If you’re hesitating between a sport sled and a more comfortable model designed to gobble up hundreds of kilometres, the GSX SE may be just the machine for you. We put this high-performance, luxury solo touring machine through its paces at the Xtown
, the off-road centre near Montreal, where we were impressed by the new machine.
The 1200 4-TEC engine: perfectly suited to its role
|The GSX SE is now the most comfortable Ski-Doo to date. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/Auto123.com)
This is the first four-stroke Ski-Doo engine designed specifically for the snowmobile. It benefits from several welcome changes for 2010, the most important of which is the elimination of the engine braking (aka “Compression”), a phenomenon that happens when the throttle is shut and usually causes a loss of traction and stability at the rear. Engine braking is the result of the intake butterflies closing, thereby strangling an engine that is trying to pull air into the cylinders but just can’t. BRP engineers modified the intake system to let some air bleed through to the engine when the rider shuts the throttle, while cutting off the fuel supply to the injection system to ensure that the engine does not produce power at that time.
What’s more, the engine benefits from improved ignition and injection mapping aimed at softening throttle response when the drive pulley “Grabs” the belt, thus making for smoother take offs from a standstill. And thankfully so, as the clutch borrowed from the high-performance MX Z line still bites too hard and at too high an engine speed, and which still snaps hard on take-off despite the new mapping.
Now in its second year of production, the three-cylinder, 1171-cc 4-TEC has matured nicely. It vibrates less than the prototype we tested in 2008, even if you still feel some vibration in the footrests at low speed. And like any good touring sled engine, it delivers generous torque at mid rpm, then plenty of power as you climb up the rev range – just the compromise you look for in a modern, quiet machine.
More than well equipped!
The GSX SE possesses all the equipment and features you expect in a high-end comfortable machine: electric starter, electronic reverse function, four-way adjustable handle bars, heated grips and throttle, digital dash, rear-view mirrors, 12-volt outlet, power outlet for a heated helmet shield, high windshield, a travel bag that mounts onto the seat and turns into a backpack, and the pièce de résistance, an air spring suspension system in the rear controlled by a small electric pump (The damping function remains hydraulic).
|Ski-Doo’s new-for-2010 Air Control Suspension (ACS) greatly improves the trail manners of this model. (Photo: Philippe Champoux/Auto123.com)