This season, thanks to the collaboration of BRP dealer Les Motoneiges Géro in St-Jean-de-Matha, I have the chance to test drive the 2021 Ski-Doo Renegade X 900 ACE Turbo. It’s a high-performance hybrid model that has been specifically designed to provide a superior driving experience, especially in terms of suspension. At the time of writing these lines and despite a late winter, I have covered enough kilometers to share with you my first impressions.
Rotax 900 ACE Turbo Engine
Once again, this year, I am impressed with the performance of the Rotax 900 ACE Turbo engine. It is smooth, efficient, and linear during acceleration. The torque experienced is excellent at all speeds, and the power range is constant. This engine offers 150 HP, a level of power that is highly sought-after by snowmobilers who are both performance and touring enthusiasts. It is also economical in terms of fuel consumption.
A particularly important element to observe is the rapid response of the throttle. In this third year of testing with this engine, I can say that I mostly use the standard mode. The reason is quite simple. It offers performance optimized for trail riding, i.e., sharp accelerations, but with a predictable response level. It’s also true that the magic happens in sport mode with much sharper accelerations. This is ideal for an adrenaline rush. However, on a trail with tight turns, my preference is to use the standard mode. There is a strong compression of the engine during deceleration and when accustomed to it, the brakes are used much less. ECO mode is also available, but I haven’t tried it yet.
One of the main reasons why snowmobilers purchase the Renegade X is because of its suspension performance features. Also, for 2021, BRP installed the new RAS X front and rMotion X rear suspensions and new Pilot X skis.
The RAS X suspension with HPG PLUS shock absorbers, which offers almost 1 inch more travel compared to the RAS 3, also allows you to change the distance between the skis by offering three possibilities: 42.1 – 43.0 – 43.9 inches. Usually, a 42.4-inch spacing is present on the majority of other BRP snowmobiles. I chose to set the skis at 43.9 inches. The snowmobile is much more stable, and the skis don’t try to lift when turning.
We have a rMotion X suspension at the rear coupled with an HPG PLUS shock absorber at the front and a KYB PRO 36 Easy shock adjusted at the rear. It can be adjusted in 22 positions for rebound with a wrench adjuster on the shock absorber. I’m currently riding in position 5, and I like the comfort this fit gives me.
rMotion X suspension
The new rMotion X and RAS X suspensions perform so well that BRP had to build a new ski that completes the combination with the X suspensions. Two carbide runners can be installed on each ski. For my test, we installed one runner per ski, and in my case, it’s more than enough. The skis were overly aggressive and required a lot of effort to turn.
I was able to correct the situation by modifying my rear and front suspension adjustments. The ski bites very well in the snow does not try to lift and requires much less effort to turn.
Personally, I think the option of pilot TX skis should be considered. In theory, this would make it easier to control the skis’ performance on the trail depending on the surface without having to play with the suspensions.
RAS X Suspension and Pilot X ski
I’ve been riding snowmobiles with Air Ride rear shock absorbers for a few years now, it’s amazingly comfortable, so I couldn’t wait to check out the comfort level of this new suspension.
It took me a few kilometers to adjust it to my liking, and this snowmobile impresses me. There is a lot of traffic on the trails this year, and the bumps are therefore widespread; you can see that the snowmobile is designed to perform well on bumpy trails. The new suspension reacts very well to bumps. Everything remains linear: the snowmobile is easier to control and remains comfortable.
The other important element on our test snowmobile is the presence of the ICE RIPPER XT track. Measuring 137 inches in length with 1.25-inch lugs, it is equipped with lugs that are pre-molded into the track. I am no longer worried about the ice patches. Traction and braking are excellent.
The snowmobile is equipped with the new 7.2-inch digital gauge that provides excellent visibility of operating parameters. Its evening display is also excellent for viewing essential information while riding. Among other things, it includes a speedometer, revolutions per minute, engine temperature, distance traveled, a clock, the amount of gasoline and the temperature of the heated handles and thumb.
I occasionally like to ride standing up, and I noticed that I could easily read the gauge’s information. In addition, the adjustable handlebar is also extremely useful when I ride standing up.
The digital gauge
As for the fuel level indicator, it seems quite accurate. I drove, and as I arrived at my destination, the gas light came on, and there was still a checkmark on the dial. I put 30 liters of gas, so there were about 6 liters left in the tank.
I haven’t ridden at night yet, so I can’t comment on the performance of the auxiliary and long-range headlights that are fitted on my snowmobile, but having already tested these headlights separately, I can tell you that they make a big difference. Anyway, I’ll end up driving in the evening and give you a full report.
However, during the day, I turned on the headlights as I was riding in the back of the group, and despite the snow fumes from the other snowmobiles, I was told that I could be seen.
For the mirrors, the visibility is excellent rearward. I don’t have to make an effort to check if someone is following me.
The adjustable windshield is very appreciated. I rode in mild temperatures with too much clothing, and by lowering the windshield, I was much better, and the opposite happened when I rode in freezing temperatures; when I raised it up, I could see a big difference.
Rear visibility with mirrors and adjustable windshield
Overall Driving Experience
For my part, I’m really enjoying my driving experience so far with the Renegade X 900 ACE Turbo since the beginning of the season. It’s a performance snowmobile that surprised me. I can easily rack up the miles, and I’m not tired at the end of my rides. The more I ride, the more mileage I want to do.
I will give you a full report after using it in different conditions.
In closing, I would like to thank Les Motoneiges Géro, a BRP dealer in St-Jean-de-Matha, for this snowmobile’s loan as part of this long-term trial. In fact, I invite you to visit the Géro team in the store to see the latest Ski-Doo and Can-Am off-road products. Follow us throughout the season to learn more and for our final assessment at the end of the season.