Posted 08 May 2013 - 05:50 PM
When you were a kid, did you ever buy the wrong size sneakers because they were the last pair in the style and color you wanted? Did you ever want that bicycle that was too tall for you, but was the coolest bike in the store? Did you ever want to go out with the cutest girl in the class, even though you knew in the end she'd drop you like a hot potato as soon as the next guy came along? Well, we might be guilty of all of those things...and it seems that temptation for things that might not be quite right for us still follows us today.
After seeing the new 2013 Ski-Doo lineup and the REV XS chassis, we wanted our long term test sled to be in the new skin. We had just finished a year on the MXZ X with the R-Motion skid, so we thought we'd see how the R-Motion performed in the longer Renegade skid. We knew our engine choice would be the 600 ETEC because it is simply our favorite mill out of Valcourt. We've ridden all the offerings from Rotax, and they are all great power plants. But there is something fun about the perfectly balanced 600 ETEC. It's got more than enough power when you want to play boy racer, but you can be liberal with the throttle and not have to finesse it as much as its bigger brother. So, we had the chassis and the engine picked out, now to the exact model. ...and that's when it happened. We saw the Renegade Backcountry X. Yes, we realize we ride in western NY where the hills aren't steep, the trails are groomed, and our back country opportunities are about non-existent....but the black Renegade Backcountry in the X package just called our names like the wrong size sneakers, the over sized bike, and the girl that would break our heart. ....only after a year on the deep lugged wide track, we ended up with no blisters, no wipe outs, and no broken hearts. The new XS body work is top notch. Fit and finish is second to none. Everything looks great and works great. The windshield somehow manages to look low and sporty, but provides great wind protection. The sled looks clean and mean, and though the changes are subtle from the much loved XP, it's a great evolution of an already great sled. We were not sure what to expect with the R-Motion in the longer skid. We were amazed at how great it performed in the MXZ, but since we've always found the Renegade to be a great riding sled, we did not know if the R-Motion would make that much difference. Well it did. The R-Motion in the Renegade is an outstanding combination, especially when sprung with high end shocks all around. Trail junk becomes nearly non existent resulting in confidence inspiring handling. This sled makes average riders faster, and faster riders untouchable. It just plain works...and works great. In an unexpected turn of events for our part of the country, we actually had some opportunities to try the BackCountry in its sweet spot. We had a few occasions to get out and break a little trail, to play in a little powder, and to see the BackCountry where it really belongs. The wider track floats as expected and the deeper lugs ensure you keep moving, no matter how deep it gets. The Pilot DS skis did their job in the unpacked trail conditions. All good stuff. When we had the opportunity to get the Backcountry out on some groomed trails, the sled was surprisingly fun. In high speed sweepers, the combination of the wider deep lugged track and the Pilot DS skis does not carve as sharply as the more on-trail oriented Renegade X, but after a few minutes, we found that we could still get predictable handling out of the Backcountry. Ski-Doo has done a great job providing the very right sled for the right conditions. If your riding day is filled with more off trail than on, but you still have the occasional day hitting the groomed snow with your buddies, the Renegade Backcountry X is a great choice.
So, we'll admit it...this outstanding looking sled and our envy of the off-trail experience tempted us to get a sled that most Western New Yorkers might not buy. But at the end of the day, the grin factor was high, and we were glad we took a chance on that pair of sneakers that may not have been quite the right size, because sometimes trying to look cool pays off.
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