Ski-Doo 2005

Really "Big" news as the Mach Z returns, GTX debuts and Highmark appears.
We get the calls here. "Isn't anyone going to build a serious power triple for us top speed guys?" OK, so it doesn't go quite like that, but the gist of the conversation is that there is a contingent of go-fast snowmobilers who really miss the triple-piped, three cylinder sleds. Ski-Doo knows it. When the CK-chassised Mach Z went away, it marked the end of one era in Ski-Doo performance. 2005 marks the beginning of a new one.
Meet Mr. Nasty
Otherwise known as the 2005 Ski-Doo Mach Z 1000, Mr. Nasty is as close to being an instant "classic" snowmobile as you're going to see. You need an introduction to the '05 Mach Z like the one we had in Quebec this past January. Dark room, draped and silhouetted snowmobile, hushed and almost reverent tones of introduction. And then the unveiling. Mr. Nasty sat low to the floor.

Stealth fighter, black with charcoal accents. Roguishly handsome in a broad-shouldered way, designed to create more excitement than a six-pack of Viagara. The Mach Z is viscerally visual. It has "attitude" written all over it. And then you look at the spec sheet.

An all-new evolutionary platform carries the REV beyond ditchbanging and sedate trail riding. The new RT platform is unique to the all-new one-liter, two-cylinder, two-stroke Rotax. This sled is designed to run as hot as it looks. One hundred sixty-five horsepower is claimed for this all-new Mach Z muscle sled. Rotax is the muscle builder. Ski-Doo is the weight trainer.

Basically you get a lot of power (165 hp) in a sled that weighs less than the older CK-based Mach (claimed 519 pounds dry weight). There's much more to this package than meets the eye. Once you open the hood you come upon the clever packaging of the Rotax' electronics factory. Virtually all the key electronics are located on a ready access panel by the engine. No more hunting for electronic gear. Nice move, Ski-Doo!

Properly referred to as the Rotax 2-TEC 1000, the 998cc clean-burning twin is compliant with existing 2006 EPA regulations. That comes partially through an all-new, semi-direct injection system with dual 52mm throttle bodies that use two injectors per cylinder. A smaller injector provides the fuel at low engine revs; then the second, larger, injector kicks in to stuff fuel into the cylinders for maximum power. The small injector is used because it is easier to calibrate for smooth, idle characteristics.

The overall bore and stroke is 88mm by 82mm on this counter-balanced twin. Unlike the new Yamaha triple that uses a counter shaft, Ski-Doo's 2-TEC 1000 affects engine balancing via a pair of asymmetrical gears that run off each end of the crankshaft. Ski-Doo feels that this is a lighter weight method that counters engine vibration well.

Inside the engine you'll find wide transfer porting, Nikasil-lined cylinder walls, separate cylinder head domes for servicing and replacement ease, and a new generation, electronically activated RAVE valve system for controlling both primary and secondary exhaust ports. This all means that the engine's computer is fully in charge of controlling both gains in overall performance as well as maintaining peak emissions performance.

Ski-Doo is immensely proud of this new twin, feeling that, while it isn't a triple, its performance should make former Mach Z triple owners forget that old model.
Mr. Nasty's RT Platform
Those of us who have driven triple cylinder Machs down the trail on the way to the lake would like to forget the bully nature of the old Mach's ride and handling. The new Mach Z 1000 isn't just about brute force in a straight line; this new version can actually let you enjoy trail riding. Keep in mind, the Mach Z is not a REV 800 MXZ. That model is better in the ditches. But, that's its nature, taking on rough trails. The Mach Z is designed for the rider who enjoys riding quickly along groomed trails and who might want to challenge his buddy to a quick romp across a long lake. That's the Mach Z's nature.

We were very surprised at just how good the all-new RT platform is. First, we weren't suspecting that Ski-Doo was this far along on the next REV generation. Second, we've ridden very few true muscle sleds that we actually enjoyed trail riding for any distance.

Yeah, when Ski-Doo said the sled was fast, we had no problem accepting that. When the same marketing types told us the sled handled well, we were quite skeptical. The sled is potent as claimed. And it handled as claimed. In fact, if you live in an area that has consistently well groomed trails, you'll love this Ski-Doo form of rapid transit.

