2017 Ski-Doo snowmobile - First contact in the trails

by : Denis Lavoie
Read all articles from Denis Lavoie
Publish on : 2016-02-22

Firstly, I must admit it… As a test pilot for SledMagazine.com web magazine, I am very fortunate. I am among the small group of columnists from different magazines who have the chance to ride new machines before anyone else… Of course, we have to keep it secret during the following weeks and many times, we have to be careful not to unveil what we know.

Each year, I have the opportunity to ride and/or put to the test the latest innovations produced by each manufacturer. I am really blessed ! However, some sessions are more memorable than others… tests of products that will revolutionize the industry and the way snowmobilers practice their sport.

In January 2007, I had lived such an unforgettable moment at the media presentation of the REV-XP chassis. Along with this unveiling, we were the first ones to ride it. It has been a highlight in my columnist career.

Some weeks ago, I lived another unforgettable moment. Effectively, at the end of January, we have been invited by Ski-Doo to the unveiling of their 2017 lineup. Along with the technical presentation, I tried out the brand new fourth-generation REV chassis and the second-generation Rotax 850 E-TEC engine.

2017 – A special year for Ski-Doo

Since already two or three years, we knew that Ski-Doo people were developing a successor to the 800 E-TEC engine. Also, the REV-XP platform and all its versions (XR, XS, XM, XU) had been introduced in 2008. If it was unique in 2008 due to its riding experience, it is obvious that since then, other manufacturers did their homework… So, all stars were aligned for Ski-Doo to strike hard in 2017… And this is exactly what happens ! (2017 Ski-Doo – The REVolution continues)


Motoneige Ski-Doo 2017

It sounds pretty good on paper, but how is it on snow ?

At last… On this beautiful Friday morning of January, I am getting ready for a day at the Ski-Doo Test Center. We can feel that all columnists from different magazines are anxious, like Ski-Doo Marketing and Engineering employees who are eagerly waiting for our commentaries and first impressions…

After some explanations about the schedule of the day and the safety instructions, I am finally seated on a beautiful MXZ X 850 E-TEC. While I am waiting for departure, I spend these few intimate moments with this snowmobile to get acquainted with the new riding positions offered by the REV chassis. That’s it ! We turn on the engines and we are leaving !

Motoneige Ski-Doo 2017

My very first impressions…

The Ski-Doo Test Center includes a trail circuit of about 150 kilometers with different types of surface from fresly groomed trail to trail with big bumps… There are straight lines, different types of curves, ascents and descents. So, it represents the reality of Québec federated trail network.

I must say that I have been very impressed by the performance of the new 850 cc engine… Effectively, it is more powerful and offers an almost instant response when you push the throttle and this, no matter its speed. No hesitation… At the end of curves, the engine pick-ups and accelerations bring big smile on our face. We can get from 30 to more than 160 km/h in 3 seconds… I know, I know… Speed limit on trail is 70 km/h… We are presently at a test centre, so why not go for it ?

During the first 5 to 10 minutes, my brain is just bubbling with all these stimulus… It is hard to process all this new information consistently. After this first contact, I pulled myself together and focussed on the performance of the new REV chassis.

Motoneige Ski-Doo 2017

The design of this new platform offers greater freedom of movement. Effectively, the narrower shape of the seat and upper tunnel makes positioning changes much more easier… more natural, would I say. The new shape of the panels also lets the pilot get a more forward position if needed. We can even choose a position that is similar to the race bike pilot positioning. This way, negotiating sharp bends becomes easier.

Even if the front end of the snowmobile is quite narrower than the previous editions, protection against wind seemed to me as efficient. We understand why when we take a close look at the side panels; they deflect wind away from the vehicle, which protects the pilot.

At the presentation, I thought that the open-sided footrests would not fit my type of riding. I even told mysfelf at that time that I would have to install some Ski-Doo accessories to minimize the effect of these open sides. After trying out this new generation of chasis, I must say that I am not sure anymore about my first thoughts…

The more I was riding these new models, the more I had the feeling of being part of the vehicle. Negotiating sinuous tracks is much easier and requires less effort from the pilot. The sideways weight transfer is made very naturally.

All day long, we switched between the REV-XS chassis and the new REV in order to correctly appreciate all the development of the riding experience offered by this last one. Every time, no matter the models, I was much more at ease on the new models. I conclude that a snowmobiler transition to the fourth-generation REV platform is made naturally and mostly, without effort.


After this test session, I made two observations :

  • The performance and behavior of the 850 E-TEC engine totally outshine those of the 800 E-TEC that are already very good.
  • The advancement level offered by the fourth-generation REV platform compared with the REV-XS chassis, can easily be compared with our experience during the transition from the original REV edition to the REV-XP.

And now what ?

On the first days of March, many team members of SledMagazine.com will have the chance to test again the Rotax 850 E-TEC engine and the fourth-generation REV platform at the 2017 Snow Shoot.

We are going to pursue these tests even further and also, to put to the test the Mountain edition of this snowmobile. You will be able to read the comments of our six test pilots about these innovations in spring.

We also encourage you to try out the new 850 models as soon as possible.

For more information on the 2017 Ski-Doo lineup, please visit Ski-Doo web site at www.ski-doo.com or visit a BRP dealer near you. 

Have a great end of season !


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