On this April 4, 2021, I had the chance to short test the 2022 Lynx Rave RE (Racing Edition) for a little more than 250 km in exceptional late season trail conditions in our area of country. Here is my personal opinion on exactly what the Lynx RAVE RE is and how it compares to the current BRP Ski-Doo lineup.
First of all, the look of the RAVE RE: it is simply beautiful to look at from all angles. The red, black and white colors are well matched. The attention to detail and the overall finish of the snowmobile is impeccable. Everything is well done and fits together from one end of the sled to the other. The RAVE RE is equipped with the same 850 E-TEC engine that produces 165HP as well as the same pDrive and QRS driven clutch that we know from Ski-Doo in North America. In terms of ergonomics, we use a 7.2-inch digital screen that we find on other Ski-Doo models. No one will be confused by the controls on the handlebars of a Lynx because they are identical and positioned in the same place as what we know here.
The RAVE RE is equipped with a 1.5 X 137 inch Ice Ripper XT studded track. When looking at the overall size of the snowmobile and its standard features, it's easiest to compare it to the Renegade X-RS in the Ski-Doo lineup.
While the RAVE RE shares many similar components with other Ski-Doo models, such as the Renegade X-RS, there are so many differences and subtleties that I will not be able to name them all in this article. The front portion of the snowmobile is still similar to the Renegade (suspension arms, gaskets, spindles, etc), but the front LFS+ suspension is still different. The KYB Kashima 46 HLCRs are used here, and are adjustable for both compression (high and low speed) and rebound. The panels of the snowmobile are made differently and also have different attachment points, the panels are removable.
The Lynx's Radien platform is narrower just behind the cockpit than the G4 platform at Ski-Doo. The snowmobile allows for an upright and standing position while being very close to the handlebars. The running boards are flat and I prefer the Lynx's system for holding the feet. The seating position is somewhat different from the Renegade, the seat is narrower in the front which allows for a more aggressive ride without hitting your knees on the front panels. The handlebars are fixed and can only be adjusted up and down to position the throttle and brake levers. You can't pull the handlebars back towards you like with the Renegade X-RS, but I don't think that would be useful on the RAVE RE. The rear lights are distinctive to the Lynx. The snowmobile also has a standard electric and rope start. The real big difference of this snowmobile compared to the Renegade X-RS is the PPS3 rear suspension (third generation at Lynx) which is uncoupled, meaning that the two front and rear suspension arms are not attached together and react independently of each other.
On the trail, the Renegade X-RS is classified as a luxury snowmobile that is comfortable over long distances and allows for fine tuning of the shocks. It is solid on the trails and handles well in the curves. The RAVE RE, on the other hand, is a snowmobile with a completely different mindset. It is a snowmobile designed for ungroomed trails, it is not such a comfortable snowmobile for long distance trail riding. However, the RAVE RE handles better in the bumps due to its suspension engineering and it rides aggressively and often standing up on trails. Unlike the Renegade X-RS, which is planted to the trails, the RAVE RE lifts off its skids as soon as you step on the gas and is not as maneuverable in the turns. During my test ride, I noticed that the uncoupled suspension has the advantage of making the front end of the snowmobile lighter. Unfortunately, it also has the disadvantage of causing oversteering or having the skids lift up occasionally in a curve, despite the 42.2 inches between the skis.
However, there is always a corner of the skid that catches on in the curve and keeps you on track. It is certain that we cannot keep the same cruising speed in the curves compared to its Ski-Doo counterparts. The Blade XC+ skates are wide and perform well in various snow conditions and on surfaced trails. They perform better on ice and on trails than I would have thought, it is to be noted that the sway is practically non-existent. I would have liked to try them off-trail in soft snow and see the flotation, but the day was too short. This snowmobile is excellent at staying in control in the bumps, no matter how fast you go. It always makes you want to give it a little more, whether you are standing or sitting. The choice of the 850 engine for this type of snowmobile is simply ideal. The combination of weight, power, acceleration and recovery is really interesting. What impressed me the most about this snowmobile is when there is a bumpy uphill slope, you push the throttle so that the front end lifts and you feel like only a tiny part of the rear tunnel touches the ground. The absorption of bumps by this suspension is simply amazing, the big shocks do the job.
I rode aggressively enough to say that with almost any other snowmobile I would have ended up crushing the suspension at the bottom, but that was not the case here. It's like I challenged myself to test this suspension, but the snowmobile's suspension won. I would have liked to have had this snowmobile in my hands longer and see how much firmness you can take out of this suspension and play with the adjustments to make the snowmobile lift even more. Most of all, I would have liked to find a safe place to do some jumps.
To sum up, this snowmobile behaves differently and does not compare at all to the Renegade X-RS. When you look at the two snowmobiles, they have a lot of similarities, but they are clearly two completely different snowmobiles. The RAVE RE is an excellent cross-country snowmobile, but in my opinion it should not attract the same type of riders and customers. The RAVE RE is a very interesting snowmobile with its own adrenaline.
A small point of clarification, this snowmobile is classified as a trail snowmobile on the Lynx website while the Renegade is classified as a hybrid on the Ski-Doo website. My personal opinion is that the RAVE RE performs more like a hybrid snowmobile than the Renegade and that the majority of today's snowmobiles with a 137 inch track should be considered as trail snowmobiles.
Considering the price of the Rave RE and the fact that it is a high-end machine, I would have liked to have the digital panoramic speedometer with the BRP GO app. I would also have liked to have LED lights, I think I've been saying that in all my Ski-Doo articles for years. I would have opted for a less firm seat, but that's it. From a personal standpoint, I loved this snowmobile overall, but I consider it is not for everyone.
I have been looking at Lynx in Finland for many years and have been waiting to try them on Canadian snow for a long time. I don't think I'm the only one because this snowmobile attracted a lot of attention and questions during my test ride. In short, we are served for 2022 and BRP has brought a line of snowmobiles that is like nothing else in the current Ski-Doo line. Thanks to snowmobile.ca and BRP for this test ride.