you thought Ski-Doo would sit back and take a breather after launching one of
the biggest lineup changes in recent snowmobile history, you might want to
Ski-Doo just couldn’t wait for the official 2009 season to roll around—it had
to launch a midseason release of its latest creation, the 2009 MX Z TNT with
the impressive Rotax 600 H.O. E-TEC engine. Ski-Doo released a few models of
the MX Z TNT to its dealers in January and will roll out a full complement of
the sleds for 2009.
provide the skinny on the 600 E-TEC in the companion Ski-Doo story in this
section of March SnoWest, seeing as
you can get the same engine in Summit
dress. In all, the new direct injection two stroke that borrows technology from
Evinrude outboard engines (which Bombardier Recreational Products also happens
to own), will come in a slew of spring-only and in-season trail models as well
as the Summit X (154-inch spring-only) and Summit Everest (146-inch model).
also took direct aim at what is perceived as Yamaha’s corner on the four-stroke
market by unleashing a new Rotax 4-TEC 1200 four-stroke, which you’ll find in
2009 MX Z, GSX and GTX trail models.
had a chance to throw a leg over sleds with those respective new powerplants in
them in late January. After riding an MX Z with the E-TEC, we’re even more
anxious to see how it performs in a Summit.
though horsepower numbers (118-119) are the same for the E-TEC and the SDI it
replaces, some hard core enthusiasts might notice a slight performance
difference between the two (the SDI doing a touch better) in midrange. However,
we think most sledders won’t notice any difference at all. We’re withholding judgment
in that department until we get more seat time. Consumers who buy any Ski-Doo
with the E-TEC probably should too, as it has a six-hour break in period. We’ve
made a note, too, when we get the chance to ride the E-TEC again to take it
where we can stretch its legs. The tight, twisty trails we first rode the
E-TEC-equipped MX Z didn’t allow us to really open it up. There were plans to
allow us to run the sled across a lake but poor visibility nixed those plans.
No Smelly Here
will verify one of the claims Ski-Doo makes about the E-TEC’s emissions and
smoke. The one sure way, perhaps, to tell about a sled’s emissions is how your
riding gear smells after a ride. There was no nasty two-stroke after smell on
our riding gear after dialing up some miles on the machine. That was definitely
a pleasant surprise.
also rubber stamp Ski-Doo’s claim that the sled starts with the first
excited as the crew over at Ski-Doo is about the E-TEC, they’re just as giddy
about the 4-TEC. Ski-Doo officials made no effort to conceal their desire to
gain a share of the four-stroke market, which is obviously dominated by Yamaha
fact, when taking a serious look at developing a four-stroke, Yamaha was the
target. So says François Tremblay, director
of marketing, Ski-Doo snowmobiles. “Yamaha was our benchmark,” Tremblay said.
Ski-Doo also pointed out that the 4-TEC isn’t Bombardier’s first foray into
four-stroke technology. The company has four-strokes in its watercraft and
Can-Am ATVs as well as helping develop engines for BMW, Aprilia and Buell
motorcycles. Now a Rotax four-stroke has finally made its way into snowmobiles.
a minute, you say, Ski-Doo has had four-strokes before, like the V-1000 (first
introduced in 2003) and the V-800, which came out two seasons ago. The
difference here, though, is that Ski-Doo is pushing the 4-TEC as a performance
four-stroke. The V-1000 and V-800 could hardly be labeled as performance
engines. When the MX Z was listed as one of the homes for the 4-TEC, that
should have raised some eyebrows. No, that’s not a typo. Ski-Doo is
purposefully trying to make a statement (a bold one at that) that it is aiming
squarely at the 600cc/130 hp class (although most 600s have a horsepower rating
around 120). The 130 more evenly matches up with the output of the Genesis EFI
engine found in Yamaha’s Nytro lineup. This Genesis is also a three-cylinder
engine with a 1049cc displacement.
the 4-TEC might be an overachiever in the 600 class with its 1170cc, inline
three-cylinder powerplant. with dual overhead cams, finger followers and
electronic fuel injection. It also has a single counterbalancer.
also brags about this engine’s fuel economy and emissions. You expect a
four-stroke to be fairly clean, but according to Ski-Doo’s EPA figures, this
engine is almost squeaky clean in the Normalized Emission Rate (NER) category.
