The 2022 Lynx Rave RE first ride and review draws comparisons between the Ski-Doo X-RS and Arctic Cat RR in the big-bump snowmobile segment. These race-bred sleds feature premium suspension technology that demanding riders desire.
Buying a New Sled
By the time you read this spring orders for snowmobiles will have been well under way for the big four and by my calculations it should be a record sales season. New ridership is up and folks are finding out that it’s just plain fun to be outside on a snowmobile.
If you’ve got some extra cash banked or a have a rich uncle in the family you can borrow from, it may be the best time to consider ordering a new snowmobile. It will shape your destiny for years to come. Maybe you’re considering the 2022 Lynx Rave RE? If so, this test ride and review may be helpful.
This time of year, snowmobilers like myself, always ask the same question – should I keep the old buggy one more season or spring-check a hot new ride?
Realizing post-COVID consumer demand, the snowmobile corporations have really upped the ante this year with longer extended warranties, turbos, gauge choices, along with more color and track options than you can shake a stick at. Ski-Doo, or should I say Lynx, has raised the stakes even more by adding a new platform variation to the mix. Decisions, decisions.
BRP and the Lynx Snowmobile
Why would the brain trust at BRP be importing the Scandinavian built Lynx brand of snowmobile, and in particular, why at this moment in time? It might help to look back on the Ski-Doo brand and examine some of the models they have introduced over the years for a partial answer to this question.
Back in 2013 Ski-Doo realized they had various holes in their line-up and were losing customers to other brands. Folks asked for a four-stroke sled and Ski-Doo delivered with the 900 ACE. Shortly afterwards snowmobilers clamored for more power, and low and behold, they introduced the 900 ACE Turbo.
Not to be left behind, the two-stroke crowd asked for more power and got it with the 850 E-TEC back in 2017. Knowing that within their lineup they had many platforms for consumers to choose from, and by my account had all the bases covered, why now the Lynx? Is it a view of things to come in the Ski-Doo lineup?
One Company – Two Brands
In the automotive world of a single company offering competing brands, where GMC and Chevrolet pickup trucks compete against one another, as does Audi and Volkswagen sedans, it’s safe to say it ultimately benefits the mothership.
But there must be some differences between two of anything, be it snowmobiles, cars, trucks? What do they offer to entice consumers to part with their hard-earned cash? If you offer an entirely new snowmobile brand then it had better be something riders are craving for, something that no one else in the industry offers.
Lynx Rave RE vs Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS
In Scandinavia there are few, if any, groomed trails I’m told. Just giant bumps and icy glaciers to ride on. Those folks would then need some serious suspension, traction options and rugged design on any snowmobile they throw a leg over. Lynx engineers studied and addressed that need and produced the Lynx Rave RE (race edition) 3500 series snowmobile.
Right now, we have the Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS, Arctic Cat RR and Polaris Indy XCR. They are the top guns in the gnarly bump world. Is the Lynx one step above those platforms? Stay tuned and we shall discover why this just might be true.
I reached out to Lisa and Brian Whalley at HK Powersports in Laconia NH for a chance to ride the new Lynx Rave RE. HK has been in business for 40-plus years and serves snowmobilers and off-road consumers with killer sales and great service. After some introductions and a short photo shoot I was off searching for trails that would test this red beast to the maximum. I ended up on a railbed mixed with tight twisty trails near Andover. Temps the first day were in the high thirties with light slush and a hard-packed icy base.
Once unloaded from the trailer, the first thing I noticed was the nicely sculpted lines of the sled. In this writer’s viewpoint, I thought it was much nicer looking than the Renegade X-RS. Score one for the 2022 Lynx.
The new Blade X skis look sharp and are like a clone of the C&A’s I have at home. Score two for Lynx. The styling of the wheels on the suspension is appealing, as are the easy to remove side panels. Score three and four for Lynx. The engine is the venerable E-TEC 850 with no calibration differences. Score even for X-RS versus Lynx.
The width of the sled at the front of the seat is much narrower than the Ski-Doo X-RS and the padding is firmer. For the intended purpose of navigating bumps and the twisties, the narrow seat design of the Lynx has it over the X-RS. Score five for Lynx.
