You might be asking yourself, how can a 600 RMK 144” sled be a brand new model for 2017? Because it is now offered on the AXYS platform instead of the previous Pro Ride chassis. This is the only non “PRO” RMK in the Polaris line-up for 2017, and we will explain exactly why this is the case.
Maybe the second question would be, doesn’t everyone who buys an RMK just get an 800? Believe it or not, there are a good number of riders who buy the 600 RMK, and for good reason. Maybe they don’t ride at extreme elevations. Maybe they value fuel economy. Maybe they value clutch durability. Maybe they value the added range of the 600. The fact of the matter is, not all of the 600 RMK sleds are sold in the west – a huge percentage of them are sold at lower elevations in the east and Midwest, and for good reason – they are excellent deep snow sleds, that we know, and with a 600 at lower elevation you pretty much have similar power to an 800 operating up at 8,000 feet and higher – both are going to be right there in the 120-125 HP range, so riding a 600 RMK down low is going to pull a lot like an 800 does up high.
Now here is where it gets really interesting – the 2017 600 RMK 144” is not a “PRO RMK”. This sled is kind of a hybrid between an RMK and a Switchback, as it gets some of the same features as our favorite crossover sled, the 2017 Switchback Assault 144” – namely the all-new IGX 144” rear suspension. This being the case, we know Polaris was listening to their dealers and riders that buy and ride a 600 RMK 144” at lower elevations – they want a rear suspension that was better suited to the crossover-style riding they were using their sleds for, but they also wanted a narrower front end than what the Switchback offered so they could more easily tip the sled up and pick their way through the trees. We might be splitting hairs here, but a good number of deep snow riders still do spend a decent amount of time on trails and forest roads and want a rear suspension that can be ridden all day long in this kind of riding, one that isn’t aiming at lightweight and climbing all the way to the top of a hill.
What we end up with is a value-priced sled that offers versatile deep snow value. The combination of the new AXYS 144 chassis and new IGX 144 rear suspension provides riders with excellent off-trail agility and balance as well as a confident ride on-trail. This new platform also features the all-new PowderTrac hybrid running boards, designed specifically for crossover riders. The PowderTrac design allows for maximum snow clean-out & strength with 56% open space. Up front is wider & flatter for comfort when sitting & better positioning when standing. The rear features tapered, dual-angle design for mobility & snow clearance. And just look at all of the room for cargo bags on the back of the tunnel, ideal for mounting one of the Burant Adventure Tunnel bags (we had one of these on a Switchback Assault last winter and loved it).
So, how does it differ from the new 600 Switchback SP 144? Actually, these two sleds are quite similar, and they even look almost the same with their red and white coloration, except the RMK has a black belly and the Switchback has a white pan. The 600 RMK 144 has an adjustable (39-40-41”) narrow front end and is equipped with Gripper Skis and a Series 4 2.0” track. The 600 Switchback SP has a wider 42.5” front end, Pro Steer skis and a 1 3/8” Cobra track. The RMK comes with a lower height RMK mid windshield and a center grab bar, the Switchback gets a taller AXYS mid windshield and no center grab bar.
Both of these sleds do come with the new AXYS 144 Underseat Bag. Standard issue on 2017 AXYS 144 models, this new cargo bag features 1,024 cubic inches of storage. Weather-tight design seals out snow to keep contents dry and secure. Bag attaches to the tank and tunnel, made from semi-rigid, compression-molded materials and polyester.
Each of these fine machines are fitted with the exact same Cleanfire 600 engine, a damn good one we might add, and we have zero complaints or issues with this powerpack, it flat out works well. Perhaps the biggest difference, other than the track, is with the shock packages as the RMK gets gas cell Ryde FX MPV shocks all around (more compliant) where the Switchback gets FOX IFP high pressure dampers all around (better bottoming resistance).
It really comes down to the 600 RMK 144 being the better off trail deep snow sled with the 600 Switchback SP being the better on trail bump sled, but both of them are going to work very well across a wide range of conditions. The 600 RMK 144 sells for $10,699 which makes this new sled an outstanding value for deep snow trail riders everywhere and anywhere.