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2017 Ski-Doo Snowmobiles Released

Hanging tough on top: Ski-Doo tries to tighten its grip on No. 1 spot with new chassis and engine
2017 Ski-Doo Gen4 REV chassis 850cc E-TEC
Starting with a blank sheet of paper, Ski-Doo engineers sharpened their pencils and developed the Gen4 REV chassis, which narrows the sled's cockpit considerably and puts riders in new positions to control the snowmobile, and then powered it with an all-new 850cc E-TEC!
It’s harder to set the pace in any race than it is to follow. There are more dangers and potential hazards for the person leading the group than those who follow and learn from a leader.

And no one has handled the pressure of being at the front of the snowmobile industry quite like Ski-Doo.

Once again, the company has reimagined the consumer experience on a snowmobile. Asking engineers to build an “incredible consumer experience” (ICE project) from the ground up resulted in a new 850cc power plant and a fourth-generation REV chassis.

What’s more, the latest developments by Ski-Doo are not just limited to one segment of the market. You’ll find this newest platform in versions of the MXZ, Renegade and Summit as well as spring buy and in season models. Read on for the breakdown of these new developments, and all the inside info on the complete 2017 lineup, including our early riding impressions!
2017 Ski-Doo MXZ X 850
MXZ X 850
2017 Ski-Doo MXZ skeleton new
The new MXZ skeleton takes on a slimmer pyramidal design and centers the engine mass for a more balanced ride in corners or moguls.
2017 Ski-Doo MXZ 129 rMotion RAS 3 suspension
The 2017 MXZ models no longer come in the short 120-inch skid length, and that's OK! The 129-inch rMotion is sensational, and a new RAS 3 front end proves itself worthy in any trail terrain.
Next-gen MXZ
Trail sleds have been Ski-Doo’s primary moneymakers since the REV debuted in 2003, and they know how to shake it!

Starting with the MXZ, the Gen4 REV 850 sled is available in both the MXZ X spring package and the MXZ TNT in-season package. Up front, both come with the new RAS 3 front suspension with an inch more stroke and rack steering system. Trail riders will really appreciate this updated front suspension when they hit those rutted out trails on Saturday afternoons. It’s amazingly quiet through moguls and keeps up with the 129 rMotion rear suspension.

X options include the TS adjustable ski, Quick Adjust on the rMotion, and track choice of 1.25 RipSaw or Ice Ripper XT.

Both packages get HPG Plus shocks up front, while the TNT stays with the HPG Plus in the back, and the X gets a KYB Pro 36 Plus in the rear. The X will also have an adjustable riser that you can move between four positions. It offers good range to find your preferred bar riding positions.

Both the MXZ TNT and the X 850 use the pDrive primary roller clutch. It’s the same clutch found in the 2016 RS race sled from Ski-Doo. It gives the engine a buttery-smooth engagement, and it doesn’t lose smooth feel through the entire throttle pull.

The MXZ X can still be found in the REV-XS platform, but only with a 600 E-TEC (TRA III / QRS clutches) or 1200 4-TEC (eDrive 2 / QRS clutches) engine. There are no other noteworthy updates to the XS chassis. Similarly, the TNT is still available in the XS chassis as well, with the same features as the 2016 sleds, but not in the 800R engine. You’ll notice there is no more 120-inch skid. All the MXZ sleds now come in only a 129-inch length. That includes the Sport, which is only available in the 600 ACE or 600 carbureted engine.

Finally, I’m sure you’ve asked, “What about the X-RS?” 100 times by now. Those hoping it would be in the Gen4 REV chassis with the new engine will have to wait at least one more season.

The X-RS comes in the same configuration as 2016, but with electric start now standard and a new carbon black or yellow/silver color. Make no mistake, the X-RS is an absolutely fantastic sled, and in my opinion, still sets the standard in handling big bumps. As disappointing as waiting is for many, including us here at AmSnow, it’s just a numbers game. If all goes well with durability, reliability, etc., we’re sure 2018 will see the next generation of the X-RS. We’ll be watching snocross for clues!
2017 Ski-Doo Renegade X 850
RAS 3 front suspension gives the Renegade X 850 another inch of stroke for more travel up front and is 0.7 lbs. lighter.
2017 Ski-Doo adjustable riser MXZ X Renegade handlebars
An adjustable riser offers four different settings on the MXZ X and Renegade X models to find that perfect bar position.
2017 Ski-Doo flatter running boards
Flatter running boards (33%) create a more natural standing position, making it easier to use your legs through the bumps.
New crossover territory
Like the MXZ, the Renegade crossover sleds also come in the Gen4 REV and 850cc setup both in spring and in season. The Renegade X 850 E-TEC is a 137-inch version of the Gen4 REV for spring buyers. The Renegade Adrenaline 850 is the in-season crossover for the same length.

