We Ride The 2013 Ski-Doo Summit 800R XM

News, Ski-Doo
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By Lane Lindstrom

It's been a long month for us. You know how it is. You know something but you can't say anything to anyone about it or a while.

That's us for the past three and a half weeks. We caught a glimpse of the new Summits in late January at the media sneak peeks in Minneapolis. Then we waited another couple of weeks to ride the new Summit, which Ski-Doo labels "re-imagined."

That's probably not the word we would have picked. We would probably have said something like, "The Summit Rev XM has just ramped up the competition in the western market to a whole new level." It's a little longer but it definitely fits what Ski-Doo brings to the mountains for 2013.

And we finally get to tell someone about it.

We were invited to ride Ski-Doo's newest Summit in the mountains near Sicamous, BC, earlier this month. Big mountains, plenty of snow and blue bird skies . perfect conditions to try out the new platform that Ski-Doo is pinning its hopes on to blast the Polaris Pro RMK from top of the hill in the West. That's no small feat but what Ski-Doo is unveiling for 2013 has a serious shot at making it happen.

We go into some detail in the March issue of SnoWest Magazine about all the changes to Ski-Doo's Summit line, which is hardly recognizable now with its "re-imagined" sleds.

For now, here are some highlights of the Summit for 2013 with regards to its new platform, the Rev XM. Then we'll give some insights about our ride experience from our day in Canada.

tMotion Rear Suspension: A swiveling rear arm and split front arm allow the skid frame to flex laterally, reducing the sled's resistance to banking. A more rising-rate motion ratio (similar to the SC-5M-2 suspension) adds capacity and comfort.

FlexEdge Track Technology: The fiberglass reinforcing rods are only 12-inches (31-cm) wide on the 16-inch (41-cm) wide tracks. When the rider initiates a roll, the edge of the track flexes, enabling the sled to have the maneuverability of a narrow track with the flotation and traction of a wide track.

Rev-XM Ergonomic Package: Riders can place their feet eight inches more forward compared to the 2012 model, making many powder maneuvers easier; running board openings are 87 percent larger than the REV-XP platform for better snow evacuation and grip; Summit-specific handlebar controls are minimalist for no interference with the rider; rigid grab handle offers more leverage when sidehilling; smaller seat (with storage) makes swinging a leg over easier; the gauges are mounted flat for easier viewing when standing and a heated glove box under the windshield keeps important items close.

Rev-XM Body Style: The next generation of the unmistakable Rev body style is more dynamic and sophisticated with multiple origami-like surfaces and intricate detailing. Rev-XM-specific body panels are lighter weight and designed to move more easily through deep snow.

There're a whole lot of things working here with the tMotion rear suspension, track and more rounded edges on the body panels but the key word is "working." They all combine to make the Summit X and SP 800-the models that get all these features-better and more capable technical boondocking snowmobiles. The Rev XM now tracks straight across the hillside when sidehilling instead of trying to creep up the mountain at an angle. It rolls up much easier regardless of whether you're trying to lay the machine down in the powder or riding off camber hills in the tight trees.

The 2012 Rev XP is a decent platform but the Rex XM is better. The Rev XM is more rider friendly whereas the Rev XP takes some work to ride it in the same conditions. We felt riding the Rev XP took a lot of rider input. The Rev XM is simply easier to ride and boosts the confidence level of the rider. This new chassis is more predictable, not a trait we would say the Rev XP had. Ski-Doo did a good job of addressing this issue of predictability-one of our biggest complaints ever since the Rev XP was released.

Little things like a more forward foot position gives the rider more options when in difficult technical situations. Another seemingly small thing is the shorter (in length) seat, which really does make getting your leg from one side of the sled to the other much easier. After our ride in British Columbia, we rode one of our Rev XPs back home in Idaho and when boondocking we definitely noticed how sometimes it took more effort to switch sides of the sled. It was quite noticeable.

Still one more "little thing" is the more rigid mountain strap. Thank heavens that floppy and sometimes difficult to find strap on previous Summits is gone. You shouldn't have to look for or fish around with your hand to find the mountain strap. It's right there every single time. A simple change that makes a lot of difference.

The redesigned side panels also fit into that "little things changed" category that makes a noticeable difference. The '12 side panels are more edgier, which, in certain deep snow conditions, pushes the snow instead of floating over it. Problem solved with the '13 side panels which are rounded and thus don't plow snow.

This next one is not a little thing but a big change-way so much better running boards where you can stomp snow through if it starts to build up on the boards. Again, on our ride back home in Idaho showed the glaring difference between the '12 boards and the new '13 ones-way better.

We'll get more seat time in a week during the annual photo shoots where all the manufacturers get together to show off all their new sleds on the snow. We'll get a chance to see how the new Rev XM stacks up against the Polaris and Arctic Cat.

We'll give you all the details this fall in SnoWest Magazine.

(ED--Carl Kuster is the snowmobile rider in all the photos, which were taken near Sicamous, BC.)

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