Polaris faithful? Sit up and take notice! Polaris is getting serious about this snowmobile business, and we mean REAL serious. Ask anyone at Polaris and they might tell you this has been the attitude for the past few years, but we are now seeing the true fruits of all of their efforts.
Case in point, the new for 2105 AXYS platform. Look closely – the new sleds look very similar, but they are very different. They definitely share much of the same DNA as the RUSH Pro-Ride, but we’re told these new sleds have 93% new content, including a carbon-fiber overstructure. There’s actually some storage at the back of the seat!
The new chassis structure and design make it possible to change the rider positioning, centralize vehicle mass, redesign the rear suspension, add more power and remove weight. The rider’s hands are moved 4.5” forward, the feet are 2” forward, the knees are 4.5” further forward and the seat is 4.5” forward for a more balanced position on the sled.
One of the main goals was to expand the sweet spot, or performance window, of where their sleds excelled at. The RUSH and 137” Switchback models worked well, but in a fairly narrow range of conditions. We’re told the PRO-XC suspension will greatly expand upon this sweet window, giving them a bit more capability on the big end but giving them a whole lot more capability on the groomed trail end, making them far better suited for the type of riding the vast majority of Polaris buyers are using their sleds for – riding groomed trails.
Both lighter and stronger, the suspension features a completely redesigned crank and pivot. The front torque arm has been moved back to help control pitch, increase travel by 33% and improve the rail profile. The completely redesigned geometry of the all-new PRO-XC progressive-rate rear suspension delivers what Polaris calls Active Pitch Control. Pitch is controlled by the suspension geometry and not simply by a high spring rate or with coupling blocks. Control through stutter bumps is also increased, as the front end of the sled stays planted even when accelerating through a corner.
Where there used to be base models and then the firmer calibrated Pro-R models for RUSH and Switchback, 2015 brings us two variations of both sleds; Pro-S and Pro-X. The Pro-S versions are aimed at the groomed trail riders who want the best small bump comfort and control possible, with machine calibration emphasis on handling and ride comfort in stutter bumps typical of groomed trails. The Pro-X versions (only available during spring Snow Check) are the big bump sleds aimed at those tackling true cross country style riding, with the suspension calibration clearly aimed at these conditions. As evidence, we offer the fact the Pro-X models come with a taller ride height, longer shocks, and Backcountry X 1.75” lug height track, great for cross country acceleration but clearly not ideal for hardpacked trails.
Only found in the AXYS models is what Polaris is calling a new 800 H.O. (high output) two-stroke twin engine. It is 3.5 pounds lighter and has three-stage electronic power valves with an electronic oil pump, so it is going to be more responsive and more powerful. They’re not telling us how much more power, but they are telling us it is going to also deliver improved fuel economy and reduced noise levels. The crankshaft alone is 2.5 lbs. lighter for quicker acceleration and less inertia, so when you whack the throttle this thing should light up even quicker than before.
From a performance stand-point, Polaris continues to place great emphasis on light weight. Seeing how they haven’t bought into the four-stroke euphoria, they continue to hammer home the benefits of light weight and power-to-weight ratios. With the new AXYS platform, this theme continues as the new models are up to 38 pounds lighter than their counterparts! Combined with the new 800 H.O. engine the AXYS models should be extremely fast with even better power to weight ratios.
Polaris also wanted to clean up the fit and finish of these new machines. They also wanted to give us better headlights, so the AXYS sleds will be coming with a new LED headlight system that delivers 30% headlight output for improved vision and safety in all conditions.
2015 also marks the 60th Anniversary of Polaris snowmobiles, so in commemoration of this lofty feat Polaris is offering a large selection of 60th Anniversary limited edition models throughout their entire line-up. These machines feature both unique graphics and unique features, only available on these select models. Things like the new LCD color display gauge package are only offered on the 60th Anniversary AXYS models, so if you want the very best Polaris has to offer you are going to have to ante up here and now and put your order in during the spring Snow Check program. You can even get an Indy SP with a 1.25” lug track!
RMK riders do not get the new 800 H.O. engine but they do get to pretty much order their sled in just about every imaginable combination possible using the Snow Check Select program. You choose the chassis (RMK, PRO or Assault); choose the side panel colors, engine size, tunnel and rail combination, suspension options, storage options, handlebar options, windshields, all of it. The sled will be built to order, with something like 20,000 possible combinations to make your new RMK yours and yours alone. There are also several limited edition RMK models to choose from, ranging from 60th Anniversary models to a special in-season Terrain Dominator Series. 2015 Switchback Assault models also can be ordered with the same level of customization as the RMKs, only during the spring Snow Check program. If you want one of these custom rides, do it now.
Re-published from the Spring 2014 issue of SnowTech Magazine (March 2014)
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