For a 6th consecutive year, I have the immense privilege of being one of the test riders from SledMagazine.com who will have the chance to test drive a new Ski-Doo snowmobile as part of the long-term trial program. For the 2020-2021 season, this new test drive is made possible thanks to the collaboration of our partner Les Motoneiges Géro, BRP’s Saint-Jean-de-Matha dealership in the magnificent Lanaudière region.
The snowmobile chosen this year is probably one of the most technologically advanced that Ski-Doo has produced to date and definitely the model of choice for high-performance enthusiasts. Therefore, it’s with great excitement that the new season is commencing at the helm of a 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC.
Our 2021 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC trial snowmobile
850 E-TEC Engine
Since its introduction, the Rotax 850 E-TEC engine has been the reference at Ski-Doo for snowmobilers looking for high performance in a 2-stroke engine. The Rotax engineers’ task in designing the 850 E-TEC was extremely ambitious: to create the industry’s first 2-stroke engine that is as durable and reliable as a 4-stroke engine. To achieve this, they introduced technologies borrowed from 4-stroke and diesel engines into the engine concept. The 850 E-TEC features a 3-section forged crankshaft, aluminum pistons, steel ring carriers and plasma-coated cylinders. The diesel-inspired lubrication system directly lubricates the crankshaft and piston rod bearings at the right time. This is to offer the best possible protection of the components for increased durability.
In addition to these technologies, the 850 E-TEC has optimized E-TEC injectors with even better performance. The distance between the throttle body and the reed valves, in addition to the addition of extra thrust injectors, allows for a significantly faster response, 30% faster than its predecessor. All this power is transmitted to the track thanks to the new maintenance-free pDrive pulley. The 850 E-TEC engine is very impressive for its clean operation. It gives off truly little smoke. Its oil and fuel consumption is also very reasonable considering all its power.
The result of this advanced design and innovative technologies is an ultra-powerful, lightweight, and robust engine producing approximately 165 HP. The 850 E-TEC is an excellent choice for snowmobilers looking for a combination of power, economy, cleanliness, and the latest 2-stroke engine technology.
Rotax 850 E-TEC engine
REV GEN 4 Chassis
Since its introduction at Ski-Doo for the 2017 series, the REV GEN 4 chassis has been a sensation in the industry thanks to its advanced ergonomics, allowing the rider to move more on the snowmobile while driving sporty. This is possible thanks to Ergo-Step panels’ presence that allow you to move forward and tilt in bends. The fact that the top of the tunnel and the seat are beveled significantly reduces the pressure on the inside of the legs. In addition, the front of the running boards is open, allowing the snowmobiler to turn his feet more naturally in bends. On a technical level, this chassis is 4 inches narrower than the old REV-XS. The center of gravity is positioned so as to have a 50/50 weight distribution, which facilitates handling. All of these technical features allow the snowmobiler to push the limits and have an incredible riding experience. In addition, the design of the front grill with the “X” shows a very sporty side. Several other design elements are also remarkably interesting and add to the refinement of the model.
The REV GEN 4 chassis provides excellent wind protection
New RAS X & rMotion X Suspensions
For 2021, only the X-RS and X models of the Renegade and MXZ ranges have the new RAS X and rMotion X suspensions. After testing the mid-season model last year, I can assure you that I was incredibly happy with my choice for my long-term trial. The all-new RAS X front suspension offers both more travel and wider clearance than the previous RAS 3. The RAS X is coupled with high-performance KYB PRO 36 shock absorbers with reservoir and quick adjustment in the X-RS version. This combination provides greater stability in turns and improved performance in bumps. For its part, the new rMotion X rear suspension offers more comfort and performance on bumps while optimizing weight transfer. The rMotion X is equipped with KYB PRO 40 shock absorbers in the center and rear.
The two new suspensions combined offer even better driving dynamics. The best way to compare and appreciate the new suspensions is to try a similar model from 2020 and earlier production years. Having compared last winter with the mid-season X-RS model, I can assure you that it is really impressive as a difference.
RAS X front suspension
Motion X rear suspension
New Pilot X Skis
With the level of performance-optimized by the addition of the RAS X and rMotion X suspensions, Ski-Doo engineers have designed an all-new ski: the Pilot X. Completely revamped, this ski has been designed to significantly reduce wobble while offering more bite. Offered as an option with the “adjustments” package, the Pilot X ski is offered in an adjustable version like the Pilot TS, but this time under the name Pilot TX. It offers the same advantages as the Pilot X, but with the added flexibility of an adjustable runner.
The 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC comes standard with a 7.2-inch digital display gauge. This LCD dial is fully digital and customizable. It has the advantage of being easy to read and automatically adjusts to changes in ambient light. Whether you’re standing or sitting, it offers excellent visibility of all the snowmobile’s driving and operating parameters. A 7.8-inch color LCD panoramic display gauge was also offered as an option with the spring order.
New digital gauge
Adjustable Elevation Block
The X-RS version of the Renegade line has an adjustable elevation block that allows, without tools, to customize the position of the 4-inch handlebars, either forward or backward, depending on the rider’s preference. This is an excellent addition when you want to ride sporty (forward) or a little more relaxed (backward).
Options and Accessories
The main option that was added as a spring order to our test snowmobile is the 1.5-inch Ice Ripper XT track. With the fluctuating snow, rain and ice conditions found in winter, particularly in southern Quebec, riding a snowmobile with studs is truly a “must.” For me, it’s a question of safety long before the gain in performance, which is also very pleasing. The 1.5-inch studs will also provide better traction in deep snow and a shorter braking distance. I can’t wait to see if the 1.5-inch track will have a significant effect on fuel consumption. The 1.5-inch track will also be an advantage on short off-trail trips with the Renegade X-RS.
1.5-inch Ice Ripper XT Track
This year, thanks to our partners BRP and Les Motoneiges Géro, we have the chance to try out many accessories with the snowmobile. Here is the list:
- LED auxiliary headlight system
- Tunnel snow scraper
- E LinQ System
- Integral protective plate
- Low windshield
- Off-trail pro bag
Each of these accessories will be the subject of comments in our reviews that will be produced throughout the season.
We will also continue to use other LinQ accessories from the Ski-Doo line that we have on hand in order to enjoy the complete experience with our test vehicle. Many of them are also extremely useful to bring with us our photo and video equipment for our coverage during the season.
Things to keep an eye on during my long-term trial
In order to give you the best possible account and our impressions of this model, here are the specific elements that we will be checking throughout the season:
- Performance of the 850 E-TEC engine under various conditions.
- Consumption of fuel and injection oil.
- Performance of the new RAS X and rMotion X suspensions.
- Performance and driving with the new Pilot X skis.
- Use of the various elements and performance characteristics.
- Integration and use of accessories.
- General reliability and maintenance of the snowmobile.
Our test pilot with the 2021 Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC
In closing, I would like to thank Les Motoneiges Géro Inc, BRP dealer in Saint-Jean-de-Matha for the 2021 Ski-Doo Renegade loan X-RS 850 E-TEC on long-term trial. We invite you to contact or visit Les Motoneiges Géro to see all the new Ski-Doo and Can-Am Off-Road products. We invite you to live the ultimate 2021 Ski-Doo Les Motoneiges Géro experience by clicking on the following link: https://youtu.be/mtdveSu1paA
Here is also a video presentation of the test snowmobile:
Follow us throughout the season to learn more about testing this snowmobile.