MORE 4-TEC THROTTLE LAG DEBATE

Dear Motorhead:

For the most part I think the people at Supertrax do a fine job relaying information on current and upcoming models, however the one problem I do have and to be quite honest, am getting tired of hearing about, is this supposed “throttle lag” the Ski Doo 1200 suffers from.

My family currently owns (4) 1200 renegades ranging from 2009 to 2012, two of which have over 18000 miles on them, and we struggle to find this infamous throttle lag.

I personally own a 2011, which repeatedly runs toe to toe with any stock 800 without any hint of “throttle lag” from start to right up to 176 kph (on GPS).

It almost seems like someone there thought they felt something and now everyone there believes that its there. People on the trails constantly ask me how I like the machine and the very next question is, “What about the throttle lag?”

Everyone who rides it says the same thing, “Those people on Supertrax must be dreaming!” There is no hesitation whatsoever.

Line the 1200 with whatever sled you can find in your stable, gently hold your thumb on the fun button, launch the two, then email me back and tell ME that there’s a throttle lag issue.

Long story short, this is an issue for the fellows down at supertrax, not for the rest of us. I have yet in all my travels, and out of the thousands of great people we meet, been able to find even one who knows what you guys are talking about, let alone find one that feels it’s an issue.

Please clarify this impression and stop dwelling on it. I really believe it is damaging the reputation of an overall fantastic machine!

Matt

Matt!

Thanks for your email!

Thanks as well for the kind remarks regarding what we do.

Here’s the deal with the 1200 4-TEC throttle lag issue. After fielding literally dozens of comments regarding our stance on this it’s pretty much 50/50 with owners.

Many owners agree they don’t like the throttle lag, know it exists (some have experienced what we call the “broken taillight syndrome” from the initial hesitation off idle and then piling into a sled in front of them) while others have become accustomed to it and it doesn’t bother them.

We think the 1200 4-TEC engine is a super mill and the result of this torquey, powerful and lightweight mill being mounted in the XR chassis is a truly great snowmobile. Is it perfect? Nope.

Let’s say for example it rode poorly. Would all these people BBQ us for saying so? Yes, I suspect this would happen. BTW, it doesn’t ride poorly.

Here’s reality. As far as online forums and feedback goes there isn’t half the passion for any other brand demonstrated by owners than we see and hear from the Ski-Doo faithful. Simply put, most SD-ophiles think there’s nothing – zip, nada – wrong with their rides. This could have something to do with Ski-Doo’s enviable 40% market-share.

Let me put this another way. Have you heard about the “pop-can” effect on the lower A-Arm rear mounts on all XP’s? It is a much less maligned weakness of the chassis but it still does exist – as do problems with Polaris, Yamaha and Arctic Cat’s in a myriad of other areas.

When anyone speaks about the pop-can effect on XP’s those who have not experienced it scream foul while those who have agree. The bottom line? There is off idle throttle lag on not just the 1200 4-TEC, but the 600 ACE as well.

The intake runners on the 1200 are so long that the speed of the incoming air is slowed when the throttle is blipped toward engagement at low RPM. As RPM builds the speed of the intake air in the throttle body rises and the time it takes for the air to move down the long intake runner to the cylinder is increased dramatically and the lag disappears.

Will Ski-Doo address this trait in future 4-strokes? We suspect with some re-working of the body work so there’s more room on the back of any future engines they would absolutely want to put the throttle body closer to the cylinder head.

If this engine – as has been much rumored – receives some kind of boost (turbo or supercharger) then the issue will likely go away as well. In fact supercharging would cure the situation without moving anything related to the intake runner length.

Will there be a “Turbo 1200” or an “HO 1200” sometime in the future? My sense is Ski-Doo is very happy responding to the top speed, Hyper sled call from the competition with their 800 E-TEC – a formidable engine to say the least.

So, we stand where we are on 1200 throttle lag. It’s there and we can live with it. If we had a choice, we wouldn’t want it and in the future we think Ski-Doo will answer this issue as they do almost every other thing which we’ve seen and had issues with.

The company is extremely customer driven and performance focused. BTW – your statement about lining up and dragging other sleds doesn’t get to the issue of throttle lag. Of course the sled is quick when you whack it and we won’t argue it is highly competitive in the 130-140 HP class.

However, loading the sled on a tilt trailer or navigating a parking lot if you’re not familiar with the throttle response is a nuisance.

Before you get too fired up – remember this – we really like the sled and the engine – we just don’t like the lag.

Thanks,

Motorhead Mark

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