Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Check out our YouTube Channel

2013 <i>AmSnow</i> Real World Shootout

2013 march real world4
Embellish a little? Nah, no snowmobiler would ever do that … yeah right!

Just like no angler has ever told a fishy story, about his 15-lb. bass. Nor has any athlete ever padded his or her stats a little when talking about those high school glory days.

Let’s be honest, we all like to paint ourselves in a good light and we snowmobilers often take embellishing to new heights in the heat of a good bench-racing session at a trailside watering hole.
Fortunately, if your most obnoxiously “out there” buddy takes it a little too far you’ll have THIS issue of AmSnow to bring him back to The Real World.

Every January we run our Real World Shootout, a test of the seven or eight new sleds the manufacturers allow us to demo ride for the entire season. The snow on the trails was thin this January at our north woods test facility, but conditions on the lakes and ponds could not have been more conducive to going fast. We had 1 to 2-inches of super-hard packed groomed snow on our acceleration course this year and the sleds were disappearing down the track faster than the deer on opening day.

We assembled a convoy of trucks and trailers, digital cameras, HD video systems (including POV), radar guns, wireless Intercomp scales, laptop computers, smart phones (no signal, usually), tablets, snow-making machines, 6 groomers, 10 huge freestyle ramps, 2 helicopters, and more for this test!
2013 march real world12
Like a thief on the run! Our giddy test pilot Butch Veltum rockets off the groomed starting line of our perfect acceleration testing area on a new 2013 Ski-Doo MXZx. The 600 E-TEC surpassed 92 mph!
OK, we didn’t have any helicopters … but we did compile the most honest Real World test of these sleds you’ll find anywhere!

Get to it already!
Enough bravado, it’s time for the nitty gritty.

As most loyal readers know, our Real World Test is actually twofold. We test numerous trail sleds in the upper Midwest for a week, but we also test the newest mountain sleds each year out west at about the same time. Our Western Editor, Stephen Clark, conducts this test along with several friends of the magazine at our Real World Powder Sled Eval. We have been doing these tests for 9 years now, so we have tons of comparable data that you can see in our extensive website archives if you’re a subscriber.

AmSnow's Real World Acceleration Runs and Top Speeds (SPEED / TIME)
F 1100 Turbo Sno Pro RR
Arctic Cat
XF 800 CrossTour 
Polaris 600 Indy SP Polaris 800 Switchback Pro-R  Ski-Doo 800R Renegade X  Ski-Doo MXZx 600 E-TEC  Yamaha Nytro
XTX 1.75 Supercharged 
Top Speed (mph)  112.55  99.99 91.02   92.22  99.14  92.25  103.13
¼-mile (sec.)  12.31  12.60  13.78  13.22  12.88  13.64  13.21
¼-mile (mph)  108.66  99.97  91.00  NA*  99.09  91.00  101.20
1000 ft. (sec.)  10.25  10.38  11.36  10.66  10.64  10.94  11.02
1000 ft. (mph)  102.99  97.54  88.62  92.13  94.68  89.82  97.51
660 ft. (sec.)  7.91  7.93  8.67  8.09  8.11  8.28  8.56
660 ft. (mph)  94.76  90.78  82.58  87.95  88.31  83.51  89.53
 0-30 mph (sec.)  1.88  1.79  2.10  1.77  1.83  1.67  2.29
0-60 mph (sec.) 3.71 3.64 4.46 3.77 3.82 4.01 4.30
*Our timing equipment did not record a 1/4-mile speed despite several attempted runs of the Polaris Switchback, apparently the snow dust interfering more on that sled, than others.

First is Wet Weight testing.
Before we put any miles on the sleds or get any snow or ice built up on them we fill them to the brim with gas, oil, coolant, and all the necessary fluids and put them on our cool Intercomp racing scales.
We do this so that you will know exactly what your sled will weigh as you would ride it, not some manufacturer supplied estimate. This year we tested a new set of wireless Intercomp scales and if you are big into any motorsport and looking for a weighing system we HIGHLY recommend these as they are easy to use (See
2013 march real world7
2013 march real world17
Any traction products we choose to use also are part of the sled’s weight we record … just how you would ride your sled with studs and carbides (See box p. 40 for studding info).

