In December 2011, snow was not abundant on most of the Province of Québec; however, we have been able to ride our first 1 000 km in the heart of Monts-Valin that were covered with between 2 and 3 feet of snow. Obviously, since it was almost the only region where the trails were officially opened, there were so many snowmobilers from all across the province that trails became very bumpy at many occasions. However, these conditions were perfect for us to test our new 2012 MX Z X-RS E-TEC 600 H.O. equipped with the new rMotion suspension.
Right away, we have been impressed by the handling of the X-RS in uneven trail conditions with bumps over 30 cm. Even if most of the snowmobilers really had to ride slowly in late afternoon, our X-RS showed its superior capacity in bumps. It seems effectively that the more we «ride», the more the rMotion suspension works in symbiosis with the snowmobile. Of course, we increased the pre-load of the rear springs according to the pilot’s weight; this has been very easy thanks to the new Easy-Adjust system. We must notice that many units, including ours, experienced the same problem : a loss of pressure in the Easy-Adjust system. As a result, it became impossible to set full load on rear springs. Only the Ski-Doo dealer can fix this. The problem seems to be caused by oil leaking from the pre-load compressor.
The front suspension is highly responsible for the absorption capacity of the snowmobile. Its KYB Pro 40 R Easy-Adjust shocks provide outstanding riding experience on very rough trails. Effectively, even if we tested the sled speeding in huge bumps, we never had the feeling of losing control of the sled, even in sharp bends. At the moment being, we kept the suspension set-up provided by our experts at TY Moteurs, Ski-Doo dealer in the Greater Québec Region, except for the rear springs pre-load that we adjusted to the trail conditions. It seems that they worked with great care when they prepared the snowmobile because they set it up just right for our season beginning. The next kilometres will be used for more precise experiences with these settings.
A few other highlights came out of this first contact with the X-RS. First, the extreme manoeuvrability of the X-RS is astonishing. The new Pilot 5.7R skis are razor-blade sharp and provide exceptional precision on trails. However, the front end of the X-RS is much higher than the X, to absorb bumps (more than 1.5 in.!). This influences directly the gravity center mostly in sharp bends. The Ice Riper XT track (optional) provides more grip at front and at rear, thus reducing skid in turns and creating some «front-rear» resistance. So we must be more alert if we want to avoid ski-lift in turns. As expected, the very narrow seat of the X-RS is very useful in race-style riding and provides good support when bending over boardrunners. However, it is much harder than the X seat and less comfortable during long rides. Finally, along with not corresponding to the vehicle design, the race-style electric controls are not pleasant to use mostly when the vehicle is moving. We have to search for their location and it gets risky with mittens on!
Now, concerning the engine, its run-in period is over and the fuel and oil consumptions will be at their best. We had an interesting experience with the Rotax E-TEC 600 H.O.; under very cold weather, the start-ups were perfect. Many times tested under -30 °C (one morning at -38 °C), the E-TEC has fired up with the turn of the key. The only thing that could seem bizarre to a new snowmobiler, is the incredible noise coming from the TRA III drive clutch under very cold weather, during the time the drive clutch gets heated. Under the same extreme cold conditions, the installation of a mid-size windshield «saved our lives» because at the end of a day, after 400 km at -32 °C, it was tough.
In conclusion, we could say that these first 1 000 km on the MX Z X-RS proved us many of its qualities. However, it seems to confirm the fact that this is a model built for hard core riders who appreciate extreme handiness in equally extreme conditions. We will continue our tests and present our mid-season report soon.