Last March we received a 2019 Ski-Doo G4 Enduro at Supertrax headquarters and had a chance to long term test ride it.
This version of the Enduro was particularly interesting to us because it came with Ski-Doo’s new 900 ACE Turbo engine. Keep in mind, the Enduro is available with four engine options: 600 and 850 2-strokes, the naturally aspirated 900 ACE and this turbocharged one.
We had experienced an abbreviated sampling of the sled in West Yellowstone in February but did not have the opportunity to thoroughly wring it out at real-world altitudes and snow conditions until we had this particular one in March.
The Enduro represents a sled appealing to a specific market segment and that segment has been changing the last few years. Once shunned by ultimate performance riders, the Enduro, equipped with top performing engines, is definitely a sled those hardcores are considering today.
Adding-in all the sizzle of the G4 platform and suspension adjustability makes the sled more appealing. Frankly, its ride and handling so closely mirrors a conventional 137-inch Renegade, there’s no difference.
What is different is a bit of extra weight from the air suspension apparatus – and that is definitely worth every ounce considering the comfort and adjustability it adds!
Yes, the G4 Turbo is heavier than the 2-stroke equipped Enduros but with the modified chassis (wider to accommodate the 4-stroke) and other engineering tweaks, the extra mass is well camouflaged.
If anything, as a trail-honer, the 150-hp Turbo, with its mountainous torque, may actually be first choice for the Enduro rider. We heard someone tell us, “This sled was designed to be a 4-stroke sled and actually acts best in that format”.
Those points are all arguable – especially if you’re a 2-stroke addict – but we think 4-TEC graduates are going to be very pleased with the handling and overall demeanor or this turbocharged Enduro.
The first question you’ll ask is: “Is this sled fast enough to justify a transition from a naturally aspirated 4-TEC to this pricier, more complex sled?”
Frankly, it’s difficult to compare the 2019 G4 Enduro to a 2018 XS Enduro with a 4-TEC. The two platforms are completely different and although equipped with the same rMotion air-ride and a RAS2 front end, behave completely different.
Some of it is simple ergonomics, the rest is engine placement and chassis balance. The fact this turbo engine weighs very close to the 4-TEC without a turbo is significant and means you can make a better evaluation.
This version of the G4 Enduro tracks great on twisty trails and its skis stay planted well, probably due to its 4-stroke weight. There’s almost no push in the corners and, if anything, the forward-weighted chassis tends toward oversteer. This is good for predictability and it’s easy to get the rear end to tail-out with the skis set.
One thing you won’t notice is the 2-stroke’s tendency to more easily transfer its weight with aggressive throttle application. Certainly, the wheelie thing is less common with either because of rMotion’s fully-coupled design, but there is no front end lightness response at all with the Turbo. Those skis stay put!
Ski-Doo isn’t exaggerating when it tells us it has pretty much eliminated turbo lag. There is none detectable off-idle or even when the engine is wound out, backshifts and then the throttle is tipped in again.
Honestly, we were not aware of any significant turbo misbehavior and thought the engine behaved very close to an inflated 4-TEC. The 20 extra horsepower shows itself in bottom end punch – when you’re running about 40mph and hit the throttle.
If you’ve got any kind of traction (or traction studs), this sled jumps to attention and catapults the rider with a significant kick in the ribs – noticeably stronger than the 4-TEC.
Sorry, but we’re not huge fans of the throttle thumb control on the 4-stroke turbo. It needs more spring and there’s a learning curve required to control the turbo’s off-idle, low RPM behavior. It’s not a problem once you’re underway, but this is a low-speed problem that shouldn’t exist.
Is it a logical move-up for former 4-TEC customers? We think so, but there are those who will complain about the price and those who will complain it should perform closer to the Yamaha and Cat turbos.
We still think it will be a big seller this year and a long list of staunch 4-TEC customers will move into turbo-world.