drive ratio of 51t – 22t.

With all that added performance, Ski-Doo knew they needed to do something to help slow this machine down on the track to take tight turns. New this year is a Brembo 4-piston brake caliper mated to a new stainless steel rotor delivering stronger, more consistent performance and better durability.
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 6000R
2018 Arctic Cat ZR 6000R
Not to be outdone by Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat came out to Hay Days this year swinging with the release of their upgraded racer sled. The 2018 ZR 6000R SX snocross machine is new from nose-to-tail, with more than 350 new parts compared to last year’s model.

The ZR 6000R SX was designed by the Arctic Cat Engineering and Race Departments, alongside racers Tucker Hibbert and Logan Christian who worked by consulting the team during development and testing. Cat’s High Performance/Race Product Team Manager, Brian Dick, praised both Hibbert and Christian for their roles in completing this racing sled.

The major improvements begin with the longer track for 2018. The 15x136x1.75 inch snocross track and revised slide-action rear suspension deliver improved traction for hole-shots and acceleration, greater straight-line stability on a rough course, lower center of gravity and improved traction while braking. A new rail profile places six-inches more rail contact on the snow for improved bump compliance and reduced bottoming on the chassis.

A boost was also given with the new ARS front suspension, featuring increased caster, adjustable camber and more ground clearance. This significantly improved handling, making the sled more confidence-inspiring and predictable in corners.

The engine included in the SX is a modified, Arctic-designed C-TEC2. The revised C-TEC2 6000 EFI engine package includes new cylinder and exhaust valve configuration, V-Force reeds, revised calibration mapping and Hot Start function. The result is a 20% improvement in low- to mid-range throttle response and a 15% increase in horsepower and torque at low- and mid-range levels.

There were also a lot of ergonomic improvements. A new lightweight seat design works in concert with a new, ultra-compact three-gallon fuel tank. Next Gen side panel bodywork and a new console allow easier movement around the sled, especially for cornering. Racers will be able to move further forward on the sled while cornering with more clearance for legs and knees, along with new foot enclosures.

With all the improvements and additions on this model, it’s crazy that the designers were able to shave 20 lbs. of weight from the 2017 6000R, especially after switching from a 129-inch to 136-inch track.

Arctic Cat also announced the XC (cross country) version of the ZR 6000R. This being the consumer version of the 6000R, it’s a little more practical. You can fill the larger – almost four times larger at 11.7 gallons - fuel tank with 91 octane gasoline and the track is back to the regular 129 inches. In order to purchase the SX, you need permission from the Arctic Cat Race Department. To get your own XC contact any Arctic Cat dealer about availability.
2018 Polaris 600R
2018 Polaris 600R
Although the list of improvements for the new 2018 600R is not as long as the Ski-Doo or Arctic Cat, the latest 600 racer from Polaris is still a very impressive machine.
Starting off with the suspension, which is always near the top of the class from Polaris, this racer stands out. Walker Evans Velocity front suspension shocks and springs help keep the 600R stable and allow for a softer initial setting, but have stiffness at the bottom for big hits. A new upper front control arm design is meant to accommodate a new reservoir position and added protection to the shock. Taller spindles improve cornering and add a half-inch of ground clearance. The rear suspension also has some calibration and styling updates.

The clutch on the Polaris has also been improved. It features a straight-cut sheave angle for improved hole-shot performance, due to better belt grip. To keep up with the added forward-performance, the brakes have also been upgraded. A floating stainless steel brake rotor and new brake pads improve stopping power, performance and durability. The lightweight rotor floats to prevent any sort of warping.

A few functional-cosmetic improvements have also been made. The new seat-cover material is durable and provides added grip. New stock cutouts in the running boards make it easy for snow evacuation and added traction for the rider. FrogzSkin on the upper hood vents prevent snow ingestion with an added intake foam seal.
Briggs and Stratton 206 Animal Engine
Briggs and Stratton 206
Those 600 racers are pretty serious machines. Sleds like that aren’t made for the youth of the sport. Snocross racers have put many years in before they can compete on those snowmobiles.

An adult trying to get into the world of snowmobiling without a huge budget, no sled, let alone all the equipment necessary to keep up with the machines currently being produced, would probably have appreciated an introduction when the playing field was a little more level, like in their youth.

To be competitive later in any sport, parents have to start their children young. Snowmobiling is no exception. Briggs and Stratton have been producing a 206cc stock, sealed engine for several years now that keeps the focus on the skillset behind racing, not on breaking the budget of the parents.

The Animal Engine Package from Briggs can be dropped into any of the four big OEM 120cc sleds. The 206 packs twice the horsepower of the stock 120 motors, which is perfect for the young ones transitioning from their kitty-cats, but aren’t yet ready for a larger, more powerful sled.

The stock 206 engine from Briggs and Stratton spawned a racing division that is present at a lot of ISOC racing events. For those of you with children that are starting to show an interest in the sport, this is a perfect place to start.

Briggs and Stratton are Wisconsin neighbors to AmSnow and they’ve been producing engines of all types and sizes for work and play since 1908. More info:
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