By Mark Boncher
Better than the Beatles? This European invasion is certainly going to go down as a famous move at a highpoint in snowmobile genre’s. Bombardier, the maker of Ski-Doo snowmobiles announced that it is not only bringing all kinds of new models, engine options, and technology for 2022, but also that several models of the formerly ‘only available in Europe’ Lynx brand of snowmobiles will be sold here in North America. Wow-ee!
If that’s not enough, almost every segment of Ski-Doo’s line gets something new for this next year. No doubt a massive uptick in sled sales from covid sparked some of these decisions, but even with that, this is a deluge of new product from the Canadian headquartered manufacturer.
Almost too much to mention in an overview such as this, but let’s start with the trails and crossover sleds. After last year putting everything in the Gen 4 chassis and new RasX and rMotionX rear suspensions introduced, this year Ski-Doo focused on the ride even more. They added the Pilot X skis to several models including the TNT and Renegade, but more importantly Ski-Doo announced a new automatic semi-active shock and suspension system. Dubbed Smart Shox, it is another step toward high performance automotive-level engineering being brought into the snowmobile world.
Smart Shox utilize new KYB Pro front and rear twin tube shock absorbers that work in concert with a control module in the nose of the sled that has 5 unique position sensors. On the console there is a toggle switch with 3 different positions that range from a soft ‘comfort’ touring level, to a medium stiffness with the more ‘sport’ ride, to the hardest level with a more performance and aggressive ‘sport +’ shock setting. Working incredibly quickly to adjust compression and rebound these Smart Shox can change and adjust your ride through whoops, corners, and whatever terrain you throw at them up to 50 times per second.
Like sophisticated active terrain control in many high-end cars and trucks, this system can control pitch, roll, bottoming, landing and more… and you can change from these 3 settings on the fly. You can get the Smart Shox on the spring-buy MXZ and Renegade X-RS models, plus the new Mach Z.
Speaking of the Mach Z… it is back! How many years have we heard dealers and consumers begging for a new big bad monster to return? If memory serves me correct the last time a new Mach was announced was MY2005. The new 2022 version comes with a new 900 ACE Turbo R motor putting out 180hp. This is an accelerated version of the 4-stroke turbo and will be used in the Mach, MXZ, Renegade, Enduro, and Grand Touring lines. The old 150hp turbo stays in the Expedition line. This motor has 20% more power and comes with an activated throttle cable with the iTC that actually has resistance, so it is much more user friendly, natural, and safer feel. Boost is up to 17.4 PSI (insane number!), new intake muffler, intercooler, turbine, motor mounts and clutch components.
Plus the Mach is the only sled with exclusive ‘launch control’. If you’ve ever seen a big 4-stroke turbo at a straight-line speed race you’ve no doubt witnessed what these launch control systems can do. Instant speed and boost off the line with just holding a button. Other speed specific goodies on the Mach include a 1.5-inch lower ride height and choice of a 137x15x1.25 inch Ripsaw (pre-marked for studding) or Ice Ripper XT track. From personal experience, the launch mode will make any speed-freak giddy. It’s like pressing the ‘insane’ button on an all-wheel drive Tesla… which I highly suggest anyone try just once, with your significant other in the car!
As if one new turbo motor was not enough Ski-Doo announced a new 130hp 900 ACE Turbo configuration as well. This motor will be available on the MXZ and Renegade Adrenaline, Enduro, and the Grand Touring Limited. The Enduro is possibly the most versatile sled in the line now with 5 motor options (850, 600R, 900 ACE Turbo R, 900 ACE Turbo 130, and 900 ACE) but we will have more on that sled in subsequent articles. Sticking with the new 130 motor, the power puts it squarely in the realm of the 650 2-stroke from Polaris, and the 130 hp 4-stroke motor from Yamaha. But as a 4-stroke turbo it is a much different feel than either of the other competing 130hp class motors in production. This little motor is grunty too, and with no fall off on power at elevation it has plenty of upside. Especially for someone who likes to ride trails in various areas across Canada or the US, this is a cool new option.
Another new sled in the trails is the spring-only Renegade X-RS with ‘Competition Package’. This is basically a cross-country race-ready sled which means it comes with the 600R motor per race rules. What sets this sled apart is a reinforced rMotion X rear skid, KYB PRO 40R EA front and PRO 40 EA rear shocks, plus a different 90mm high RS handlebar riser. There’s a low windshield, handguards, lightweight one-piece side panels, and 137x15x1.25 inch pre-marked track for studding as well. Since weight is an issue with racing this comes with only a pull-cord start.
The Backcountry line is basically the same for 2022 but the Sport model has a 1.35 lug Cobra track or 16x146x2.0 lug Powdermax track as an option.
Mountain’s do not go untouched
Like we mentioned in the sidebar, the mountain sleds get 2 sets of LinQ mounts as standard, which will be great for different days, packs, goups, and more. There’s even a new redesigned LinQ snowboard and ski rack! More on that to come, but the options on the accessory side are only getting better.
The Freeride is back with 146, 154, or 165 inch options and the 146 comes with a sea-level calibration only and electric start option. The new ‘Arctic Desert’ graphics are daring as well, but we like the limited edition Freeride that come with a glovebox integrated with the one-piece lightweight hood. It is perfect for goggles, waters, extra gloves or whatever else you want to bring with you.
The spring only Summit Expert package also returns with a new 34-36 inch adjustable ski stance. The 34 inch stance is certainly something that will make a few heads turn. With either the 850 Turbo, or standard 850 motors this stance will allow riders to more easily perform side-hills, but also sneak between the trees and generally be more agile without as large of body movements. There’s a new brake reservoir protector and both the Expert and X spring models are available in 154, 165, and 175 inch lengths… note the 175 comes with the 850 turbo motor only. SHOT ultracapacitor starting system is standard as is the small lightweight seat and short tunnel with mini-snow flap. The spring X model gets the new-last-year lightweight hood, and lighter front and center shock springs.
