2017 Polaris – Mission Accomplished 2017 Polaris – Mission Accomplished
Just about everyone in the world of snowmobiling will tell you that Polaris is on a roll. Even though the North American snowmobile market... 2017 Polaris – Mission Accomplished

Just about everyone in the world of snowmobiling will tell you that Polaris is on a roll. Even though the North American snowmobile market is down this year (to the tune of about 20% through December) Polaris is still gaining market share. Their 800 Pro RMK 155 is the number one selling sled in the industry. And the reason is quite simple – their products are performing extremely well.

It has been a very long time since we can tell you with such confidence that the entire model line from Polaris is dialed. Their sleds flat out work. Not only their new AXYS platform machines, but all of them. Even the models on the older Pro Ride platform are flipping dialed. They work right out of the box, they are calibrated with near perfection, and they just plain run strong and consistently with little to no issues at all. It is simply amazing.

    Polaris has been working very hard for a very long time to get back to this point. It was only two short years ago that they brought us the AXYS platform in their RUSH and Switchback models, and for 2016 they introduced their RMK & SKS deep snow sleds on the AXYS platform. Now for 2017 their conversion is complete with the new AXYS Switchback Assault, along with an all new 600 Switchback SP 144, also on the AXYS platform. These are a couple of sleds that will dominate the 50/50 crossover market, being 144” track lengths with tipped up rails that give us the ultimate in go-anywhere versatility, and will redefine what we expect from a 50/50 crossover. If there was ever one sled that could do it all and do it well, here it is.

Polaris tells us that the enthusiasts segments are where the sales are, commanding 80% of industry sales. This is exactly why we devote so much time to the performance models, because this is what you are buying. To that end, premium product remains dominant. We can talk about entry level sleds like the Indy, but the fact of the matter is these machines just don’t sell anywhere close to the numbers of the higher performance machines. Crossover sleds are now more popular that trail performance sleds, and mountain sleds are now bigger than either crossovers or trail performance. For this reason, the Indy 800 models have been retired.


2017 brings us a new RUSH model in the form of the all-new 800 RUSH XCR. This is a race-ready platform with increased durability features, true to the name, with higher performance brakes and an incredible Walker Evans shock package. You get both high-speed and low-speed compression damping adjustability front and rear, along with a stout 2.0” front track shock, giving you the ultimate in adjustability and capability from a RUSH platform. It truly is a turn-key race-ready chassis offered in both 600 & 800 engine sizes for the Ricky Racer trail rider, or those who actually do want to get into competition. These models come with a 2.52” Cobra track for wicked acceleration and performance in a wider range of snow conditions.

      Tending to the dominant mountain segment, Polaris has now added a new 174” track length to their RMK line-up. Fitted with a 3” lug height this model is squarely aimed at those who ride in the deepest of powder snow conditions and truly require the ultimate in flotation and snowability. Generally this is going to be early season deep powder in specific riding areas where this set-up is going to excel, just like what was so common early on this season out in places like British Columbia. There’s also a new 600 RMK 144” on the AXYS platform for 2017.

In fact, all RMK, Switchback and RUSH models are now on the AXYS platform for 2017, thus our observation of “Mission Accomplished”. The only remaining Pro-Ride models are found in the value-packed Indy and Voyager models. Speaking of Voyager there is also a new 600 Voyager 144 for 2017, marking the entry of the AXYS platform into the rec-ute market as well.

      The big news for 2017 is with the new Switchback Assault 144 models now on the AXYS platform. We continue to find the magical combination of 144” track length and tipped-up rails for a sled that rails around the corners on packed trails defying the track length with the tail end of the track lifted up slightly off the hardpack, making it act far shorter than it actually is. When you pull off trail you have all of the length of the 144” track giving you excellent flotation and snowability. We have long told you about how we continue to find the 141-144” track length to be the ideal length for a true 50/50 crossover, and with the tipped up rails we have what could be the very best crossover sled ever offered for the widest range of conditions.

800 Switchback Assault 144_Pr
      If there was a weak spot on the previous Switchback Assault it might have been in the rear suspension. With the 2017 AXYS version we now find a new IGX 144” skidframe that shares front arm geometry with the 137” Switchback models for excellent ride quality, mated to a new rear arm for ideal crossover geometry. Where the previous Assault was a great sled off-trail but was lacking some on-trail, this new version is now just as good on-trail as it is off-trail. Actually, calling it a 50/50 doesn’t do it justice as it performs so well both on and off that we should call it the 100/100 crossover sled – it is that good. Seriously, this is as close to a no-compromise sled as there has ever been, Polaris flat out nailed it with this one.

600 Switchback SP 144

We also find traditional controls and switches back up on the left handlebars, doing away with the Spartan switches down on the console. And we get new Pro Taper handlebars with regular 45-degree ends, not the wicked hooks from before, and a normal fuel gauge as well. All in all, the Switchback Assault is a more refined machine that could easily be the single best snowmobile Polaris has ever built. Seriously, we like it that much, it is that good. ‘Bout time. We have been very critical of Polaris for many years, challenging them to do better and to build better sleds, so we now take great pride in being able to tell you they have finally got their act together and are building the sleds that we knew they were capable of. Our 2016 test sleds are dialed, perfectly calibrated and excellent performers, so we need to give credit where credit is due. Mission accomplished.

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