EARLY-SEASON CROSSOVER IMPRESSIONS

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Last week we rode three crossover sleds about a hundred miles on frozen lakes, freshly covered in deep, dry snow and trails and came up with some interesting feedback.

The three sleds were: A 2014 Renegade X 800, an 800 Switchback 136 and a new Viper LTX 137.

First, (and you’re gonna hate this) we loved all three of these sleds! Yes, there were some nitpicks, such as: the Viper SE’s low windshield is the coldest, most uncomfortable wind-shoveling device we’ve ever experienced.

The Rennie, without the extra carbide on its skis, is a bit darty in semi-loose trail snow.

The Switchback, although it had the warmest windshield does direct a lot of cold air onto the rider’s lower body – needs some wind deflectors like the Adventure.

Other than those gripes there’s not a lot to complain about. We’d rate trail compliance in this order: Rennie, #1; Viper, #2 and SW, #3. Handling, we’d rate SW #1; Viper #2; Renegade, #3. Comfort & ergonomics, combined sitting and standing: SW, #1, Viper #2 and Renegade, #3.

We won’t say anything about power because these sleds are not broken in yet, but we will say this: In most trail and even deep powder lake situations (we were riding on about 14-inches of dry powder – trails were semi-packed down but not groomed) the Viper affords itself very well against these two 800 2-strokes – only reluctantly giving up anything to them at the extreme big end.

It was a blast riding these three on lakes. We stopped in the deep stuff a few times to see how they would climb out and they performed incredibly well.

The Ski-Doo, with its 16-wide track, was awesome in these situations but we were also really impressed with how well the Vipe behaved in deep powder dead starts despite its heavier 4-stroke.

We wouldn’t be afraid to take these three anywhere.

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