The NER is an emissions formula involving hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide
(trust us you don’t want any more details than that—it’s boring). Starting with
0 as “clean,” the scale just goes up from there. On that scale, the 4-TEC
registers a 0, while the Genesis 130 EFI rates a 1.6. Based on those numbers is
how Ski-Doo makes the claim its four-stroke is cleaner than the comparable
the gas-sipping department, Ski-Doo is claiming the 4-TEC gets 18.3 mpg. Using
that number, then, say with the MX Z’s gas tank size of 10.6 gallons, trail
riders should be able to go 194 miles on a tank. That’s pretty impressive. Of
course, you need to factor in the weight of the sled, riders and any gear. For
example, you can get the 4-TEC in Ski-Doo’s luxo touring GTX model. The sled
carries two riders and about an acre of gear (okay, that’s a little bit of an
exaggeration), but needless to say you’re probably not going to get that kind
of range when all loaded down.
just ooze out of the 4-TEC, just like the E-TEC. Aside from perhaps the gas
mileage, what will a consumer notice about Ski-Doo’s new four-stroke? One thing
right off the bat when climb aboard and take off is the easy throttle pull. If
you didn’t know it was a Ski-Doo and you pulled the trigger, you would never
guess it was a Ski-Doo. The throttle pull is very light. We think the Summit 800Rs could take
some cues from this.
might also notice the sound of the engine. The 4-TEC’s easy trigger is due, in
part, due to its single 52mm throttle body (the 800R has two throttle bodies).
again, like emissions, you expect the sound to be different on a four-stroke
compared to its two-stroke counterparts. Yes, the 4-TEC is quiet, but Ski-Doo
wanted a bit more from the sound of the machine. So, BRP worked with Austrian consultants
to tune the exhaust, using state-of-the-art European sports cars as the
benchmarks. The goal was to produce a sound “somewhere between the high
frequencies of super bikes and the low rumble of V-twin bikes and muscle cars,”
interesting twist to this engine is the use of the aforementioned “finger
followers.” That technology is similar to what you’d find in a BMW 804 engine
and allows the engine builders to reduce the mass in the valvetrain as well as
reduce engine noise.
trait four-strokes are famous for is less required maintenance than a
two-stroke. Simply change the oil and filter once a season or if you’re a high
miler, once every 1,865 miles.
course, you can’t talk about Ski-Doo these days without talking weight and it
doesn’t matter if you’re talking trails or mountains, Ski-Doo is bent on
reducing and keeping weight off all its sleds.
no different with the 4-TEC. The 4-TEC required a new chassis so Ski-Doo built
a variant of the Rev XP, the Rev XR. It’s very similar to the XP, sharing many
of the same components and lightweight features. So, even when you put a
four-stroke into a lighter chassis, it rides lighter, simply because the engine
isn’t being required to power around a heavy chassis. According to Ski-Doo
figures, the 2009 MX Z TNT with the 1200 4 TEC weighes 499 lbs., making it lighter
than any comparable brand.
the engine, Rotax uses magnesium (36 percent lighter than aluminum) and
polyamide (60 percent lighter than aluminum) components to keep that weight
mass as light as possible.
two new engines and two new chassis (the Rev XR and XU—the XU is for utility
models), nobody can accuse Ski-Doo of nodding off after so much success last
in Ski-Doo folder
TNT 1200 4T 3-4
accommodate the bigger 1200 four-stroke engine, Ski-Doo had to redesign the Rev
XP chassis and this is the result, the Rev XR. The XR shares many of the same
components as the XP, including its lightweight features.
4 TEC 2571
didn’t get the new MX Z with the 4-TEC four-stroke engine airborne (yet) but we
did get a chance to ride it and think this could be a big hit for Ski-Doo,
which is taking aim at the four-stroke market. Preseason numbers show the MX Z
four-stroke to tip the scales at 509 lbs. That will turn some heads.
125 4 TEC Engine
is aiming squarely at the 130 horsepower market with its new Rotax 1200 4-TEC
engine, which the company is stressing is a “performance” engine, not a sleeper
like its four-strokes of yesteryear like the V-1000. The 3-cylinder powerplant
is said to get 18.3 mpg, which is pretty impressive for the snowmobile market.
also find Ski-Doo’s other new motor for 2009 in an MX Z model, along with
several other models, including the Summit.
The E-TEC borrows technology from Evinrude outboard motors, which, like
Ski-Doo, is owned by Bombardier Recreational Products.