Who would’ve ever guessed we’d be talking about the arrival of fully active suspension on snowmobiles?
Clearly, Ski-Doo aced the sno-mo market with the introduction of its proprietary “Smart-Shox” active suspension system this year. Smart-Shox will see its first consumer use this coming winter and I predict it’s going to be an overwhelmingly positive experience for those buyers who anted up for a first-year copy of this game-changing tech.
Sound like I’m impressed? Yes – and no. Let’s deal with the “no” first.
Fully active suspension in an off-road application has been available from Polaris for over two years now. The RZR PRO XP can be factory ordered with Polaris’ proprietary “DYNAMIX” system. So, the “no” part of my question has already been answered.
I knew 100 percent from firsthand experience with DYNAMIX, in a snowmobile application this technology would do the same thing it does on the RZR – it would reinvent snowmobile riding.
The “yes” part of the question is simple. You have never ridden a better riding snowmobile than a new G4 Ski-Doo with Smart-Shox. I said never.
It’s interesting to discover Can-Am’s inclusion of Smart-Shox technology on the Maverick XRS in July 2020. Why? Because Ski-Doo and Can-Am got fully active ride control at almost the same time. I gotta think Polaris will share DYNAMIX with the snowmobile division in the very near future.
Say what you like about the complexity of active suspension and yes, what will the system work like after 10,000 miles of mogul bashing and multiple seasons of cold weather use? I can’t definitively answer that question. However, I will say this: I remember oh-so-clearly when EFI systems appeared first on Polaris snowmobiles back in the 1991 model year.
There was profound and prolific doubt about the longterm durability and reliability of the Polaris JECS EFI system on the piston port Fuji 650 triple and Fuji 500 twin. Guess what? The system was mostly bulletproof with few exceptions. Don’t forget this: These simple 2-stroke engines equipped with EFI benefitted from a tangible injection of refinement and operated infinitely better than their carbed cousins.
I think Polaris is calibrating and mapping a full-on DYNAMIX active suspension system right now as you read this. I will be profoundly shocked if we don’t see DYNAMIX this spring. Polaris knows much about fully active technology having developed DYNAMIX in lock step with Fox for side-x-side use.
Interestingly, Ski-Doo’s Smart-Shox uses KYB dampers while the Can-Am off-roader uses Fox shocks. We think Polaris will stick with Fox on a snowmobile DYNAMIX system even though Walker Evans is the company’s premium brand for sleds.
There you have it. Fully active suspension is only a quick pressing of your credit card away. We can’t wait to see what it looks like from an OEM that has pioneered the technology for off-road use.