We will be the first to admit that we really didn’t know what to expect for 2018 Polaris. They had introduced their new AXYS platform for 2015 on their short-tracked RUSH and Switchback models, followed by the strong following of the AXYS RMK models for 2016, and then filled the bill with the AXYS Switchback Assault and Switchback SP crossover kings for 2017. In three short years Polaris was back in the game in a big way. So, what in the world could they possibly have up their sleeve for 2018?
Better grab your work clothes, as Polaris is bent on changing our definition of a “work sled” from this point forward. In fact, their new work sled just might be more of an extreme crossover sled than it is a work sled. Introducing the all-new Polaris Titan models.
There are three new Titan models for 2018, all AXYS based, all powered by the wicked 2-stroke Polaris 800 twin, all sporting a 155” track length, and the kicker – all with a 20” wide track. Lug heights vary between the models, but suffice it to say these are bad-ass work sleds on steroids. Or, maybe they are bad-ass crossover sleds that can get some serious work done. Think of it as a crew cab pick-up truck with a wicked motor and big tires, and you start to get the idea.
We have to step back for a moment and try to grasp why Polaris would introduce sleds like this. About the closest thing in existence right now would be the Ski-Doo Expedition Extreme, powered by their 800R E-TEC and fitted with a 20” x 154” x 1.75” track. Maybe Polaris saw an opportunity to compete with the Expedition Extreme, but took it to the next level by offering three versions of this kind of ultimate extreme crossover-utility snowmobile. These sleds might have more instant appeal in Europe, Alaska and Canada, but once people figure out what it is capable of it will be in high demand everywhere.
The appeal here is that you can have one single sled that can do so much, and do it well. Deep snow is a complete non-issue with this kind of footprint, providing incredible flotation and traction. We powered through crazy deep snow that had drifted into the ditches around Roseau during our early testing, and never once did we get remotely close to getting stuck. Towing heavy loads is just as easy, as the Titan is fitted with an all-new “Alpha” transmission that allows for towing a load up to 1,200 pounds, giving us a high-low-neutral-reverse capability. We pulled a tow sled with nearly 1,000 pounds in it through deep snow, above and over rough terrain, at slow speeds and at moderately higher speeds, and the Titan doesn’t even flinch, maintaining decent handling as well.
Now for the fun part. You can ride the Titan as a trail sled, too. Damn fast. Yes, it is a long track sled, but the capability this sled gives you to use it as a performance trail sled will blow your mind. It is amazing. Want to take your honey with you? No problem, a quick attach two-up seat drops right onto the sled, in a matter of seconds, and comes off just as quickly. And, it doesn’t consume your cargo space in the process. The rear cargo area is massive, and allows for the mounting of many different cargo boxes and attachments, with a heavy-duty hitch system that gives you the ability to mount just about any type of hitch or towing accessory you could need. Or, maybe a winch? Yep, they have that, too. This thing might be a beast, but it’s an extremely fun beast!
Every Polaris Titan model has a 14-gallon fuel capacity for extended range, a perfect match for the remote areas that the sled will be taken into. Each one features PowderTrac Running Boards, bright LED lights and electric start. The three 2018 Titan models and their distinctive features are:
800 Polaris Titan SP: This is the base version, durable and reliable fitted with a Ripsaw track with 1.375-in. lugs, super-wide high-flotation PRO-FLOAT skis, Polaris MessageCenter instrumentation, and a protective 20-inch tall windshield.
800 Polaris Titan XC: This sleek, high-performance model has a Cobra track with aggressive 1.8” lugs, Gripper skis, premium FOX QS3 Clicker Shocks, Polaris MessageCenter instrumentation, and a 13” tall Matte Black windshield.
800 Polaris Titan Adventure: This full-featured top-line model has a Lock & Ride Versa Touring Passenger Seat with heated passenger grips and passenger footrests, Lock & Ride Versa Cargo Rack & Cargo Box, tow hitch, mirrors, and Polaris Interactive Digital Display with GPS and maps. It also has premium FOX Shocks, a Cobra track with 1.5” lugs, PRO-FLOAT skis, and a 24” high windshield that provides outstanding rider protection.
Moving on, we find a very interesting new model in the RMK series, specifically a new track length in the all-new 800 SKS 146”. Joining the 155” SKS we now have a slightly shorter track, being a Peak 2.25” lug height wrapped around a 146” version of the IGX rear suspension from the popular Switchback Assault. This means it is a tipped-up rail for excellent on-trail handling, with the longer front arm and revised geometry to control pitch.
The SKS 146 is designed to dominate the deep powder while maintaining confident on-trail handling. Even though it is positioned in the RMK model line, it is really aimed more at the crossover rider as it is purpose-built for deep snow riders that also need confident control on the trails. Where the Switchback Assault is a perfect 50/50 sled, the SKS 146” is going to be more like a 60/40 off trail/on trail balance. We have to believe this is the Polaris response to the Ski-Doo Backcountry & Backcountry X models, which are Summit-based sleds in the 146” track length, again slightly more of an off-trail sled than they are on-trail machines.
In yet another logical expansion of a popular model, we now find an all-new Switchback XCR 136”, offered in both 600 & 800 engine sizes. 136” track length, you might ask? Just like the 121” RUSH XCR, these sleds are using the tried and true 2.52” track pitch, so we are back to our more familiar track lengths, 136” instead of 137” (as would be the case with the 2.86” drive pitch). This is done for top speed capability, ever so slight, but in a race environment every bit counts.
Polaris didn’t change much across the rest of their line-up, nor did they need to. They are in a very strong position right now, with incredibly good models across the board. Having only three engines (550 fan, 600 & 800) makes them very lean, with fewer models and less overall development issues, and it allows them to concentrate on what they are best at – building 2-stroke snowmobiles. Quality is at an all-time high, warranty costs are at an all-time low, and their riders are very pleased with the product. It has been a long time coming, but Polaris is back in the saddle once again.
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