Polaris Race Teams and racers win on Polaris race sleds in snocross, cross-country, ice enduros and in the demanding Iron Dog in Alaska. They collaborate with the Polaris sled development teams, and together they innovate and develop high-performance technologies and solutions that lead to sleds like the RUSH XCR models, which truly deliver the ultimate in performance – and the Ultimate RUSH. Many of these engineering and design team members are racers or former racers themselves, infusing a true understanding and passion for high-performance riding and racing into the culture at Polaris.
The new Polaris 600R Race Sled and RUSH XCR both represent the Polaris heritage of using racing as a testing and proving ground for advanced technology that elevates the performance of production models ridden by enthusiasts across the snowbelt. Some of the same premium technology of the 600R is also found on production models like the 600 and 800 RUSH XCR.
The XCR name was introduced in the early 1990s on a sled that was a close replica to the model that dominated cross-country racing and carried Hall of Fame Polaris racer Jack Struthers to back-to-back wins in the grueling I-500 (1991 and 1992). Like that original XCR, the new 600 and 800 RUSH XCR are packed full of race-ready technology. Polaris engineers achieved the goals of light weight, strength, and durability with race-proven suspension components, like the chromoly rear pivot, reinforced rail beams, and solid bogie wheels. The RUSH XCR is the sharpest handling, quickest accelerating sled on the trail with features including:
* The AXYS Chassis that provides Rider-Balanced Control for flatter cornering, more precise handling in all conditions, and better control in big bumps and chatter bumps.
* PRO-XC Suspension with Active Pitch Control to optimize weight transfer. The progressive rate rear suspension is optimized for the best performance and Rider-Balanced Control, and it features a larger diameter Walker Evans 2.0” body front track shock that Polaris helped develop to withstand higher speeds and, with its increased oil volume, perform under higher operating temperatures, for consistent no-fade performance and durability.
* The Independent Front Suspension is equipped with Walker Evans Hi/Lo Compression Adjustable Piggyback Needle Shocks with XCR valving, giving a rider the greatest tunability to suit personal riding styles and the day’s conditions. This is as good as it gets.
* These sleds also feature many additional race-ready components for ultimate durability, strength and performance, including: Chromoly rear pivot and front torque arm, solid bogie wheels and IQR rear axle wheels, strength-optimized, reinforced rail beams, a heavy duty front track shock mount, premium race braking system, solid “hardened” jackshaft, and an IQR handlebar atop a PRO-X Riser.
* The Polaris Race Technology (PRT) Brake System has superior components and enhanced cooling to deliver consistently outstanding performance and optimized braking in all conditions with greater durability. Specific features and benefits include; race rotor; increased surface area; ability to absorb heat better from the brake pads; more consistent performance; even pad wear; brake scoop for increased cooling; Type 81 brake pads that withstand higher temperatures with increased durability.
* The new 800 RUSH XCR is powered by the proven 800 Cleanfire H.O. Engine that delivers unrivaled acceleration. It has 3-stage electronically controlled exhaust valves, an electronic oil pump that eliminates power-robbing gear drive, high-efficiency intake and exhaust, VForce Reeds for the ultimate in throttle response, a lightweight crankshaft, and grooved pistons for increased durability and engine life.
* These models also have classic, race-inspired paint, graphics, and decals. They look fast just sitting there, and with the new trick shock package you can hardly wait to climb on the machine and romp through the bumps.
Several of these special components that are stock on the XCR models are also being offered as Polaris Engineered Accessories to enhance the performance and riding experience of other high-performance RUSH and Switchback models. The IQR Handlebar, IQR Axle Wheels, Pro-X Torsion Bar, and all of the XCR shocks can be fitted to the other AXYS RUSH or 137” Switchback models for extreme duty and performance.
SnowTech Analysis & Ride Impressions
For 2017 the rest of the snowmobile industry now considers the 129” track length to be their standard “short track” length. Except Polaris. What you notice when you ride a Polaris RUSH, and especially on the XCR, is how quickly the sled responds. When Polaris says” sharpest handling” they are not kidding. This is not just a catchy tag-line, it is down to the bone accurate. The short 120” track length is the quickest responding, sharpest handling. Granted, a 129” sled also responds quickly and has other benefits, but when we want sharp handling and less rotating mass for awesome top speed, shorter is better.
One of the features our riders really noticed was the use of the 1.35” lug height Cobra track in the XCR. This track has softer, cupped lugs that really scoop the snow and give the XCR an incredible level of traction across a wider range of snow conditions. That is the key, across many snow conditions, with a true cross country racer, not just traction on hard packed trails, but also the ability to hook up and launch in looser snow, be it chewed up or freshly fallen and deeper.
We’ve always been fans of the taller Pro-X style handlebar riser, and we get that as well on the XCR, so your aggressive riding position and ability to stand comfortably are intact, enhanced by the IQR handlebar. We also get the stiffer Pro-X torsion bar, giving us improved anti-roll performance when cornering exceptional hard, helping to keep the front end level and poised for the next round of moguls. When riders ask us if the XCR is more like a Pro-X or a Pro-S, you have to kind of steer them into it being more like a Pro-X but with a lower track lug height so you can ride it in most any snow condition. But it is so much more than a Pro-X when we start to consider the race-bred features.
The difference between a cheap snowmobile and an expensive one is typically going to due to the difference in shock packages. This is very true on the XCR, as it is fitted with a top-level shock package from Walker Evans with both high- and low-speed compression adjustability, and these are the needle shocks (front and rear) for the ultimate in tune-ability.
When you ride the XCR and take it through the bumps, it is the needle shocks that make the difference between the other RUSH models, and make it work like it does. And instead of being rock-solid stiff like a true race sled always is, the XCR has been calibrated to let us dial it down for the kind of riding that consumers are going to be doing, yet with the range to dial it up for the more aggressive riders (like the Europeans, they always like to crank the clickers all the way up right out of the box). We start by dialing them all the way down, and then work up as needed. In our experience they always seem to work best for us just a click or two above full soft, that way we get the most oil volume moving through the orifices. If you start to bottom anything above slight & occasional, give that shock a click or two, any more than that and it will start to get harsh and take away from the compliance.
And then there is the 800 H.O. engine. This powerpack delivers hard-hitting midrange and has great top end as well, making the XCR flat-out a riot to ride. Between the shock package and the 800 H.O. you have what could easily be the very best short track sled ever offered by Polaris – ever. When you ride it you really cannot find fault with anything. It even has a functional windshield. OK, maybe it could use some storage, but that is really it. It just plain works as a high performance short track sled should. It launches hard. It pulls and pulls. You can take it through the rough as hard as you’d dare. You can rail through the corners, flat or rough, and it follows your intended line. As you pound on it and pound on it the shocks do not fade away. When you crack the throttle it rips, long and hard. Like, it REALLY goes. You get this great big grin on your face. Damn, this sled is fun. The XCR truly is the “Ultimate RUSH”. It took Polaris a few years to get back to this point, but when they decided to make a comeback they did so in a very big way.