First Look: 2015 Ski-Doo Summit Snowmobiles

Industry News, Ski-Doo
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Rumors, spy photos, speculation and guesses. It's all over. The 2015 Ski-Doo Summits have finally been released to the public. 

The long and yellow mountain sleds have been causing quite a commotion. It seems that a 174-inch long track was just enough of a fantasy that it was brushed off as a rumor by most. And then the leaked photos started popping up and the conversation turned from what if to how would it work. We'll get to that in a moment. 

2015 800 Summit X T3 Models

First off, here's everything that's new on the 2015 Summit X T3 models:

  • The T3 package denotes the 16x174x3 and 16x163x3 PowderMax 3 track configurations. 
  • The 3-inch track is only available on the yellow T3 models. All other Summit SP and Summit X models run the PowderMax 2.5-inch track.
  • T3 Summits share the new RAS 2 front end. 
  • Longer, lightweight chaincase with lighter bottom gear.
  • Relocated skid mounting points.
  • Lightweight muffler.
  • Pilot DS 3 ski.
  • Updated lightweight tMotion rear suspension.
  • RF D.E.S.S. tether.
  • Lighter cooling system.
  • Sunburst Yellow.
  • T3 models are Spring Order only.

PowderMax 3 Track

  • 3.0-pitch track.
  • 7-tooth drivers.
  • Tighter track width tolerances reduce weight (past tracks have varied from 16 to 16.5 inches wide).
  • Removed rubber ridges from FlexEdge rod ends for reduced weight.
  • 4 slim slots in center belt for reduced weight.
  • Lugs designed with Finite Element Analysis for light weight, flex and durability.
  • Retains FlexEdge design.

T3 tMotion Rear Suspension

  • On 174 skid, front arm mount is moved down 1 inch. Rear arm mount is moved down 1 inch and back 5.2 inches.
  • Center idler wheels removed for reduced weight.
  • Comes with reversible ice scratchers.
  • Rear arm is chromoly for reduced weight.
  • Rubber outer ring has been removed from rear axle wheels for reduced weight.
  • Lighter axles.
  • Added holes in rail beam.
  • T3 174 and T3 163 skids are 3 pounds lighter than standard tMotion.

RAS 2 Front Suspension

  • 36-inch ski stance.
  • 20mm increased ground clearance from revised forgings.
  • Upper A-arm is 12mm higher, more parallel with lower arm.
  • A-arms use thin wall chromoly tubing for weight reduction.
  • Roll center is closer to vehicle CG for minimized inside ski lift. 
  • Camber change for improved stability.
  • Spindles are forged and CNC machined aluminum.
  • Lower unsprung weight.
  • RAS 2 front suspension is 1.76 pounds lighter than previous version.

Pilot DS 3 Ski

  • 12mm deeper keel.
  • Removed some X-stiffeners to offset weight of deeper keel.
  • Narrower tip design.
  • More aggressive rear taper for sidehilling.
  • Improved steering response.

Lightweight Muffler, Longer Chaincase

  • Thin wall, rigid muffler.
  • Maintains accoustics and performance requirements.
  • 4L reduction in volume.
  • 5-pound weight reduction on muffler.
  • T3 chaincase is 27mm longer.
  • Machined walls from 3mm to 2mm.
  • Removed unused bosses and mechanical reverse mounts to keep weight the same as previous chaincase.
  • Bottom gear is manufactured at 16.5mm thickness and area between teeth and spline is machined down to 2.5mm.

Lightweight Cooling System

  • Front cooler surface area reduced by 50%.
  • Reduced dry weight and wet weight of coolant.

T3 Weight Reduction

  • 16.1-pound weight reduction initiative on T3 models designed to increase footprint without increasing weight.
  • 2015 Summit X T3 174 weighs the same as 2014/15 Summit X 163 with 2.5 track.
  • 2015 Summit X T3 163 weighs the same as 2014/15 Summit X 154 with 2.5 track.

2015 Summit X, Summit SP Model Highlights

  • Summit X and Summit SP models do not get any of the T3 updates for 2015 (except for RF D.E.S.S.).
  • Summit X features a water-dipped hood graphic that is more durable that adhesive graphics.
  • Available Summit X sea-level calibration from the factory on Spring Order and Electric Start versions only. No upcharge for sea-level cal. Sea level calibration is 0-4,000 feet.
  • RF D.E.S.S. standard on all Summit except Sport 600 and Sport 800.


2015 Freeride Highlights

  • New FlexEdge track on 137
  • Two rear wheels with 137
  • Electric start standard with 137
  • New RF D.E.S.S. system
  • Manta Green coloration with Magenta accent
  • Factory-installed sea level calibration available on electric start models only


2015 Summit T3 Initial Ride Impressions

We've had the chance to spend a few days on the new T3 174 and T3 163 Summits. 

The higher ride height from the RAS 2 and dropped skid location improves this sled’s ability to float through snow and cling to a sidehill. The RAS 2 front end is noticeable, and improves the sled’s handling both on rough terrain going into the hills and on sidehills and climbs. 

The 3-inch lugs on both tracks make a huge difference. The sled may have lower track speed, but that added half inch of traction propels the sled forward better and makes it feel like the sled has more power. The sled can climb out of its own trench and holes like it's toying with you to get stuck. Short of a thick crusty mid layer or a big tree, there’s very little that will stop a sled with a 3-inch track, let alone a 174. It’s a game-changer for Ski-Doo. 

The T3 174 may look like a big, long massive sled that will be nothing but a handful on the hill. Not so. Its huge footprint on deep snow allows it to creep forward at very low speeds. The idea behind it is not to climb straight up (though it does that well) but to allow the backcountry explorer to slow things down and pick better lines with less chance of getting buried on a sidehill cut. We didn't need to carry a lot of momentum to hold steep sidehill lines like we did on the 154 Summit X.

The 174 T3 doesn’t necessarily feel any longer than the 163. It’s surprisingly well-balanced and nimble in the trees. Actually, it’s better in the trees than, say a 154, because it will hold a level plane better while traversing a sidehill. Especially on hills with trenches, old hard tracks, rollers and fingers. In firmer snow and on quick 90-degree turns, you may feel the track driving the sled a bit, but the DS 3 skis are a great match for the added traction. 

Where the 174 T3 is all about getting around where others can’t in chest-deep snow, the 163 T3 is more of the everyman’s sled. It’s everything that is superb about the current Summit X 163—just better.  The 3-inch track lets this sled do things the 163 2.5-incher just cannot do. It claws at the snow for traction and refuses to just flat out get buried. Even when you think you’re stuck, just hammer the throttle and shake the sled side to side. It will climb out of its own hole. 


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