Cool News Archive

Ski-Doo 2003

Bringing on the Heat!
By Wade West
Published: February 18, 2002
Ski-Doo will be launching one of the most aggressive lineup updates we've seen in recent years. It's definitely the strongest statement we've seen from Bombardier. There is a whole new chassis, five engines, new suspensions and more spring order options. Heck, they even revamped the Mini Z. Now that's a statement!
 
Engines
The best news from the Rotax shop is the new 2-Tec 800 SDI engine. We will finally have the opportunity to see if Semi Direct Injection is the way to clean up our two strokes. Ski-Doo reps claim up to 50 percent reductions in hydrocarbon emissions and an increase in fuel and oil economy nearing 25 percent.

The new engine uses dual injectors on each cylinder to spray the fuel/air mixture into the transfer ports. There is a central computer system associated with the SDI that keeps track of the ambient temperature, altitude, engine temperature, throttle position and engine speed in an effort to optimize the performance. The central brain has control over the injection system, ignition timing and Ski-Doos new eRAVE .The eRAVE opens and closes based on engine speed and throttle position. Rotax also incorporates a knock sensor on the SDI 800 to prevent disaster.
 
Ski-Doo plans to have the V-1000 4-Tec engine up and running in '03. While 'Doo reps won't give an exact performance level yet, we expect it to be up a little on the Arctic Cat and Polaris strokers in the cruising segment. The sleds with the V-1000 engine will use a new TRA IV clutch, designed for the unique power characteristics of the new thumper.
In the performance segment, Ski-Doo has a pair of new HO twins to boost the roost. The 600 HO is built on top of the 700 and 800 base. We expect it to produce power in the neighborhood of 112-115 hp. That should make it very competitive with the Polaris Liberty 600. the new cylinders are nicasil plated and have a redesigned exhaust port timing scheme to get the spent gases out quickly and efficiently. A new eight-petal reed cage allows the fresh fuel mixture to flow more freely into the engine.

The 800 HO is said to be boosted by seven percent, bringing it up to roughly 145 hp. Like the 600 HO, the exhaust porting has been opened up a bit. A new double-stack 16-petal reed cage flows more fuel to the engine. Finally, the compression has been cranked up by 13 percent.
 
Both HO engines have their power harnessed by the new TRA III primary clutch. The new pulley is more compact than previous iterations. It also features multi angle sheaves, ranging from 12 degrees at the center to 14 degrees at the outer rim. The new primary is said to increase belt life by up to two times.

Finally, Ski-Doo brought out a new 550cc fanner to compete with the Arctic 570 and Polaris 550 engines in the intro class. Not only is there more displacement and a new reed valve intake on this engine, but it has also had its internal workings fully remodeled. It uses a new crank, has new bearings and uses new molykoted pistons.

The Rev

Ski-Doo claims a 20-pound diet for the Rev from the ZX X chassis. For the way it handles through the corners and over the rough stuff, it could be a 60-pound reduction. I would have sincerely guessed it tipped the scales at less than its claimed 454 factory pounds. This is in great part due to the engineers' focus on centralizing the mass and lowering the center of gravity.
 
Of course, the heaviest component of any sled is its pilot. The new ergos moved that lump to the center of the sled. Additionally, the engine migrated 2.6 inches rearward and 1.25 inches lower. The engineers explained that as much as 80 percent of the mass is located around the drive axle.

The pyramidal chassis gives the Rev a very high level of torsional rigidity, something Yamaha has been crowing about since 1997. The engineering department claims that the chassis is 600 percent more torsionally rigid than the ZX platform. We'll trust them on that.
 
The engine sits in a cradle in the chassis and is attached to the walls, not the floor. This allows it to maintain its alignment, which means you won't get a lot of clutch deflection when you goose the throttle.

If a component is not made of plastic, there's a good chance that it's aluminum. As part of the weight savings, the design team eliminated almost all of the steel and replaced it with aluminum. Ski-Doo engineers have finally begun thickening the aluminum sheet used in tunnel construction. This year, it will be two millimeters thick, resulting in less demand for bolstering and reinforcing. Thicker material actually reduced the overall weight at the same durability.
 
There is a full cadre of new features that make good sense. By designing the sled from a blank page, Ski-Doo engineers were able to finally do some of the things that made sense as well as try some new concepts. The back end of the tunnel is articulated, and bends to follow the curve of the track over the upper idler. It's connected to the rear idler for rigidity and to tie it into the suspension's travel. Snow is contained and routed up to the heat exchanger, then ejected up front. The net result is better cooling and reduced roosting. Following a Rev (and a lot of riders will be following) doesn't result in a face full of snow. However, it did show some troubles with digging in while backing up in fresh snow.
 
The trunk is actually the hard plastic tail cone of the seat. It opens from the top, and is huge. Ski-Doo also designed the seat to accept an optional passenger seat, similarly to a street bike.

Getting your hands on the mechanical parts of the sled will be generally easier than on conventional sleds. The plastic panels surrounding the engine compartment come off without the need for tools. This exposes the clutch and the chaincase for direct access. The main difficulty will be in accessing the cylinders themselves. If you have to pull the heads, you may be looking at a full engine extraction. But really, think about how many more times will you want to adjust the clutch calibration than you will want to pull your pistons out. Ski-Doo even cast a small nib on the carb boot so the hose clamp won't spin out of range when you're tightening or loosening that little bolt.
 
