2018 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850

Silver snow slayer
2018 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850
Trail beasts of any size will have a hard time catching this wily crossover. This sled combines Ski-Doo race-sled DNA with the new 850 E-TEC motor and ease-of-use in a longer 137-inch Renegade chassis. Year two of the Gen4 chassis saw a proliferation across most of Ski-Doo’s line, but nowhere else were we as excited to see it than in the premium X-RS package. Last year we had the Renegade X 850 as a long-term demo sled, so how did it stack up against the X-RS?

■ Favorites and Flaws

The Ski-Doo 849cc E-TEC motor was my favorite powerplant in the industry in 2018. It feels light, has easily controllable power, good top-end, flickability, and it is efficient. It is hard to beat this motor. The Renegade X-RS 850 had the best MPG of all of our 2018 trail demo sleds at just over 10mpg, but these motors use plenty of oil. Our X-RS was on par with our 2018 Polaris XCR 800 for oil efficiency, but better in the fuel category, same with the Cat 8000.

Fully wet, and with comparable traction packages from Woody’s, the Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS was nine pounds heavier than the comparable Polaris XCR 800. However, the X-RS has the quick-adjust system, which adds a few pounds. The QA controls rebound via a dial on the running board as well as the shock compression control via a clicker knob on the other side of the running board. Furthermore, this had the TS adjustable skis up front. The adjustable ski system alone almost adds up to that nine-pound weight difference between the XCR and X-RS.
2018 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850
The majority of our test riders would rather save weight on the front end of this Ski-Doo and do without the adjustable ski system. While in some scenarios it is nice to quickly adjust the blade/carbide up and down inside the keel of the ski, we feel that both the standard Pilot skis, and the DS2 skis from Ski-Doo are as predictable and corner as flat in most conditions. Also, the Pilots and DS2s are MUCH lighter. A combination of adjustability in the rear skid and more standard skis up front is our preference for this snowmobile.

You cannot beat the capability of this sled in any sized bumps and the comfortable feel for a wide variety of trail riders, especially performance riders. The 1.5-inch lug is a favorite length as well for a “do-it-all” sled. There is enough lug to go through two to three feet of powder, but not too much lug that you can’t zip down the open lake at nearly triple-digits. Ski-Doo offered three track options for this sled in pre-season ordering, but the 1.5 RipSaw with a standard Woody’s stud package installed is what we prefer hands down.

Our only mechanical issue all season was a belt that blew at 780 miles. So by all accounts, this sled was near bulletproof, especially considering how our group tests the sleds with performance riders.
2018 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850
■ What to Add-on
Ski-Doo also has the most practical, and easiest to install accessories in the industry. We put LinQ systems on every Ski-Doo we ride (and even other OEM sleds with conversion kits). On this sled we used LinQ tunnel bags, the LinQ fuel caddy, and more. Ski-Doo windshields are also easy to install by just popping them out of easy rubber grommets. We usually bring two windshields for our Ski-Doos on every trip, just in case it gets really cold, or really warm. We also put the handguard extensions on all our Ski-Doo trail sleds.

Into the season we added the accessory LED light bar under the headlights as well. Initially the kit pointed a little downward, but there’s a shim you can get for a quick fix. The big upside to these accessory kits is a larger field of vision, and the whiter light helps define undulations in the terrain. The only other sled I like riding at night is the Polaris, with their LEDs. Unfortunately, Ski-Doo does not have LED bulbs for their headlights that match the light bar. The two different light systems look a little awkward. We believe that all sleds should come with LED headlights standard. PIAA does make LED bulbs that will match the accessory light bar.

Finally, we are impressed at how well the Gen4 Renegade sleds perform in deeper snow. This was not always the case with chassis like the XP. Things got better with the XS, but this newest chassis with the 850 motor allows you to take a 137-inch sled like this X-RS and go anywhere, even in two to three feet of POW.
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