There’s been scuttle surrounding handling traits of Ski-Doo’s now familiar G-4 chassis in both 129 and 137 inch track lengths.
The discussion involves whether the popular Pilot TS (Tunable Ski) handles differently on a G-4 than an XS or a G-4 equipped with non-adjustable Pilot 5.7’s.
In an effort to quantify this discussion I did as I always do and went for a spin on a 129 G-4 850 with TS skis and a ride on the same trails with the limited-build G-4 600R with 5.7’s. I was able to quickly conclude the G-4 likes the 5.7’s more than the TS boards.
This is an interesting conclusion given any XS Ski-Doo equipped with TS skis handles – IMO – superbly as you dial in the amount of carbide you need for the trail conditions of the day.
The G-4 feels like it is dipping and ducking in some cornering situations depending on the way you set up the TS carbides – specifically how much carbide is emerging from the ski-bottom.
We can best describe the feel of the TS skis on a G-4 in the twisties as “segmenting” a corner. There is a moment of strong oversteer on initial turn-in followed by a reflexive backing out of the input to counter the strong over-steer sensation.
As the pilot attempts to continue the turn, this is countered again with another dose of reflexive handlebar turn-in, which nets a strong over-steer sensation. The process when pushing hard at speed becomes a bit dippy and ducky.
For the record the 5.7’s do not display this trait and turn-in predictably with a balanced measure of initial turn-in followed by an easy to control transition from under steer (slight push) to over steer (progressive bite). This is pretty much the steering response most riders are familiar with and generally find easy to control.
So along comes Rob Wrightman with a set of his very slick Split Rail Skis and custom spindles for the G-4. Rob wants me to try them on a G-4 and see how they affect the handling of the chassis in the same conditions as I rode the 600 and the 850.
Rob informs me G-4 steering geometry is set up from the factory to allow for approximately 30 degress of turning arc right and left while the former XS chassis would allow up to 45 degrees of arc. I’m not sure this has anything to do with this discussion – but I included it anyway.
Testing on the same trails as the 5.7’s and TS skis left me pleasantly surprised. The Split Rails turn-in so progressively it almost felt like there was a power assist going on.
This is impressive considering the Split Rails have two six inch carbides per ski. The feel at the bars was ultra precise – but with gentle feedback when dialing in more or less turning angle.
The sled stayed laser level, composed, without a hint of inside ski lift even when cranking the bars at the apex of exceptionally tight corners.
Split Rails are legendary for erasing darting. They simply are unaffected by track lines in the trail surface. They are the hands down best anti-darting skis in the industry.
The handling precision of the Split Rails is a good match to the relatively aggressive geometry of the G-4 double A-arm RAS IFS. These skis are not cheap, however they do everything they promise and are a great addition to the G-4.