Excellent basics and cost-effective value set this sled apart
Ski-Doo does as well as any other manufacturer in the business when it comes to building groomed trail sleds. Perhaps it helps that Ski-Doo engineering can try out new pieces simply by raising a garage door and heading out on Quebec’s famous and vast miles of groomed super trailways. We suspect that Ski-Doo engineering does this with some regularity, because it would explain why and how this company seems to really understand the trail touring rider as well as it does.
Engine Type:Horizontal In-line
Valve Configuration:Reed Valve
Displacement:553.4 / 33.8
Starter:Electric / Pull
Turbocharged:NoView Full Spec
Ski-Doo trail touring riders don’t need to spend big bucks to get a very well equipped and above average riding sled. We found the 2010 Ski-Doo GSX Sport 550F a very dollar-efficient snowmobile that will give you many years of trouble-free riding.
Don’t misunderstand. Ski-Doo offers more amenities and more power on other models, but for a cost-conscious snowmobiler looking for solid value, the 2010 GSX Sport 550F looks like a darn good value in today’s economy.
When you sit aboard the latest fan-cooled GSX sport-touring sled, you immediately recognize the REV-XP ride-forward positioning. This latest chassis design exceeds the original REV platform. You won’t get that cramped feeling as your knees buck the firewall. The latest REV-XP design enables you to move forward or back to achieve whatever on-trail level of comfort you want. Slide forward to ride aggressively in the twisties. Slip back a few inches to relax on those long straight sections. You’ll find better than average set length and cushioning in the GSX seat.
However, we do disagree with Ski-Doo on the tactile feel of the seat cover. We think it’s too grippy, especially on our nylon bibs. We also notice that it tends to gather too much of the fluffier snow. Even after you brush off the fluff coating, the seat seems to retain some that settles into the textured seat pattern. Then when you head off down the trail, the retained snow melts from your body heat and adds a bit of unnecessary discomfort to your fanny. We don’t care for this seat covering because of this, but we’ll wait to see if it is an issue next season. If other riders found this annoying, we’ll bet that this specific seat design gets changed. If not, well, guess we were the only bellyachers!
That would be about our only ergonomic disagreement. Of course, there is our usual handlebar rant. Why can’t Ski-Doo and Polaris establish a new bar design similar to the curved and more rider-friendly ones seen on Yamaha and Arctic Cat sleds? The Ski-Doo GSX Sport’s straight bar is okay 80 percent of the time. And it probably works well for the intended user, but if that user knew what they could have… well, they’d want it. Heck they’d demand it!
Beyond Entry Level
The GSX Sport 550F carries a so-called “entry level” designation, but even a long time rider would find this particular Ski-Doo a good all-around value. The REV-XP chassis is the immediate benefit, but added to that is the latest front and rear suspension sets. The double A-arm front suspension allows up to 9-inches of travel. The “economy” version of the SC-5 rear parallel slide rail suspension can provide upwards of 15-inches of rear travel. Both suspensions feature Motion Control shocks. Granted, these are not the latest and greatest shocks, but they work well unless you try to push the sled hard for a prolonged period in tight turns or over really rough trails. Then these shocks will tire and you can bottom them out. But if you are going to ride a GSX Sport 550F that hard for a long ride, you should move up to the MXZ TNT or Adrenaline. The GSX Sport 550F will perform very well on a daylong cruise. It is designed to provide a good ride on groomed trails and with its 10.6 US gallon fuel tank, it should get you a long way down the trail before you need to stop for gas.
You can’t help but notice the light feel of this sled. With a claimed weight of 437-pounds, this sled will feel responsive and nimble as you work through a groomed section of turns. Without undue bulk and with its near perfect riding position, the 2010 Ski-Doo GSX Sport 550F should have you quite relaxed by day’s end. It rides exceptionally well and its light steering will not work you over like some heavier models.
The 550 fan-cooled twin may be making its last round as a snowmobile powerplant these days, but it will save you the complexity and weight needed to accommodate liquid-cooled motors. The powertrain works through Rotax and Ski-Doo tuned drives and delivers ample on-trail performance to the 15-inch wide by 120-inch long rubber track.
We admit that we’re spoiled by riding fuel-injected models, which have a very light pull on the throttle. That’s why we noticed the heavier throttle operating the 550 twin’s dual 30mm Mikuni carburetors. It’s not intolerable, but compared to an EFI’s lighter pull, you can feel it. Of course, it would seem feather-like if you compared it to yanking on one of those old Ski-Doo 600cc triples!
For your money, the Ski-Doo GSX Sport 550F offers the latest chassis, newest suspension concepts and serious on-trail amenities. There is electric start, a wind blocking mid-height windscreen, Brembo hydraulic disc braking, and the convenience of push button electronic reverse.
With the money you save on your GSX Sport 550F purchase, you can add a heated seat cover, tank bag and more.
For its price and amenities, this is one smooth riding, cost-saving, fun-to-ride all day touring sled that will leave you smiling at the end of a dawn to dusk trail cruise. Yes, we do like this sled and we aren’t afraid to say so. It’s cost-efficient and easy-to-own. Yet, it provides good handling, a good ride, excellent ergonomics and on-trail fun. That’s a lot of value for the price.
|2010 Ski-Doo GSX Sport 550F Specs|
|Engine||Rotax 553.4 twin cylinder; fan-cooled; 2-stroke; two VM30 Mikuni carbs|
|Drive||TRA III drive & matched driven|
|Front Suspension||Dual A-arm — 9.0 inch maximum travel: Motion Control shocks|
|Rear Suspension||SC5 — 15-in of maximum travel; Motion Control shocks on front and rear arms|
|Ski Stance||42.4 in|
|Track||15 x 120 x 1.0|
|Weight||437 lbs (claimed)|
|Fuel Capacity||10.6 US Gal|