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Smart-Shox – The Arrival of Semi-Active Suspension in the Snowmobile World

Over the last few years, Ski-Doo has gotten us used to introducing new suspensions that have redefined the snowmobile industry standards. The most recent were, of course, the rMotion/RAS and rMotion X/RAS X combinations. But we also had the tMotion as well as the cMotion, to name a few. There was a lot of talk about new geometries to explain the prowess of these suspensions.

This time, by introducing Smart-Shox technology, Ski-Doo takes us into a whole new dimension! Of course, for 2022, the manufacturer is taking advantage of the impressive rMotion X suspension that it introduced in its 2021 range. In fact, with the Smart-Shox, compression and rebound damper adjustments remain optimal in real time. This is where snowmobilers’ wildest dreams come true: To have suspension adjustments that remain optimal regardless of the type of terrain, trail imperfections, the snowmobile position, and ultimately our riding style. This is the promise Ski-Doo makes to us for snowmobiles equipped with this system.

Smart-Shox - Semi-Active Suspension - Snowmobile - Ski-Doo

How does it work?

First of all, in collaboration with KYB, Ski-Doo has developed a set of shock absorbers equipped with solenoids that allow them to be adjusted in compression and rebound. These changes have to be very fast. We are talking about 20 to 28 milliseconds for compression and 22 to 34 milliseconds for rebound. 

Smart-Shox - Semi-Active Suspension - Snowmobile - Ski-Doo

The next step is to collect data using sensors. Every millisecond, they “read” the position of the shock absorbers, the direction (if they expand or compress), the speed and acceleration of their movement, the engine speed, the variation of the engine, the position of the throttle, the speed of the vehicle, the position of the brake… In addition, the rear shock absorber is equipped with two sensors that determine the position of the front and rear arms of the rMotion X. These determine the position, speed, direction, and angle of the rail.

Smart-Shox - Semi-Active Suspension - Snowmobile - Ski-Doo

Then, 50 times per second, a system calculates the optimal adjustments that each of the shock absorbers should have at that moment to control the chassis dynamics better and deliver the best possible performance.

What difference does it make?

The Smart-Shox suspension’s positive effects are multiple and facilitate the machine’s control and thus minimize the efforts (inputs) of the rider. 

This minimizes the rolling and outward plunge effect by keeping the vehicle in a horizontal position in tight turns. To achieve this, the shock absorber of the outer ski will stiffen while the inner one will soften, thus fighting the effect of plunging outwards. The skis then remain in good contact with the ground, maximizing traction. It is, therefore, easier to keep a good line when negotiating winding courses.

During strong accelerations (e.g. during sudden starts), the snowmobile’s rear tends to drop, and the snowmobile’s front tends to rise. With the Smart-Shox system, the rear shock will firm up to prevent this movement. Although the rMotion X suspension’s geometry greatly corrects this effect, the Smart-Shox should completely eliminate this pitch-up effect.  

Then, during jumps (voluntary or not), the Smart-Shox suspension will detect that the snowmobile has left the ground, calculate the time of flight (it’s funny to write that), the rails’ angle and adjust the shock absorbers to prevent them from hitting bottom. The landing will be smoother, minimizing the bounce effect and allowing the driver to keep control of his mount more easily.

These are just a few examples where the Smart-Shox suspension will improve your snowmobile rides’ control and comfort.

Finally, the driver will be able to choose from three modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport +. Each of these modes will offer different adjustments according to the desired smoothness. With the Smart-Shox, rides should be more comfortable and require less effort. The level of fatigue after a long ride will be all the less.

Smart-Shox - Semi-Active Suspension - Snowmobile - Ski-Doo

Smart-Shox - Semi-Active Suspension - Snowmobile - Ski-Doo

Rest assured that the SledMagazine.com team will give you its impressions over the next few weeks following the first tests carried out by our team.

In closing, I would like to remind you that this system is offered exclusively during Ski-Doo spring fever and that for the 2022 models, the deadline to order a snowmobile for spring purchase is March 31, 2021.

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