Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations

by : Jean-François Leclerc
Read all articles from Jean-François Leclerc
Publish on : 2017-02-15

For a third consecutive year, I had the great privilege to attend the presentation of Ski-Doo new models along with columnists from the most famous snowmobile magazines. Already one year ago, BRP was introducing what would become, once again, a revolution in the snowmobile industry for the coming years, which is the simultaneous introduction of the Gen4 REV chassis and the new Rotax 850 E-TEC engine. Considering the huge success of this new setup, we were all curious to see what Ski-Doo marketing team had prepared for the next year. Would the engineers and designers take a break for 2018? Of course not. Each year, BRP surprises us and proves to everyone that innovation is the core of the company DNA. For 2018, Ski-Doo stands up to the impossible again by introducing the revolutionary SHOT starting system on mountain snowmobiles, reinvents the definition of hybrid snowmobiles with the Renegade Backcountry models and improves the overall offer of models available with the combination of the Gen4 REV chassis and the 850 E-TEC engine.

Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2018

SHOT starting system

The SHOT starting system is definitely the greatest surprise and the most remarkable innovation at Ski-Doo’s for 2018. This system is just brilliant. It uses the power accumulated in a supercondenser located near the crankcase to transform the magneto system into electric engine, in order to make the crankshaft rotate and this way, to make the engine start up. This type of start-up is made possible thanks to the advanced ultra-precise technology of the 850 E-TEC engine. In fact, this system has been thought and designed during the development of the engine. On the first cold start-up when leaving for a ride, the snowmobiler must use the recoil starter to make the SHOT system accumulate the required power once the engine is on. The engine needs to function only 2 minutes at start and only 20 seconds between start-ups to reload the supercondenser. This one is designed to keep the load required for start-up until a delay of 30 minutes. Along with being very effective and innovative, this technology offers the incredible advantage of reducing by about 20 lbs / 9 kg the total weight of the snowmobile, compared with the same models equipped with a traditional electric starter. Only one part is required to equip the snowmobile with the SHOT system, the supercondenser itself. So, no more battery and all the hardware usually needed for a traditional electric starting system. This part weighs only 1.75 lb / 0,8 kg. So, for about 2 lbs / 0,9 kg less, the snowmobiler may choose the optional system similar to the electric starter without adding significant weight. This is a huge advantage for mountain riders looking for the lightest machine possible. This technology has been developped specially to be used with the Rotax 850 E-TEC engine. This technological prowess is made possible thanks to the addition for 2018 of a crankshaft absolute position sensor and an improved ECM. The SHOT starting system is optional on 2018 Freeride and Summit mountain models. During the presentation of the new models, we had the chance to try many times the SHOT system on two 2018 Summit snowmobile prototypes. The most impressive element is the smooth engine start-up provided by the SHOT system. We do not hear anymore the sound of the starter against the ring gear. It seems like it starts up by itself. The rotating magnetic field produced in the magneto by the power delivered by the supercondenser makes this exploit possible. This technology is a first in the industry and unique to BRP. We are convinced that this optional feature will be very popular among mountain snowmobilers for its simplicity of use as well as for its effectiveness and the impressive loss of weight compared with a traditional electric starter.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
SHOT starter button

Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
How the SHOT starting system works

Renegade Backcountry 850

For 2018, Ski-Doo engineers were assigned with the mission of redefining what should be the ideal crossover snowmobile. A snowmobile that would be perfectly balanced for on- and off-trail riding. The result is a brand new range of Renegade Backcountry models on Gen4 REV chassis with the 850 E-TEC engine and the introduction of the brand new cMotion rear suspension of 146 in./371 cm. These modifications provide to the Renegade Backcountry models a precise and dynamic handiness on trail along with an effortless steering off trail, all this in a machine with many top-end characteristics. The cMotion rear suspension of the Renegade Backcountry is a mix of the technical characteristics of the rMotion and the tMotion. The X edition is equipped with a KYB Pro 36 shock at rear and a HPG Plus in the middle. It provides an excellent transfer into deep snow and the rigid front arms provide reliable cornering on trail. The letter “C” in cMotion stands for “crossover”. The front suspension of the Renegade Backcountry is also quite special. It is a RAS 3 equipped with the same ski legs than the mountain models and it has a sway bar similar to trail models. The Pilot DS-2 skis offer two settings for a ski stance of 38 in./96,5 cm perfect for off-trail riding and of 40 in./101,6 cm for better cornering on trail. The Renegade Backcountry is equipped with multi-function analog gauge and with the same controls on the handlebar than the mountain models. The X edition is also equipped with a low windshield and hand guards. The standard track of this snowmobile is the Cobra track of 146 in./370,8 cm with studs of 1.6 in./4,1 cm. On the Spring Only X edition, you can choose the ICE Cobra track of 1.6 in./4,1 cm or the PowderMax track of 2 in./5,1 cm. By using the best technical characteristics of the trail snowmobiles and the mountain snowmobiles, it is obvious that Ski-Doo has once again set the benchmark even higher in the hybrid snowmobile category. Combined with the Gen4 REV chassis and the 850 E-TEC engine, the Backcountry models will definitely be very popular next season.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
Renegade Backcountry X 850 E-TEC 2018

Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
cMotion rear suspension

MXZ and Renegade X-RS 850

Fans of high performance will be happy to know that the MXZ X-RS and Renegade X-RS models will be available for 2018 with the Gen4 REV chassis and the 850 E-TEC engine. Inspired from the MXZx 600RS race model, the X-RS models are designed for the most demanding snowmobilers looking for the best control in turns and in bumps. These snowmobiles are equipped with the RAS 3 front suspension and the rMotion rear suspension, and with KYB Pro 36 R race shocks at front and KYB Pro 40 shock at rear. The addition of the KYB Pro 36 R shocks at front offers better control and more flexibility of adjustments. For optimal steering control in bumps, the XR-S models are equipped with a dual pivot steering. This allows a much more precise and predictable steering on tough trails or in extreme riding. The X-RS chassis are also more robust and designed for extreme riding. They are equipped with new RS running boards that are longer and wider. Made of thicker aluminum ( 3 mm vs 1,8 mm), these running boards are also reinforced at rear for an even more rigid platform.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
RS runnerboards

Spring Only offer, the XR-S models are available with many factory-installed optional features. The optional Adjustment Package includes the addition of Pilot TS skis at front and the Quick Adjust system of the rear suspension. The MXZ standard track is the Ripsaw of 129 in./327,6 cm. In spring, it is also possible to order it directly from the factory with the ICE Ripper XT track of 1.25 in./3,18 cm profile height or with the ICE Cobra track of 1.6 in./4,1 cm. Concerning the Renegade X-RS, its standard track is the Ripsaw of 137 in./348 cm with profile height of 1.25 in./3,18 cm. Two optional tracks are offered, the Ripsaw of 1.5 in./3,8 cm or the ICE Cobra of 1.6 in./4,1 cm. So, it is possible to order directly from the factory your MXZ or Renegade XR-S snowmobile in accordance with your riding preferences. Equipped with the Gen4 REV chassis and the 850 E-TEC engine, the 2018 XR-S models reach the next level and can be right now considered as the most powerful Ski-Doo production snowmobiles ever built.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
MXZ X-RS 850 E-TEC 2018

Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC 2018

MXZ Blizzard 850

For 2018, the MXZ Blizzard 850 makes a smashing entrance in the Ski-Doo lineup. With its race DNA, the MXZ Blizzard 850 is more powerful than ever. With the advanced ergonomics of the Gen4 REV chassis and the Ergo-Step panels, the pilot can bend even more in cornering for a more aggressive riding. The 850 E-TEC engine offers pickups quicker by 30 % than the 800R E-TEC edition. The MXZ Blizzard is the most equipped MXZ edition offered during the season, with characteristics really close to the X models in many points. Its standard equipment includes the latest Ski-Doo technologies like the Pilot TS skis and the ICE Ripper XT track with premolded studs. It also includes the RAS 3 front suspension and the rMotion rear suspension with HPG Plus shocks. The MXZ Blizzard has a multi-function gauge with many other deluxe elements. Its unique color reminds us of the legendary race machines of the 70’s. The MXZ Blizzard is also available on the REV-XS chassis with 1200 4-TEC, 900 ACE or 600 H.O. E-TEC engine. 


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
The brand new 2018 MXZ Blizzard with 850 E-TEC engine


