Log in

View Full Version : 2013 Summit XM comparison and ride impression - in Alaska!

03-13-2012, 10:39 PM
At first look it may look as though all BRP did was change plastics on the Summit XP, but there is much more to the differences between the XP and XM then meets the eye.

So before talking about how it rides and my impressions about it, I think we should review what’s changed to really understand how the XM improves the 2013 Summit over the XP.

Let’s look at the plastics, the side panels have been reshaped to slide through the snow more easily, making powder carving easier with less drag resistance, BRP calls them “Powderdynamically shaped”, I call them F’n great! They are also made out of Polypropylene for strength and light weightness.

The forward foot stirrup has also been redesigned to allow you to stand 8” further forward on the running boards, this puts your body inline with the steering column, making it easier to pull the sled over during slow speed maneuvers. You can even place one foot on the knurled upper a-arm and one on the running board for extreme slow speed maneuvering on steep terrain. I haven’t tried this, but Curtis told me he tried it and put too much weight forward while going to fast, he drove the front under the snow and did a forward dismount with a 180 deg flip. LOL

Hood/console/headlight/gauge assembly is all one piece now, it comes off in minutes with just 4 screws giving access to the motor compartment. Nice! There’s also a heated “glove box” behind the gauge assembly, just right for spare goggles and gloves. Although we found snow dust in it and was wet when we rode in over the hood powder. A couple of Ziploc baggies will keep you stuff dry and warm though. There’s even an add-on accessory to double the size of the glove box.

The air intakes were moved up on the sides of the headlights, they are higher and vertical so there's less snow build up or icing over from under hood heat melting snow. They worked really well all day long, even while snorkeling for long periods.

BRP tilted the gauge assembly up nearly flat for easier viewing while standing. Do the engineers and designers actually ride these sleds in powder? Ours was just as covered with snow as the XP gauge was. I think the only way to see your tach, speed, temp and warning lights while powder riding is to have a heads-up display in your goggles. It could be done, there are goggles with GPS heads-up displays.

Tail flap, it has holes in it – that’s more shock and awe hype for the internet discussion forums then real world functionality IMHO. The one significant thing they did do was put a hinge on it, no more backing over it and no more crack splitting it in half. It worked well in the deep stuff , it did not interfere with snow evacuation from the tunnel. It also worked well on the trail keeping the baseball sized chunks of snow down, I had a front row seat of it in action, as I was towed out by the mighty XM due to a broken chain on the Freeride. (Side note to BRP, please make the chain tensioner easier to access!)

Now let’s talk about the ergo's, the seat was just right for me, I didn’t really pay any attention to it while riding, as nothing stood out. It didn’t seem to low, it was narrow and easy to move side to side on – I like it. There is also a new truck design, it’s larger and has easier access then the 2011 trunk – it was also not snow tight, but I only noticed a small amount of snow dust in it after riding, it might have got in there from one of us opening it up with all the deep snow we were in.

Handlebars are a new design, they are not tapered, have a 2” rise and are flat with a slight backward angle. I did not notice any arm pump or wrist fatigue like I get with the FLY Racing highrise tapper bars. The grab handle is new, it’s stiffer and angled for better leverage, however it’s coming off my sled when it arrives – both hands belong on the handlebars IMHO. Only the bare minimum controls are on the handlebars, kill switch, RER button and dimmer switch. Hand and thumb warmer switches are on the consol out of the way.

The running boards have even large cut outs then before – something like 87% is open. They are not weak though – due to the three times thicker edge extrusion, the same one used on the Freeride. I didn’t have any problem with snow buildup on them, they remained clear all day. I think they may even reduce resistance while caving turns in deep powder, as the snow flows through them instead of pack under them.

Handling – the real difference and most improvement over the XP. The tMotion rear suspension. This is not a retro fitted and stretched MXZX skid frame, it a true mountain specific suspension. ABOUT TIME! I’m not even going to focus on the evolutional swiveling rear arm or the split front arm that allows the rails to flex laterally, or the flex track – even a layman can see and understand how that improves turn tilt initiation.

What really caught my attention was the redesigned rail tips and the geometry changes for the arm mount locations in the tunnel and rails. The rail tips on the XP were tipped up to far and spaced to far away from the drivers, this created a bad approach angle and caused a dog leg in the track on hard acceleration. This attributed to trenching and loss of track speed. If you did a comparison of the arm mount locations of the Cat, Polaris and ski-doo mountain sleds you’d see the XP mounts were further back then the other two, this made the sled feel front heavy and the pivot point was further back – making the XP more difficult to initiate a carve turn and sidehill at slower speeds. In this photo comparison you can see the differences between the XP on top and the XM on the bottom. I found the XM did not trench – but climbed on top of the snow easily.
Now my ride impressions. I only rode it in fresh powder – no trail ride, although the person that rode it into Skookum said it handled fine – no ill effects from the tMotion skid or flex track. Carving on the flats was effortless, you could counter steer or just shift your weight to lay it over, foot position was not as critical as on the XP, you could stand with both feet in the stirrups or further back. Sled feed back was predictable and easily controllable, the sled was not tippy feeling at all, you could choose the amount of angle you wanted with an easy weight shift or steering change. Even while carving through tracked up powder the sled held its line, this was a great confidence builder, very stabile.

