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Ski-Doo: REV Gen 4 For the 2017 and newer REV Gen 4 Sleds
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Old 11-26-2016, 07:19 PM
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Let me start off this review by saying,
After 8 years riding Yamahas, I finally understand.

But before I begin, I want to add one other comment.
You guys all owe me an apology.

REAL FRIENDS would never have let me keep on riding my Yamahas all those years.

But I digress....

Black Friday will go down in the history books for my family as one of the pivitol moments where everything suddenly changed.

Last Spring I had a conversation with Steve Janes, Editor of SnoWest Magazine following his introduction to the then prototype 850 E-Tecs at "Media Days' by Ski-Doo. Steve had some strong glowing comments about the demo sleds he had just ridden and suggested to me that this might finally be the 2 stroke that could ween me off my beloved Boosted Yamahas. As most of you know I am the one and only Yamaha rider at SnoWest, and have been a social outcast for years because of my unfailing dedication to boosted 4 strokes in the mountain segment. Back in 2009 I bought a couple Yamaha Nytros and a Phazer, and over the next years added a 2nd Phazer and eventually a Viper, bringing my stable up to 5 sleds. I turbocharged 2 of them and supercharged 1. I was DEEP into the Yamaha culture of riding high power 4 strokes in the mountains, and we paid a significant physical price for that choice.

My oldest son has Spinal Kyphosis, commonly called "Hunchback". He has a 60 degree curvature of his upper thoracic spine that allows him to bend forward and place his palms flat on the ground. After a long day of riding in Island Park he would be in serious pain, and the next day he would be completely out of commission paying the price for 6 hours of HARD riding on a 650lb machine. Because of the massive amount of pain he suffered from riding out sleds he was pretty much ready to just hang it up and walk away from sledding for good. There are those who say, NOTHING happens by coincidence in this world, and I tend to agree. His decision to quit, and my conversation with Steve happened one right after the other. The other thing you need to know, is that at 53 years old, I absolutely LOVE riding with my 24yr old son. I spend all summer working on our sleds looking forward to winter coming. My Fall daily workouts are fueled by boundless enthusiasm for a hoped for EPIC Winter of riding. So when my son said he was seriously considering hanging it up, I was, for the FIRST TIME, suddenly open to ANY solution to keeping him in the game.

Luck is when Preparation meets Opportunity.
After 8 years I was prepared to make a change, and the opportunity came at exactly the right moment.

After multiple conversations with Steve Janes and several other people in the industry that I trusted, I decided to take a BLIND CHANCE on jumping ship from Yamaha and crossing over to Ski-Doo. I had not seen the 850, I had not ridden the 850, I had NO first hand personal exposure to the sled at all. Zip, Zero, NADDA! I committed to getting 3 new sleds 100% on the opinions of people I trusted. And I am here to tell you it was one of THE BEST DECISIONS I EVER MADE in this sport.

Yesterday, "Black Friday", we skipped the shopping mall and took our three sleds out for the first ride! And while it might be considered BLASPHEMY to the Ski-Doo loyal to wear Yamaha team clothing, it seemed more than fitting to me!



We pulled into Big Springs Warming Hut parking lot around 10:30am to perhaps 2-3 inches of fresh powder, just barely enough to cover the gravel in the parking lot. There were a couple other trailers and a handful of truly DIE-HARD sledders like ourselves who were determined to get that first ride of the year in, even if the snow was lousy from an Indian Summer that just never seemed to end.
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:07 PM
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Old Habits Die Hard.

Dang, these sleds actually Smoke. While this might be old news for you, it was kind of a rude introduction for us. Remember, ALL we have ever ridden were 4 strokes, and i am here to tell ya, they don't smoke, not even a tiny bit. So when we fired up our 3 brand new 850s inside our new Mirage Extreme Sport Trailer, we were a little bit surprised by the fact that the trailer filled up with smoke in short order. The old habbit of letting the sleds warm up inside the trailer was NOT going to work going forward. Even with the trailer doors open, running all the sleds at the same time was not a good plan!

