The technology of snowmobiles has evolved a great deal during the last years. Cleaner engines to comply with the new environmental standards, more comfortable machines with more technically advanced suspensions, machines easier to ride with maximized components, in brief snowmobiling has become a more user-friendly experience with increased pleasure.
2014 Ski-Doo MX Z X-RS 800
Ski-Doo got us used to new release announcements or to technology advancement almost every year. Even if some rumors were already spread since many months, nobody could really tell what the manufacturer from Valcourt was about to announce. Well, 2014 follows this trend since many announcements have been made by Ski-Doo people at the Sneak Peek held in Minneapolis last January.
Where should I start ?
Let’s start with what impressed us the most : the launch of the second ACE (Advance Combustion Efficiency) 4-stroke engine, the Rotax ACE 900.
This is in fact an ACE 600 to which Rotax added a third cylinder; it delivers 90 HP and according to the manufacturer, its consumption could reach 10 l / 100 km (28.2 imperial mpg or 23.3 US mpg). Just like the ACE 600, the new ACE 900 engine complies with the very severe BAT (Best Available Technology) standards.
Rotax ACE 900 engine
So, the Rotax ACE 900 engine should attract snowmobilers who want a clean, fuel-efficient and silent snowmobile that delivers more power than the 60 HP offered by the ACE 600.
The ACE 900 represents a logical development of the ACE engines and even if we were happy with this novelty, we were not completely surprised.
However, Ski-Doo people had an «ace in the hole» and surprised us with the announcement of an innovation in the snowmobile industry : the Intelligent Throttle Control (ITC).
This new system is introduced on all models equipped with the ACE 900 engine and offers three modes of riding (Sport, Standard, Economy) and a programmable training key that allows top speed limitation and acceleration level.
So, it is possible to change the performance and response of the engine by switching from one mode to the other or by changing the key or both. At Sport mode, we obtain instant response when we press or release the accelerator and we get quick accelerations. At Economy mode, accelerations are smoother and responses take more time. This improves the engine yield which provides a better fuel efficiency.
According to trail conditions, to riding partners or to any other factor, the pilot can switch from one mode to the other in a few seconds by operating a button mounted in the cockpit.
Some may ask : «Why a training key ?» Here are two situations when to use it :
«Why a training key ?»
- When a snowmobile owner lends his machine to an inexperienced rider.
- When a rental shop rents out a snowmobile to a person with no riding experience or almost no riding experience of a snowmobile.
Another very interesting advantage of this innovation is the absence of a throttle cable. Effectively, there is no use for it anymore since it is now an electric signal instead of a mechanical action that is generated by the accelerator unit on the handlebar. As there is no more mechanical restriction, the accelerator is very easy to operate and does not bring fatigue to the right thumb.
The ACE 900 engine will equip the following models :
- Expedition Sport ACE 900 (XS Platform)
- Grand Touring LE ACE 900 (XR Platform)
- GSX LE ACE 900 (XS Platform)
- MX Z TNT ACE 900 (XS Platform)
- Renegade Adrenaline ACE 900 (XS Platform)
After these two announcements, Ski-Doo representatives did not give us any spare time as they went on with their presentation.
The silent drive system «SilentDrive»
In 2010, Ski-Doo introduced the SilenTrack technology that reduced the noise by reshaping the inner surface of the track so that the impact effect was reduced between the idler wheels and the transverse reinforcements of the track.
This year, Ski-Doo presents the SilentDrive system which consists of design modifications on three components of the snowmobile : the sprocket wheel, the track and the suspension.
The sprocket wheel, the track and the suspension
According to the manufacturer, vibrations are reduced by 70 % and track noises are reduced by 65 % at cruising speed.
The technology consists in reducing the charge on contact points between the track and the sprocket wheel by doubling them. This reduced charge combined to the reduced tooth spacing reduces both noises and vibrations.
Moreover, the longer rails of the rMotion 137” suspension reduce the noise of the track impact on these rails. This impact comes from the bending of the track between the sprocket wheel and the rails. By reducing the distance between these two components, the bending of the track is reduced as well as the strength of the impact. So, the noise that is produced is also reduced.
2014 Ski-Doo Grand Touring LE 900 ACE
For 2014, the SilentDrive technology will be introduced only on the Grand Touring LE.
Here are some supplementary improvements that Ski-Doo will introduce in 2014.
The hand warmers on the models equipped with a E-TEC engine will go from a 28 watts power to a 32 watts power. Also, it will deliver 50 % of the heat when the engine will be running at idle speed. Up till now, not any heat was produced at idle speed.
The control unit located on the left side of the handlebar has been redesigned to make it more intuitive and practical for XS platform snowmobiles. Among the changes brought to this new control unit, we immediately notice that the hand and thumb warmer controls are set vertically, unlike the previous version.
Standard Control Unit
The reverse switch is integrated into the unit to prevent unintended activation. The control unit comes in two versions : Standard or Superior. The Superior unit is backlighted and presents Mode/Set buttons that allow to change the display and the options of the dials on the instrument panel.
The dials have also been improved in 2014. On the models equipped with a E-TEC engine with the multi-function option, the break-in period rate is displayed. The warning words «On throttle» are displayed when the snowmobile limits the engine rpm to protect it.
Superior Control Unit
For the standard dials of the REV-XS and REV-XM models, the display of the hand and thumb warmers intensity shows 10 levels. Also, a warning light plus a warning sound indicate that the parking brake is on while riding.
Migration of some models on latest platforms
It was eagerly awaited by many snowmobilers. The FreeRide models made for extreme off-trail and mountain pilots are now offered on the REV-XM platform and will be equipped with the tMotion suspension and the FlexEdge technology. However, the FreeRide 137” will be equipped with the rMotion.
2014 Ski-Doo GSX 900 ACE
With almost all the available engine options, the MX Z X-RS, MX Z TNT, Renegade Adrenaline, Renegade Backcountry, GSX LE and Expedition Sport are available on the REV-XS platform. Thus the pilots benefit from its numerous advantages.
Those were the novelties of the 2014 Ski-Doo snowmobile fleet. Of course, I can’t wait to test the new models and the improved ones too. I will have the great opportunity to experience their performances on trails as in these coming days, I will join the SledMagazine.com Team of pilots and columnists who will go to West Yellowstone.
Keep following us regularly on SledMagazine.com and you will soon read our first impressions !