Side hilling, my first pull on the XM was straight up the side of the valley and all the way across it – maybe a half mile. It was steep, so I instinctively put both feet on the uphill running board, I couldn’t get my weight far enough forward to keep the front end down and the track from wanting to wash out, I fought it for awhile thinking, “this thing sidehills like crap”, then I through my leg back over the seat – HELLO! WOW – it was like cutting through butter with a hot knife, easily controllable with just a weight shift or steering adjustment, even when crossing other tracks, dips or snow rubble.

Here’s the start of the sidehill – steep isn’t it?

This is me trying to get my weight forward and over while standing on the one running board.

This is with my feet on both running boards – much more control and ease.

Carving downhill, I’ve never been really good at this, not like slalom turns. I could make directional changes and avoid obstacles, but I couldn’t link turns together side to side like a slalom skier. Now I can – it’s easy with the XM. Just put your feet in the stirrups, counter steer and sway side to side – talk about fun! My face hurts from smiling so much.

This is pretty much the best sled I’ve ever ridden, the ergo’s, controllability, power, weight and feel of this sled just fits me to a T. I’m sold – sign me up for one.

03-13-2012, 10:59 PM
One other thing I forgot to mention, we removed the sway bar. We found it improved the handling and feel of the sled. There was less feed back through the handlebars and it improved the stability and control. IMHO BRP should not put a sway bar on a Summit. (summit is the definition of a mountain sled - not a trail sled) it should be an accessory option - not standard equipment. Making a sled that's designed to sway and tilt, and then adding a sway bar is a step backward. It's like putting training wheels on a Ducati.

03-14-2012, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the info ID. Besides the sway bar (figuired remove), anything else negative? Will AMDS have it in teh showroom before there scheduled visit next month? And any chance for demo rides? Tango ID. Great info. Wife is sold on it for me. HUA!


Nick Olzenak
03-14-2012, 05:27 PM
It is actually on the showroom today and then we are sharing it with our friends up at Compeaus in Fairbanks for about a week. Once it is back in town we will schedule a big demo day close to town for those who haven't made it out yet with us. We will also have them up at the Arctic Man with limited demo's, but if your friends of AMDS theres a very good chance we can get you on a ride!

Irondog thanks for the great review! I can't believe I didn't even think to try it with the sway bar link removed. I was so excited about how the sled was riding that I did not change one thing, just rode it like I stole it! Looking forward to more powder riding :)

Here is a link to the little video we made after the first ride...


03-15-2012, 09:44 AM
Thanks Nick. I will be in, very interested. AMDS and ID helped me alot when I modded my sled last year. Tango for the response. HUA!

03-15-2012, 12:09 PM
Here's a short clip from the GoPro footage we captured, this is CJ carving some downhill turns - looks like fun huh? This sled is so easy to carve with.


03-15-2012, 05:24 PM
Looks like fun????? EEEEHA!

03-15-2012, 07:51 PM
Here's a couple more videos showing the ride last Monday.



03-15-2012, 07:55 PM
Don't be afraid to jump the XM either, CJ, Chris Chad and Cory all took turns hucking it off, over and onto anything they could find. :cool:

03-15-2012, 09:16 PM
Man I'm not sure any more if I'm only gonna upgrade my 12 freeride with the T-Motion or trade her in for a black XM

Nick Olzenak
03-16-2012, 08:22 AM
The great thing for you and the 12 Freeride is that for 2013 the Freeride, besides color remains basically the same. So the market for a used white Freeride should be pretty healthy. In fact I am aware of several guys who have already sold there 2012 for a great price and secured their 2013 Summit. Its easy really, if your a hardcore jumper and really enjoy the sturdiness of the Freeride when smashing jumps and going big but wish it were just a little more nimble you may just upgrade to Tmotion. But, if your like me and you have outgrown that phase of going bigger than your buddies and want a sled to thread the needle in the tightest lines of your life in the steep, deep, and way out there... Get yourself the XM, the total package makes the XM unbeatable when it comes to a true backcountry, big mountain, deep snow sled. My Freeride is up for sale :)

03-16-2012, 10:08 AM
Man I'm not sure any more if I'm only gonna upgrade my 12 freeride with the T-Motion or trade her in for a black XM

I know what you mean - that black on black looks so good. I've already ordered a custom wrap from SCS Unlimited for it.

03-16-2012, 08:26 PM
Decisions????? no more, I'm switching to the dark side.

04-22-2012, 06:37 PM
Decisions????? no more, I'm switching to the dark side.

Did you snow check one?