So we got each of them outside, let the trailer clear out and got properly suited up. Changing subjects for just a moment, I can't tell you how much I LOVE this new trailer Mirage just built for us. I have a long review of it in another thread, but man, it is SO STINKING NICE to have a fully enclosed, heated trailer with a Killer Sound System in it. I honestly can't imagine a better way to Start or End a day of riding..


Another detail worth noting.
This is the first year my younger son Christian will be riding with us full time. For the past 6 years he has been a high level Ballroom Dancer competing in national events and frequently placing in the top 3 positions. This year at age 17 he decided to power down on that sport to come and join us instead. So that 3rd 850 was purchased for him as his first full time sled. Up till now, he was pretty much relegated to the Phazer on those rare occasions when he came to ride with us. So for him, the transition from mostly Non-Rider, to riding with dad everytime he goes out, on a new 850, will be just as huge..




Geared up the three of us mounted our newly bought steads and charged off out of the parking lot, for all of perhaps 200ft and together, all 3 of us came to a dead stop. WHAT A SURPRISE. The difference each of us experienced in just that first couple hundred feet was stunning.! I admit, I was really HOPING these sleds would be solid and would perform as advertised, but I was NOT expecting to be so pleasantly surprised within the first couple hundred feet of riding them. What caught our attention SO quickly was the THROTTLE RESPONSE. Even the best Turbo's have lag, and while I loved my Supercharged Nytro, it was SMOOTH on it's power delivery, more like it had an extra 4th cylinder, rather than 3 boosted ones. But the 850 was different. The power was damn near instantaneous and hit HARD. All 3 of us were instantly smiling and asking if it is was "Just Me" or did your sled feel super responsive to the throttle?

From the lot we had many miles of trail riding to get up into the high country where we hoped we would find good snow and have a chance to really play with the sleds and start racking up the required "Break In" miles.

Up the road we went in search of snow.



This season in South Eastern Idaho has gotten off to a VERY slow start as you can see from this photo. There was only 6-9 inches of very fresh snow covering everything Friday morning, with NO base at all.



But I can be honest, we really didn't care at this point. The three of us were having a BLAST racing down the trail on these new sleds. I remember stopping and looking out at several meadows we normally would go out into to SHRED, and telling myself "I must not go off trail" there are Landmines everywhere! So on and on we rode. We burned through a half tank of gas riding over to West Yellowstone just trying to accrue some miles, filled up the tanks and then rode to the summit of Mt. Two Tops hoping to find deeper snow to play in, all the while "LEARNING" how these sleds behaved

Around 2:30 in the after noon we finally reached the top of the mountain and ventured out into the large rolling meadows of the summit and started really testing the sleds to see what they were capable of given our poor snow. They didn't fail to impress in the least bit. We spent the next hour or so tearing up all the untracked snow we could find while doing our very best to AVOID the rocks that were lurking just below that 12 inches of fresh wind blown powder covering them up. But even 12 inches was more than enough for these sleds to show their true colors.

I have NEVER had so much fun for so LITTLE PHYSICAL EFFORT. I think my son said that the sled reminded him of his dance partner, all he had to do was lead and the sled followed perfectly. The slightest gentle inputs and the sled responded effortlessly. While the boosted Yamaha's could dance the same dance, they required MUCH more determination and commitment from the rider to force them into the moves. The 850's on the other hand were ready & willing, no, they were EAGER to dance on the snow. I remember thinking to myself that the sled was "Joyful", I know, its a crazy word to apply to a snowmobile, but it reminded me of my 6yr old daughter, who WANTED to play, or my two Huskies who's greatest happiness comes from going out and pulling me hard for a 10 mile outing. The sled was happy, and they made all of us smile all the while we were riding them.




About the missing Toe Bars..

I totally understand why so many other riders are commenting about the lack of "toe bars" to put your boots under while riding. I can also attest to the odd/loose feeling I had riding the sled without being able to firmly anchor my books in the toe well of the sled. its an ODD sensation to have your boot moving around in there so freely. Not at all certain I like the added freedom or not yet, need to get some more time in on the sled before I can pass judgement on that one. But its a strange sensation to have your foot moving around so freely when your expecting your toe to have something to lock up against.

