The Ski-Doo Expedition series has been an undeniable sales success in our market for several years. Particularly, in the northern regions of Quebec as well as in Canada. A democratization of this type of vehicle has occurred in the last few years, especially with the arrival of the G4 platform in this segment. Historically positioned as utility vehicles, the current versions with 16, 20 and even 24-inch tracks are now “Touring-Utilities”. They come with all the equipment offered in the trail snowmobiles. This new segment combines the capabilities of trail riding, working in the woods, or simply going off-road.
A range with uneven comfort
These days, with the quality of shocks offered in most market segments, we inevitably become more demanding when it comes to comfort. This is equally true for the Ski-Doo Expedition series. But for the majority of its REV, XU and Gen4 Expedition chassis, BRP has chosen entry-level shocks. Most likely for reasons of the retail price, you end up with a much lower-performing suspension. Naturally, the SE versions are the exception to the rule, as they are equipped with a rear air suspension. The same goes for the Extreme, which benefits from top-of-the-line KYB GAS shocks. However, this creates a significant gap with all other Expeditions in terms of comfort and vehicle handling. In the Sport and LE versions, the vehicle quickly reaches its limits on bumpy trails.
Snowmobile shock absorbers
The shocks on a snowmobile play a key role in the comfort and control of the vehicle. The latter does not have the advantage of having tires to absorb some of the energy in the bumps. After testing a 2021 Expedition SWT G4 over two seasons, I quickly realized that I was very limited in the bumpy trails. Regularly entering a series of lined bumps, the rest of the terrain quickly became difficult to manage. After the second bump, I was often forced to slow down significantly in order to maintain control of the vehicle. Being aware that I had many advantages in hand, I could not accept this behavior, which was disappointing. With this in mind, I began researching the market to find a solution to this problem. Seeing so many Expeditions on the trails, I was convinced that my quest could also help many owners.
Many options at a high price
Naturally, my first instinct was to look at the manufacturer. What could BRP offer me to significantly improve the vehicle’s behavior on bumpy trails? A first option was to buy the Expedition Extreme shocks, which would give a much better behavior. But this option was not cheap, as the purchase price is close to $4,000 if we include sales taxes. As for the aftermarket companies, it was more complex to find a solution that had dimensions compatible with the Expedition’s suspension geometry. I had two options. Modify the already expensive shocks or go with a custom build. In both cases, I was looking at budgets between $3 and $5000 with taxes. But I was aware that a large majority of Expedition owners would not go for this kind of expensive or complex solution (me first). So I continued my search until I discovered Rock Suspension.
The revelation at the right price
Based in Newfoundland, this company was founded by a snowmobile enthusiast Mr. Mark Murray and is a subsidiary of an industrial machining company. The Expedition series is king and master in this country where wide-open spaces require this type of vehicle. Rock Suspension has designed high-pressure gas shocks that replace the original ones on your Expedition G4 or XU snowmobile. Using your original springs, you don’t have to change anything other than the 4 shocks of your vehicle. These are calibrated for your Expedition snowmobile. The only adjustment you need to make is the preload of the springs, both front and rear, depending on your riding style and desired comfort. Moreover, they are of a simple design, very good quality and built to be remanufactured at a reasonable cost at the first end of their life. But my surprise was the most complete when the supplier gave me the price.
For the 4 shocks, I was asked to pay $1200 including taxes, delivery and at home in Quebec.
At this price, I didn’t hesitate for a second to try them, especially since I had read several positive comments on social networks. I received the shocks only a few days after ordering. I immediately installed them to replace the original ones. My first rides were done at the beginning of the season in my playground, the Monts Valin. Needless to say, that the trail conditions were very ordinary with the influx of snowmobilers. However, it was the ideal condition to appreciate the work of my new shocks. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of snowmobiles behave well on nice freshly groomed trails. But it’s on rougher trails that we can really measure the snowmobile’s efficiency. Not to be overlooked, the length of these vehicles combined with their weight also brings some challenges in certain conditions.
Performance without compromise
To my great surprise, the Rock shocks quickly proved to meet my expectations in terms of comfort and reaction on bumpy trails. It totally changed the way my snowmobile was handled in different trail conditions. For less than a third of the price of other solutions on the market, I have much better behaviour than I had originally.
In fact, I have drastically changed the behaviour of my Expedition SWT 2021 in the bumps. I went from an unpredictable vehicle without much comfort to a more resilient snowmobile in the bumps keeping the course in turns. And all this for a little over $1200! I can now have the comfort required for two passengers while enjoying a sportier ride. This makes for much more enjoyable trail riding than before. There is no doubt in my mind that these shocks will also improve the Expedition Sport or XU chassis. By replacing the original oil shocks, you may very well transform your Expedition by giving it a second life.
To learn more or to order your shocks online, contact the Rock Suspension team at www.facebook.com/RockSuspensionNL/.