RIDE IMPRESSIONS: Ski-Doo Grand Touring Sport ACE

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Maybe it’s all about EPA emissions certification or gas mileage, but the fact remains, after riding it earlier this year, the ACE makes respectable power when it’s combined with Ski-Doo’s latest chassis. Our particular focus here is the 2011 Grand Touring Sport XP-based 2-upper and we think it may be one of snowmobiling’s best buys.

Ski-Doo chose to equip the 2-passenger Sport with everything you need – and then some. Yes, it has 2-up amenities like a plush seat with a backrest and storage rack, the passenger seat is removable), nice analog gauges, electric start and reverse. All good.

Better, however comes in the form of a 137-inch track (15-wide on the ACE) with .75-inch lugs. You’re asking: Why is a narrower, less deeply lugged track better than the 16-wide x 1.25 offered on the same model with a 2-stroke 600. Answer: Weight. Fact is, the ACE doesn’t need a wider or deeper track and there’s a significant weight reduction because of this track choice.

Believe it or not, at 515 lbs. (234kg) this 4-stroke weighs in a measly 20 pounds more than the same sled equipped with a fan cooled 550 2-stroke. Horsepower numbers are similar but there’s a nice boost in torque with the ACE – something you notice immediately – and the gas range for touring is amazing compared to the 550 fan.

We’d need our knuckles rapped if we didn’t mention the incredible level of bump control the Sport delivers. Honestly, when it comes to sheer plushness and ability to absorb bad trail hits, we know of no other sled that can suck up pain like this one and that includes its pricier Grand Touring siblings.

Mere Motion Control gas cell shocks are used and the combination of these great shocks and the SC-5M long skidframe produce one of the finest rides we’ve ever experienced on a snowmobile. No exaggeration.

From a comfort, warmth, handling and ride perspective, Ski-Doo has set the bar very high. If you’re a touring junkie and want to ride significant distances 2-up; if you don’t like buying gasoline and you want a sled that will still be contemporary and worth some decent cash ten years from now, look no further. This is an incredible snowmobile.

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