Long Term Test: 2017 Ski-Doo MXZ X 850

Yellow-hooded YEE-HAAAW maker!
2017 Ski-Doo MXZ X 850 snowmobile
We weren’t 100% convinced. Truthfully, we had some reservations when we first tried the new 850 E-TEC REV Gen4 chassis MXZx sleds in pre-production form last year. We were not totally sold on the ride height, foot positioning, skis, or especially the snub-nose front end look. Plus, this was a first-year sled, and that can often be a recipe for a few unforeseen issues that don’t show themselves until the consumers get a hold of them.

After a full season, however, we can say that almost all of our initial reservations were, for the most part, nullified. This was the gold standard in 2017 as far as trail handling goes. It honestly had us screaming for joy in our helmets like a bunch of rednecks in a rocket-powered wheelbarrow on rails.

Why is it better than the 800?

It just is. When it came to our Real World wet weight testing, the 2017 MXZx (601 lbs.) was three pounds lighter than the 2016 MXZ 800 (same track length, same number of studs). Now that could just be the difference between two different brands of studs, backers and carbides. But remember, the 2017 is an 850! Basically, the marketing material was spot-on: the actual “trail weight” of the new MXZ was on par with last year. (NOTE: We are comparing the new MXZx with the old X-RS, but there was not an X-RS to compare in 2017.)

Things get clearer if we look at power-to-weight ratios. Our 2017 MXZ demo sled had 158.3hp, and our 2016 MXZ demo sled had 170 hp, so our 2016 sled had .26 hp/lb. and our 2017 sled had .28 hp/lb. That small difference in power has a noticeable effect on numerous riding aspects, including staving off fatigue, maneuverability, performance, economy and fun factor.

Cornering, braking and just about every other riding aspect was on par or better than the 800. You may have heard rumors about belt issues on the 850s, but we had ZERO issues. Even our mountain test riders experienced no problems on their 850s. The nasty rumors that popped up online regarding bulkhead and belt issues consisted of less than .01% of the total units sold (as of March 1).

This is an important example of why we can’t all believe posts on random online forums without a direct line to real data. Reputable
sources like AmSnow are still a consumer’s best option to get the right answers. (NOTE: Email us a question anytime at editor@amsnow.com.)

One of the only shortcomings with the 850 was fuel and oil economy, according to our testing. At season’s end two years ago, our 2016 800 was getting just under 15mpg. By comparison, our fuel mileage average for the 2017 MXZx 850 was only 11.58mpg.
2017 Ski-Doo MXZ X 850 snowmobile
Easy add-ons we liked

We studded our MXZx with just two Stud Boy Power Point studs and Super-Lite Pro backers per bar, but the stock Ice Ripper track already had impressive grip. We did the same thing with our 2016 Ski-Doo 800. We also added the Ski-Doo Ergo 2 Step Knee Pads, which were super easy to install and made aggressive maneuvering around the cowl much easier and more comfortable. (Part #860201251; $89.99).

We also added the LinQ accessory base kit (Part #860200583; $29.99), as well as two separate storage bags and a fuel can for several variations of options depending on the trip. This LinQ system is the best on the market for diversification of rear accessories.

Additionally, we installed the new handlebar air deflector extenders for warmth and protection on frigid days (Part #860200781, $74.99). Finally, for anyone who studs their tracks on Ski-Doo sleds with the new Pilot TS adjustable skis, we absolutely suggest that you remove the smaller stock 4-inch carbides and replace them with longer 7-inch carbide runners (Part #860201364, $129.99).
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