The day was Monday, March 10th. A brand new 2015 (prototype) Ski-Doo Renegade XRS 800R E-TEC arrived at Timberline Sports in Bergalnd, Michigan with...

The day was Monday, March 10th. A brand new 2015 (prototype) Ski-Doo Renegade XRS 800R E-TEC arrived at Timberline Sports in Bergalnd, Michigan with our name on it. We promptly made our way to the dealer to pick the sled up.

It hasn’t even been a month yet, but we’ve been able to log 1,872 miles on the Renegade XRS so we’re ready to share our initial observations and reactions on this beast.

XRS Side

Being a BRIGHT orange and yellow sled, it is likely it could be seen from the International Space Station. The younger riders tended to gravitate to the color, while older riders were not too sure on the bold and bright coloration. One thing was for sure, this new machine really turned heads and stopped traffic everywhere we went.

The Renegade XRS is a brand new model for Ski-Doo for 2015. The main focus (of course) is on the new geometry of the RAS 2 front suspension. This is what most everyone asked us about when they first saw this sled.

After 1,872 miles we can testify to the fact the new RAS 2 is truly an improvement over the RAS. At first the casual rider might not notice a big difference, but after you ride it for a while you start to notice the benefits from the geometry changes. The RAS 2 front suspension reduces roll in corners as the machine corners even flatter than before. When we performed side-by-side and back-to-back testing with 2014 Ski-Doo models and this was really evident.

The RAS 2 also adds to the rider confidence and cornering precision, especially in bigger bumps, but actually in all conditions. The sled steers easier, especially when initiating a turn while going straight, in that it is easier to get the handlebars to break loose from going forward. But as the bumps get bigger, the difference becomes more evident as the sled more precisely follows your intended line. There is less head-shake as the sled doesn’t need as much handlebar input to do what you want it to.

XRS1

Through a wide range of snow conditions, you are more confident the front end will go exactly where you point it. The largest benefit of course is in the more extreme conditions, but even motoring down a smooth trail it corners flatter, steers easier, and is more confident across the board. It is more controllable, more predictable, flatter cornering, and overall a nice improvement to an already stellar package.

But the RAS 2 isn’t the first thing that we noticed was different. The running quality of the 800R E-TEC was what we instantly noticed had been improved, yet again. It runs smoother and quieter. We suspect there have been some programming changes to the three-stage RAVE power valves as the transition from stage 2 to stage 3 is smoother and more linear, more predictable and more controllable. The engine just seems to run even smoother and quieter, and with the more linear throttle response it is even more refined than before. For those who know how the 800R E-TEC runs, you will be able to tell the difference in only a few short miles.

What makes this sled so special is how this is the first time we could get an XRS chassis and suspension package in the 137” Renegade track length. The XRS version of the Renegade is more than impressive, it is DOMINANT. This is the most dominating sled we have ever ridden. From the suspension package and its adjustability from compliant to capable, to the unmatched capability of the rMotion rear suspension, to the traction and acceleration of the 800R E-TEC and the 1.5” Ripsaw track, this sleds hooks up and launches hard. The suspensions swallow the terrain with ease and give you the confidence that you are riding the best there is, and that this machine has just raised the bar, yet again. Being an XRS one might think the sled is going to be calibrated very firm or stiff, but that is the beauty of the shock package. You can dial it down to work much like a TNT or Adrenaline package, or dial it up to an X-package or further to the full-on XRS calibration. The range of adjustability is amazing!

What didn’t we like? The Ripsaw 1.5” track is wicked on packed conditions, but is not our track of choice for fresh snow. No surprise, just an observation. It is a good match for the XRS-type rider, but for the loose or fresh snow conditions it is not the best track option. The yellow-orange coloration is bright and horny-looking, but it is more difficult to keep clean where your legs and knees contact the side panels (cleaning the panels is actually quite easy with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser). The XRS-style seat is firmer and taller in the crowned, or raised, center section, again a good match for the XRS-style rider. Our test riders actually preferred the (flatter-top) X-package seat from our 2014 Renegade X for less aggressive riding (which makes it easier to sit up straight and not be bobbing back and forth on the crown, but admittedly isn’t as easy to stand up with). And for longer rides, we installed a taller windshield like we do on all of our sleds. Of course.

XRS

It also seems the fuel gauge display has been changed for 2105, as the fuel gauge doesn’t sit on full for such a long time and starts to move quicker. This makes it more accurate, but for a given amount of fuel it will show lower on the gauge than what a rider might be used to on an older REV-XS or REV-XP.

Bottom line, the 2015 Renegade XRS provides significant improvements in handing and overall performance. It will be an excellent upgrade for current X-package riders to step up to if they want a machine with even more adjustability and more capability. The premium shock package and stronger chassis reinforcements match the sled’s suspension capabilities, and now bring Ski-Doo’s best technology to the crossover segment. When the rMotion rear suspension was introduced, it became evident that Ski-Doo’s RAS front suspension could be improved as well to better match the capability of the new rear. With the RAS 2, this is now a reality.

After riding all of the new sleds for 2015, there are many good rides out there, but only one has the complete and total performance package of ride AND handling, and only Ski-Doo has PROVEN direct injection technology in the E-TEC. If you want the very best technology money can buy, here it is – the 2015 Ski-Doo Renegade XRS.

Look for a complete test report in SnowTech Magazine!

To see all the great articles from SnowTech, like the upcoming full review of the 2015 Ski-Doo Renegade XRS 800R E-TEC, you have to be a subscriber to the magazine. Subscribe here – and have SnowTech delivered to your door.

  • Kent K

    April 8, 2014 #1 Author

    Great! Thanks guys!

  • Jon L

    April 8, 2014 #2 Author

    Does the RAS2 also fix the nervous on-center feel? I’ve tried a few and always had this poor and tiring feel.

  • Kent K

    April 15, 2014 #3 Author

    How was the oil consumption after break-in?

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