As with the Polaris Fusion and Yamaha Vector, the Ski-Doo Mach Z was built with the new powerplant in mind. The Rotax is a wide beast, requiring much more room than your average SDI 600 Rotax, and precluding it from being stuffed into a first generation REV chassis. Since the engine required a new bulkhead at the minimum, Ski-Doo designers brought out a blank sheet of paper and went for an entirely new platform designed to act like a REV but purpose-built for go-fast riding.

What Ski-Doo brings into 2005 is a power sled with driver-centered ergonomics, a pyramidal frame design, and A-arm front suspension. Think of the Mach's rider positioning as a kind of "relaxed" rider forward setup. You are positioned similarly as on a standard REV, but the handlebars sweep back a bit more (approximately two inches), putting you in a better lake racer pose.
The new bulkhead allowed engineers to tilt the new twin back more to better position the engine and drivetrain weight mass. It required stretching the engine cradle about two inches, which means that the Mach Z has a longer wheelbase than a standard REV. This is a good thing for straight-line stability.

To accommodate the new engine, the new platform features housing specific for placement of the new RT chaincase, which features cooling fins built into the case's bottom and is designed so it can drop into the tunnel for more efficient cooling. Look for a new heavier duty TRA-V clutch system and new brake system complete with a unique "wave-style" disc specific to the Mach.

Under the new chassis you'll find the Super Comfort 4 (SC-4) rear suspension that actually features reduced weight transfer. Based heavily on the success of the SC-3 suspension, the Mach unit requires less weight transfer simply because the driver is moved forward on the sled. The SC-4 has lengthened front and rear arms and a reduced-diameter top rear wheel to help the suspension skid deflect into a more horizontal position upon acceleration. As the Mach is intended as a trail performance vehicle and not a pure ditchbanger, it is critical to keep the skis flat and firmly planted on the snow. Other geometry changes in the suspension further reflect the purposefulness of this sled.

Where the Mach Z is designed for go-fast riding, the elongated RT chassis supporting the same new engine is designed for go-high mountain riders.
Other Options
Gone are the luxury 'Doo machines based on the old CK chassis. Welcome a new breed of luxury for two- or three. The all-new GTX series is based on the REV platform and carries the personal luxury theme of the GSX into two-up riding.

But two may not be just the driver, it can be the driver and two passengers. The GTX seating is convertible as you can combine just the driver saddle with a GTX-specific luggage piece or add the rear seat for Mom or even an extension piece to accommodate a child.

This stretch version of the REV is designed as a comfort sled. Ski-Doo calls the riding position "relaxed" as it features a steering position that is 5.25-inches more rearward compared to the standard MXZ. Even so, the rider is still integrated at the sled's pivot point for a more isolated ride over bumps.

As with Ski-Doo luxury sleds over the years, the GTX series, whether fan-cooled or liquid-cooled, is designed with comfort and comfort features in mind. You'll find a number of suspension options, including an Auto Air self-leveling setup available on the GTX Limited.

The personal luxury GSX models are similarly outfitted to the GTX, but designed around the MXZ, which also comes loaded with performance features in 2005.

Heck, one of the most fun Ski-Doo models we test rode was the MXZ Fan with the 550 air-cooled engine. Of course, our favorite REVs of any flavor will be powered by the SDI 600 twin. If you need more power, there is an 800 HO now with a digitally programmed fuel management system. There is quite an array of packages for the REV MXZ this spring, so we suggest you check in at your closest Ski-Doo dealer. You can ask about the four stroke-powered Legend V1000 and the unique twin-tracked Elite side-by-side snow car.
Meet the Highmark
As Polaris has done with its new Fusion/RMK package, Ski-Doo creates a double personality for its new 2-TEC 1000 SDI engine by stretching the RT platform and making it into a mountain-specific package called the Highmark.

Highmark for 2005 is all new and centered around a combination of the 165 hp Rotax twin and the attributes of the RT platform. The drivetrain is essentially new with a TRA-V drive pulley designed to handle the Rotax' horsepower and torque characteristics. A set of dual internal/external drivers is both lighter and more efficient for spinning the 16-inch wide PowderMax track. It leaves an ample 159-inch footprint in deep snow areas.

The Highmark features HPG shocks, straight handlebars and a pack rack for boondocking utility. There's also a new mountain ski designed to get this sled up on top of the snow effortlessly. If you need to back off the trailer when unloading at the trailhead, push the electronic reverse button and back off.

Check out Ski-Doo's website for the latest in Spring Only deals on the Summit Highmark X package as well as other special promotions that may be going on from Spring to Fall.
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