The X spring upgrades mirror those of the MXZ X with the same shock package, pDrive primary/QRS secondary and adjustable riser, all in the longer skid. The other big difference is the option of the new orange crush color.

The Adrenaline gets HPG shocks in the rear skid compared to the HPG Plus/KYB Pro 36 combo of the X 850. The Adrenaline also does not get the adjustable riser.

Crossover riders won’t be disappointed with the new platform. They’ll appreciate the more centered engine perhaps more than the pure trail rider, as the sled is better balanced laterally. The front end also has a lighter feel, and there’s greater clearance with nearly an inch more travel up front. All pluses for off-trail handling.

If you’re still in love with the REV XS, the Adrenaline still comes in 600 E-TEC, ACE 900 and 1200 4-TEC engines. The Renegade X is also in the XS as a 600 E-TEC and 1200 4-TEC.

Looking longer? The 146-inch Backcountry and Backcountry X come back in the same XM chassis and features as 2016. The X comes with the 800R engine, and the in-season Backcountry offers 600 and 800R E-TEC options.

The Renegade X-RS returns for 2017 with little change from last season, but it does get some eye-popping BNG. The new silver/orange crush combo will look mighty sharp on or off the trail! Again, hopefully this one gets converted to the Gen4 REV next season too.

The Renegade Enduro makes a quiet return to the lineup as well, with with one big update. A heated seat gets added, which we know many a high-mileage rider can appreciate. And all four engine options – 600 and 800 E-TEC, 900 ACE and 1200 4-TEC – get heat!
2017 Ski-Doo Summit X SP Gen4 REV 850 E-TEC
Ski-Doo's new Summit X and Summit SP sleds also got a chassis/engine overhaul with the Gen4 REV and 850 E-TEC. Getting the sled out of the snow with less drag was key. Sound familiar?
Main mountain buggy
If there’s one piece of the snowmobile market pie Ski-Doo is NOT considered #1, it’s in the mountains. Polaris’ stranglehold with the RMK sleds is well documented.

It’s not for lack of effort on Ski-Doo’s part. It was the first OEM to market with a production 174-inch behemoth in 2015 that dwarfed the previous big-dog 164s. The flexing tMotion rear suspension is another Ski-Doo innovation. And maneuverability and power-to-weight ratio is what’s most important in the big hills.

For 2017, Ski-Doo launches the new Gen4 and 850cc Summit to attack those two points, and make mountain riding more natural to a greater number of riders.

A narrower profile with open foot wells should make moving about on the sled much easier. The seat is six inches narrower at the front, and the rider’s foot position is 2.6 inches more forward. Here, the newly centered engine becomes even more noticeable, especially for sidehilling and carving maneuvers.

The responsiveness (30% more responsive, per Ski-Doo) of the new engine is greatly appreciated by mountain riders when snow gets deep. After our early prototype demo rides, we can attest that there’s an instant response from this engine whenever you need it.

The new RAS 3 suspension is also incorporated into the mountains. There’s 0.8 inches more stroke than the RAS 2, and it’s 0.7 lbs. lighter. Overall, the new version of the Summit is lighter too.

The 2017 Summit X 850 with a 154x16x3.0-inch track is 23 lbs. lighter dry than the 2016 Summit X 800 with equal length track (434 vs. 481 lbs.).

A big piece of that weight savings comes from the new track. There’s now a 3.5-inch pitch, so there’s more space between track lugs, which means fewer lugs. The lug profile was also changed to remove some of the material from the back of the lug. Added up, the track changes shaved 10 lbs.

2017 Ski-Doo Summit X 165
2017 Ski-Doo Tundra Extreme white manta green
Other weight savings were realized in the beveled tunnel design, a smaller digital gauge and updated tMotion rear suspension, among other things.

The new engine and chassis is available in the Summit X package and Summit SP. Both will offer 16 x 154/165 x 2.5/3.0-inch track options.

Those monster 174 sleds are still available as both a Summit X and Summit SP, but only as an 800R E-TEC in the REV-XM chassis. We anticipate the changeover to the new Gen4 platform to be a year or two away. The SP will also be available in the XM as a 154 with the 600 E-TEC, or as a 146 with  800R and 600 E-TEC option.