Other quality of life issues Ski-Doo addressed with the Rev include putting the headlight adjustment knobs on the top side of the plastic, so you're not lifting the hood, making adjustments and testing. Only to have to do it over and over to get it right.
The running boards have punched out traction bars. The controls for the warmers, RER, electric start and high beams are all on the left side handlebar, with oversized switches for easy glove operation.

The RAS double A-arm front suspension is a lightweight thing of beauty. The spindle is extruded aluminum and serves simply as a connection and pivot point, not as a hinge housing as other designs do. The whole package is said to be four pounds lighter than competitive designs.

The SC-10 III had its travel extended, thanks to the funky Rev tunnel. Expect 14.5 inches of vertical travel out of the skidframe. The Sport package uses the new HPG-VR shock on both arms. Due to the revised ride position, that center shock is more important than ever. The bulk of the sled's mass is located within a foot of that location, including the driver. While you naturally absorb a lot more of the force of impact with your legs, it's still nice to have that HPG shock doing its job. The X package will use an HPG take apart shock on the center and a C-46 race shock on the rear.
 
 
 
Big Iron
Ski-Doo will return the Mach Z to the model mix. We're not certain how long this sled will remain in the mix, but it's at least here for one more season. Cat and Yamaha have already dropped their triples, so you know the market is sagging fast. Triple triple fans will probably want to look into buying an extra one as a spare.

The Mach Z will finally sport the SC-10 III rear suspension and dual runner skis for better trail manners.
 
High Performance

This is where the Ski-Doo line gets a little interesting. Pay attention now… the Rev chassis will be available all season long in the Sport suspension package. You can choose between the standard 800 twin or the new 600 HO engine.

The MX Z in the ZX X chassis will also be available to consumers all season. The Adrenaline is realigned as the top shelf suspension package in the ZX X platform. Its SC-10 III rear will sport HPG shocks, with the Variable Rate unit in the rear arm. A 1-inch lug track will be the standard. The Adrenaline will offer 500, 600 HO, 700 and 800 twins.
 
The Trail package follows with slightly downgraded suspension options. It will have the 500 and 600 Series 3 mills as options.

Finally, the Fan package will sport the Camoplast blow molded ski under the front. The new 550 fan and 380 engine will be the options.

The MX Z Renegade will be on the ZX X platform again this year. The SC-10 III rear suspension has been stretched out to 136 inches, and uses the HPG VR shock on the rear arm. The Renegade will come standard with the riser block-adjustable race handlebars with hooks this year. Look for the 600 HO or 800 engines.
 
Mountain

Ski-Doo will offer three Summit packages for the full season. The Fan package will use the new 550 engine. The new Adrenaline and Highmark Summits come with the same features, except track length. Both feature white-faced electronic gauges, hooked riser handlebars, and a fuel can rack over the tunnel extension. Both models carry the offset powder ski and the adjustable ski stance spindles. The Adrenaline spins a 144-inch track, while the Highmark churns a big 151.

Adrenaline engine options include the new 800 HO, 700 or 600 Series 3 with DPM. Highmark consumers will choose between the 800 HO or 700 Series 3 with DPM
 
Sport Cruisers
The Legend line has been simplified down to three packages, Fan, Sport and SE.
The Legend Fan is available with the new 550 or 380 twin. The econo-cruisier will also sport the Camoplast blow molded plastic skis this year.

The Sport package will utilize the VR shocks in the rear suspension. Legend Sport buyers will have four engine choices this season. They will have the 500, 600 and 700 Series 3 twins, plus the new V-1000. All sport package sleds will feature the dual runner skis, electronic gauge cluster and the control pod on the left side hand grip, including the electric start button.

The Legend SE will run the SC-10 III rear. Consumers will be able to run the new 800 SDI engine with the TRA III clutch or the 600 or 700 Series 3 engines.
 
Touring
The Grand Touring line follows the Legend group, as far as componentry. There will be a Fan, Sport and SE package for the two up sleds. The stretched out SC-10 III offers 11.5 inches of rear travel. The SE rear suspension has a new twist on the Air Ski-Doo system we've loved for five years: Auto Air. A small compressor will automatically adjust the ride height by adding or removing pressure in the shock body. "It'll be tuned in to the right setting within three or four bumps," said Product Manager Christian St. Onge. "Consumers will never have to do any adjusting."

Utility
Ski-Doo has identified the utility sled buyer as someone who may also want to use the sled for a little fun. The new SUV package features a new curved trailing arm design on the front and two shocks on the rear. "Trailing arms are no good in the deep snow," explained St. Onge. "You drag snow and hit things. This new curved design does not drag in the snow." If this works on the Skandic, we can easily foresee curved arms on next year's Summits.

The Skandic SUV will use the 600 Series 3 twin for power. Its 20x156x1.25-inch track should provide ample flotation over any snow condition. The Skandic Sport is the first sport utility sled based on the ZX chassis. It'll have the 550 fan engine, cargo rack and hitch and 136x.912-inch track. Ski-Doo will continue to offer the Skandic LT, WT and SWT models as well as the Tundra.

Kid sled

The Mini Z had a facelift this year, to support the Rev styling. It will also have A-arm front suspension, hyfax and a new track.

Final word

Ski-Doo isn't messing around with its 2003 lineup. A new chassis or a new engine would have gotten the company by for another year. But instead, it's bringing on the heat with high output engines, clean-running engines and a completely new chassis. Be sure to stop by one of the Ski-Doo spring tour shows and see the mall for yourself.
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