Crazy Fun Sleds –
The 2016 Polaris 800 Indy SP & 600 Indy 600 SP. Polaris dealers and even Polaris likes to push their RUSH models, but truth be known, there are a number of riders who know the Indy SP is a better machine in certain conditions. Polaris likes to think of these models as their “value” sleds, at least in comparison to the RUSH models. From one standpoint, we could say the Indy SP is more of a traditional trail sled and less of a bump sled in comparison to a new 2016 RUSH, and we would be accurate. The Indy SP sleds are fitted with high pressure Fox gas shocks all around, but (compared to the RUSH) it has the traditional tunnel at the rear and a lower lug track (better suited for high speeds, lake racing, studding). And the biggie, the Indy has a coupled torsion spring rear suspension, where the RUSH sports the progressive rate geometry on the AXYS platform.
Polaris has always done a good job with their coupled rear suspensions, and this capability remains intact with the Indy SPs. The torsion spring arrangement can accommodate a wider range of rider weights, as two torsion springs have a greater load carrying capacity than the single coil spring of the RUSH (which requires a stiffer spring to be installed for heavier riders). The RUSH demands a more active riding style to keep the skis on the ground with the uncoupled skid, where the Indy will allow a more relaxed, sit down riding style typical of running groomed trails. The coupling of the rear suspension arms on the Indy make them compress together so the sled squats, instead of rocking back. Without coupling, compressing the rear arm extends the front arm, lifting the skis.
This means the Indy does a great job at staying flat when cornering due to the coupling. The Indy isn’t going to be lifting the skis much, both on acceleration and during cornering. The Indy is going to maintain consistent ski pressure, thus making it better suited for groomed trail riding for many riders. There will be less chassis pitching and rocking, but yes, when you push it really hard, you will bottom the rear arm more. With the spring rate and shock action of the front and rear arms combined on the Indy there is good resistance to bottoming, but the Indy is calibrated for the less aggressive rider in terms of shock valving, spring rates and overall power delivery. For most of us it comes down to our riding style as to which one would be better.
In an attempt to provide even more of a performance difference between the two lines, the INDY models come with a 1” lug height Hacksaw track instead of the 1.25” lug height Ripsaw II of the RUSH Pro-S models. This might be an OK move for the 600 Indy, but most riders will find the 1” lug height Hacksaw track to be not tall enough for the 800 in all but hard-pack conditions. We would prefer a taller lug track (especially on the 800), but Polaris does now offer a limited-build Terrain Dominator version of the 600 Indy SP that gives us the 1.25” lug height we were asking for.
But, part of the beauty of how the Indy acts and feels comes from how the lower lug track lets you pitch it and slide it around in the corners since it isn’t so hooked up all of the time. It makes the sled playful and gives you a lighter steering effort, but with the power of the 800 you will find the track spinning far more. On the other hand, the 800 will be fast out on the lake with the lower lug Hacksaw track and it is better suited for studs. You could always install something even taller like the Ripsaw I, Ripsaw II or a Cobra. Any of them would be a nice upgrade.
This year the 600 & 800 Indy SP gets a TEAM lightweight secondary, and as always it comes fitted with Fox HPG shocks all around (the less expensive 600 Indy is fitted with Ryde FX MPV gas-cell shocks).
What really surprised us was how well these machines (again) worked for us during spring testing. For the past three years these sleds have been perfectly dialed, dead-nuts. Whoever is doing the calibration on these machines (especially the 800) knows what they are doing, and it shows. From the clutching and the gearing to the precision handling and light steering to the flat cornering and predictability, the 800 Indy SP was outstanding in every respect. Every single one of our test riders reacted the same way in that the 800 Indy SP was as close to a perfect calibration as we have experienced from Polaris. You can hop on this sled and you are the boss, you are the master. It does what you want it to, it responds to your every wish and command.
We also have a similar reaction each year to the 600 Indy SP, which is still an outstanding machine, but the 800 is now every bit as good. While Polaris struggled years ago with the running quality of their 800, the latest versions now deliver excellent running quality and performance. Granted, this engine is not going to be giving you the 160 HP of the new AXYS 800 motor, or the Arctic Cat or Ski-Doo 800s for that matter. If you want the most powerful 800 go for the RUSH, but that isn’t going to matter to all of the Polaris riders who wanted an Indy package with more power than what the 125 HP 600 engine was giving them. The Polaris 800 in the Indy should be at right about 150 or so HP, and in the lightweight Indy it pulls hard and has excellent top end.
Priced at $10,999 the 800 Indy SP is an outstanding value. The 600 Indy SP still goes for only $9,199 making it the true standout at almost $2,000 less than the 800.
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