Also back in the XM for 2017 is the Ski-Doo Summit Burton. You’ll remember that as the alternative to chairlifts for backcountry skiers and snowboarders. The Summit Sport also gets another go-round with the 600 carbed engine and 146 tMotion suspension in the REV-XP chassis.

Utility tour
There are 2-stroke and 4-stroke utility or touring options galore. Everyone interested in this category can surely find something to suit their needs.

The Tundra, Skandic and Expedition models are virtually untouched from 2016. Some BNG for the Tundra Extreme introduces a tasty new white/manta green scheme (much better than the pink and green Freeride a few years back), and the lightweight REV-XM seat with storage.

The Grand Touring SE ushers in a 900 ACE engine option, and all GT sleds now come with a 1.25-inch RipSaw track. Both should be welcome changes for tour operators.
Kort Duce photo
I leapt at the opportunity to test the new 850 E-TEC and Gen4 REV at Ski-Doo’s Quebec test facility in late January. I threw a leg over both the new MXZ and Renegade MY17 sleds, and got to compare their performance to the 800R E-TEC and the previous REV chassis.

Strong and smooth are just the beginning when describing this engine. The injectors added to the engine intake will stretch your arms at any throttle position. And the sled almost feels as if it’s coasting when you let off the throttle thanks to the pDrive roller primary and lighter crank. My initial reaction is that Ski-Doo is really onto something. I’ll be anxious to see if promises of MPGs, oil economy and durability hold true long term.

The new rack steering and updated RAS 3 front suspension give these sleds a front end that can consistently keep up with the rear suspension, but is still playful. Mogul-filled trails were suddenly ultra-quiet up front, while cornering stayed razor sharp.

The new chassis was very forgiving. The narrower side panels and seat allow much more movement on the sled, so you can correct those compromising situations much easier without horsing the sled around.

The open foot wells of the MXZ and Renegade have not won me over yet. I found myself missing the enclosure at times, but never found an instance where I was glad it wasn’t there on the trail. We’ll see if that changes over time.

The narrow seat is very comfortable, and whole thing feels less inhibitive as a rider. Some may find this new body styling a little colder than before, but I honestly believe the performance of this new package, especially in the MXZ, will have your temperature rising.

– Ross Halvorson, Associate Editor

RIDING IMPRESSIONS ▶  Summit X 850 154 and 165
Riding the steeps of B.C. impressed on me how well, and quickly, the Summit reacts to movements (almost too quickly) if you make a hard powder turn or carve a sidehill. With the new narrower chassis and the flatter side-panels, the new Summit 850 reacts with little input from the rider. This plays a critical role in the feedback you get from a sled in deep powder or boondocking. 

On sidehills, the new running boards offer more space to evacuate the snow, making it easier to go from one side to the other without worrying about sliding off on snow buildup. I appreciated the narrower seat too when moving from side to side.

It may sound funny, but the quick reaction of the sled almost bothered me at first. It was kind of like trying to find the speed at which you prefer the pointer from your computer mouse to react to your hand movement. But, once I found the sweet spot, it was awesome!

The new accessory foot pegs at the front of the running boards for hooking the front of your boot under were kind of pointless to me, maybe because of my height, but I think they would suit a taller rider more. The jury is still out on the narrower running boards as well. More saddle time will tell, but it is already a small target when jumping from side to side.

The engine performance was awesome though! Granted, I am used to riding at 7,000-10,000 feet and we were testing at 1,500-5,800 feet. At the lower elevation, the engine was extremely responsive. It almost felt like a turbo. I could stand the front end up going down the trail. The clutch engagement was very quick, and the torque was definitely there when you needed it. The new chassis felt great and very well balanced.

The updated track (3.5-inch pitch) seemed to hook up better in the deeper snow too. I’m not sure how much was due to the snow conditions, but it did feel like it wanted to be more on top of the snow.

With the new 850cc engine, new clutch and chassis, I think Ski-Doo is headed in the right direction for sure, and possibly more, although time will be

the judge of that. The 2015 and 2016 Summit sleds were extremely well built, and the fact that they took the 2017s even farther is pretty amazing to me.

Although the new Summit is 25 lbs. lighter than the 2016 XM sled, there does not look to be any compromise in durability of critical external components. Ski-Doo seems to have done a great job finding the right balance with the new Summit. It’s not the lightest, but still solid. I am interested to see how this new generation of chassis and engine hold up to the jury of the riders. Who knows what we will be saying about it a year from now?

– Ryan Thompson, Western Editor

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