The Ski-Doo ACE would seem to be the obvious choice for my daily commute, considering it arrived in my well-tracked front yard when current fuel prices are leaving my wallet feeling anorexic. Bombardier’s claims of 29mpg seem too good to be true in a sport where a machine achieving half those numbers is accepted as the norm. Advanced Combustion Efficiency is the way that mileage marker was reached with a 600 cc twin-cylinder four-stroke engine through square bore/stroke numbers, optimized valve angles and even diamond like coatings (DLC) to get 60hp from this Austrian twin. The group from Valcourt placed this motor in the Rev X chassis, not to cheapen it up, but to have the machine look and feel just like higher end options, in a more economical package.
The first thing you’ll notice is how quiet the motor is. We expect this from non oil burning motors, but the ACE brought noise, or should I say the lack of it, to a new level of low. Keeping in mind that this will not be the first sled across the pond that your buddies decide to enhance their egos (or other things) with, like with big bore machines, but you can still sit back and laugh at the gas station while they fill up. The subdued engine prompts you to experience other noises you may have never heard before. Things like driveline lash, track howl, wind flow, and ski chatter are suddenly front and center. However they still pale in comparison to the typical wail experienced under full squeeze. What really stands out is the smooth operation of the ACE motor, almost as if there was a small electric motor under the hood, happily humming along.
With the 600 ACE secured into a Rev X chassis and given the TNT treatment, this machine has a ride like you’d expect from any current rider forward Ski-Doo, in that it is planted and has a somewhat high posted feeling from the saddle. There has always been a challenge and appreciation for riding lesser displacement machines, in that you need to focus more on keeping up your speed and being smooth, rather than using the power to make up for poor judgment or lack of riding ability. So it seems that ACE also stands for Accelerator Clamped Eternally when riding with larger displacement machines, which is why having the well calibrated suspension tied to the planted chassis, keeps this sled right in the pack at any time, unless you’re on a lake.
In stock trim, the machine failed to offer the best wind protection, and we had some issues with one hand-warmer not working consistently. As has been expected from Valcourt in recent years, fit and finish ranks high, allowing the price point ACE to be mistaken for one of its bigger and more expensive brothers. The seat seemed to offer a fair amount of padding that is firm but not uncomfortable, unless you bottom-out the suspension and contact the seat base at the same time. The footwells feel very large, far forward, and flat to the point that we found ourselves only using them on occasional rough sections of trail. Stock running boards are very flexi-flyers, but were never noticed while riding, but rather when parked and using the yellow buggy as a socializing centerpiece.
If the crew at BRP set out to build a high quality machine with good mileage, long-term durability, and an easy to ride manner in a very proven chassis, then they have succeeded. As one of our OSM starving staffers put it, the TNT ACE would be a great sled to have around to take a first-timer riding, or as a great back-up sled for the unfortunate breakdown on a trip. In the long term, the machine would be inexpensive to maintain, easy on gas, and big on quiet. J