Exclusive By: Motorhead Mark Lester
Supertrax is privileged to have a limited build XP 800R here and we’ve racked more than 1000 miles (1600 kms) in just over 10 days on the unit.
When we first laid eyes on the XP in Grand Lake in late January we had concerns. There was so much new and the weight claims were so radical we wondered if the sled would be as good as the current REV. We were particularly concerned about the extreme light weight upsetting handling – creating a one-ski cornering attitude.
We shouldn’t have been concerned at all – the whiz kids in Valcourt didn’t just chop weight – they lowered the over-all CG of the sled by one full inch. That’s a lot in today’s world of already low CG snowmobiles. You can feel the inherent stability in the XP the first time to line up a trail and pull the trigger.
The XP corners flat – throttle on or off. In fact, the sled loves to be pitched into turns dragging the brake and “backing-in”. Even with the throttle chopped – waiting for the turn’s apex to get back on it – the sled tail slides even and flat. When the apex is cleared the XP hooks up like a cat on a screen door.
Here’s an interesting twist. We fiddled with the coupling moment by spinning the blocks one klick narrower to allow less (rear-to-front) coupling. Wowa! The sled wheelies with amazing precision but with the couplers loosened up – just that tiny bit – we could pull – this is not an exaggeration – 100 MPH (160 kmh) wheelies down Kevlar Lake. True. The front end would come up and just stay there. Talk about a rush!
Obviously this isn’t the best way to maintain control on trails so after impressing the troops we dialed the couplers back to the fat side.
The limited build XP’s – there are only a handful on the ground – are all over damped and over sprung in the rear end (that was why we dialed in less coupling). We’ve been assured by everyone involved in the XP project the production units will not be this stiff.
There’s also a measure of high frequency vibes in the bars -they’re aluminum – and that too is being dealt with. The reports of side panels flying open at high speed are true but again, the panels have already been redesigned for full production. None of these issues will be present by the time the assembly line rolls-out the full build. We’ll verify all these details in Supertrax.
Okay, get this. The 800R absolutely tows the Series III 800 Power Tek down the lake. In fact, the 800R pulls the 1000 Cat, the Apex 1000 and just about anything else we’ve come up against save a Mach 1 SDI.
The power here is abundant but when it’s pushed into a chassis that’s this light in overall weight and light in its drive-line componentry, the power that’s available gets to the snow in abundance.
The sled feels so small when you’re seated yet it rips with such authority. The only thing we can equate it to is a new Phazer with a 150 plus HP mill. Except the XP is lighter than the Phazer. Go figure.
The XP in over 1000 miles has carded the highest fuel economy numbers of any sled in our fleet this year including the former champ, the 600 SDI REV, and all the 4 strokes we’ve tested. Even before the five hour ECU calibrated “protection period” for break-in had expired the sled was sipping fuel.
This season has not produced snow surfaces conducive to great MPG numbers but despite this the XP easily gets 20-30% better mileage than the current Power Tek 800 and gets about 5% better economy than the thrifty 600 SDI Rotax. In fairness we haven’t compared the XP to the 1000cc triple cylinder Yamaha Vector.
Comfort issues are hard to quantify on the XP as a result of the near useless windshield on our limited build. We’ve had intense cold here at the Cave since we received the sled and it’s brutal to ride at the speeds the XP is capable of with this windscreen. By the way, we’ve regularly carded 112-115 MPH with the sled.
The new ergos are a great fit for just about everyone. Some have expressed concern over the drop-off at the front of the seat. Yep, you can’t help but wonder if the boys might get hung out. Doesn’t happen. Pretty much everyone appreciates the comfortable and, more importantly, flexible ergonomics the new XP platform presents.
We don’t know of anyone else who has logged this kind of mileage on the REV XP – outside of BRP employees. At this writing – and we’ve got way more to say in Supertrax this fall – we think this is the better REV the market has been either waiting for or fearing.