Before the melt here I got to spend a couple days riding our production G-5 (serial# 00001!) MXZ Blizzard 850 and to say I’m impressed inadequately describes my feelings about this iteration of the popular MXZ genre.
Blizzard, IMO, has meant “value” in the past. In other words, low level standard equipment. However, the Blizz we have on the ground is more like the former Adrenaline package and borders on the MXZ-X of days gone by.
My observations are a result of three beautiful KYB compression adjustable, piggyback reservoir dampers up front and on the rear arm. These “EA 3” shocks closely mirror the way Fox QS-3’s work. There are just three compression settings – soft, medium and hard. That’s it, and I’m going to categorically say it is more than enough adjustability for over 90-percent of riders.
The days of 16 or 21 klicks on the compression side of the damping profile were overkill. Think about this: Three settings allow for the equivalent of click #7, #14 and #21. That’s a perfect spread of adjustment 95-percent of riders will be able to perceive on the first trial of a clicker change-up. If you can’t tell by now, I heartily recommend these shocks (as do we recommend Fox QS-3’s).
The fact the 2023 Blizz 850 is a Gen-5 speaks to Ski-Doo’s intention to keep this model iteration exactly where it is. It is predominantly an in-season ride for dealers to stock. Unfortunately (or fortunately), depending on how you look at it, supply chain problems have kept in-stock models from showing up at dealers this fall. In any case, there were lots of Blizzards Spring Checked.
As a side note, the Blizzard (which is only available as a 129) can also be had with Rotax’s silky smooth 600 E-TEC twin producing 125 ponies, however, there’s one caveat: The 600 is still wearing G-4 clothes. Maybe next year?
This is a fast snowmobile. It’s been a year or two since I’ve spent much time on a 129. It seems most of our trail-destined sleds all come with 137s now. This 850 Blizzard’s E-TEC 850 is rated at 165-hp and is ready and willing to take you to the C-Note in record time.
The bonus here is the feeling of flickability. The shorter track is perceptible over our Renegade 137 in circuitous terrain. I am pleased it is noticeable as many buyers are going for 137’s for their mogul bridging capabilities. What is not as widely spoken is the inherent enhanced corner carving of the 129 Blizz.
What about mogul bridging? For sure a 137 does skip across the top of bumps very effectively. However, let’s not forget that this 129 comes with those KYB klickers and a full-on industry leading rMotion skid.
One issue Ski-Doo has not run the flag up the pole with is the new G-5’s re-engineered engine mounting system. Why they’re not talking about it I do not understand. However, this new way to shoehorn the 850 into the G-5 is highly effective, all but eliminating the annoying idle RPM shakes the G-4 850 displayed since its intro in 2017.
Frankly, the G-5 platform produces an increased measure of tangible refinement as a result of the new mounting system.
Check out 2023 Ski Doo MXZ Blizzard Detailed Overview and you can hear my impressions and actually see how effective the new motor mounts are.
The Blizzard is back in full force and looks to be a significant player in the 129-inch 850 segment.