2012 BEST IN CLASS: BEST FREERIDE SLED
Staff, Photos By: Mike Lester
Monday, August 27, 2012
WINNER: SKi-Doo Renegade Backcountry X
Okay for all you "specialists" out there who think you are baggy-panted, camo helmeted teenagers, get your heads around this: freeride sleds are not mountain sleds.
This cult of youthful riders who like to blast drifts and play on the flatland in neck-deep powder is growing in the eastern and middle parts of this continent, but they all have to ride trails to get where they want to play.
Therefore these sleds, albeit they need longer tracks, also have to be able to navigate trails.
Ski-Doo, who could pretty much be credited with dreaming up this category, has done a great job with the BC-X.
This sled has a 137-inch track, which at a glance sounds too short, but its width has been jacked to 16-inches and when you work out the formula, you get as good or better surface areas as you do with a 15-inch wide, 144-incher.
This means this sled floats powder like a mountain sled, but handles trails like a trail sled.
It only makes sense that a freerider has to be adaptable to both venues no one can ride freestyle all the time.
Another great thing about the BC-X is its handling in the deep stuff. Since there's less track length to turn around, it carves powder hooks precisely and can be ridden against off-cambers and across side-hills with finesse.
Power? for MY12 the X is available with either a 600 or 800 E-TEC and we don't even have to tell you how good these mills are.
Hey, if you're an off-trail kind of rider but like to use your sled for other things too, there's only one choice here - the Backcountry X.
RUNNER-UP: Polaris Switchback Assault 144
Uhm, ever heard of Chris Burandt, Kent?? The guy is an icon and if you were watching something other than Celebrity Muffin Makers and tuned into SnowTrax Television once in a while you'd know the guy practically designed the Switchback Assault.
Oh yeah, he can ride 90-degree side-hills and shred flatland powder like a diesel powered Christmas tree mulcher. BTW, last time we saw him he was wearing baggy pants.
There's more. The Liberty CleanFire 800 produces Euclid level torque that's perfect for spinning a deep lug 144-inch shoe in whipped cream.
The sled is a born-to-freeride miracle and has the same ergos and lightweight cues as the legendary RMK series possesses. How could it not be the best freerider for 2012?