In season sleds include yet another brand new model being the Summit ‘Edge’. This machine is a hybrid between the lower end SP and X models. It has the 850 2-stroke ETEC motor, short tunnel, SHOT starter smaller seat, and is available in the same three mountain sled lengths as the X. The SP is no longer available in the long 175-inch track with 3-inch lug… it is worth mentioning again that the wider 16-inch tracks on the Ski-Doo’s provide a lot more footprint than the standard 15-inch wide machines.
Utility and Touring gets a boost
We mentioned it earlier, but there are now more options than ever in Ski-Doo’s broad touring and utility lines. The Expedition line (new SE, LE, SWT, Xtreme, and Sport) are all in the Gen 4 chassis and have lots of motor choices depending on sled (850, 600R, old 900 ACE Turbo 150, 900 ACE, 600 ACE, and new-last-year 600 EFI). There are heated visor and plugs on all of these too!
The Grand Touring gets the big boost options of the new 900 ACE Turbo R, new 900 ACE Turbo 130 or standard 900 ACE. This has been a big selling area due to new people getting in the sport, being outdoors more often, and wanting to tour. Plus it has the Ice Silent track II and bit new 7.8-inch LCD display. This display is also on a lot of other models, but cripes, there are soooo many models this year from Ski-Doo we can’t list everything!
The venerable Skandic utility line goes virtually unchanged except for colors. Still available in the SWT, WT, and Sport version.
Lynx Storms North America
They’re here! The long anticipated launch of Lynx snowmobiles into North America is happening! For those who don’t know, BRP has owned Lynx snowmobiles for a long time and until now they were the main show in Scandinavian countries and throughout Europe. I’ve have the chance to ride them before in places like Iceland, and many of us in the media have begged for BRP to make them available in Canada and the US. We are extremely excited to have them here, and any sled enthusiast should be too!
If you are language challenged like me, you can’t roll your RRR’s but the correct annunciation is the RRRaaaVe’, for this incredibly fun ripping racer. Developed on the harsh Nordic race-tracks overseas, the Rave RE 3500 850 E-TEC is meant to give incredible control on rough trails. Over there most trails are not nicely groomed into a pancake, they are more like driving through scrambled egg snow.
This is a 137-inch machine (do the math from 3500mm in metric) and it rides on the awesome PPS3 rear suspension. This is a beefy rear skid and not much on the Rave (or any Lynx sleds) is really made for extreme weight reduction. It is meant for durability and to handle an aggressive, agile rider. The first iteration of the PPS was geared for snocross in 2007 and this is the newest version. It is an independent long travel suspension meant to feel more motocross-like than the more planted trail rear suspensions most sleds in North America are focused on. There is a rising rate calibration on the coil-over rear arm shock/spring and additional bracing to the skid. KYB 46 HLCR Kashima coated shocks are in the rear and front arms. The transfer is predictable and fun. After only a few hours riding this it was quickly a test rider favorite in smooth and whooped out trails.
A wide ski stance of 42.2 inches as well as the Blade XC+ skis keep the front end predictable and flat in the corners. We cannot over-emphasize how much we like these skis and they are a wider 170mm with 3-stepped keel that is in between a good crossover ski and mountain ski. An Ice Ripper XT 1.5-inch lug track churns the snow and this one really flies out of the hole.
The other two Lynx models announced were the Boondocker DS 3900 and 4100 (154” and 165”) with Powdermax Flex-edge 2.5 inch and 3.0 inch lugged tracks respectively. These deep snow models use the Radien DS chassis with short tunnel and unique snow guard/deflector in back for cooling. Round side panels and skinny tank and seat allow for massive maneuverability by the rider. Wide Blade DS+ skis are great for floatation, predictability and transitioning from soft to hard pack snow.
Another version of the PPS suspension is slid under the Boondockers, the PPS2-DS. The special rear arm design mounted to the rails cuts down on snow build-up and there are KYB 36 Kashima coated shocks here too, and above the skis. You get a slightly wider 36-inch ski stance than the 34 inches on the new Ski-Doo mountain sleds. Another unique note is that the 3900 has sea level calibration on the 850 motor and the 4100 has the high altitude calibration.
You owe it to yourself to try these three Lynx models at some point, and no doubt you will see plenty on the trails next winter!
Stackable LinQ System
For anyone looking to do long backpack trips or if you are just the guy in the group that carries the tools, tow straps, etc. then the new LinQ modular cargo box is a necessity. You can stack a couple of these on top of each other and lock them in. Plus these sealed boxes have a big 10 liter capacity for everything you need. Just one more addition to the fantastic line of LinQ accessories which are the easiest to use and smartest in the industry. Plus you get a set of LinQ mounts on many of the trail sleds, and 2 sets on almost all of the crossover and off-trail sleds as standard issue for 2022. It’s not an expensive part, but certainly a nice touch for everyone.
Jumping on the Linx Rave, I quickly found out it was a different animal than its Ski-Doo Renegade cousin. Even though it shares many components between them, the Rave has a significantly higher fun factor on and off the trail. Running the PPS 3 suspension through any type of trail conditions delivered consistent control and comfort while planted on its cush seat!
Here’s what you do when you get yours….. Sit down, start it up and immediately figure out how to initiate launch mode. Then proceed to use it at EVERY opportunity possible. No, seriously this sled is quick and you wont be able to resist the “Clutch drop” launch mode to blow away your buddies off the line. Riding this sled you can feel a bit of extra weight in the front end compared to the two stroke equivalent but the power and the turbo blowoff sound reminding you that its ready to throw you back on command, will make you quickly forget.