2020 BEST IN CLASS: BEST TRAIL SLED
Another Year, Another Battle! These Guys Think They're Right. What Do You Think?
WINNER: SKI-DOO MX-ZX 600
This is a tough class to judge because there are four contenders here and all of them are super-good. The Polaris Indy XC, Cat's 6000 Limited and Yamaha's totally redone 2020 Viper are all worthy of consideration. Each delivers great trail power, fuel economy and above-average grunt for trail riding.
That being said, I will attempt to define what a trail rider wants and needs.
First, I have to give kudos to Ski-Doo for offering the very best skidframe ride in this class. rMotion is still the standard by which every other snowmobile suspension is judged and it feels like no matter what shock package you choose, it outperforms everything else.
The X-package 600 I've chosen with running board adjusters for both shock damping and spring preload is so top-drawer I can hardly contain myself!
Second, there's a huge trend toward 137-inch tracks for trail sleds but I've chosen the MX-Z with a 129 as my fave for trails. The 8-inch shorter sneaker allows the MX-Z to pivot faster, without push or understeer, and there’s no compromise in ride quality.
Third, the 600 E-TEC: What an awesome engine! As difficult as it is to diss the other 125 to 130-hp engines in this category, this version of the 2-year-old revised Rotax 600 stands alone delivering incredible gas mileage and performance while killing everyone else for EPA stats.
In my informed and pretty much-always accurate opinion, on a cold, crisp day with hundreds of miles ahead of you, this is the sled you want to be sitting on.
RUNNER-UP: POLARIS INDY 600 XC 137
It's hard to disagree with your pick for this important segment. However, I will disagree. Yes, the G4 chassis is a winner and the new Rotax 600 mill is a big step up for Ski-Doo in the 600 segment but… the G4 doesn't handle like the Polaris Indy XC.
Polaris' handling dynasty is nearing its 20th year using its variable castor design. Ski-Doo has tweaked its RAS IFS set-up about a jillion times in this period and it still doesn’t work as good as the Polaris.
Mix in this reality: The SDI 600 Liberty capably shreds white-top driving the admittedly lighter Polaris chassis forward with heroic authority. While Kent was sucked into the "whiz-bang-everything-new-is-better mentality" I'll stay with the meat and potatoes performance benchmark that clearly says, "light is right".
Speaking of potatoes, I remember that time someone pried the lid off Mom’s pressure cooker when it was still steaming hot and blew the windows out of the kitchen. So much for that person understanding technology!
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