I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a member of BRP's Technical Support team in Munising, Michigan for some test riding on the new MXZx 800 E-TEC.
The USCC Munising 300 race was in town during our testing, so the trails in the area were less than perfect. Friday night brought a fresh snowfall to the area and groomers were out in force--but the trails were still mostly miles of stutter bumps.
The sled I was to pilot already had 905 miles on it so it was well past break-in. The X was bone stock and included the premium gauge package. Most guys from Michigan will tell you why we stud our tracks-- icy corners. My 800 E-TEC was not studded and there were times I wished it was.
Five of us started out from the Cherrywood on M-28 and headed off to Kitchitikipi Springs in Schoolcraft County. It's a beautiful ride that two of us had done before and three others enjoyed for the first time.
Throughout the day we rode on trails with various terrain: steep, winding and narrow, flat and smooth, and some as wide as a two lane road. The MXZx handled on rails in all conditions and corner to corner power was incredible. A flip of the throttle would send the sled forward while throwing you back on the seat. If I said you needed tight fitting gloves, I wouldn't be kidding.
We found a comfortable cruising speed at around 60 MPH. The sled was consistently running near 6200 rpms at this speed. A flip of the throttle to the bar and within a second's time you were now running at 8200 rpms and the speedo read triple digits. It feels like hitting a nitrous oxide button!
I like X packages with the 120 x 15 inch tracks and their fully adjustable clicker shocks so I can adjust the sled for my weight and riding style. The red knobs at the bottom shock mount have 20 positions or "clicks". Although they adjust both compression and rebound damping, they seem to be more effective with rebound. Clicking the knob "clockwise" slows down the oil flow in the shock, turning out "counterclockwise" speeds up the oil flow. BRP tells me to turn the knobs out to increase the shock action speed until the front end begins to rebound to quickly causing bounce, then turn them back in a few clicks until the bounce disappears. At this position the shocks will act as quickly as possible at absorbing bumps for your particular weight, speed, and trail conditions. After a short time, I had my test ride dialed in to perfection.
After leaving the Kitchitikipi Springs, we cruised the local trails throughout the day and the sled was absolutely flawless. We even popped out the instrument gauge cluster to disprove a rumor that if your instrument cluster went out, the E-TEC would spit and sputter. We proved this not to be the case, there was absolutely no difference in the sled's performance.
The 800 E-TEC averaged 15 MPG on the day. It takes fuel to make 155 horsepower at 8200 rpms and I rode this sled hard all day--on and off the throttle constantly. The beauty of E-TEC is that if you want to get 19 mpg as advertised, you can. That's a big plus when it's dark and you're a long way from home. Just set the premium gauge to read MPG and you can monitor your fuel mileage in real-time. Cruising 55 to 60 mph at steady throttle will indeed net you 19-20 MPG according to BRP.
After riding the new 800 E-TEC for 150 miles, I give it two thumbs up. It's a new performance winner from BRP. If you like hitting the ditches, running tight trails, and cracking the throttle on wide open straights--this might be the sled for you.