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March 12, 2007 – A slimmed down market leader

March 12, 2007
Filed under Features

It’s fairly regular that each year certain models go on a diet. Some lose 10 pounds, some lose 15. This year, Ski-Doo’s sleds went through what basically would be described as gastric bypass surgery. The result is weight reduction of up to 61 pounds, thanks mostly to the new REV-XP platform.
It’s not from eating right and exercise, either. It’s engineering magic that’s produced this serious change.
For 2008, 11 Ski-Doo models of a 43-sled lineup are built on this platform, including MX Zs, Summits, Renegades and GSX models.
There are no new engines for 2008, but the 151 hp Rotax 800R PowerTEK has expanded from the Summit chassis to the MX Z, Renegade and GSX platforms. Other engines used in the REV-XP platform are the 593cc two-stroke for the 500SS machines and the 600 H.O. SDI.
Strategic Release
The official embargo date for 2008 Ski-Doo models was March 4. However, the company gave dealers and consumers a sneak peek at what they had in store Feb. 22.
The early scoop on two models, the MX Z 800R Adrenaline and the Summit 800R Everest, was accompanied with a full graphic video presentation on a dedicated Web site and the actual release of these models to dealers for demo purposes.
The XP Difference
The weight reduction is shocking by snowmobile standards.
At 425 pounds, the MX Z 800R X is 54 pounds lighter; the MX Z 600 H.O. SKI X is 61 pounds lighter; the MX Z 800R Adrenaline lost 44 pounds; the MX Z?600 H.O. SDI Adrenaline shed 51 pounds; the MX Z 800R Renegade X is down 62 pounds; and the Summit 800 R X 154 is lighter by 44 pounds.
The MX Z 500SS model, now called TNT, weighs in at 399 pounds. In the lineup, it’s positioned between the Trail and Adrenaline models.
The chassis is the first source of weight reduction — 13 pounds. Not only is it lighter, Ski-Doo said the REV XP chassis is 21 percent more rigid in torsion and 37 percent more rigid in flexion.
The new forged-aluminum ski legs and lighter-weight spindles account for 7 pounds in reduction. The REV chassis uses extruded aluminum ski legs. For bumpsteer performance purposes, the A-arms are unequal length and the lower A-arm mounts are at the chassis midpoint.
Styling changes, including a contoured seat and a body inspired by stealth aircraft and premium motorcycles, cut out eight pounds. The new steering system dropped five pounds and the purpose-built Camoplast tracks dropped between four and six pounds, depending on length.
The new hydroformed drive axle weighs 5.7 pounds, a loss of 3.6 pounds from the REV chassis axle. The brake disc mounts on the PTO side of the drive axle and is cooled through a port in the tunnel.
Other points of weight reduction include cast aluminum engine mounts (1.5 pounds); the TRA VII?clutch (2 pounds); and a composite master cylinder.
In the MX Zs, a new SC-5 rear suspension saves 8 pounds over the SC-4. The new setup has a different geometry meant to improve weight transfer and bump performance.
The new Summit rear skid, the SC-5M, lost 9 pounds. It was designed for less weight transfer and to keep the machine flat when climbing. The geometry is comparable to hillclimb racing sleds.
The Rest Of The Lineup
There were more minor changes throughout the remainder of Ski-Doo’s lineup.
The Mach Z now comes in a long track (LT) package with a 136- by 15- by 1.25-inch Camoplast RipSaw track. Electric start is now standard on the Mach Z.
Legend models now have the Pilot 5.7 skis, Motion Control shocks and a front spring preload adjustment. The touring packages have heated passenger grips.
There are 10 utility sleds in the Ski-Doo lineup. Noteworthy changes include a larger footprint for the Tundra LT with a 154- by 16- by 1.5-inch track. It also has a new SC-5U rear suspension and a 550 fan-cooled engine option. The Yeti II platfom now expands to the Expedition TUV, the Skandic SUV and the Skandic WT. psb

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