With the 2017 model year we had another full season of validation on the Polaris AXYS models. All doubt should now be erased, as these sleds are the real deal. They do work as advertised, and they work very well. About time.
For the past couple of years now we have been telling you how the Polaris AXYS platform has finally delivered on the original promises from 2010 when the very first RUSH was introduced. Now that the AXYS RUSH has been out for two full years, we can tell you with even more confidence and knowledge that these are incredibly good snowmobiles. Almost shocking. They are light. They are fast – VERY fast. They rail the corners. They take the bumps. They are quiet. They are easy on gas and oil. The new 800 actually runs extremely strong, and when combined with the light weight AXYS platform it is a rocket ship in terms of acceleration. They are a complete and total riot to ride, specifically on groomed trails, rough trails, or anywhere that the snow doesn’t get too deep. Being these are 120” track length sleds, not 129”, not 137”, they are really going to perform best on packed routes. Usually the rougher the better, as any sled works fine on a smooth trail, but as it gets rougher this one shines and really gets to be fun to ride.
These were all-new machines for 2015 and return again for 2017 with few changes. That alone speaks volumes. Along with the AXYS chassis we got a new, or heavily revised, rear suspension in the form of the PRO-XC suspension that is a full 13 pounds lighter than what the 2014 RUSH came with. Being un-coupled, the sled’s pitch and weight transfer are instead controlled by suspension geometry rather than spring rate. This geometry change allows for a 35% softer spring rate for smoother compliance and flatter cornering. With the longer front arm and 33% more shock travel the system delivers less bottoming as well. You will also find this rear suspension to be less sensitive to rider weight, meaning a wider suspension sweet spot for riders of all sizes.
One of the key differences with this new platform is how the rider has been repositioned. Your hands, body and seating position are all about 4.5” forward, with your feet about 2” forward. Not quite as far forward as on a Ski-Doo, but the difference compared to the “old” RUSH is very noticeable. Polaris calls this a neutral position, not too far forward and not too far back, which allows the rider to have “Rider Centric Comfort” and “Rider Balanced Control”. These terms really do justice at describing how the rider is now better positioned for attacking the terrain, both through the bumps and carving corners. Lean into the corners, lean back to carry the front end through the rough.
The rider is now perfectly centered and balanced for the ultimate in traction and control. The sleds go through the corners with precision, but very light steering. Our test team has found the Polaris AXYS Pro-S models to be best handling through the widest range of conditions. The ability to rail through the corners with such confidence and maintain such light steering effort is truly amazing.
Combined with the PRO-XC rear suspension, the front and rear suspension package on the Pro-S models is very impressive. It has a FAR wider performance window than before, and with the longer repositioned front arm it works even better. With the rider centered you feel like you are right on top of the balancing point of the machine. You feel this when you ride it, and the confidence this gives you is amazing.
You will also notice how incredibly light these machines feel, not only lifting them by the bumper and moving them around, but when you ride one. The 600 AXYS models are quick, but the new 800 H.O. is really fast. We have now logged almost 5,000 miles on this new 800 engine the past two seasons and it is impressive. It is far more powerful than the previous 800 from Polaris, and through the midrange it lights up and launches very hard. Hang on tight, it really goes! It spools up quickly, and with V-Force reeds, the free flowing intake and straight exhaust header we have a winner. The power delivery is quick and instant, making it a total blast to ride. This latest 800 engine features an all new injection system and a new electronic power valve system, and has proven it to be a very different animal that is far more durable than the previous 800 twin. Where we used to have reservations with the “old” 800, we are now believers that this new 800 is finally the real deal, exactly what we have been waiting for from Polaris, for so many years.
We continue to believe these are the best trail sleds Polaris has ever built. They are really fast. They are smooth, powerful and quiet. They have light steering with virtually no pushing. They deliver amazing ride quality and capability. These things are awesome. About our biggest compliant would be they are colder to ride, and they are better suited for shorter and smaller riders than big ones, due to how the sled reacts to the exact position of the rider. The coil spring in the rear is more difficult to adjust than torsion springs, but once set you are golden. Either way, 600 or 800, we have outstanding snowmobiles. The 2017 Polaris 600 RUSH Pro-S in Black Pearl sells for $11,499 with the 800 in Indy Red listed at $12,799. Electric start versions run $400 more, available now at Polaris snowmobile dealers.