Introduced under the Gen 4 platform for the 2019 model, the Expedition Sport has many new secrets to unveil. I am fortunate to have tried the older Generation of this model, so I have several questions to answer when I try out the 2020 model that was kindly provided to us by Roger A. Pelletier’s team from Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac.
The Expedition Sport is a versatile snowmobile with a 154-inch by 16-inch wide Charger track and 1.5 spikes. It has what it takes to adhere to most surfaces. It features the new fourth-generation chassis, the versatile RAS 3 front suspension and the renowned SC-5U rear suspension. Our test model is powered by Rotax’s 900 ACE four-stroke engine, which delivers 95 HP. All guided by Pilot DS2 skis.
At first glance, I’m very curious about the off- and on-track behaviour of this Gen4 snowmobile. We know the fourth-generation chassis has done wonders for off- and on-trail snowmobiles. It will be very interesting to see if for the Expedition Sport it will be more manoeuvrable and will react more quickly to the pilot’s commands. The previous Expedition Sport generation lacked a bit of buoyancy, in my opinion, and was less able to make up for the shortcomings of the terrain, as it did not react quickly enough at the pilot’s command, so I’m very curious to see how the 2020 behaves in Gen4. I think it’ll be more agile and quicker to pull to the side. Also, I think this one will be more manoeuvrable on the trail.
An Improved Engine
The 900 ACE motor has been revamped and now offers 5 HP more than the previous version. The non-turbo version of this engine now offers an interesting 95 HP. What’s more, the ITC system offers three performance profiles: sport, standard, and eco. I’m really curious to see the response on each of the profiles and the resulting performance. Don’t forget that the 900 ACE engine is designed to be very fuel-efficient, so I’ll be monitoring it on my outings once the break-in period is over.
Plenty of Traction and Very Versatile Suspensions
With its 154-inch, 16-inch by 16-inch track with 1 ½ spikes, the Expedition Sport will certainly have a good grip. It should also buoy very well on soft snow due to its large contact surface.
It remains to be seen how it will behave off the trail. Will it have enough buoyancy to navigate difficult terrain and haul loads? What will happen to its manoeuvrability? On the trail, will it grip too much? Will it push through the turns? Is it better to ride with the track locked in full extension or to release the portion behind the hinge? Does the hinge greatly facilitate backing up in deep snow?
As far as the front suspension is concerned, the RAS3 is used in all kinds of ways at Ski-Doo and I’m not afraid to say that it’s a very good front suspension. It provides good control on and off the trail while absorbing shocks. I don’t see why this one wouldn’t work well on the Sport Expedition given its success across the entire Ski-Doo line.
The control station is revamped with a new dashboard. I’m very curious to see this one during the day and night. Of course, my job will be to make sure that the information can be seen sitting as well as standing and also take note of useful information that can be read there. The accelerator can be reversed: it can either be used with the thumb or the fingers. Surprisingly, the model does not include a handgrip in the centre of the handlebar. The snowmobile is equipped with a huge windshield that will certainly be useful on trails. However, I still have some apprehensions off the trail, when the playing field will be more difficult, about the effectiveness of such a windshield. The reverse control is a large plate on the right side that must be tilted upwards to operate it. I wonder if this one will be cumbersome since it lines up with the accelerator; otherwise, from the point of view of ease of use, it seems to me to be very effective. Of course, this snowmobile comes with the two-seat bench and a LinQ backrest. I can’t wait to see how comfortable the rear passenger is. What will I use it for? Will I put it away for my solo outings?
All right, so I’ve got some nice homework for this snowmobile. It is with great enthusiasm that I begin my trials. Thank you to Roger A. Pelletier’s team from Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac for making this long-term trial possible. I’ll get back to you soon with my mid-season report.