The team members at Sledmagazine.com and Motoneiges.ca are fortunate to have unique and exciting opportunities for deeper and earlier access to information, products and snowmobiles. I believe that these opportunities come with a responsibility to give our readers something more than what has become the ordinary. If you take a moment to read any of the profiles for our team members, I’m sure that you will see a reflection of your own experience and passion.
If you are like me, you read many magazines, sites, and forums to get your fill of snowmobile information. As a member of the Motoneiges.ca/Sledmagazine.com team, I also read snowmobile magazines as a way to compare, develop and improve my efforts to bring information to our readers.
I am often disappointed with what I read being “word for word” exactly what a manufacturer representative said at a presentation or a collection of specifications which can easily be found on any manufactures’ web site or brochure. It seems lazy, uninvolved and uninspired. Personally I want more and I hope you do as well. I want to feel what the writer is talking about and get more information than what the brochure gives. I want personal observations, sensations, experiences, emotion, excitement, disappointment when necessary, the good the bad and the ugly when needed, how it looked and how it felt. It is with this goal that I bring you my personal best picks from Ski-doo for 2013.
The mission appears to be clear from Ski-doo in 2013, GET TO THE TOP AND STAY ON TOP
Important Ski-doo sled pick #1
I find it very interesting how the mountain market has evolved over a short period of time. It wasn’t that long ago that a mountain sled was only a trail sled with a longer track. In the last five years mountain sleds became much more specialized with unique rider position, use specific components and targeted weight reductions. For the past few years the basic concepts have remained the same with further weight reductions, a few refinements and a few new tricks added here and there.
For 2013 the most prominent advancement is the introduction of the tMotion (“t”=twist) rear suspension found in the Summit X and Summit SP models. It’s ingenious, simple, dynamic and challenges the traditional idea of only linear up and down movement of the rear suspension. In the tMotion, the rear rail cross member is connected to the rear arm of the skid by central point hiem joint versus a fixed side to side connection. This articulating point allows for a flex or twist of the rear suspension. The concept is that the rear suspension can conform and react better to the forces involved during side hill maneuvers. The movement is not a lot, but it is definitely more than none. To assist the terrain conforming concept Ski-doo uses a split shaft front arm assembly and a PowderMax 2.5 FlexEdge track with 12” reinforcing rods that extend only to the outer edge of the track clips, allowing the outer 2” of track to flex.
I like to touch things, so I spent some time with the tMotion display at Snow Shoot. The display used a 4’ pull bar attached to the rear of the suspension rails to duplicate the twisting effect in action. The intended twisting was easily evident as was a noticeable amount of twisting of the aluminum rails. Ski-doo engineers assured us that this effect was all considered and that metal fatigue in the rails was not anticipated to be an issue. Weather the display amplified the actual “on the snow” effect or the whole concept is a slick gimmick, I could not overlook the significant “out of the box” thinking of the tMotion and found myself wondering if this concept could have any future on trail sleds.
The Summit X and Summit XP models feature the mountain version of the XS trail styling, called XM which looks way cool and screams new and improved. Improvements can also be found in a deeper keel, flatter rear edge DS2 ski to assist in deep snow turns and new spindle geometry that reduces steering effort in the trail.
I didn’t need more reasons to make this my best pick, but easily found more. Incredible power and response of the E-TEC 800R, 87% greater snow evacuation capacity from a new running board design, the XM’s increased side forward foot positioning area, a shorter seat for less restricted rider movement and gauges mounted flatter at 55 degrees vs 27 degrees on XS, all add to the package.
During our time in the mountains with riders of significant mountain ability and all brands of mountain sleds, I had the opportunity to experience and observe the new Summits in action. I tempered my observations with the possibility that some of the Professional Ski-doo riders who joined us could be intentionally making Ski-doo perform better. What I felt and observed was, the new Summits had the distinct characteristic of easier turn initiation and increased response to rider input by all who rode them. Summit X or Summit SP?
The only difference is the color and possibly the handlebars (conflicting info). Personally I like the unique color tone of the SP, a little more orange/yellow and really good looking. As far as 146, 154, or 163, I pick the 154 due to my observations of traction and maneuverability on the mountain and the comments of many mountain riders interviewed.
The Summit SP 154, is a sled that I cannot overlook as being a most impressive pick for 2013.
Important Ski-doo sled pick #2
I often speak about affordability being an important part of snowmobiling’s future. Maybe it is the stage of life that I am at, with 2 Sons attending premium Universities for several years to come. I am no longer anywhere near the top of the heap in terms of disposable income available to support the sport of my soul. Snowmobiling makes my blood pump, fuels my fire and has always made everything in my life better, but reality is reality. I am certain that I am not alone which leads me to pick #2.
It is a beautiful thing when you can have a snowmobile that does everything you could want and not have to go to the top self to get it. That is why I am so impressed by the 2013 800 MXZ TNT. For the 1st time that I can recall, you can have the latest and greatest engine, suspension and style in an “in season” full production model.
The TNT is an full performance package with 160+ hp E-TEC 800R power, rMotion, HPG Plus shocks, XP X seat style, hooked handle bars and the updated flowing edge design XS body style. The TNT is just a heartbeat away from being an “X” model and you can save a few bucks and get one anytime the budget may permit. The XS (trail) and XM (mountain) body styles are way more than a pretty new face. Its headlight design has much improved trail reflection, it offers improved wind protection, its profile allows the rider greater forward positioning during aggressive moments and it has added glove box storage above the instrument panel. The overall look is functional, new and awesome.
I’ve been a 4 stroke rider for over 35,000kms, but I easily admit that the sound and feel of a powerful 2 stroke never leaves you and never fails to impress. There easily could be a modern, efficient, low smoke, low odor 2 stroke in my future.
From the confident trail handling, impressive bump performance and undeniable arm stretching power of the TNT, you would never think that you were saving a few bucks. The 2013 MXZ TNT 800 is an exceptionally full feature, performance snowmobile which will be offered all season long, I like it!
For complete details on all Ski-doo models visit our “Buyers guide “