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October 17, 2011
We Ride The 2012 Ski-Doo Summit 600
Is the 2012 Ski-Doo Summit 600 better than the 2011?
Yes, although you have to look at it in a glass-half-full kind of way. There were two Summit 600s last year and only one this year. So the 2012 Summit SP 600 is better than the 2011 Summit Everest 600. But the 2011 Summit X 600 had a better shock package that you can’t get for 2012.
What is the most significant change from the 2011?
Ski-Doo offered the 600 E-Tec in two models for 2011: Summit Everest and Summit X. For 2012, that offering has been slimmed down to one model: the Summit SP 600.
The 2012 Summit SP can be thought of as a blend of features from both models offered last year. Last year’s Summit Everest came with Pilot 6.9 skis while the X got the new Pilot DS ski. The 2012 Summit SP 600 gets the better Pilot DS ski.
The 2012 Summit SP 600 also gets the multi-function analog/digital gauge, a new stainless steel brake line for the Brembo brake, PowderMax II track and the new Rev-XP narrow seat with storage and a new graphics package.
What did Ski-Doo change on the 2012 engine?
Nothing. It's identical to the 2011 600 E-Tec. Which is good, because there was nothing wrong with the 2011 engine.
How good is the 600 E-Tec's powerband?
As close to perfect as a snowmobile engine has ever been. BRP did its homework with the E-Tec engine. Throttle response is crisp and clean and the engine pulls hard from engagement to peak rpm.
What did Ski-Doo change on the clutching and drive train?
Nothing is different from the 2011 model.
Are there any changes to the chassis for 2012?
No. The Rev-XP platform returns unchanged from 2011. The 2012 features the S-36 handling package, which was a big change going into last season.
What changed on the suspension?
By slimming down to a single model for the 600 E-Tec, Ski-Doo did away with the HPG Plus shock package for the 2012 Summit SP 600. The HPG shocks are still a high-quality aluminum shock, so the 2012 Summit SP 600 is still a winner in shock hardware compared to other “base model” offerings.
The SC-5M rear suspension returns for 2012, and there’s really no need to change this skid. As it sits, it’s the best mountain rear suspension Ski-Doo has ever offered in a production sled.
How does the 2012 Summit 600 handle?
Like we said, with the SC-5M skid and HPG shocks, the Summit SP 600 is a complete package. The rear suspension has possibly the broadest range of damping performance, meaning you get excellent ride quality from small braking bumps to shelled-out backcountry trail moguls.
The Summit SP 600 is one of those sleds that is just flat-out easy to ride in any conditions. It powers through deep snow better than you would expect a 600 to. It crawls around trees, holds a good sidehill and floats through powder.
What did we like?
Seat: The new Rev-XP narrow seat is a great addition because it finally gives the sled some storage space.
Pilot DS ski: It’s a superior mountain ski to the Pilot 6.9.
PowderMax II track: The Summit floats better than ever now.
Multi-function gauge: It’s another X-package feature brought over to the SP. Good move.
What did we hate?
Downhill powder turns: The Summit is the toughest sled to make go downhill on its side or go from a downhill descent into a quick turn back uphill.
Steering sweep: The steering post design of the Summit Rev-XP chassis makes the inside grip dip low on a turn while the outside grip raises up high. We’d prefer a flatter-steering sweep.
What’s our quick response to “How’d you like the new Summit SP 600?”
The Summit 600 was our favorite 600 mountain sled last year by a landslide. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up to new competition. (Catch the 600-class feature in November SnoWest.)
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