The Freeride models have also been redesigned and hit a new level for 2018 by being equipped with the Gen4 REV chassis and the 850 E-TEC engine. The Freeride models are designed for extreme snowmobilers who use the maximal capacities of the Summit models. To reach such a level of performance, the Freeride models take many characteristics of the X-RS models, such as the RS running boards on editions up to 146 in./370,8 cm. Thanks to the extra-powerful 850 E-TEC engine and the narrow Gen4 REV chassis, the Freeride models are capable of prowess in deep snow, between trees, in the air or on hillside. For 2018, the Freeride models are offered in 5 different editions : in 137, 146, 154 (S-38) / 348, 370,8, 391,1 (S-38), 391,1 and also in 165 in./419,1 cm, which is totally new. The 137, 146 and 154 S-38 versions have a ski stance from 38 to 40 in./96,5 to 101,6 cm for optimal stability, while the 154 and 165 editions have a ski stance from 36 to 38 in./91,4 to 96,5 cm for easier bending in deep snow. The 137 edition is equipped with the rMotion suspension while others are equipped with the tMotion. The front shocks are the KYB Pro 36 R, similar to the X-RS models. All 2018 Freeride models are available with the optional SHOT system to start the engine. This system brings a weight loss of 20 lbs/9 kg compared with models equipped with usual electric starter. This is a true advantage for better flotation on snow while riding in deep snow. Snowmobilers from the Province of Québec and eastern continent will also be happy to know that the Freeride is offered with an optimized calibration for usage at sea level, and this, right from the factory. So, no more need to calibrate the clutches at the dealer’s before delivery. The Freeride models also show the distinctive white color.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
Ski-Doo Freeride 850 E-TEC 2018 avec chenille de 165 pouces / 419,1 cm 


To remain at the top of mountain snowmobiles, Ski-Doo announces for 2018 the introduction of Summit models with new extra-long track of 175 in./444,5 cm in the X and SP editions, along with a model of 146 in./370,8 cm for the Summit SP. All these models are mounted on the Gen4 REV chassis and propelled by the extra-powerful 850 E-TEC engine. The track of the edition of 175 in./444,5 cm has a profile height of 3 in./7,6 cm to reach the most limited areas and the most elevated summits. To suit even more the mountain snowmobilers, Ski-Doo has shortened the riser block of the Summit models by 1 in./2,5 cm, which provides an even more natural riding position for less fatigue. The revolutionary SHOT starting technology is also offered as an option on models equipped with the Rotax 850 E-TEC. Similar to the Freeride models, the different configurations of the Summit snowmobiles are also available in a calibration of clutches to be used at sea level. 


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
Summit X 850 E-TEC 2018 avec chenille de 175 pouces / 444,5 cm

New accessories

For optimal riding experience of the Ski-Doo snowmobiles, BRP introduces many new accessories for 2018. The most noticeable are the coupling block settings on trail snowmobiles and the limiter strap on mountain models. With a knob on the handlebar, snowmobilers will be able, as they wish, to adjust quickly these elements of the suspension to their riding preferences. Also for mountain snowmobilers, a removable rear snow flap to be fixed on top of the tunnel, will be offered as an option. The addition of this part will be quite advantageous in mountain since the deflector will not slow you down anymore in deep snow. When coming back on trail, it will be easy to put the snow flap back on in order to cool off the snowmobile to the maximum. New LinQ bags complete the incredible list of Ski-Doo accessories available for 2018.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
A wide range of accessories are available for your Ski-Doo snowmobile

Improved existing models

The glove box of 2018 models equipped with the Gen4 REV chassis will offer better protection against bad weather and humidity thanks to the addition of an improved seal. The MXZ TNT and the Renegade Adrenaline with 850 engine will also benefit from a better wind protection thanks to the addition of a mid-height windshield. The standard equipment of MXZ models with the 600 engine with cartubetor now includes the electric starter. The Expedition SE and LE models with ACE engine will have a better cooling capacity thanks to the standard addition of a high capacity heat exchanger with vent.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
The MXZ TNT 850 E-TEC is equipped with a mid-size windshield for 2018

Beat the impossible

For 2018, BRP shows once again that innovation, performance and riding experience on the Ski-Doo snowmobiles are at the heart of the company mission. 2017 has been an exceptional year with the combined introduction of the Gen4 REV chassis and the 850 E TEC engine. Comments have been unanimous among columnists of and in all the industry. With this success, it is impressive to see that BRP never stops innovating. The revolutionary SHOT starting system and the redefinition of the crossover snowmobile with the Renegade Backcountry models are other significant proofs of how smart and creative are the designers and engineers at BRP’s. The 2018 lineup is even better and more refined than ever. There is definitely one perfect Ski-Doo snowmobile for each type of snowmobiler. Our team looks forward to test these new models at the 2018 Snow Shoot to be held on early days of March in West Yellowstone, Montana.


Ski-Doo 2018 - Another year of innovations
2018 Ski-Doo snowmobile lineup

For more details on the 2018 Ski-Doo snowmobiles, please watch the videos we have prepared for you about this launch. Click on the following link to access the YouTube playlist of Ski-Doo by : Ski-Doo videos playlist

We also invite you to click on or to visit your BRP dealer to learn more about all the innovations of the 2018 Ski-Doo snowmobile models. Finally, we invite you to visit on a regular basis to read our articles and to watch our videos related to Ski-Doo products.


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