Ski-Doo 2021 – Big Changes and My First Impressions

Over the past few years, Ski-Doo has got us used to many exciting announcements of new engines, new models, and new technologies. Considering its position as a leader in snowmobile sales, we might have thought that the Quebec manufacturer could afford to lift the thumb off the throttle in 2021. Well, quite the opposite is happening since Ski-Doo is launching an all-new engine, a new rear suspension, a new front suspension, and many other technologies in 2021! Let’s take a closer look…

Rotax 600 EFI engine

No more carburetor engines for Ski-Doo! This sentence summarizes the manufacturer’s intentions for 2021. Indeed, the 550F and 600 carburetor engines will do their last lap in 2020 and will be replaced by the 600 EFI engine. This 85 HP engine is much cleaner and meets EPA standards. It’s more ecological, more economical, and performs better than its predecessors.

As this is an entry-level engine, we’re not talking about a direct-injection engine or even semi-direct injection. Ski-Doo has taken a more traditional approach. The same goes for the injection oil, which is mixed directly with the gasoline. The goal is to make a less expensive engine and to be able to offer the 600EFI snowmobiles for the same price as the 600 with a carburetor.

To save on manufacturing costs, Rotax has integrated certain components from its E-TEC engines into its new 600EFI engine. Of course, like the engines it replaces, this new engine is designed to be easy to maintain and repair. It is essential for owners who live in remote or northern regions.

My First Impressions of the Rotax 600 EFI

I have been fortunate to be able to ride a few models equipped with this new engine. As soon as I started the engine, a bit of nostalgia took over… Indeed, the sound of the engine brought back a lot of good memories. When you press the accelerator, you can feel the 85 HP of this engine. The accelerations are excellent and without hesitation.

2023 Ski-Doo - New 10.25" touchscreen display

When I ride snowmobiles equipped with less sophisticated technologies, this allows me to get back to the basic “feelings” that seduced me and made snowmobiling one of my greatest passions.

This engine provides excellent performance and is very pleasant to ride. I’m thrilled to see this engine added to the Ski-Doo line-up, since it has an affordable purchase price, it will be an engine to consider for new buyers or beginners. It is an excellent alternative to a used snowmobile for a first purchase.

Suspension rMotionX and RAS X

For many years, the rMotion suspension has been recognized as one of the most effective and comfortable in the industry. While it satisfies the expectations of the most demanding snowmobilers, the people at Ski-Doo wanted to improve its performance even further.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
New rMotionX rear suspension

Indeed, the rMotion suspension had limitations that came from its origins and the needs at that time. The rMotion had first been designed for another chassis, and its geometry had to be compatible with 120-inch snowmobiles. As such, the rMotion, as we know it today, could not take full advantage of the GEN4 platform.

The engineers had three objectives for this new suspension:

  1. More stable ride in curves
  2. Offer more comfort
  3. More capacity in bumps

For example, the rMotionX is equipped with a longer front suspension arm, which reduces weight transfer to the rear. It maximizes track traction while minimizing front lift. The result is a more stable snowmobile, especially in curves.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
Extended front suspension arm

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
The position of the suspension arm attachment point is 30 mm higher.

The rear suspension arm is also longer, providing more clearance. The rear shock absorber is also longer and, combined with the new geometry, provides much more comfort. By the way, the rear shock absorber is the longest ever used by Ski-Doo on its snowmobiles.

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2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
Longer rear shock absorber

The manufacturer has also added an additional calibration element: the transfer adjustment. By modifying the position of a small cam located at the rear suspension arm attachment point, the transfer can be increased or decreased according to the rider’s preference. However, this adjustment must be made before riding.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
Transfer adjustment cam.

To optimize the performance of the rMotionX, changes to the front suspension have also been made. The RAS X suspension includes new suspension struts (jambes) as well as longer suspension arms. This combination provides a wider base providing improved stability, especially in curves and bumps.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
Front suspension RAS X

Ski PilotX

Ski-Doo has been testing the new suspension for the past few seasons and found that the ski did not perform as well as expected. So, the manufacturer presents the Pilot X ski. The Pilot X is more aggressive in the turns, optimizing the ski’s precision while minimizing weaving.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
Ski Pilot X

My first impressions of the new suspension

When I first started testing the rMotionX suspension, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The rMotion is already very powerful and comfortable and I was expecting minor improvements… Phew! I was glad I didn’t say that out loud!

The trail in front of me was winding and slightly bumpy. As soon as I hit the throttle, I realize that the front of the snowmobile stays firmly in contact with the ground and that the track maintains excellent traction. In the first curve, the snowmobile remains very stable, and I came out of it with a big smile. I then take the second turn with more speed, and my smile stays in place. Being on a private trail, I was able to push the snowmobile to the limit without fear. Bumps, turns, and straights, I came back very impressed.

I then did the same run on a similar 2020 snowmobile with the rMotion suspension. From the very first turn and the first bumps, I reduced the pace. That’s when I saw the difference! I never thought that the performance of the new suspension would make me forget the rMotion. The rMotionX is more comfortable, more stable, and more performing, which will make riding even more fun.

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New Gauges

Ski-Doo finally introduces a new high-definition gauge for 2021. It provides Bluetooth connectivity to use your cell phone or communication system. The new gauge features day and night modes, which maximizes the visibility of the information displayed. The storage compartment under the windshield provides a USB connection for your cell phone. Your phone will also stay warm and protected from the weather.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX
New High Definition gauge

Finally, the manufacturer will soon launch the BRP Go application, which is like Car Play or Android Auto in your car.

2021 Ski-Doo snowmobile - rMotionX - RAS X - PilotX

Our team will be at the SnowShoot in the coming weeks, and we will have the chance to take our testing of the Ski-Doo 2021 snowmobiles a step further. Follow us on SledMagazine.com to read our articles!