The Continued Evolution of the Species – Summit SP? That’s the new name for the in-season Summit deep snow sleds from Ski-Doo. It had...

The Continued Evolution of the Species –

Summit SP? That’s the new name for the in-season Summit deep snow sleds from Ski-Doo. It had been called the “Summit Everest” but late last year Ski-Doo came out with the Summit SP. This late edition model filled the demand (both dealers and consumers) who wanted a sled more like the Spring-only Summit X models. The snowmobile industry is kind of different in how there are certain models that can ONLY be purchased in a pre-season offering. If a rider wanted a Summit X come November, December or January they were out of luck. They could get the Summit Everest or Summit Sport, but not an X. Enter the Summit SP.

Turns out the Summit SP offering made so much sense that Ski-Doo smartly dropped the Everest and replaced it with the Summit SP. Almost an X package, but not quite. You get Brembo racing style brakes with steel-braided brake line, the new Pilot DS skis and the narrow, low windshield, just like an X. And maybe the best part, it comes in traditional Ski-Doo colors so it clearly looks like a Ski-Doo, none of this blue Everest foolishness like last year.

Another reason Ski-Doo changed the name and re-badged the Summit SP was to draw attention to the significant changes made to the Summit line for 2011. The changes made so much of a difference that the new name would help reinforce the all-new character.

These changes to the Summit models were called the “S-36 Handling Package”. This combination of calibration changes was aimed at making the Summit sleds more agile – easier to tip up and hold a line – easier to sidehill – more maneuverable in deep snow. The inherent problem was the very low center of gravity of the XP platform; great for flat cornering on the trails but this low cg works against you when you’re tugging on the center grab bar trying to get the sled to tip up onto its side. Ski-Doo engineers tweaked several areas to make the Summit more maneuverable, going to a narrower ski stance, softer sway bar and longer center shock. The narrow stance made the sled easier to roll up for sidehilling and deep snow carving. The softer sway bar made it easier to initiate these maneuvers. The longer center shock aided in getting the sled to transfer weight better on acceleration to lift the front end. These changes, with the Pilot DS skis, really made the Summit act lighter and more agile, despite the low center of gravity.

Most notable is the addition of the Rotax 800R E-TEC engine package. The 800R E-TEC was rather limited last year, as it was truly stretching the capabilities of a two-stroke engine package operating at such high power levels on such small amounts of gas and oil. Now for 2012 some detail changes have been made to the pistons and cylinders to better handle the heavy load requirements that occur in mountain riding for even better durability. This engine produces over 162 HP and uses far less fuel than other 800s, a very important factor for many mountain riders. Just ask riders who run all brands side by side, day after day, and they will tell you the difference. Don’t believe anyone who tries to tell you one 800 gets better fuel range than the other due to riding style. There’s far more to it. E-TEC direct fuel injection gets better fuel economy than transfer port injection and throttle body injection; that’s a fact.

All of these models get the new-for-2012 REV-XP narrow seat with storage down under the rear of the seat. This new storage compartment is small, but you won’t know it is under there when sitting on the seat. It holds five liters of storage, that’s 1.3 gallons – big enough for a water bottle and a spare pair of gloves, way better than no storage at all.

If you want the absolute best in fuel economy and light weight, the Summit SP is the only Summit model offered with the 600 H.O. E-TEC engine. For lighter riders or not-so-high elevations, this is a capable sled with over 120 HP. It is offered with the 146” track length or the 154” track lengths.

All Summit SP models come with a PowderMax track with more flotation than the competition; these tracks are 16” wide so they have a larger footprint on the snow. They’re non-ported, with no holes in them like before, with a 2.25” lug height on the 600 and a 2.5” lug height (PowderMax II) on the 800s.

The 2012 Summit SP is a highly-refined deep snow machine, offered in two engine sizes and three track lengths. They give you the lightweight performance of a two-stroke with the fuel economy and lack of smoke/smell more like a four-stroke. Nobody else has DI engines like this. These are proven platforms, no first year bugs to work out. You don’t even have to sign up in the Spring to get a great sled, they’re on the dealer’s floors right now. The 146” E-TEC 600 sells for $10,149 with the 154” E-TEC 600 going for $10,499. The 800R E-TEC with the 146” sells for $11,499; the 154” for $11,849 and the 163” for $12,249.

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