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First Test: SLP Mowhawk Ski on Summit XM

Published online: Jan 10, 2014 Feature
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We spent the day riding Starting Line Product's new Mohawk ski on our 2014 Summit 800 163 yesterday. Here's what we think.

Design: The SLP Mohawk is a hybrid of the Straight Line Tracking (SLT) ski and the Powder Pro ski. The bottom of the ski and the center keel mimic the SLT design, while the Powder wing and vertical side walls are derived from the Powder Pro. The powder wing is not as pronounced as the Powder Pro, and the tail of the ski tapers in where the Powder Pro squares off. 

The Mohawk is nearly an inch wider than the Powder pro, but half a pound lighter per ski. This comes from a new injection mold with tighter tolerances. 

Additionally, the Mowhawk has more flexibility than both the SLT and Powder Pro, allowing it to absorb bumps and impacts better and act as part of the front end's suspension. 

The Mohawk features a new grab handle that is extremely resilient and flexible. The loop can be bent, twisted, pulled on and ran over and it will spring back to its original shape. 

The Mohawk has aggressive traction ridges on top of the ski for stepping onto when you're climbing out of a hole or moving around on the sled. They're also the reason for the ski's name.

The Mohawk uses the same saddles and wear bars as previous SLP skis. 

Preformance: This is purely a mountain riding review based on the Ski-Doo Summit XM. We're comparing the Mowhawk to the stock Summit ski on this particular review, although we'll through in a few comments about the Powder Pro mainluy because of its popularity out West. 

OEM skis have become narrower in recent years. Arctic Cat's M ski and Ski-Doo's Summit ski are good examples. The idea is to allow the inside ski to cut into the snow on sidehills, so the rider isn't having to lift so much of the outside weight. This design obviously gives up a lot of flotation. 

Also, if you look at the Summit's ski, notice how flat it is, how there's no lip on the outer edges, and how square the keel is. 

Compare that to the Mohawk. The keel and base of the ski has a rocker shape to it. The outer edges have turned-down lips, and the keel is a little more of a V-shape. Also, the outer sides of the ski have verticle walls beneath the powder wings. All of these design attributes make for a good mountain/sidehilling ski. 

The Mohawk's width makes it float extremely well, while the rocker base keeps it from feeling like a wide ski. There are three edges that can hold onto snow on a sidehill, compared to the Summit's ski which has only the center keel. Also, the edges of the Summit's ski can slice into the snow, offering no lateral support when the sled is tipped on its side into a sidehill. 

The sides of the Mohawk provide an edge that rides on snow and gives the rider a little extra control on sidehills. Much the way the Powder Pro ski does. However, the Mohawk's tail section has what we would call a less aggressive profile. It's an easier ski to steer sidehills with. 

On trails, hard snow or just on non-sidehilling, climbing situations, the Mohawk has a very predictable-yet-positive feel to it. Compared to the Summit's ski, the Mohawk offers much more control and traction in cornering. Where the stock ski will push and slide out, the Mohawk takes a better bite in the snow. But not as aggressive as a Powder Pro. Again, the SLT-inspired bottom design is a little more rider-friendly on hard snow. These skis really are the best of both worlds.

The Mohawk ribs on the top of the ski are great boot traction. If you can't figure out why skis need traction on top of the ski, go find 8 feet of snow, get stuck next to a tree, step off and sink up to your belly and try to climb back out of the snow and over to the other side of your snowmobile. You'll understand then. 

Up next: We'll try these skis out on a 2014 Arctic Cat M8000 Sno Pro, a 2014 Polaris Pro RMK 800 and a Yamaha Viper XTX. 

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