When I learned that I was leaving for Colorado, believe me, I felt like I was living a dream. It took me many days to get some sleep. After having followed most of the medias analysis during many years, it was now my turn to make my own analysis. I agreed to go with enthusiasm and excitement.
Among the Snow Shoot team, I represented a younger clientele as well as I was giving attention to the mechanics aspects. So, we tested about fifty different machines in mostly spring conditions. Here are some highlights along with my favourites and the sleds I enjoyed to ride the most or the ones that are just outstanding.
For 2010, the important Arctic Cat team presented their new line, letting go some less popular models as the F5, F1000 LXR and Crossfire R 600, leaving place for a few novelties. The appreciated Z1 Turbo is now available on long EXT version and it charmed my colleagues and me. There is a new model for the hill climbers who fear nothing and for the mountain lovers; we are talking about the HCR 800, a tougher version of the M Series. An all-new HO 800 engine fully redesigned is available with the Twin Spar chassis and the M platform. It is 10 % more powerful than its predecessor. In brief, they worked hard at Arctic Cat.
In 2010, for the first time, the Sno Pro chassis is now part of the mass production. Indeed, a race replica of the 600 Sno Pro that was only for the racing riders, will be available to all snowmobilers. This bolide coming right out from the racing fleet, made me smile in my helmet; thus, it is my favourite at Arctic Cat. Propelled by a 500 engine that gives you quick starts, it is a real bump machine ready for action! This model offers to the pilot a forward position that gives him a riding control in bumpy trails. The snocross amateurs will be delighted. The front suspension configuration really impressed me when we tested it. This chassis has huge potential and I think the Arctic Cat engineers should make the most of it. They say they do not make any other models on this chassis because of the production costs. Since then, the Sno Pro will keep on making heads spin with its imposing aggressive look.
This year, Polaris shows us their line along with mentioning they will come back strongly on the 600 market and will be again the reference in quality product. To do so, Polaris uses one of the most important advertising campaign on the WEB in order to promote their new model: the Rush. This sled shows us a brand new rear suspension geometry that looks a lot like a motorcycle. Its design reminds me of the Indy classic cabin mounted of a centered chassis. What so ever, its design leaves no one indifferent.
The IQ series is back with some aesthetic improvements. The LX IQ is back for the solo Touring amateurs. The spring buyers could choose between four colours.
The Widetrak is now available with the 2-stroke 600 CFI engine. The Polaris model I enjoyed the most to ride is the 800 RMK 155; the high handlebar and the footrest position give us control on very abrupt climbing. The 800 engine instantly reacts despite the 10 000 feet elevation, along with being powerful. With a 2.4 inch track, this snowmobile gives you some astonishing climbing. When you see the performances for real, it is not hard to understand that the mountain sleds are an important part of the American market at Polaris.
At first sight, the BRP 2010 line looks a lot like the last year series. After the XP, XR and XU chassis, the new direct injection and their new 4-stroke engine, I expected less novelties for 2010. Well, I was astonished to see that new models were awaiting us along with lots of refinements on the existing ones. The utility models have been revisited by the Ski-Doo engineers.
Indeed, we met the new Tundra that has been completely redesigned. It is made from the XU platform. On its part, the Expedition is now available in SE version. The Quebecker manufacturer had many other surprises, such as the return of the X-RS package, the presentation of a long track GSX, the use of the Cobra track on the Renegade, the introduction of new windshields, and more… In short, it is a lot more novelties than I could imagine!!!
My favourite choice has not been easy to make, but finally I chose the MX Z 1200 in TNT version for its powerful and silent engine and its suspension package that is, I think, an excellent option for the active rider on trail, as well as being less expensive than the X version. The other reasons that made me choose this model are the riding position of the XR platform, its great manoeuvrability and its eye-catching design very successful in white. Personnaly, I think this package will please many more sportive pilots.
Yamaha shows us this year many important improvements and novelties. We must say that the Japanese company is booming and had its best year since 15 years. Moreover, Yamaha made an excellent comeback in the Snocross world for the last 2 or 3 years. The arrival of the FX Nytro RTX SE in the fleet is the appropriate answer to the expectations of this demanding clientele.
The popular Vector is back with the new 3-cylinder fuel injection engine that we enjoyed to ride and that will sure be a success on the Quebecker market. The engine answers instantly when solicited while giving an awesome power. The suspension has also been modified in order to improve the general comfort of the machine.
My Yamaha favourite sled is without a doubt the Apex, a model that at first sight has not been modified a lot, except for the new hand warmers. Do not get it wrong, the Yamaha engineers reviewed their calibration on the suspension, which makes a huge difference for the comfort and the riding performances. The powerful Genesis 150 engine is quieter on the riding. I was very puzzled about the use of the Mono Shock suspension. Its softness highly impressed me despite the bumpy trail. But the riding position of the Delta Box 2 chassis seemed obsolete. Since its arrival, the Apex is a must-have in the grown up category and will sure preserve its reputation in 2010.