How about a super-trick dirt bike inspired rear suspension that re-writes the rules on what a rear suspension is capable of in a snowmobile? How about a smaller, lighter, more responsive sled that takes less energy to ride and makes the bumps all but disappear? Could this be the sled of your dreams?
SnowTech Magazine editors have just returned from the snowmobile press introduction of the radically-different 2010 Polaris RUSH. This is an all-new rigid chassis fitted with a single swing arm progressive rate rear suspension that places the rear track shock above the tunnel and under the seat. Walker Evans clicker shocks all around tell you this is a serious bump sled, but the true character is much broader than even Polaris may realize. While Polaris has chosen to leverage their snocross success and introduce the RUSH during the X-Games, this is far more than a younger-generation bump sled.
The RUSH could be called the “Bump Eraser”. The new PRO-RIDE progressive-rate rear suspension is seemingly bottomless yet provides surprisingly accurate rebound control as well, a tough combination to achieve. Kickback is minimal and seemingly a non-issue, giving this sled the ability to go through bumps with less pitching, and most importantly, greater control. Riders will be able to tackle rough trails and use less energy, and they will be able to go faster through rougher terrain. Those nasty G-bumps, the big dip in the trail that usually sucks the sled down onto the suspension for a bone-jarring THUD, have just met their match as the PRO-RIDE handles them with ease. This thing really works well.
The pre-production prototypes we were trashing through drifted and g-bump riddled trails were getting closer to a true production calibration, with the production ski and carbide selection still a subject of debate. The chassis is very responsive to rider positioning, as you can slide back and crack the throttle for impressive wheelies, or slide up and carve through the corners. We would prefer a more aggressive ski and runner combination than what we experienced on the units we tested for the type of packed powder (conditions) we encountered.
This is the lightest, most agile and responsive Polaris you can imagine, and about the closest to a dirt bike we have ever experienced in a production snowmobile. It’s narrow up front and easy to see the skis and entire front suspension, so wind protection is not the greatest. The seating position is about as close to “excellent” as possible, not too far forward, not too high and certainly not too low. The footwells are deep enough and wide enough as well. The seat is softer than the current 2009 IQs, and the running boards are very short. And, that’s not a radiator in the front nose; it’s a heat exchanger, helping to replace the lost cooling capacity from the now-shorter heat exchanger in the new-shorter tunnel. Fuel capacity is eleven gallons, and the sled weight is spec’d at 459 pounds (and it feels that light as well). Powered by a two-injector Liberty 600cc two-stroke twin, this little sled is a screamer.
SnowTech editors will be on the 2010 Polaris RUSH again in early March for an entire week of testing; look for the complete ride reports and in-depth analysis details of the 2010 Polaris RUSH in the next issue of SnowTech Magazine! (March issue mails first week of March.) Get a Subscription