EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite a slow snow season this year, the major sled manufacturers — Arctic Cat, Bombardier, Polaris and Yamaha —each introduced plenty of new machines for 2004. This is the second in a series on these new sleds.
It will come as little surprise to Ski-Doo fans and MX Z REV devotees that the new REV chassis will expand in Bombardier’s line-up.
For those who have not tried the REV platform or have disregarded it, take another look. Ski-Doo is banking its 2004 line-up on the philosophy that those who try the REV will love it.
“2003 was one of the most successful for Ski-Doo in terms of product introduction,” said J.F. Guertin, director of marketing for Ski-Doo. Now, the company has levied its success down its product line.
For the 2004 season, a whopping 13 packages, crossing three classes, will use the REV chassis. All Summits, most MX Zs and a new touring model, the GSX, will come with the new chassis. Only the Legends, the Legend GTs (formerly known as the Grand Touring), the MX Z Fan, Summit Fan and the Skandics come in the “traditional” ZX chassis. As an added bonus, all but two low-end Ski-Doos now come with Rotax Electronic Reverse (RER).
Then, for kicks, Ski-Doo may produce an updated version of its 1970s Elite, complete with side-by-side seating, seatbelts, a lockable storage trunk, a twin track and a 1500cc four-stroke engine. Bombardier hopes the machine will appeal to non-snowmobilers, people in ski resort areas or cabin owners. They will make a build decision based on dealer response.
Quietly missing from the lineup is a Ski-Doo institution: the Mach Z.
Ski-Doo is still working on its semi-direct injection (SDI) as a part of its answer to Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Not only will the 800 H.O. SDI engine come in more models, but a little brother 600 H.O. SDI engine will join the fleet in three models: the MX Z, the GSX and the Legend.
The REV chassis is mostly the same as the 2003 version. A tilted tunnel, called REV-X, creates more clearance room for the track and snow while reducing weight by 6 pounds. Plus, the re-design leaves extra room for storage. On the Summit models, it includes extra space for a specially designed fuel can, a shovel and a probe. On other models, it’s a place for more cargo.
For the regular season MX Z REVs, expect the HPG variable rate shocks on the Adrenaline package. Other than that, the only other real difference is the engine choice. Engine size includes the 800 H.O., the 600 H.O., the 600 H.O. SDI and the 500 SS.
The 500SS, or Super Sport, is actually the Rotax 599cc small-block engine. It’s offered in the Sport packages, and despite the cc advantage, Ski-Doo says the machine will sell for the same price as standard 500-class engines.
Ski-Doo is going with a “less is more” philosophy with its mountain-climbing Summit lineup,
All Summits get a 16-inch wide track called Powder Max, which Ski-Doo claims offers better flotation than the 15-inch predecessor. “The 16- by 144- inch track has the same footprint as the 15 -by -151-inch machine,” Guertin said.
The Summit Sport is made for modification, Guertin said, as it offers the basic mountain model with the powerful 800 H.O. engine. In fact, all Summit models come with a 800 H.O. option; only the Adrenaline and X models have a 600 H.O. option.
Ski-Doo blended two of its most popular concepts: the REV chassis and Legend comfort to make the new GSX.
“The GSX is a cross between the MX Z and the Legend sleds,” Guertin said. “It has all the performance and intensity of the MX Z with all the convenience features and refinement of the Legend.”
The machine is adjusted between a Trail and Adrenaline setup, and comes standard with a bag on the back tunnel rack. Other features include mirrors, a higher windshield, electric start and accessory outlets. It comes in a Sport and Limited version, and features the 600 H.O, the 600 H.O. SDI or the 500 SS on the Sport and 600 H.O. SDI or 800 H.O. on the Limited.
The Legend and Grand Touring lines have combined some forces, at least in name. Both the 2-Up and solo touring machines are now officially called “Legend,” though the 2-Up will have a GT. The V-1000 four-stroke engine now expands to four Legend models: the Sport and SE packages on the solo and 2-Up machines.
Utility lines generally change little from year to year. The Skandic SUV, however, will get some modest upgrades. The machine, which was new for 2003, quickly sold out. For 2004, it will get a new, higher seat and higher handlebars, both of which will allow for easier stand-up riding. The SUV, along with the other 550cc Skandics, will get a more powerful fan-cooled engine than in previous years.
Some of the newest — and neatest — tricks in the 2004 Ski-Doo lineup come during their spring order period.
The manufacturer’s X packages for the MX Z, Renegade and Summit line-ups go exclusively to spring buyers, and the packages are hardcore.
The X models have exclusive styling options, as well as race-inspired standard features. The MX Z X machines will get a short, fixed windshield, straight handlebars with handguards, a racing seat that weighs 4 pounds less than last year’s and race graphics, including a Blair Morgan edition and Formula XP-S II styling. Additional factory-installed spring options are a 1.25-inch lug track and electric start.
The Renegade X package has the combined features of the race-bread features of the MX Z X and the high altitude goodies of the Summits, but with a 136- by 15- by 1.25-inch track and a mountain rack. A 1.75-inch lug track and electric start are spring-only options. The spring-only special options are also available for the standard Renegade.
The spring MX Z and Renegades come with 800 H.O., 600 H.O. or 600 H.O. SDI engine packages. Spring-order-only optional upgrades on other MX Zs include: 1.25-inch lug tack, electric start and DPM on the Adrenaline; electric start on the Trail; and options on other MX Zs.