For the second year in a row, I had the chance to test a Ski-Doo snowmobile equipped with the Rotax 900 ACE Turbo engine, but this time it was in the Renegade X model and following a first season with an Enduro. So it was with great enthusiasm that I rode the trails all season long with this high-performance crossover model. So here are my comments from my long-term test.
Expanded GEN4 Chassis
Throughout the season, I really enjoyed the expanded GEN4 chassis design of our long-term test model for several reasons. The first is for the advanced ergonomics it provides with its narrower seat, bevelled tunnel and ergostep panels that allow me to move easily on the snowmobile. As a tall snowmobiler, being so comfortable in active riding, is a definite advantage. The 4-position tilting handlebar also makes it possible to adjust it perfectly to your riding preferences. Protection against the wind and the elements is also very good, which is particularly appreciated, especially in cold weather. I also appreciate all the little details that make the Renegade X stand out from other snowmobiles, such as the red accents on the seat, handlebars and ski legs. The integral protective plate installed by our dealer is also a feature that significantly enhances the look of our test vehicle. The front of the snowmobile also gives it a very sporty look, especially with the front grill for the turbo air cooler.
Expanded REV GEN4 chassis design offers advanced ergonomics for a sporty driving experience
900 ACE Turbo Engine
For the second year in a row, I really enjoyed testing a Ski-Doo snowmobile with the Rotax 900 ACE Turbo engine. This engine is particularly smooth, very linear in its power range and has a lot of torque at low RPM. The sound of the engine is also pleasant. Having driven snowmobiles with the 850 E-TEC engine for two seasons, which for me is still the benchmark in terms of performance at Ski-Doo, I am very comfortable in saying that the 900 ACE Turbo will leave no one indifferent. It’s an engine that offers very good performance that will satisfy the most demanding snowmobilers. In addition, it’s an engine with reasonable fuel consumption, which is a definite advantage, especially when going on trips by snowmobile. Another very interesting feature is the presence of three operating modes: ECO, Standard and Sport. The ECO mode is to be used when, for example, you want to drive a route, and the refuelling points are far away. Standard mode is the one I use almost all the time. It’s a mode that is very predictable and linear with excellent acceleration. It does not tend to be jumpy, which increases the safety aspect when riding. However, the magic happens in Sport mode, allowing the snowmobile to release its full 150 hp of power with brisk accelerations offering good adrenaline rushes.
The Rotax 900 ACE Turbo engine is both smooth and powerful.
One of the main reasons snowmobilers choose the Renegade X Package is for the quality of the suspension. At the front, there is a RAS3 suspension with HPG PLUS shocks. The central shock absorber is also a HPG PLUS. At the rear, you have the famous 137-inch rMotion suspension coupled with a KYB PRO 36 shock absorber. The presence of a high-end rear shock allows the snowmobile to be much more agile and comfortable in difficult trails. I like to say that this is when the real fun starts with Renegade X. The KYB PRO 36 shock has a rebound adjustment wheel, allowing you to adjust the suspension’s behaviour optimally. Personally, I find the suspension of the Renegade X model to be very well-balanced and offers a lot of comfort in all conditions with a truly sporty feel.
The KYB PRO 36 shock significantly improves the suspension performance level.
Since this snowmobile is an exclusive spring model, we chose to add a 1.25” ICE RIPPER XT track. As mentioned several times in the past, the presence of lugs that are pre-moulded into the track significantly increases the level of safety when driving this model, especially on icy surfaces, when braking, in bends and during acceleration. Given the marginal conditions often encountered in southern Quebec, the presence of an Ice Ripper XT track on your Ski-Doo snowmobile is truly a must.
The 1.25” ICE Ripper XT is a must for all snowmobilers in southern Quebec.
Our test snowmobile has the new 7.2” digital multi-function gauge. I’ve enjoyed using this gauge throughout the season as all the driving data is easy to read, especially at night. It is also relatively simple to use. For me, this is a very nice novelty for 2020.
New digital gauge enhances the riding experience of your Ski-Doo snowmobile
Pilot R Skis
At the beginning of the season, during the preparation of our test snowmobile, Les Motoneiges Géro offered me to change the original Pilot 5.7 skis for Pilot R performance skis. As a test pilot, I couldn’t refuse this offer. Having now tried these skis for an entire season in the trails, here are my conclusions. The Pilot R skis are specially designed to perform in softer or loose snow conditions with excellent flotation and a very aggressive edge. In fact, they are basically designed for snowcross racing. They are, therefore, good for riding when the bottom of the trail is not too hard. These are dream skis when you leave the hotel on a Friday morning, and there was a snowstorm during the night. Under these conditions, the Pilot Rs perform extremely well. The price to pay with these skis comes when the bottom of the trail is very hard, especially if it was very cold during the night. In these conditions, these skis will require a little more effort to turn than a traditional ski. In these circumstances, it is important to have a good adjustment of the front and rear suspension to limit the pressure on the skis and obtain a certain lightness of the steering. However, Pilot R skis can certainly enhance the driving experience of your Ski-Doo snowmobile, especially if you love sporty riding.
The Pilot R skis are truly designed for performance
Room for Improvement
On our test snowmobile, we had an auxiliary LED headlight installed that we had tested the previous season on one of our test snowmobiles. This headlight significantly improves short-range visibility. In my opinion, an area for improvement is in the coordination of headlights or the type of lighting. Ski-Doo offers optional LED headlights, but the basic headlights are equipped with halogen bulbs. In the future, I would like all the headlights available on Ski-Doo snowmobiles to be LED in order to standardize the type of lighting and its colour.
All in all, I really enjoyed my driving experience with my test snowmobile throughout the winter. I went on a six-day snowmobile trip this season and really enjoyed the performance and comfort of the Renegade X model. Having two LinQ tie-down positions allows you to bring a lot of luggage with you, which is a definite advantage. The integration of all accessories with the snowmobile is also optimal. I like the design of the snow scrapers too, which are very practical at the end of the season or on icy surfaces. The 2020 Ski-Doo Renegade X 900 ACE Turbo is definitely a model that I recommend to all snowmobilers who want to take it to the next level of performance, especially for the chassis, suspension and engine. It’s a model that I really enjoyed throughout my rides this season.
Our test pilot with the Renegade X 900 ACE Turbo
I also invite you to view our video clip from this long-term trial.
In closing, I would like to thank the entire team at Les Motoneiges Géro Inc. dealership in Saint-Jean-de-Matha for their confidence in this long-term trial. I invite you to stop by the store to see the full BRP range of products and all that’s new.