We next put hundreds of miles on every sled to make sure they are sufficiently broken in before we run the acceleration tests and before we start calculating fuel mileage and checking oil consumption. We also go through a several point inspection of each sled before running the acceleration tests, which includes things like tightening the tracks, checking the studs, carbides, hyfax and more. We next mark off ¼ mile on our groomed lake track and another ¼ mile for shut down.

Our goal is to always make a “full pull” on the acceleration tests through the ¼-mile and give the sleds a chance to really reach their top speed. We warm up each sled just before we pull it up to the line and then give each sled two back-to-back runs to garner its best acceleration run. We report the better of the two runs.

All our sleds were 2013 models and all were 100% stock except for those with traction packages. One exception was our Yamaha Nytro XTX 1.75, which added a “Yamaha approved” low elevation supercharger kit from MPI. This is a dealer installed upgrade and something we had been looking to test on a quasi-trail sled for a while.

Finally, after the acceleration tests we ride as a group for several tankfuls of gas and record early season MPG figures. These can change over the season, but we give these numbers now AND the full-season MPG figures in our Long-Term Test reports in next fall’s issues.

Sled Wet Weights & MPG
 Ski-Doo MXZ X 600 E-TEC  586  17.85
 Ski-Doo Renegade X 800R  598  16.13
 Polaris 600 Indy SP  609  12.25
 Arctic Cat XF 800 CrossTour  623  14.55
Polaris 800 Pro-R Switchback Adventure 638 11.79
Yamaha FX Nytro XTX 1.75 w/supercharger  645  12.05
Arctic Cat F 1100
Turbo SP RR
 713  12.60
NOTE: Sleds driven at varying trail speeds with various drivers for several hundred miles after engine break-in. Full wet weights taken with high-quality Intercomp wireless floor scales. Complete Stud Boy stud packages for the MXZx 600 E-TEC, Indy 600, Renegade 800R and F1100 Turbo RR. Due to a late arrival the Nytro had fewer tanks of fuel through it after engine break-in, for purposes of gas mileage calculations. More info:

‘Sick’ Sixes
Do kids still say “sick” to mean cool? They do in our world! Well, our most anticipated duel of the Real World Shootout was the sick battle between the new Polaris 600 Indy SP and Ski-Doo’s MXZx 600 E-TEC. They recently squared off at our New York Shootout with the Indy showing 113.4 hp on the dyno and the Ski-Doo 600 logging 116.8 hp.

That didn’t mean much when they hit the track in New York. The Indy easily topped the MXZ from start to finish in our 1,000-foot acceleration test there(See NY Shootout, p. 26, Feb. ’13). HOWEVER, the sleds were not broken in at that point. New York Shootout sleds are straight out of the box and we know that Ski-Doos in particular have a more abrupt break-in, once the ECU has finally counted the correct number of injections, the E-TEC sleds really wakeup.

So, the stage was set for a showdown at the Real World, the impressive rookie in the Indy taking on the stalwart 600 E-TEC. The Ski-Doo E-TEC won this round of the acceleration battle, but wow, was it close!
The ¼-mile mph was actually exactly the same for both sleds! Top speed was only 1 mph different and throughout the ¼-mile less than a half second separated the two machines.
2013 march real world9
Small differences between these sleds include a different track as the Indy is a 121-incher and the MXZx has a 120-inch track. The Indy was 23 pounds heavier at 609 vs. 586 for the MXZx. The Indy also had a few more studs than the MXZx, and that adds a little weight, but aids hookup. The direct injected E-TEC also was much better on fuel getting 5.6 mpg more than the Indy, but oil consumption was not quite as impressive as fuel economy on the E-TEC. Any way you cut it, these sleds are pretty darned close and were definitely the two most enjoyed trail sleds on our test rides.

Just how much faster were the conditions this year vs. last year?