The Running Boards.

One of the biggest differences between my Summit X and the 2 Summit SPs we bought were the RUNNING BOARDS. And this was no small difference. The Summit X has by far and away the better boards. I had no issues with them at all, while my sons were commenting about poor traction and slippage on their SP Boards. In the past I had removed the HORRIBLE boards from my Yamahas and replaced with with Skinz Air Frame boards, which in my opinion were the MOST RIGID and HIGHEST TRACTION boards on the market. I see NO reason at all to make any changes on my Summit X, but I am willing to bet we WILL be upgrading both of the SPs in very short order!

Engine Braking
OK, this is another one of those things that is STRIKINGLY different between the Doo and all of my Yami's.
On any of my Yamaha's the moment I let up on the throttle, the engine braking would kick in HARD and FAST. There was instant deceleration!
On the first mile or two of riding the new 850 I was SERIOUSLY worried that something was wrong with the sled. I would let go of the thumb paddle and the sled wouldn't stop. Not only wouldn't it come to a quick stop, it kept right on going at mostly the same speed, just coasting along as happy as could be. I actually had to USE THE BRAKE to slow down.

The engine itself would spool down much more slowly as it gradually came down to it's final slow idle after stopping the sled.
Maybe this is super common for all 2 strokes, but once again this was something entirely new for me and while we quickly got used to it over the course of the day, it caused a little concern early on as each of us compared notes to make sure the other sleds were doing exactly the same thing.

So whats this mean to me?
On the Yamahas the moment you let off on the throttle the nose would settle down or dive, on the Ski-Doo there was a much greater range of "Forgiveness" to be had with changing throttle position. This is most WELCOME indeed!!
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:30 PM
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We rode all day long and into the night, enjoying every minute of our time on our new sleds. In the end we managed to get 21% of the breakin period done on our first day out. 1 down, 4 days to go!

While we were up on the summit my older son let me know his back was starting to hurt, and I will be perfectly honest here, that was about the worst thing anyone could have said to me at that moment. The VERY last thing I wanted to hear from him was that these new lightweight sleds were causing him the same pain he had been suffering through on the Yamahas. But there it was, his back was hurting and that was his way of letting me know we needed to be thinking about getting off the summit and heading back down to the trailer as there were still a pile of miles that had to be ridden to get back to the trailer.




In the past, it was often the final ride home that killed my son's back more than the day's riding in the powder. Manhandling his boosted Nytro on the trail, over the bumps at speed, mile after mile was usually the final nail in his coffin for the day, and I fully expected that was going to be the very same end result of our ride. BUT IT WASN'T!

We rode for miles on the trails back to the trailer, and at one point had to stop to deploy our scratches as the engine temps had hit 145 due to poor snow in the valley floor. While we were putting the scratchers down I asked my son how he was doing and much to my surprise he told me he was good to go! THAT was some unexpected news.

Let me make a quick comment about these new scratches.
Ski-Doo has a short stubby little scratcher on the Summits that work INCREDIBLY WELL. In short order on piss poor snow they dropped my engine temp by 25 degrees! Bravo Ski-Doo (more on that later)

By the time we got back to the trailer it was dark out and finally starting to cool down. This had been a pretty warm Fall day, perhaps right at the freezing mark most of the day. My son and I have both been on an aggressive diet trying to get back in shape this year. He took off a pile of weight in hopes of releaving stress on his back to lower the pain and because he is getting married in 3 weeks and wants to be a stud. Me because at 53 I just decided it was time to stop being that old fat guy (I am down -58lbs from my peak). It might be the sled, or it might be because we both lost a LOT of weight this year, but both of us felt "COOL" around our waist on the ride home. The 850 has no windshield on it and the air flows around the nose cone and onto the rider with minimal protection. Will have to get more time in the saddle to know if the sled is channeling the airstream or if the lack of "Blubber" around our waists just means we need a bit more insulation.. Jury is out for now.

