I’m going to start this piece off with an inflammatory statement. Ready?
I don’t like 174-inch mountain sleds!
Now, after you’ve had a second to calm down, I’ll go ahead and quantify that statement with some rational thoughts. It’s not that I think 174-inch mountain sleds are bad sleds or don’t work.
They simply haven’t worked for me. No question, the extra length provides extra traction, but to me, they just don’t feel as manoeuvrable and, being the intermediate mountain rider I am, I get stuck a lot – and I really, really hate digging out a 174.
This is why Ski-Doo’s new G4 based Summit X 175 surprised me. I fully anticipated not being fond of it, but ended up liking it a lot. The question I obviously had to ask myself was: Why?
Moving the 2018 Summit 175 into the G4 chassis was an obvious move that surprised no one. The shorter G4 based summits were so good in 2017 there was no way Ski-doo could afford to miss out on offering that same kind of stellar mountain performance to guys with the longest of track fetishes.
The 175 Summit carries over all the positive traits of the 154 and 164-inchers but, why would simply converting to the G4 chassis make a long mountain sled feel shorter to me? Honestly, I don’t know.
What I do know is that tMotion is impressive. Sure it’s a bit heavier than a traditional mountain skid, but it easily makes up for the small amount of extra girth by making the sled so incredibly easy to lay over and keep on its side. To put it simply, sidehilling any tMotion equipped G4 Summit is a piece of cake. It requires so little effort, the sled actually ends up feeling lighter than it is.
Ergonomically, the 175 Summit starts out feeling a bit strange. The footwells at the front of the running boards are wide open so you can literally stand right beside, if not slightly in front of, the drive axle. It feels very unnatural to be standing that far forward and it looks pretty weird when you turn around and see that much sled sticking out behind you. But, somehow this ergonomic package works really well. It just takes some getting used to.
Riding with guys like Carl Kuster and Rob Alford only proves the point further, you can do things and go places with a G4 based Summit 175 you would have struggled to do with the former XM based Summit.
Speaking of going places, the effectiveness of a 175-inch track with a 3-inch paddle can’t be understated. Combine that level of traction with Ski-Doo’s outstanding E-TEC 850 powerplant and the only places you won’t be able to go will be the ones restricted by the CIA. This power package produces so much bottom end, the track never seems to get bogged down. Of course this is also thanks in a big way to the pDrive primary that squeezes super hard and upshifts lightning fast while maintaining optimal engine RPM. Perfect!
However, one thing I think deserves criticism is the shock package. This sled actually rides really well on the trail for a mountain sled and its shocks aren’t set up bad for average mountain riding. But this isn’t an average mountain sled. If you want to push this Summit as hard as it’s capable of being pushed, you’re going to appreciate the ability to tune the suspension to suite your preferences. With the Summit X, you can’t; its shock package is, for the most part, non-adjustable.
Ski-Doo’s decision to include shocks that don’t have compression and rebound adjustability on a sled like the Summit X 175 is one that’s baffling to us. I’m not going to say it’s a deal-breaker…it’s definitely not. But it’s something we don’t like on a sled that we, otherwise, like everything about.
Bottom line on the 2018 Summit X 175: This is the longest production mountain sled ever built. It comes with all the capability of any other 174 with a 3-inch paddle but for some reason, lacks the extra long, difficult to manoeuvre feel you get when you extend a skidframe this far.
tMotion makes the sled incredibly easy to ride, the ergonomics are great once you get used to them and the engine is something dreams are made of. A lackluster shock package is disappointing but not at all enough to make me think twice about recommending it. This sled makes me a better rider and takes me places I’ve never been able to go before. It can do the same for you, too.