Well, our Polaris 600 Adventure went just over 80 mph at Real World last year for a top speed and our 600 Indy easily topped 90 mph this year. The primary differences between the two are that the Adventure has a 136-inch track with the Pro-Ride rear-end and a rack on it. We think 90+ mph is fast for a 600cc sled!

Crossover Craziness
We had 4 crossovers in our cadre this year and each had its only personality. None of these sleds could really be compared apples-to-apples as each served its own purpose. Such is the way of the crossover world today … every sled is extremely specialized.

On the hyper side we had our crossover “super sled” in the supercharged Yamaha Nytro XTX 1.75 with its 144-inch long and 1.75-inch lugged track. We received this 3-cylinder 4-stroke sled just a few days before our Shootout so it only had a couple hundred miles on it at test time whereas every other sled had 300+ miles, several nearly double that. Yamaha distributes this Trail Supercharger kit, and it is a low-elevation bolt-on, premium pump-gas upgrade for its FX Nytro models and exclusive to Yamaha from Mountain Performance Inc.

Base MSRP for the kit is $4,399.95 and Yamaha says the supercharger gives the Nytro a 45-horse boost over stock. However, Dynotech gave us numbers of 172.1 hp and 99.3 ft.-lbs. of torque. That’s just a few horses shy of the Cat Turbo that we dynoed this year at 178.1 horses.

Even with that big track the supercharged XTX had the second fastest top speed of 103.13 mph and the second fastest ¼-mile speed of 101.20 mph. The only sled moving faster at either point was Arctic Cat’s F 1100 Turbo.
2013 march real world14
2013 march real world6
The Nytro also was not very heavy, considering that it had the largest track and footprint as well as a full supercharger system on board. At 645 lbs. and 172.1 hp the power-to-weight ratio of this sled was the best of any in our fleet. With all that power and length Yamaha touts this one as a great boondocking option for powder days and with the tipped-up rail, it’s a capable trail sled as well.

The sleeper of this crew of crazy crossovers was the new Arctic Cat XF 800 CrossTour. This was undeniably the surprise sled of the entire Real World Shootout. It was FREAKY fast!

Not only that, but it handled like a gem and was comfortable, warm and really just about everything you could want. Did I mention it was FAST? Yep, at 99.99 mph for a top speed and 99.97 mph in the ¼-mile this sled had long legs and was the 3rd fastest sled of the fleet. But it also was quick off the gun, being quickest of our sleds to 60 mph, and second quickest/fastest through 660 ft. and second through 1000 ft. as well! Oh, and this one didn’t even have studs!

The Crosstour fell on the lighter end of the crossover weight spectrum too at 623 lbs., which was lighter than the Polaris Switchback Pro-R and Yamaha’s Nytro XTX. More surprising, this sled was No. 3 as far as fuel efficiency. As we said, this sled was full of surprises.

Right behind the CrossTour on the crossover speed ladder was Ski-Doo’s Renegade 800R E-TEC. It was less than 1 mph behind the Cat on top end, and at ¼ mile. The Renegade was just tenths of a second behind the Cat from start to finish. A difference in wind direction could have been enough to give an edge to one or the other.

Where Ski-Doo’s Renegade really shined though was on the trail getting, 16+ mpg. Being the second lightest sled in the fleet (just under 600 lbs.) it was also easy to toss around and not fatiguing to ride. The Renegade is still hard to beat in the crossover market when all factors are taken into account.
Our standout best-looking crossover this year was our Polaris 800 Switchback Pro-R.

We know that looks don’t have anything to do with the other tests we ran, but style points definitely count to many new sled buyers. Switchback was 3rd heaviest of our demo sleds and at 142.7 horsepower it doesn’t quite have the ponies the other crossovers deliver. However, it was within .01 seconds of the Nytro in the ¼-mile and was within striking distance of all the 800+cc sleds.

