Without a doubt, the 800 mountain class is the premier class
of the 2008 season. All four major OEMs are represented and the dirt-bike like Snow
Hawk even has an 800 in the mix.
With last season’s Summit
800R engine and the M8, combined with Polaris’ new RMK 800, the horsepower
classification of the 800 class has raised to 150 hp. That takes in the Yamaha Apex
Mountain, making for a
four-color slug fest on the mountain.
The big news makers for the ‘08 season are the new Ski-Doo
XP chassis and the Polaris 800 RMK. Arctic Cat’s M8 has a few key updates, like
improved running boards and new rear suspension. And Yamaha marks its 40th
year in snowmobiling with an anniversary edition Apex Mountain.
The 2008 Ski-Doo Everest 800R with a 154-inch track weighs
in at a claimed brochure weight of 439 lbs. The 2007 Summit Adrenaline 800R 151
had a published weight of 483 lbs., making the new model 44 lbs. lighter.
Where’d they lose the weight? The chassis itself is 13 lbs. lighter … and the
seat, drivetrain, front and rear suspensions, steering system, track and other
areas all got the Jenny Craig treatment. Ski-Doo also claims the new chassis is
37 percent stronger than the old Rev. The ‘08 model also features a new
secondary clutch, better footing, new track design, new gauges and new rear
suspension. Actually, everything but the engine and skis are new.
There is just as much excitement in the Polaris camp over
the new RMK 800 Dragon. While the chassis has been proven by the popularity and
success of last season’s Dragon RMK, the 800 is a totally new sled in Polaris’
The Cleanfire 800 twin monoblock pumps out 154 hp. You can
get the 800 Dragon RMK in two track lengths: 155 and 163. The 155 is the base
model and doesn’t get as many perks as the 163. The 163 has no front cooler
(for less weight), has standard ice scratchers in the rear suspension and gets
the 163 series 5.1 track with 2.4 inch lugs. The 163 version of the 800 Dragon
RMK weighs the same as the 155 800 Dragon RMK.
But the motor isn’t the only thing that makes this sled
stand out in its class. The RMK’s suspension is so impressive, you’d swear the
groomer had somehow made its way up the single track backcountry trails. The
front IQ IFS suspension features Ryde FX shocks on the standard RMK and Walker
Evans Air shocks on the upgraded Dragon RMK.
We are also impressed with the RMK’s chassis. The footing is
solid, the balance is good, the chassis rides light and the handling is excellent.
Like we said, the chassis has been on the snow for a year and it’s dialed in
and ready for the new engine.
Arctic Cat engineers spent the season trying to get the M8’s
weight back to pre-reverse numbers without removing the reverse. They accomplished
that goal, primarily by developing a new rear suspension that utilizes a Fox
Float air shock as the rear track shock. The weight is back down and the sled
rides better as well. The new rear skid absorbs big holes better than the ‘07
version did, which is a welcome change.
The 2008 M8 also features a new running board design and
reinforced tunnel sides. The new running board opens up the boards for quick
snow evacuation and adds traction to the edge roll.
SnoPro versions of the M8 feature a new Deluxe Gauge that
displays analog and/or digital speed and tach readouts. The new gauge also has
Yamaha put most of its development time into the new 700 class
Nytro, so the Apex
Mountain went into ‘08
virtually unchanged. The sled still features the 4-cylinder 1000cc, 150 hp
Genesis FI (Fuel Injected). It’s a solid motor in a proven chassis. Its biggest
downside is the weight, but the guys who buy the Apex Mountain
only to throw a turbo or supercharger on it don’t really seem to be bothered
much by weight.
Snow Hawk’s 800 H.O. Mountain features the popular and
reliable Rotax 800 H.O. twin, good for 140 hp. You can get one with a 144, 151
or 159 Camoplast Challenger Extreme track. There is also an Enduro and Trail
version of the 800 Snow Hawk, both with 136 tracks.
Mfgers represented Arctic
Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, Yamaha
(includes Spring only models)
Average MSRP $10,549
Estimated average horsepower 150
Track range—length 146-163
Track range—depth 2.25-2.4
Weight range 425-596
Details in which issue October,
Mfgers represented AD
Average MSRP $12,749
Estimated average horsepower 140
Track range—length 144-159
Track range—depth 2.3
Weight range 412
Details in which issue November,