Where The REV Rules
Back in 2003, the industry brought us three radical new platforms; the Ski-Doo REV, the Firecat, and the RX-1. One remains, the other two are history. Why? Because the REV propelled Ski-Doo to the best selling sled in the world, and Ski-Doo has right about 40% of the snowmobile market. The REV remains supreme, along with their cousins the RT (Mach) platform and the smaller, lighter RF (Freestyle) platform.
Since Ski-Doo has the EPA thing under control, their engineers havenâ€™t needed to spend obscene amounts of time and money making their model line-up EPA compliant. Theyâ€™re already there; at least for now. So their engineers can spend their time and efforts making their sleds even better. Refinement of the REV, RT and RF platforms continue with several new models, a couple of new 800cc engines (a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke) and a host of technological refinements. When youâ€™re on top, life is good.
The big news for SnowTech readers is the intro of the two new engines; a 150+ HP 800 PowerTEK (Summit-only) and a new V-800 twin 65 HP 4-stroke that gets 25-30 MPG. The new 800 PowerTEK is the most powerful 800 or 900 from anyone, and combined with an even lighter Summit platform it is likely THE mountain sled of the season.
But a V-800 4-stroke? Ski-Doo researched all of these 4-stroke buyers and found many werenâ€™t after a 600+ pound machine, nor did they like the hefty price tags. Not all of them needed over 100 HP either. What they found was buyers like the fuel economy, reliability, lack of smoke and smell and quiet operation. Fuel economy was #1 on the list, so they have adapted their 800 V-twin from their Outlander ATV and housed it in their RF platform (Freestyle chassis) and came up with an exceptionally small and lightweight 4-stroke sleds that sip fuel and ride and handle quite well; the 2007 Legend models.
The Mach Z models and the 1000 Renegade havenâ€™t set any showrooms on fire, so there isnâ€™t much change up top. The Mach Z X-package gets painted a-arms and HPG Clicker Take-Apart shocks, long overdue as most Ski-Doo shocks can not be rebuilt. A RT-platform MX Z Renegade 1000 will also be offered all year long. We found the 1000s to be too much for all but the most savvy riders (or big dudes like â€œBubbaâ€); too much power, weight, and price tag. Out on the trail we found more â€œposersâ€ with 1000s than those who really needed this kind of hardware.
X-package MX Z models also get Take-Apart shocks, finally. KYBs are good, but when theyâ€™re spent you had to replace them, no rebuilds until now. Thank you. Rip Saw tracks are also standard, but we are really bummed with the no-storage lightweight 440 racing seat and no rear rack on the X-packages; a step backwards for trail riders, but more appealing with a cleaner look? Like low windshields, this helps sell sleds to those who donâ€™t know any better.
But Ski-Doo heard some cries from real hardcores who wanted a more capable sled than even the X-packages. Remember back (what, 2001?) when the X-Packages were REALLY firm? For 2007 there is a calibration for these riders, the MX Z X-RS. This is as close to a snowcross set-up as you can get, built for the hardest riding hard core snowmobilers who find an X-Package to be â€œtoo softâ€. They do exist.
This mentality continues into the West with a Summit X-RS as well, where the concept has more appeal as freestyle riding styles require a much firmer calibration than what trail riders will tolerate. It is pretty much a collection of the hottest race technology they can offer, proven on their race sleds.
One new twist for 2007 is a new MX Z, the Blizzard, providing dealers with an in-season sled than is not quite an X-package (spring only) but with more features and capability than the Adrenaline models. The Blizzard is the highest-tech in-season MX Z, and our big riders really liked the overall balance and refinement of the newest trail REV. The years of evolution and refinement really show, especially with the handling changes brought about with their 2006 models. Again in 2007, instead of having to meet EPA regs or figure out another new platform, they can take the moment and make what they do have work as good as possible (and pay for the tooling and investment to get there in the first place).
MX Z Adrenaline, Trail and Fan models return relatively unchanged. The MX Z Trail (500 SS) is the least expensive liquid-cooled REV, making it one of the best values in snowmobiling and the most under rated sled in the industry. The Adrenaline 500SS and 380 Fan are gone. GSX and GTX models are also similar to last year, with some shock upgrades and color changes.
Last year when the 300cc Freestyle came out, one look under hood indicated there was plenty of real estate to house a bigger engine. So of course, the 2007 Freestyle now has a 550 fan cooled mill in addition to two new Freestyle models, and theyâ€™re all sweet executions with plenty of zip and a wider 39â€ ski stance, making them true trail sleds and capable off-trail sleds for a much lower price tag.
Completely new are the above-mentioned Legend models. This is the funny-looking RF platform with a V-800 twin, and the result is rather surprising. The Legend is meant to be the ultimate non-intimidating, easy-to-use snowmobile for cruising trails. It harkens back to snowmobilingâ€™s early days where you just cruised around for fun, but the Legend does it with the latest technology. It is easy handling, with a perfect engine for exceptional fuel economy and relaxed trail cruising. Power delivery is linear, and the 65 HP mill will pull over 70 MPH, plenty of zip to please trail riders without scaring the hell out of them.
Innovation and advancement are found all across the line-up, like the 10-15 pound weight reductions (again) on the Summit models. Mountain riders are notorious for removing most anything they deem unneeded to save weight, so Ski-Doo again spent considerable time and effort at making their Summit models lighter yet. More adjustability is found through clicker shocks on many more models all across the line.
Each spring when we cover all of the new models and features, it is easy to forget the returning features that make a model line what it is. Things that propelled Ski-Doo to the number #1 position in the industry. Things like Rotax Electronic Reverse (RER), that helped all of us realize that no sled should come from the factory without reverse. Or, the TRA primary clutch. Have you ever noticed there are few aftermarket clutches to replace the TRA? The durability and adjustability continue to be the envy of the industry.
Trail riders know how important storage is, and the standard REV models smoke the competition in this regard. A 121â€ REV has the huge storage area under the rear trunk, and it still has the rack to carry 2.5 gallons of gas, or a gear bag for more spare gloves, goggles, munchies and beverages! Other sleds may have embraced rider-forward ergonomics, but most of them waste the extra space; the REV rules when it comes to carrying cargo and spare gas for trail riders, and for many this feature alone closes the deal.
To this day, nobody else has a security system like the DESS. There are no keys on Ski-Doos, just a digital tether that must be installed to get the sled to move. They can steal your sled, but theyâ€™ll have to have dealer access to make it work, so it is far less attractive to thieves.
4-strokes boast about their reliability, but when it comes to two-strokes Ski-Doo and their partner Rotax set the highmark when it comes to durability, quality and reliability. Turn-key performance is a reality with these engines, and SDI models use an increasingly smaller amount of oil with each year, and deliver fuel economy that is right on par with 4-strokes of similar output.
Ski-Doo worked hard to fill out their entire line-up, and they appear to have just about every base covered. Their sleds all possess a common thread of ride and handling and rider-forward seating that makes it easy to ride any of them. They have, in five short years, became the measuring stick of the industry, and rightly so.