Our Switchback also was a spring-buy unit and we opted for the bigger 1.5-inch lugged track. No doubt this cut a few mph off the top-end. The Switch was a rocket out of the hole though, as it was 3rd quickest through 30 and 60 mph, and 660 feet. That track really dug in and these stats also show how snappy the Polaris 800 is off the start. We figure 90% of most sledders’ riding is done at less than 60 mph and with this sled you really feel power in corner-to-corner speed.
2013 march real world15
2013 march real world5
The fleet of sleds we had this year was eclectic, other than the two short-track 600cc sleds that went head to head.
The Top Dog
Arctic Cat proved it still has the fastest production snowmobile in the F 1100 Turbo Sno Pro RR. This sled hit a top speed of 112.55 mph and finished the ¼-mile first with a time of just 12.31 seconds. That is the fastest run we have EVER had at the Real World Shootout with a totally stock sled. After 660-feet there was not another sled that came close to touching the Turbo in acceleration.

In the wet weight testing and the fuel mileage though, Cat’s Turbo was not quite as impressive. At 713 lbs. this sled was the heaviest by a large margin. It was more than 60 pounds heavier than the next heaviest sled and the Cat is a 128-inch skid so we are comparing it to some much longer crossovers. Gas mileage was mid-pack, but again, we are comparing the RR to several long-track 2-strokes and the turbo is a 4-stroke.

It just proves the point that you need more fuel to create more power, but the power here is pretty awesome!

Early positive ride impressions
Dark horse honors go to Cat’s CrossTour. This sled made believers out of everyone that an EFI 2-stroke big crossover can be fuel efficient, light, and warm, take little effort to steer, and be stupid fast. Staying on the topic of Cat, the Turbo RR is a barn burner and the fastest sled we’ve ridden stock. The FOX Evol shock package and adjustability in the ride in the rear-end make this sled less of a tank over the rough stuff. Trail handling on the big Turbo is surprisingly responsive. We also noted the turbo’s clatter has been tamed quite a bit between pre-production and now.

Yamaha’s new Nytro supercharger kit is extremely smooth. The only time you could tell this long 144x15x1.75 tracked sled had a power-adder on it was when you would quickly get in and out of the gas and notice just a little of that supercharger sound. It was definitely cool and performance was never lacking. The real surprise on this sled was how well the rear skid ate up big bumps. Yamaha has got that dialed in like a bookie in Vegas.
2013 march real world13
2013 march real world8
2013 march real world11
Ski-Doo still has the best 600cc trail sleds. Hands down, no lie. The MXZx 600 E-TEC handles the corners like a Ferrari and the rMotion suspension is the best trail suspension out there. You can’t beat the E-TEC’s fuel efficiency either. It was No. 1 in our test fleet, while the 800 E-TEC had the honor last year. Renegade is still the best trail riding crossover, again the rMotion makes this sled that much better - better than the brochures brag, and that’s rare.

Polaris has the best value trail sled in the industry with the Indy 600. I like it better than the 600 Rush and it gives up nothing in performance to much more expensive models from other OEMs. It is exactly what we need right now in the industry, a reliable clean 2-stroke with a lot of power and superb cornering at a low price. The Switchback has a great rack! Yep, I said it… the rack system on the back of this sled is perfect and highly useful. The 1.5-inch lugged track also is exactly right for this sled and the retro paint job is a staff favorite.

Early negative ride impressions
We had more early problems with our Cats than we have had in several years.

The idler wheels on the CrossTour were installed incorrectly so the track prematurely shredded a set of hyfax before we caught the error. There was a service bulletin on it, so the dealer fix was free. We also had a ski-loop eject itself mid-trail. We aren’t sure if that was a set-up error or if the bolts worked themselves loose.
2013 march real world18
In addition, after 42 miles a clamp from the turbo’s intercooler came loose and we had to pull the entire pod and top of the sled off to find the problem. The turbo also is very heavy feeling in the tight trails and it needs the good shocks it has in the big bumps. We also have had several instances where the turbo does not like to go into reverse and the tool sign shows up on the dash pod until we turn it off and clear it and try it again several times, sometimes having to ride between attempts. Sitting it overnight seems to solve the problem too.