When we got to the trailer we turned on the lights and the stereo and changed out of our riding gear and into a driving clothes for the ride home before we loaded the sleds. Did I mention these sleds are NARROW? With our yamahas skis set to the narrowest setting, the sleds would touch the walls of the trailer and press against each other's inside ski in the middle of the trailer. There was not ANY room to spare whatsoever between them!

But with the new Doos they didn't even have to be driven over the wheel wells in the trailer.! That made loading these sleds into the trailer MUCH MUCH easier and faster! The ride as over and the sleds were still racking up points!

We locked up the trailer and motored the 90 minutes back home all with smiles on our faces.
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Old 11-26-2016, 08:43 PM
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The day after..

This afternoon my son and I get together to take care of some of his wedding arrangements when he said to me "I Don't Hurt Dad". Looking at him incredulously I said, Excuse me, what did you just say?. I DON'T HURT.

What do you mean you don't hurt, you ALWAYS hurt the next day. Usually you spend the day on the couch just laying there recuperating.

Dad, I DON'T HURT TODAY.

There it was, the words I NEVER thought I would ever hear my son speak. We spent a full day in the mountains, running and jumping and pounding as much as we could, and he didn't hurt the next day. Thank You God, that was way beyond my wildest hopes and dreams.! It was far more than I could have possibly hoped for.



Guys, we have about 6 hours on our new sleds so far.

I am deeply impressed with the Torque and Responsiveness of this normally aspirated 850 e-tec engine.

The Sleds are FAR more nimble& agile than I had hoped for.

They are a JOY to ride in lousy snow (I can only IMAGINE what they will be like in deep powder).


As of right now, I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED with my purchase, and consider it a terrific investment.

In two weeks we will be at Togwotee for my son's bachelor party, hopefully we will have some real snow by then and will report back on how the sleds behave in better conditions.


===================
My Oldest Son's Comments
First thoughts //www.snowest.com/forum/showpos...8&postcount=19

2nd thoughts
//www.snowest.com/forum/showpos...0&postcount=54

My Youngest Son's Comments
//www.snowest.com/forum/showpos...7&postcount=45
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:23 PM
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Glad to hear this. Riding is about enjoying the time on the snow aND I think these sleds are going to do just that for u


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Old 11-26-2016, 09:27 PM
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Chris, that's an amazing story and a great review. I've been trying to tell people about how easily the 850 responds to the tiniest inputs from the rider but they just don't seem to believe me.

It honestly warmed my heart to hear that you and your sons had such a great trip but it was especially great to hear that your son did not feel punished the next day for doing something he loves.
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:36 PM
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Great ride report and great review! Awesome to hear that both you love the new sled and that your son can ride without lingering pain. My wife had a hip replacement at 43 years old and struggles in a similar manner. Moving her to my ProClimb this year with the same hopes you have. I just hope we see the same results!

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Old 11-26-2016, 09:49 PM
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AWESOME review! I think I enjoyed reading more about your family, then the sleds! This is what snowmobiling is about! Family and friends enjoying this GREAT sport we all love!

...please keep us updated about your son's time on the 850!

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Old 11-26-2016, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96-ramair View Post
Great ride report and great review! Awesome to hear that both you love the new sled and that your son can ride without lingering pain. My wife had a hip replacement at 43 years old and struggles in a similar manner. Moving her to my ProClimb this year with the same hopes you have. I just hope we see the same results!

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It may be worth getting her to try a 850 as well imo. The lack of effort it takes to initiate any kind of maneuver on the 850 is unreal.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:19 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:32 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:36 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:37 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:43 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:50 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:52 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:54 PM
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:58 PM
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Old 11-27-2016, 12:02 AM
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Old 11-27-2016, 12:28 AM
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Old 11-27-2016, 12:42 AM
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Old 11-27-2016, 01:55 AM
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:25 AM
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:31 AM
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:36 AM
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