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

2019 Real World Shootout

We had it all in terms of weather for January at our 2019 Real World Shootout: Sun, rain, freezing rain and snow all within a few days. Of course, we rode in all of it and I must say the Castle gear we wore performed perfectly. One day we returned from trail riding and we were all glazed over like fresh donuts from the nonstop freezing rain all day.

■ What is it?
Here is the skinny for newcomers on what the American Snowmobiler Real World Shootout is all about. We take our entire 2019 demo sled fleet (we had five this year) and weigh them full of gas and oil just as you would ride them. After that, we break them in and run them on a closed course using the Stalker Pro radar gun to record the results. These sleds are all completely stock with no performance modifications. We remove all added storage accessories. In addition, we ride them to our test facility to ensure they are full of snow just as if you would ride them on the trail.

During the week of riding, we gather opinions from our test riders based on their seat-of-the-pants analysis. Additionally, we begin gathering data to calculate the mpg and use that in our Long Term Test Reviews.

For 2019, our Real World Shootout is made up of three parts. First is the trail sled quarter-mile testing. Second is the Powder Evaluation done out West by Editor Ryan Thompson. New this year is the third and final part: We decided to conduct a 0.8-mile run head to head. We wanted to provide real world information about what happens between ¼ mile and ¾ mile between these machines. We found a nice test track and marked out a 0.8-mile run.

■ The break-in
Each manufacturer has a different variation of break-in procedures; some require a 500-mile oil change and service, while others have break-in countdowns displayed on the gauges. We make sure that all of our demo sleds are fully broken in and have well over 500 miles on them at the time of this event and all maintenance has been performed accordingly.

■ The quarter-mile test track
The track this year was groomed four days before our event. Throughout the day it rained and the top surface froze, which provided excellent track conditions. The track had a slight glaze to it but broke up nicely once we ran some Woody’s-studded machines on it. The weather was 28 degrees in the morning and warmed to about 35 and sunny by the time we were ready to begin running the machines.

We started out our test runs by running the studded sleds first. This helped loosen up the track for the other sleds, which gave them an advantage in regards to hole-shot hookup. We had an ever-so-slight tail wind of about 5 mph. We ran each sled at least two times and sometimes a couple more, if we were missing some data. Snow dust can disrupt the radar’s ability to gather information, so occasionally more runs are necessary.

■ The demo sleds
For our 2019 Demo fleet, we have five very impressive machines and the only changes to them are noted here, which consist of taller windshields and Woody’s traction products:
Polaris Indy XC 129” 850 Patriot Founders Edition + Woody’s studs down the middle of track.
Polaris Switchback Assault 144” – 850 Patriot + Mid height windshield.
Ski-Doo Backcountry X-RS 146” - 850 E-TEC + Low Windshield.
Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 137” - 900 ACE Turbo, Med. windshield, side deflectors.
Yamaha Sidewinder SRX LE 137” - Tall windshield + Woody’s studs down the middle of the track.

All machines were full of gas and oil, ready for trail riding without any accessory changes from the dealer. All accessories including Woody’s studs were added on after the weight testing was performed.

Now let us get to the findings!
■ Battle of the 850s (Indy 129 – Assault 144 – Backcountry X-RS 146)
The most anticipated matchup in our 2019 demo fleet was between the 850 class motors we had. In this line up, we had the new Polaris Switchback Assault 144 with the new Patriot 850 motor and Ski-Doo’s Backcountry X-RS 146 with the 850 E-TEC motor.

There are some slight differences between these two machines.

The Polaris has the shorter track at only 144 inches while the Ski-Doo has a longer track at 146 inches. The Ski-Doo has a 1.6-inch Ice Cobra track, while the Polaris features a 1.6-inch Cobra track without the studded paddles.

These sleds are also very similar, both featuring a tipped rail suspension, top of the line shock packages, 850cc motors, and 50/50 on/off trail characteristics.

The third 850 machine was the Polaris Indy XC SP 850 129-inch Founders Edition, which is one of our favorite trail sleds of the 2019 demo fleet, equipped with 169 Woody’s studs on the 1.3-inch Cobra track and the suspension featured Walker Evans premium quick clicker shocks. This sled featured the shortest track of the three and in terms of weight was right in the middle of the pack.

The Ski-Doo Backcountry weighed the least at 564.5 pounds, followed by the Polaris Indy at 575 pounds and the Polaris Assault at 592 pounds.
At the 660-foot or 1/8-mile mark, it was the Ski-Doo Back-country that was the quickest by 0.03 over the Indy and 0.15 seconds quicker than the Assault.

Our radar tests showed that the Polaris Assault was fastest of the three machines. The assault completed the quarter mile in 12.59 seconds at 100.88 mph.

The Ski-Doo Backcountry was the quickest up to 30-foot mark, and completed the quarter mile in 12.61 at 94.02 mph.

