WINNER: SKI-DOO FREERIDE X 850 146
Here’s an example of how Ski-Doo refuses to let any buyer fall through the cracks.
This sled represents careful targeting at the almost mountain specific market while still allowing for spirited and pleasurable trail riding.
The 850 Freeride can get you to the snow and the vertical rides better than any pure mountain rooster. With fully adjustable KYB’s out front and a custom calibrated t-Motion skid, the Freeride comes as close to anything you might call dual purpose in MY 2018.
Before Kent loses his mind (it may be too late for that), let me qualify my last statement. If you were heavily into trail carving and into riding off-trail frequently, the new Renegade Backcountry X 850 with a 146 would be the right choice. However, there’s a ton of riders who spend significant time on trails or hard pack just to get to the big snow.
This 146 x 2.25 PowderMax-equipped Freeride is the perfect balance of track and suspension to make both genres enjoyable.
There’s more here making my intuitive anointing of the Freeride as the BIC winner. Think about a 165-hp E-TEC with lightweight SHOT batteryless starting, mass centralization, tunable KYB dampers, RAS 3 IFS, t-Motion rear suspension and the list goes on.
The Freeride is, quite frankly, one of the best-equipped vert sleds in Ski-Doo’s line-up, yet it still displays competent trail riding versatility.
Hard to beat, Kent.
RUNNER UP: POLARIS SKS 800 HO 1460
The truth is, the SKS, just like the Freeride, is a pure mountain sled with a shorter track and a chaincase.
The 146, as opposed to a 163 or a 155, makes the sled easier to pivot and more fun to play with in powder, thus its freestyle designation.
Polaris got it right with the SKS because it’s lighter, totally flickable and has incredible deep-snow manners.
But honestly, Mark, what are you thinking, talking about how these sleds are so great because you can ride them in powder – and on trails?
Gimme a break, they’ve both got 2.25-deep tracks. Tracks that deep dig trenches in trails and eat up sliders in two miles!
They’re not intended for, nor are they any good on trails and it means you have to rate them as powder sleds only.
If you look at it that way, the Polaris is it. Period!