Our Yamaha has been bulletproof so far. Unfortunately the tendency to over-correct in the corners with the Nytro is still prevalent. We are working with some more carbide combinations with the dual-keel Tuner ski in hopes of correcting this more, but to date we are still doing a fair amount of sled wrestling in the corners.

With our two Ski-Doos we’ve had only one problem creep up, and that is our gauge pod in our dash one day magically worked itself loose at about 70 mph and nearly fell out of its mounting area into our lap. The answer was to take a Dremel and make sure the tabs had space to hook into the plastic they seats into. In addition, the way the front/center shock is mounted, you have to be careful how you stud them as to not have the metal backs of the stud backers rub directly on the shock body when the tracks rolls around.

By the Real World test both Polaris sleds had 700+ miles on them, the most of our demo sleds, and both had zero issues (one reason they have so many miles already). One thing we noticed was that the correct dealer setup position of the skis is with the shims in the narrower stance. We moved these wider. Also the ski-bolt that goes through the spindle sticks out further than the actual ski. So, when putting the sled in a trailer you could scrape the inside of the trailer.
2013 march real world19
Speedometer variance
WE HAVE REPORTED on this before and we are happy to say that consistently, year over year, the manufacturers have gotten more accurate with their speedometers. At top end the Polaris and Cat speedometers this year were on target, or within one mph of what we measured via the radar gun. The Yamaha was much closer too, than what we had seen in the past, varying between 1 and 4 mph higher on the speedo. The Ski-Doo MXZx 600 E-TEC varied the most, between 4 and 5 mph higher than actual. The Renegade was just behind that, reading 3 mph higher on the speedo.
2013 march real world10
Studs of the Real World
DON’T GET TOO EXCITED ladies, we are talking traction here. Although we editors and test riders all like to think of ourselves as fine specimens of physical health and prowess, alas, there will be no cut-off shorts or banana hammocks here, just straight talk on studs and carbides.

Stud Boy was again our traction sponsor for the Real World Shootout and we have used Stud Boy products for years and are always happy with them. The four sleds we studded this year included the Polaris Indy 600, Ski-Doo MXZx 600 E-TEC, Cat F 1100 Turbo Sno Pro RR, and the Ski-Doo Renegade X 800R.

Like last year, we exclusively used Stud Boy’s new Super-Lite Pro Backers for each sled.
We were so impressed with them last year that the test crew overwhelmingly wanted to use them this year. These are some of the lightest backers you can find and support the studs superbly and offer some of the best stopping and best forward traction of any product on the market. The support nut is molded into the backer and available in 0.50, 0.75-inch in the double backers and .75-inch in the single backer.
These backers standout feature is that they are molded almost like a small scoop or shovel surrounding the stud. This gives better traction and stopping and ultimately better performance. They can be used on either single- or double-ply tracks and we used both standard and Stud Boy PowerPoint studs to go along with them.

The PowerPoint stud has a 60-degree carbide point to sink into the ice and help you stop more quickly or accelerate with greater consistency in slippery conditions, so great on lakes. Stud heads are 1-inch in diameter and of a special “Track Trapping” design for support. A tapered shank and thin profile provide rigidity and penetration.

We are a fan of the Shaper single carbide from Stud Boy as it is extremely durable and gives a great aggressive turning feel to just about any machine.

Our studding and carbide setups varied from sled to sled.

We ran 84 1.375-inch studs in our MXZx 600, which conformed to the 120-inch track and up front we used 6-inch Shaper carbides. On the Indy 600 we ran 120 of the 1.0-inch studs along with a 7.5-inch Shaper single bar carbide.

For the longer sleds, in the Ski-Doo Renegade X 800R we ran a few more studs with a total 144 count of 1.375-inchers. We opted for the 7.5-inch Shaper bars up front on this 137-inch track as well. Finally our big Cat F 1100 Turbo Sno Pro RR used a healthy 158 studs of the 1.375-inch variety. The hefty Cat also got 9 inches of Shaper single carbide up front for added turning aggressiveness.
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Sign up for our free newsletter