Even though the hype for info on 2010 snowmobiles is a hot topic these days, lets not forget the new tech released for 2009.
Recently I had an opportunity to test ride some of the 2009 Ski-Doo line up in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. The local BRP Ski-Doo dealer Rapid Power Sports and BRP Canada offered a fantastic opportunity to support local snowmobile clubs by test riding their 2009 models. On behalf of each test rider who turned out, BRP Canada and Rapid Power Sports contributed $10 towards groomed trails here in our province ... an excellent cause!
When I arrived at the Family Fun Park off Lundrigan Drive, Corner Brook, I was greeted by friendly reps with food and beverages as I filled out my participation waiver and waited for the fleet of test sleds to arrive so we could finish up the last run of the day.
I was pretty excited and talked with the BRP Reps about the lineup. It's been a busy season and sales have been healthy, despite the unslaught of an economic recession, which is great news for the snowmobile industry. Lets hope things remain consistent and our beloved sport isn't affected too dramatically. The Reps indicated the "Test Ride" resolved alot of questions people had with current and new sleds. The opportunity to test ride a sled before purchase is highly recommended and I hope to see other dealerships provide the same opportunity to potential buyers, especially when your paying over 10K for a recreational vehicle, making the right decision for your riding style and needs is essential to user satisfaction.
The 2009 lineup was very impressive. After getting feedback from the previous test pilots, I was stoked to try the new 4-tec in a Renegade chasis. However, the consensus of the previous group indicated the new 600-Etec model was "The Sled" of the group. When the time came to choose our rides, I couldn't help myself from jumping on the only 800 Renegade in the fleet. You know the old saying .. "There's no replacement for displacement" ... and the 800 was no slouch.
The 30 minute ride was awesome. We followed the BRP Ski-Doo rep and tackled many types of terrain from groomed trails, open fields, whooped out trails, hills and deep powder, giving us a very accurate real world experience. The riders switched up sleds fequently so everyone could compare the models.
The new Rev XP chasis is very different from the old Rev. Being used to the old chasis my feet were not used to utilizing the extra forward room. The key to this new design is improved seating and standing positions over the handlebars. Although you often hear from riders they prefer to the old chasis, but the XP offers a better ride experience in many ways, its just requires some seat time to notice it.
The stock 1.25" track on the Renegade is not enough for off trail use. If you like free riding in the back country you should opt into the track exchange program and get the 1.75 track if you get the 800 and the 1.5 if you go with the 600. It was obvious these sleds weren't hooking up off trail. The groomed trail traction manners were more impressive with the stock track, but these sleds love it off trail and thats where you'll end up having the most fun.
I felt the handlebar height a tad low for my height at 5 foot 10. I'de recommend gettting a riser that suits your height to provide the optimum standing position. These sleds are more fun riding standing up, especially when your tackling the whoops and jumps.
2009 Renegade 800
This monster is a handful with plenty of power throughout the powerband to keep any power junkie happy. The delivery was crisp and strong and the sled pulled predictably with skis wailing in the air effortlessly when powering off berms. The motor has a tourqey feel to it and it could wear you out quickly if you like mashing the throttle alot. It cornered very well off trail and the extra power made deep powder turns easy and alot of fun. On the trail this sled was very quick. If it got too bumpy, a firm grip with handfull of throttle powered you over everything in your path.
2009 Renegade 1200 4-Tec
I was very worried about this models agility however BRP has done it's homework and practically designed away any weight negative handling characteristics. This sled gets 2 thumbs up in the handling department. The sled corned sharp and soaked the whoops with ease.
The 130HP 4-Tec 4 stroke motor is smooth as silk and very quiet although it's exhaust note is not as commanding as the Yamaha Nytro XTX. One thing very evident was the mild Low end which was border line sluggish but could easily be resolved with some cluthing modifications. The real power comes on quick and hits hard in the mid-range when you open it all the way... in fact it hits really hard in the mid and pulls impressively all the way to the top end... felt comparable to the 800 in the mid for sure. Like all 4 strokes, engine braking is typical and takes some getting used too, but when you master that trait the sled becomes very fun to ride. Everyone on the ride had great things to say about this model and it was definitely the sled at the top of the list for those looking to purchase in the near future.
Can you say "Turbo Charged" , this engine will definitely be giving the Yamaha's a run for their money in the turbo aftermarket, I would love to try one.
2009 Renegade 600 Etec
The 600 is the bread and butter and the most popular sled in the Ski-Doo lineup. The responsive and very crisp throttle response of the new Etec is amazing and the fuel economy is off the charts. I really liked the light throttle electronic throttle sensor provided. You could ride this sled all day an not get a stiff thumb from pumping the flipper. This sled is all about the engine and fuel economy with all other traits typically on par with the other sleds. One of the things to keep in mind with the Etec technology is that it requires a 300 second warmup on cold starts which is not a big deal. In my opinion all sleds should be idled to give adequate warm up avoiding the likelihood of cold seizures. When Ski-Doo finally releases their 800 Etec, which is still in development and I speculate won't be released until 2011, it will be the king of the 2-stroke market combining high output and superb fuel economy. ETec really brings alot to the snowmobile market by maintaining high emission standards.
2009 GTX 600 ETec
The new Cadillac of sleds has arrived. The ergonomics are superb with the improved rider forward increasing seating room. The sled is very easy to ride and handled the bumps as well as the Renegades. With tons of wind protection and instrumentation you're riding in luxury on this model, definitely a dramatic improvement over the old GTX. One of my favorite features is the removeable seat, which provides more than enough storage space in the rear rack for multi day solo trips. The GTX is the most versatile snowmobile in the lineup with full line of passenger and cargo accessories. It's touring abilities have been boosted by the fantastic fuel economy of the 600 Etec which means you and a friend can enjoy more trail and more comfort on this sled.
If I was buying a new Ski-Doo snowmobile in 2009 it would definitely be the Renegade 1200, although the 800 would most likely yeild the most fun, the reliability of the 4stroke and superb riding qualities of the new chasis gives it the edge. Ski-Doo has done an outstanding job with the 2009 lineup, and have really put a foot forward this year by publicly supporting groomed trails.
SledAddicts would like to send out a big thanks to Rapid Power sports and BRP Canada for organizing this event and contributing to our local groomed trails.