Last spring, when we confirmed the choice of model for the long-term trial with our partner Les Motoneiges Géro, it was clear that the Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC was at the top of the list for several reasons. First, the 2021 version is equipped with the new RAS X and rMotion X suspensions. Then, as a test pilot, I wanted to go back to an E-TEC model to have the maximum lightness on the trail. Finally, the Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC is the best performing snowmobile in the Ski-Doo line and certainly one of the most technologically advanced snowmobiles available on the market. Given these elements, it is evident that the bar was extremely high in terms of my expectations. After a few hundred kilometers, I can tell you that the 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC is phenomenal. So here are my first impressions.
Our test pilot and the 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC in action
Introduced for the 2017 season, the second generation 850 E-TEC engine is currently in its fifth year of production. According to Ski-Doo’s data, this engine produces 165 HP, placing it at the top of the range. There is now an 850 E-TEC turbo version for mountain snowmobiles, but it is designed in this configuration to compensate for the loss of power at altitude, not to increase power beyond 165 HP.
All the power produced by the 850 E-TEC is awe-inspiring, but its dynamics and response time are even more so, thanks in particular to the additional thrust injectors. This makes the engine provide incredible acceleration. Vibrations felt at idle disappear instantly as soon as you touch the throttle. In addition, the 850 E-TEC has been designed to be very robust. Ski-Doo mentions that the 850 E-TEC is the first two-stroke engine to be as robust and reliable as a four-stroke engine. After several thousand kilometers with this engine over three different seasons, I’m convinced of this aspect and really confident during my rides. After two seasons at the helm of Ski-Doo snowmobiles equipped with the 900 ACE Turbo engine, I can confirm that I am once again impressed with the performance and efficiency of the 850 E-TEC. Fuel and oil consumption is more than reasonable. The E-TEC technology is also fantastic because the snowmobile is virtually smoke-free and starts off without a hitch. The performance gain is also remarkable, both in terms of power output and reduced weight, which significantly impacts the snowmobile’s overall performance.
The 850 E-TEC engine is incredible with a power output of 165 HP
In addition to the 850 E-TEC engine, the 4th generation REV chassis is another reason this snowmobile is great. This chassis offers a driving position and ergonomics that allow the operator to move easily on the snowmobile. This is possible with 3 different elements: The Ergo-Step panels, the seat and the top of the bevelled tunnel. I’m a tall snowmobiler, and I really appreciate the riding position offered by the 4th generation chassis since it allows me to move very easily on the snowmobile and adopt a very sporty and inclined riding position in curves. For a slightly more relaxed ride, the driving position is just as excellent. I find the seat of the Renegade X-RS very comfortable even though it is narrow. As far as wind protection is concerned, even though the chassis is narrower than the wide-design version tested over the last two seasons, I didn’t feel any less protected. Another exciting feature of the X-RS version is the wider running boards. This allows a better grip on the snowmobile for the driver, especially in sporty driving.
The 4th generation REV chassis offers ergonomics for a very sporty drive
The big news for 2021 at Ski-Doo for the trail range is the introduction of the new RAS X and rMotion X suspensions. Having tested the late intro version of the Renegade X-RS last winter, I was already convinced of the increased performance that these new suspensions would offer. As for the RAS X front suspension, it offers more travel as well as a wider stance. It is also possible to adjust the ski position to vary the distance between the skis to make turns even easier. The front suspension features KYB PRO 36 shock absorbers with quick compression adjustment. The rMotion X rear suspension is equipped with KYB PRO 40 shock absorbers in the center and rear with adjustment valves. The combination of these new suspensions and a few geometry changes make the snowmobile much “flatter” in its handling and is easier to ride than previous versions. Even though the new Pilot X skis are more aggressive, I no longer have the effect that the inner ski wants to lift even when driving aggressively.
The 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC has a 4-position tilting handlebar allowing you to adjust the position to suit your riding style. Either forward for a very sporty ride and backward for a more relaxed position. This is a lovely addition to this model that offers an extra possibility of adjustment that will undoubtedly please snowmobilers. This system’s beauty is that the angle of the controls does not change regardless of the position of the handlebars.
Trying this accessory this season is really nice, so I want to talk about it in my first impressions. The E LinQ is actually a system that combines both the DESS key and the power cord for a heated visor in a single cord. It uses the same magnetic connector style as the Oxygen helmet to connect the helmet, which is super-efficient. The E LinQ system offers more safety in addition to being very practical because it encourages snowmobilers to tie the safety cord to the coat eyelet. In addition, a quick-release point on the fastener allows the key to be attached to the fastener so that the entire cord can be efficiently stored when not in use. This is a great new feature, very practical, and an excellent complement for your Oxygen helmet. This accessory is compatible with all Ski-Doo models with a 4th generation REV platform.
Our test snowmobile is equipped with a 137 x 15 x 1.5 ICE Ripper XT track. This is the first season that I have tried a Ski-Doo snowmobile with 1.5-inch lugs, and I have to tell you that I love it. This lug height offers more traction in loose snow and also a shorter braking distance. I also don’t feel any significant loss of performance due to the increased inertia of the track. On the contrary, it is particularly pleasant when there is an accumulation of snow on the trail since the track slips less. Also, lugs that are pre-molded into the track offer more safety on icy surfaces, in turns when braking and accelerating. I would personally find it difficult to ride a snowmobile without lugs in the marginal conditions encountered during the season, especially in southern Quebec.
The 1.5-inch ICE Ripper XT track is a perfect complement to the Renegade X-RS.
Beyond the technical characteristics and components of the snowmobile, there is ultimately the driving experience it provides. When it comes to the Renegade 2021 X-RS 850 E-TEC it is quite incredible. By combining the engine’s very high power, an ultra-fast response time, a chassis that offers a very sporty riding position and a breathtaking suspension capable of easily tackling the bumps of challenging trails, you have an ultra high-performance snowmobile. The new suspension combined with the Pilot X skis provides a light yet precise ride, giving you all the confidence you need for a sporty ride. Plus, our test snowmobile is equipped with an ICE Ripper XT track, offering superior traction and more safety on icy surfaces.
The Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC is designed for sporty driving.
My first impressions of the Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC 2021 so far have been excellent, and I look forward to the next rides before the end of the season. With a snowmobile this high-performance and powerful, it’s clear that the riding experience is quite incredible.
Our test pilot of the 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC.
In closing, I would like to thank our partner Les Motoneiges Géro, A BRP dealer in St-Jean-de-Matha, for their trust and commitment to SledMagazine.com during this long-term trial. We invite you to contact the Géro team for any information on the Ski-Doo and Can-Am off-road line. In addition, I would also like to thank BRP for the loan of several accessories and clothing that are on trial again this season.