The “Tour de Force” of Crossover Sleds
When Ski-Doo introduced their new Gen 4 REV platform last season, Ski-Doo riders everywhere immediately knew there was a new standard being set with the next-generation REV platform, powered by an all-new 850 E-TEC 2-stroke powerhouse. But, as with so many new platforms, the number of models being graced with the new technology was limited. For many of us, we looked at the 2017 line-up and immediately noticed the absence of the X-RS models, both in MX Z and Renegade versions. Many of us had graduated from the high-performance X-package sleds up to the top-of-the-line X-RS models over the past few years, so expecting us to step down to an X-package for 2017 to get in on the new technology was a hard pill to swallow. Some of us did exactly that, went from a REV-XS sled to a new Gen 4 REV, but also went from an X-RS package down to an X-package. And some of us smartly waited, knowing that, it would only be one short year before the new X-RS would be introduced. The latter was probably the smarter of the two, as the wait sure seems to have been worth it in this case.
Why all of the fuss? For starters, the 2018 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS is designed for the most hard-core enthusiasts who want the features, technology and look of the MXZx 600RS snocross racing sled, with a more aggressive suspension calibration than the X-package. That is the key difference – the suspension package, and of course, the shock package. Where many of us found the 2017 Renegade X to be noticeably softer and less capable than the Renegade X-RS sleds we were used to, the 2018 Renegade X-RS is what we have been waiting for. The calibration of the rMotion has caught up to the Gen 4 platform, and the results are just as impressive as you would expect, able to hammer down through the moguls and work in harmony with the RAS3 front end, giving us world-class capability and control with the finest in big bump compliance and ride quality.
With its longer track and industry-leading suspension performance from race-sled-spec KYB Pro shocks, the Renegade X-RS sled has earned a passionate following in snowmobiling. It becomes even more capable and precise for 2018 with its move to the REV Gen 4 platform. The platform’s narrow, compact design gives the rider more room to move around the sled – extreme leans to the inside or standing up are totally natural.
Up front is the most precise Ski-Doo front end yet, the RAS 3 design with racing-derived rack steering system. New are KYB Pro 36 shocks, with higher performance and wider adjustability. Most riders will find a new ability to make the front end softer or firmer, instead of just firmer as with the previous version.
If anything, one price we pay for the centered mass and newly acquired agility is a platform that isn’t quite as planted or as stable as the previous X-RS. This seems to be more a function of the platform than calibration, as having the mass more centered aids the agile response but also diminishes the tendency to stay flat and level. The previous X-RS was more settled in the corners, where this new one is more responsive. Not a bad thing, but something a seasoned rider will notice.
And then there’s the engine: the Rotax 850 E-TEC is the most powerful 2-stroke available. But its fun factor is maxed out with its instant response. It lifts the skis at will. A bit more power up top than the 800R, but way more through the midrange. Use this power carefully, as the smaller 9.5 gallon fuel tank will be emptied quickly when you are cranking on the throttle all day long. It takes more fuel to make more power, that’s a fact.
This sophisticated and tough new Renegade X-RS is wrapped in new Hyper Silver metallic coloration with intense Manta Green accents. A Triple Black option is also offered from the factory, as is the Quick Adjust System featuring running-board-mounted preload and compression adjusters and Pilot TS adjustable skis. A RipSaw track with 1.25 in. lugs is standard, but a 1.5 in. RipSaw and 1.6 Ice Cobra (with titanium studded lugs) are also available.
What makes the Renegade X-RS different from the Renegade X?
* KYB PRO 36 FRONT SHOCKS
These shocks are standard on the MXZx 600RS race sled – so you know they’re extremely capable and durable for control in the toughest conditions. Remote reservoir design for performance and they are a rebuildable/revalvable. Easy Adjust compression damping knob makes calibration tweaks quick and easy; rebound adjustments are standard as well.
* X-RS rMotion with KYB PRO 40 REAR SHOCKS
This is what sets the Renegade X-RS apart from all other sleds – rMotion with KYB PRO 40 shocks. Provides more capability, more comfort and more adjustability. Separate spring and shock dynamics combine with the most rising-rate/progressive motion ratio in the industry to give the rMotion suspension a supple ride in small bumps with added capability in large ones. And there’s no need to be a suspension expert to enjoy the capability and awesome ride – with its broad sweet spot, you can set it up once and it will perform impressively in nearly every condition.
* FORWARD STEERING POST
Designed for the toughest terrain racing, the X-RS package includes special features. The steering post is more forward for the most aggressive cornering and stand-up riding position. The X-RS also comes standard with the BRP-exclusive Forward Adjustable Riser, now better in line with the forward steering post.
* RS WIDE AND REINFORCED RUNNING BOARDS
Designed for aggressive stand-up riding, they are flatter for most of their length, wider and strong. Thicker aluminum sheet (3 mm vs. 1.8 mm), plus front and rear reinforcements to withstand tough landings. Go ahead, ride it hard, ride it fast, it’ll reward you for the effort.