For the second straight year the Ski-Doo Summit X 850 proved the combination of a rider-friendly chassis and linear performance is the perfect recipe for a great mountain snowmobile. However, this year’s winner didn’t exactly “overpower” the competition. In fact, as we reviewed our score cards we found that this year was the closest competition between the three mountain class sleds we’ve had in a long time.
In fact, the strong showing of the Arctic Cat M 8000 Mountain Cat likely balanced some of the strengths of the other two sleds to make things much more interesting. The gap between a rigid suspension and a flexible suspension was bridged by a sled that had a little of both. Although the linear performance of the Summit X’s 850cc powerplant seemed to be the tipping point over the competition, some questions remained as to whether the Cat’s 794cc C-Tec2 engine didn’t match the power of the 850 E-TEC engine. The Cat was strong. It was much better suited to compete on the sidehills and in terrain thanks to the subtle changes made for 2018.
The Polaris 800 Pro-RMK didn’t lose any of its natural ability to excel in terrain. But it has lost its dominance over the competition it once enjoyed when the AXYS chassis was first introduced. Although this year’s tests were somewhat handicapped by snow conditions, the SnoWest SnowTest Crew made the most of the time they had on the snow to put the sleds in the most adverse situations to determine each sled’s strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what we found.