Before we jump into this, we have to get some items clear. The 2017 Pro-RMK is a 163 with a 3” lug and 800 cc engine. The 2017 Summit X is a 154 with a 2.5” lug and 850 cc engine. The tester (me) is 6’3” and with gear on, I weigh in at 250 pounds.
Two of these sleds are off trail, deep snow weapons that excel in those domains. That’s the style of riding I enjoy, however, on that ride home, I do want to enjoy some comforts too. So I’ve incorporated that into play here. So here’s how this is going to be broken down, I’ve come up with seven categories of comparison to pit these two sleds against each other. The categorization will be based on; Power, Predictability, Side-Hill Ability, Wash-out Factor, Flickability, trail manners and functions (controls/gauges).
Each of the individual categories will be scored out of ten and a perfect score will be 70. Okay…here’s the disappointment factor for all of you out there, we won’t be claiming a victor in this article because there’s no way anyone can judge these two awesome sleds without ample seat time. I’ve ridden both the 2016 Pro RMK and Summit X T3 models equally last season. However, I’ve only had limited exposure to the 2017 Summit X 850. For that reason, we have to stretch this test over more of the season. However, I will share my initial thoughts on both sleds.
We’ll start with the Summit X 850. It seems as if Skidoo wanted to throw down the big power challenge and yes, they have hit it here with their new 850. However, we purposely didn’t do anything to this sled. No removing of acoustic foam or creating venting, we wanted to keep it stock to see what happens. Thus far, we have not blown any belts or had any overheating issues. The sled is still in break-in mode and we’re curious what’s gonna happen once it’s beyond break-in mode because at present, it has wicked power. The trail manners for for this mountain/backcountry sled are quite good. However, the stock shock set-up on this sled is too soft for my rider size. The gauge cluster is non-existent. Maybe it’s where I’m over 40 but if you’re going that small, what’s the point. Like previous Summit models, flickability has never been an issue. In fact, on my first ride in about a foot of powder, I was drastically suffering from “drunken sailor” effect because the sled was all over the place.
Now for some of the factors that I had hoped Skidoo had addressed with this new Gen 4 platform. While side hilling, the sled still wants to wash out. What I mean by this is that the rear of the sled wants to wash out below you. I shouldn’t have to be up standing on the spindle to prevent this from happening. This test so far is an out of the box test, but we have a few adjustments that we’re going to try on this sled. The paneling out issue of the XM have been addressed somewhat but as we get into spring conditions and those long Lewis Hills side hills, we’ll get back to you on that one.
As for predictability, this sled is anything but. Maybe it needs more deep snow to show its true colours but the thing was unpredictable. In my opinion, for a mountain sled, I want predictability.
And now we introduce the 2017 Polaris Pro-RMK. In it’s element, I don’t thing there’s anything in Newfoundland that will stop this 163 monster. However, the terrain domination off trail comes with a price on trail, you’re not buying this sled for trail riding, that’s a fact. It’s a big sled and it lets you know that on the trail. The 155 track length is probably better suited for this neck of the woods. However, if you’re looking for predictability and control in backcountry terrain, this is your sled. It practically wants to side hill itself. In tight technical terrain, you want that and you don’t notice the size of the sled. With regards to flickability, it’s definitely more rigid than the Summit but that rigidity allows for more precise rider inputs. With regards to power, it’s there in more of a linear approach versus explosive power. The gauges on this Limited Edition spring order are incredible. Big and easy to see.
So is there a clear winner yet…not really. I want to get more seat time on that Summit Gen 4 in some deep pow before I can accurately draw any conclusions. Will I be awarding a winner, you bet! However, you’ll have to log unto sledworthy.com to see the results. And yes, you have to be a subscriber to the magazine or simply subscribe to the digital version for for the final results. Which sled in your opinion do you think will come out on top in this Head2Head?