Supertrax Media, producers of SnowTrax Television, North America’s most watched, longest running, snowmobile television series, is pleased to announce the winners of the show’s annual Real World Sled of the Year and Revolutionary Advanced Design awards for Model Year 2018.
REAL WORLD SLED OF THE YEAR AWARD: Polaris Switchback XCR 800 HO
The battle for the annual SnowTrax Real World Sled of the Year laurels continues to intensify with the last two seasons witnessing almost dead-even heats between the two finalists.
Once again it was the hardcore staff at Supertrax Media and SnowTrax Television scoring the sleds across 18 categories of evaluation for the snowmobile industry’s ultimate award.
The nominees were impressive: The Yamaha Viper LTX 137, Arctic Cat’s ZR 8000 137, the Polaris 800 XCR Switchback 800 HO and the G4 Ski-Doo Renegade 850 XRS.
Interestingly, this year’s nominees were all, without exception, 137-inch models, indicating just how quickly the industry is moving to longer track lengths in top performance sleds.
Voting was exceptionally tight, requiring staff voters to spend extra time weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each of the nominees.
When push came to shove it was the Polaris XCR Switchback 800 HO carding the winning votes sending it to the top of the Supertrax Media podium for the 2018 Real World Sled of the Year Award.
It cannot go unsaid this year’s result was again as close as we have seen with the Ski-Doo G4 Renegade 850 XRS literally neck and neck in the voting with the Polaris Switchback XCR.
In the end, the XCR prevailed largely due to its inimitable handling prowess and high-speed ditch-banging demeanor.
The XCR is marketed as a hardcore sled for discerning riders and this cannot be overstated: The XCR rules terrain with its sophisticated, fully adjustable Walker Evans shocks and the continued supremacy of the AXYS platform’s variable castor, double A-arm IFS.
While the G4 is unquestionably the technological leader in the industry, the inherent goodness of a design delivering legendary handling performance at the limit, prevailed.
Polaris’ Pro XC external shock rear suspension received solid praise from the test team for it’s excellent control in deep bumps and square edged hits.
While the G4’s rMotion skidframe takes plush to new levels, the Polaris Pro XC delivers amazing control and stability when the sled is pushed to its limits.
Brake performance was also universally praised by the Supertrax Media staff. The Polaris jackshaft-mounted caliper and Hayes master cylinder provided what some testers called the best feel and depth of modulation among all OEM braking systems.
Congratulations to Polaris for winning the Real World Sled of the Year competition in model year 2018.
REVOLUTIONARY ADVANCED DESIGN AWARD: Ski-Doo SHOT Starter System
Ski-Doo set the snowmobile industry on end when it pulled the sheets off the SHOT starter system. The SHOT system uses the 850 and 600R’s stators as an electric starter motor powered by an ultra-lightweight capacitor.
The capacitor will hold a sufficient one hour charge to restart the engines. The beauty of the SHOT system is its inherent lightness. Tipping the scales at barely 11 pounds, it beats current electric start systems by more than 20 pounds.
So far, the SHOT system has only been used on Ski-Doo’s Summit line-up. Mountain riders are the most weight-influenced snowmobilers in the sport and they are also the most prolific re-starters of their sleds, often in awkward, off-kilter positions.
SHOT means after using recoil start at the beginning of their ride-day owners can use the push-button SHOT the rest of the day without the weight penalty of a conventional electric start system.
The SHOT capacitor is recharged in as little as 90 seconds and ready for another “shot” after each use.
There’s only one thing left to say about SHOT: In the future will the capacitor be increased to supply power at any time replacing batteries and starter motors on both mountain sleds and trail snowmobiles? Only Ski-Doo knows the answer to this question. However, Ski-Doo engineering continues to push the boundaries of snowmobile technology to new and ever-higher heights.
Congratulations to Ski-Doo for winning Supertrax Media’s RAD (Revolutionary Advanced Design) award for 2018.
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