The “Little” Mountain Sled With BIG Performance
By Jerry Mathews – SnowTech Mountain Test Rider
When you first jump on the 600R E-TEC Summit, you will most likely try to peek at the decals or open the engine compartment to make sure you are actually on a 600 and not an 850. This engine is extremely strong and responsive. Its smooth power delivery makes this sled easy to ride, even in the most challenging conditions.
The Engine – 600R E-TEC
This new 600R E-TEC engine was specifically designed to fit within the narrow Gen 4 chassis. While they were at it, Ski-Doo engineers added some technology to make more horsepower and they claim that the engine is even more reliable. Like the 850, it gets plasma coated cylinders. The crankshaft was narrowed and equipped with optimally balanced lobes, new PTO bearing placement (5mm outward) and indexed for the pDrive primary. The rotating assembly (magneto, crankshaft and pDrive) is 15% lighter which allows it to be more responsive. At 599.4 cc, the displacement of the engine was increased by 5 cc (72.3 mm bore; 73 mm stroke). The 600R engine has a double reed valve design (a W shaped cage) and a straighter, shorter intake tract. It is equipped with a triple stage e-Rave (electrically operated exhaust valve) that is said to be 3 times faster in exhaust valve response (the 600 HO E-TEC was pneumatically operated). Ski-Doo claims that it has about 30% better response than their previous 600 E-TEC and I’d have to agree with that. Overall, they are claiming an additional 5 horse increase on top (125 horsepower) with a similar gain on the low end prior to exhaust valve opening. It is said to have similar fuel and oil economy to the 600 HO model and Ski-Doo made it capable of being equipped with SHOT.
We have actually been able to ride this sled on two separate occasions in a variety of snow conditions. On both occasions, the 600R engine in the G4 Summit chassis performed very well. It has ample power for navigating most terrain and the response of this engine is incredible (very similar to the response you will see out of the 850).
Now, you may be asking, “Why would I want to ride a 600 when I could have an 850 for not much more?” I think that it a very valid question. The answers are simple. For most people the 600 is an easier sled to ride than the 850 because the power delivery is such that it is not overpowering. A beginning to intermediate rider often finds themselves struggling on the 850 as the 850 takes better throttle control and balance to accomplish certain tasks. Even though the 600 is nearly the same weight as the 850, when you are riding it you would swear that it is a bit lighter and it is more forgiving in most snow conditions.
Where it lacks to the 850 is in the overall horsepower department, it’s a matter of 125 HP vs. 165 HP up top. When the snow gets really deep and you are in steep terrain, the 850 definitely has the advantage. Also, for heavier riders, the higher horsepower and longer tracks available in the 850 are more desirable for the loads associated. As you get to the upper end of the nosebleed section of elevation (I’d say above 9000’), the 850 is the way to go for most people simply from a horsepower standpoint at those extreme elevations.
Sum It Up
We really like the new 600R engine in the G4 chassis. It is a great combination. The G4 chassis is easy to ride (responds well to rider inputs) and soaks up the bumps and holes you find on those ungroomed mountain trails. It is very confidence inspiring and one of our riders even commented that it was the easiest sled he rode all week. Its smooth power delivery made it easier to ride especially in the trees.
Having the ability to equip it with SHOT (Ski-Doo’s weightless starting system) is a huge advantage. I would definitely order it with SHOT. For our snow conditions, I would buy it with a 3” x 154 track as I am always searching for the deepest snow and spending lots of time in the trees and creek beds. This sled is easy to ride in these conditions. Even though on an 850, I prefer a 3” x 165” track, the 600R works extremely well with the 3” x 154” package. I believe the difference is the lower overall horsepower of the 600R is more closely suited to this shorter length track. Even in deep blower powder, the 3” x 154” track seemed to work well. The chassis was predictable even in the steepest of conditions and never tried to stand up on its tail in an uncontrolled fashion when climbing in steep terrain.
The 2019 Summit 600R with its awesome throttle response and smooth power delivery combined with all of the great G4 Summit chassis characteristics will make you smile each and every time you ride it as it did with me. What a sweet little mountain sled.
Want more articles and content like this? Subscribe to SnowTech Magazine and get all 5 issues delivered right to your door! Like our facebook page to keep up with us online.
You might also like:
2019 Arctic Cat M8000 Alpha One – First Ride!
2019 Polaris 850 Indy XC – First Ride!
2019 Arctic Cat – The Year of the Alpha Cat
2019 Yamaha – The Return of the SRX
2019 Polaris: Coupled Axys, Youth Evo, 850 Patriot
2019 Polaris 850 Patriot
New Model Preview on the 2019 Backcountry X-RS 850
More on the Rotax 900 ACE Turbo
2018.5 Ski-Doo MX Z 600R E-TEC – 500 Mile Test Report
2019 Polaris Indy EVO and EVO ES