These two machines each time were within .02 seconds of each other, which is incredibly close.

The Polaris Indy 850 was right there at 12.79 seconds at 98.93 mph.
■ Battle of the 4-strokes
We had the Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo with the 137-inch 1.6 Ice Cobra track. This sled was not built to be the top dog of the drags, but it does feature a 162 HP turbo motor that was dyno-tested at DynoTech Research and those results can be seen in our October 2018 issue. This machine tipped the scales at 639.5 pounds. For these runs, we made sure that this sled was in the “Sport” mode setting, as it features a standard and eco setting for a tamer ride.

The other 4-stroke of the group was the all new Yamaha Sidewinder SRX LE. This sled was built for these types of tests. The power plant of the SRX is the Genesis 988 Turbo motor. This sled tipped the scales at 669 pounds. The SRX features a reduced ride height that Yamaha claims increases speed and handling when compared to the other Sidewinder variations. It has a 137-inch RipSaw track with a 1-inch lug. To aid in traction we added Woody’s traction products to this machine to get that horsepower to the ground. Spoiler alert, this sled is fast!
The Yamaha sidewinder SRX LE ran the best time and top speed at a blazing 11.81 ET at 110.03 mph!

We were pleasantly surprised with the Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo. This sled held its own managing 98 mph at 12.54 ET. These results reflect very similar numbers to the 850 class machines.

The full chart of speeds and elapsed times can be viewed below.

■ 0.8-mile bracket showdown
Having over 500 miles on each machine, we had a confident grasp on what machines should be paired up against each other. We debated over dinner one night and came up with a bracket we thought would give the most intriguing match ups. Each machine in this group was ran by your humble reporter and Butch Veltum, who also just happen to be father-and-son test riders and professional snowmobile drag racers. To make sure we got the correct winner, the riders switched sleds after each run.

This made sure we knew who won without having a rider bias based on weight and lane choice. The track was a flat groomed straightaway with ample room for shut down. We ran speed tests the old-fashioned way, a starter using their hand to drop – similar to the drag racing shows you see on television. The length of the run was too much for our radar gun, so all speeds were recorded using a helmet camera on the speedo. Although the top speeds are interesting in this sort of race, we just wanted to know which one would prevail each round. Interesting enough, the outcomes relate relatively well to our ¼ mile run results, with minor differences. As a note, we already declared the Yamaha Sidewinder SRX to the Championship bracket, and the race was to see which one would be in the showdown race to take on the SRX.
Ski-Doo Backcountry X-RS 850 vs Polaris Switchback Assault 850
These two 50/50 crossover sleds were very close on each run.

The Polaris Assault was faster on the top end. The Ski-Doo would pull harder out of the hole but after about 1000 ft. the Assault would pull out the difference and get about a half sled advantage. The Ski-Doo topped-out at 103 mph on the speedo while the Polaris climbed up to 109 mph on the speedo. At the finish line, these two machines were within half a sled length each time. The Polaris Assault ultimately moved on to the next round, where it would face the winner of the Indy 129 850 and Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo.

Polaris Indy 850 vs Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo
The Indy XC 129 had a slight advantage in HP, weight and track length but the Ski-Doo X-RS 900 ACE Turbo held its own. That sled registered 109 on the speedo, but was not enough for the Indy, which ran the test track at 112 mph on the speedo, winning each race. These two were within 3 mph of each other both times. The Indy then moved on to the next round to face the Assault.
Polaris Assault vs. Polaris Indy
These two Polaris sleds were neck and neck to roughly the half-mile mark. That is where the Indy’s shorter track started to prevail. Both machines were equally impressive, but it was time for the Indy to race the Yamaha Sidewinder SRX.

Yamaha SRX vs. Polaris Indy 850
Now we all had a feeling it was going to be a tough task to beat the SRX in a 0.8-mile run. Both machines featured Woody’s traction products to aid in hookup. The Polaris Indy is quick off the line, pulling the hole shot in each run. The Yamaha really started to pull after 100 feet and around 103 mph speed on the Polaris, which was right around the quarter mile mark, the SRX whizzed by turning a max speed of 120 mpg. This was the fastest run back to back all week.

Bracket Champion – Yamaha Sidewinder SRX LE.
Ski-Doo vs Ski-Doo (for kicks)
Well, we all wanted to see this race as the 900 ACE turbo impressed all of our riders. These machines were close. As stated in the October issue, the 900 ACE Turbo was dynoed by DynoTech at 162 HP, while the 850 E-TEC turned a max HP of 166HP. The 900 ACE Turbo had a slight advantage with its slightly shorter track. The winner … well, it depends. An intriguing race would be to see a 137-inch Backcountry 850 E-TEC run against the Renegade 900 ACE turbo. Overall, we have to say that this truly was a tie, and our ¼-mile run results backed up this data.
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
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.