2012 Ski-Doo MX Z X-RS 800 Review [Video]
More cushion for the wannabe racer set
Story by Jerry Bassett, Photography by Jerry Bassett & Ski-Doo, Video by Michael Nardi & Chris Blanchette, Mar 29, 2011
If you like to drop off rooftops, whip through the whoops WOT (That’s “wide open throttle” for us trail loungers!), and cut the apex like a drift master, then we figure the 2012 Ski-Doo MX Z X-RS with the 800cc ETEC twin will make you want to order now, because that’s the only way you’ll get this model.
This spring only availability Ski-Doo is an upgraded 2012 play racer for the serious bump banger. The 2012 version keeps the proven parts but adds an all-new rMotion mogul-sucking rear suspension. We admit to being a bit perplexed about this limited availability of the new rMotion rear suspension, but the bottom line is that the availability is strictly limited to 2012 X-RS and “X” package models in this first season.
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We have to believe that the new suspension or a modified version of it will be rolled out in model year 2013 to more models, presumably all MX Z and some GSX versions. No one has said that, but historically that seems to be how Ski-Doo handles limited build introductions. We would also guess from looking at the components involved with the rMotion Quick Adjust version that this new design is quite a bit more expensive to build than the current stock SC-5 rear suspension.
Stand Out Style
The 2012 X-RS stands out from the crowd, resplendent in traditional Ski-Doo yellow and black with bold “XRS” nomenclature on the side panels. The tunnel is painted black with yellow graphics on the rearmost panel. The windscreen sits like a flyspeck above twin headlamps and appears to divert wind off to the wide yellow handguards. The seat has been narrowed down a titch to make side-to-side moves more inviting. The textured seat covering retains its tack to grip the driver’s fanny. And there’s ample room for a tunnel bag or other storage pack.
Sitting at the controls presents you with a racer-style handlebar that is function over form. The handgrips are turned for maximum control and a riser bar (options abound) puts the bar at a good height for sit-down cornering or stand up posting through a series of stutter bumps. There’s a padded center in the bar set with the rest exposed to showcase the racer-like feel of this unit. The emergency off button resides next to the throttle flipper while the bar heater toggle switch sits northeast of the gas cap ahead of the rider’s belly. The controls are almost primitive to accentuate this very racer-ish feel.
Up front the X-RS gets the latest Ski-Doo Pilot series ski design for grip and minimal on-trail darting. These effective new skis feed trail chatter to a dual A-arm front suspension that uses coil-over-shock KYB Pro 40 R easy-adjust gas shocks. Adjustments can be made simply by clicking in your desired settings.
At the rear, the new rMotion suspension features ample adjustments for ski lift or ski pressure to grip into corners plus fine-tuning for ride. Most serious big bump riders immediately will go for the Performance set up that stiffens the suspension to absorb snocross terrain. If that’s what you truly ride 80-plus percent of the time, have at it. If not, we suggest backing off to the Sport shock setting. In our opinion this setting, plus fine-tuning the rest of the rMotion package for trail comfort will be much more satisfactory. If you encounter a serious 10-foot drop off, yeah, you might compress the suspension to the rail, but if you ride a combination of groomed trails and some ditches, then we bet this set up will be preferred. It lets the rMotion showcase its chatter and stutter bump performance while leaving you room for the occasional surprise mogul. If you’re not one step removed from hitting the snocross circuit, try the Sport setting as well as the Performance shock position.
The XRS with rMotion comes with its heart on its runningboard, that’s where Ski-Doo places the two external adjusting mechanisms. You can literally dial in ride and performance comfort. This added ability to fine-tune the rear suspension adds convenience, a modest bit of weight and eye appeal. While the adjusters take up room on the rear portion of the runningboards, we doubt most riders will notice them once they get underway.
Getting underway comes quickly with the Rotax-engineered 800cc ETEC twin. Like most of the modern big twins being used today, the 800 ETEC is efficient at drive off to midrange and comes alive at wide-open throttle. Surprisingly quiet, the latest ETEC motors combine the spirit of two-strokes with the smoothness of a four-stroke. There’s a bit of a two-stroke rush when hitting the throttle, but in simple o- trail motoring the ETEC is totally tractable. Given a choice between the 600 or 800 ETEC, we’d pony up the coin for the greater horsepower as the 800 does virtually everything the 600 will do at lower speeds and gives you an added edge on a lake or a straightaway — or powering out of a fast sweeper.
The X-RS looks and feels like a serious race-bred sled, but by soft-tuning its new rMotion rear suspension; you can enjoy all the thrills of its racing heritage plus take advantage of its unique ability to handle tight and bumpy trails. The 2012 MX Z X-RS provides quick power; great trail ride, big bump capabilities and the flavor of a raw sports sled.
|2012 Ski-Doo MX Z X-RS 800 ETEC Specs|
|Engine||Rotax ETEC 800 R two-stroke, 799.5cc, electronic direct injection twin with 2-into-one exhaust; uses premium unleaded|
|Drive||TRA III with QRS secondary|
|Front Suspension||Ski-Doo dual A-arms KYB Pro 40 easy-adjust shocks controlling 9-inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension||Ski-Doo SC-5 slide rail with Motion Control shock on front arm and HPG-VR shock on rear arm; 16-inches of travel|
|Ski Stance||42.4 in|
|Track||15 x 120 x 1.25 Ripsaw (Optional Ice Ripper XT—US$350 extra)|
|Fuel Capacity||10.6 US Gal|
|Features||Rotax Electric Reverse, electric fuel gauge, REV-XP RS chassis, Brembo racing brake, multi-function digital gauge|