For seat materials, score one for the X-RS, as it is more compliant. Comfort is king in that area! The gauge pod and controls are the same, sled to sled, so I call a draw.
PPS3 3500 Rear Suspension with KYB 46 HLCR Kashima Shocks
The uncoupled PPS3 rear suspension is all about big bump absorption and straight-line control. It looks and behaves nothing like its BRP sibling, the coupled rMotion found on the Ski-Doo. For crater hopping, it’s Lynx all the way for a score of six.
Note that the actual ride quality of the Lynx rear suspension would be considered subpar for anything but hammering through the nasties, as it’s suspended far too stiff for trail duty.
Although it never bottomed out, the bumps transmitted firmer shockwaves through the sled than most riders would deem necessary. Again, I’ll repeat, this is a no-nonsense big bump sled so it will not ride like an all-day cruiser. Thus, the Race Edition moniker.
LFS+ Front Suspension on KYB 46 with Remote Reservoir
Unlike the rear suspension design differences, the front suspension is basically the same RAS layout in both BRP snowmachines.
Although the Lynx is propped up on the monster KYB 46 shocks and tightly wound springs specific to the RAVE RE, I call it a draw there.
Even though the characteristics are very similar to the Ski-Doo, the front-end handling could be vague at times, as the skis pushed through the corners more than the Renegade X-RS did under similar circumstances. Score two for the X-RS.
Lynx Standard Features
The footrests of the Lynx are raised up somewhat and there are side toeholds.
These are considered accessories for the X-RS that must be bought and installed at additional cost. Score seven for the Lynx.
I found them quite comfortable, secure and warm, even on the second day of my test ride with four-degree temps and 20-30mph winds.
The fit and finish of the sled are spot on, as usual for Ski-Doo, and would grace someone’s’ garage quite nicely.
Mine included! The 1.5 Ice Ripper track is available on either sled and very welcome on the trails I rode, as there was a fair amount of ice that would have tripped up riders using an all rubber track.
2022 Lynx Rave RE First Ride and Review
To answer the question about whether or not this sled is the next step up from the hardcore offerings already out there, I would say yes and no. Let me explain further in this 2022 Lynx Rave RE first ride and review.
Although I look forward to riding the new Polaris Indy XCR, I have in fact ridden the Renegade X-RS and Arctic Cat RR models and agree that they are stiffly sprung and fully capable of crushing big bumps down to a smaller size, in a manner of speaking.
However, at the end of the day I would submit to you that in its present form, riders of the RAVE RE aren’t as refreshed as the RR or X-RS riders that went through and over the same bombed out trails.
Perhaps with more adjustments to the front and rear suspension calibrations, or even a re-valving of the front and rear shocks, this sled could rock your world.
Lynx, I’m sure, may regret making it stiffer than it has to be for North America and I will go out on a limb and state that a future version will be sprung softer. Cat found this out during the initial release of the RR. After a year of complaints that the ride was too stiff, Cat softened things up a bit the following season.
Another thought. Could the Lynx introduction be testing the waters, looking for customer feedback? Will a similar styling theme grace the Yellow and Black sleds coming down the line in MY 2023 and beyond?
With the market saturated with the highest of high-tech offerings and the most capable sleds ever offered could it be that BRP wants to give buyers another option to stay within the family?
BRP Marketing Strategy
How many manufacturers can state that they build a uniquely different sled in a foreign country? This could be a brilliant marketing strategy for BRP.
They could offer the sled as an off the shelf race edition, an Iron Dog or Blair Morgan type iteration. Or, think of this as the halo sled, as the Corvette is to the Camaro. The rider of a Lynx Rave is the most sought-after person at the gas pumps, rest stops and burger joints. Who doesn’t want that type of attention? That’s what I found during this 2022 Lynx Rave RE first ride and review.
For now, only BRP knows for sure what lies ahead in the future of the Lynx Rave series sleds. As someone who has snowmobile DNA coded in the cranium I can’t wait to see what happens next!