2020 Polaris Indy XC 137”:  First Ride! 2020 Polaris Indy XC 137”:  First Ride!
It used to be that Polaris only offered high-performance trail sleds with the hinged beaver-tail rear suspension, but times are changing. First came the... 2020 Polaris Indy XC 137”:  First Ride!

It used to be that Polaris only offered high-performance trail sleds with the hinged beaver-tail rear suspension, but times are changing. First came the Switchback Assault 144” for 2017, followed by the wildly popular INDY XC 129” for 2019. Fitted with an outstanding Walker Evans shock package with needle shocks up front, a 2” diameter center track shock and a Velocity Series needle shock in the rear, the ride capability and bump performance took yet another giant step forward.

2020 Polaris Indy XC 137"
2020 Polaris Indy XC 137″ 40th Anniversary Edition

            Now for 2020 our dreams are fulfilled yet again with the introduction of the INDY XC 137” models. Every bit as good as the 129” sleds of 2019, but now with the longer track and tunnel. This provides more room to carry gear, a smoother ride, improved flotation and greater stability, all while delivering responsive handling and the ultimate in confidence through a wide range of conditions. 

2020 Polaris Indy XC 137"

It is interesting to see Polaris finally take this path. The 120” RUSH and 137” Switchback models have been in the Polaris line-up for ten going on eleven years, and even with the 2015 introduction of the AXYS platform Polaris decided to keep the hinged rear end on the RUSH and Switchback. The original intent was to unique, to be different from the competition. That it did. And through the years, the progressive rate un-coupled suspension had evolved and improved. The package was responsive and quite reactive to rider input.

But with the popularity of the 2019 INDY XC 129” sleds, the writing was on the wall. The next logical progression of course was to do the same with the 137” class, and here we are. What this really amounts to is replacing the hinged rear end with a traditional tunnel and a longer version of the PRO-CC rear suspension. The PRO-CC rear suspension provides a consistently smooth ride with outstanding acceleration and precise handling. Its coupled design controls pitch through geometry without reducing the fun factor. The AXYS chassis centrally positions the rider for the ultimate balance of comfort, control, and confidence. The AXYS platform offers a neutral riding position with easy steering and forgiving handling, making it well suited for when the terrain gets really nasty.

Polaris 850 Indy XC 137"
2020 Polaris 850 Indy XC 137″

Race-tested and race-proven Walker Evans Shocks have improved clicker accessibility for easier adjustability. The IFS is equipped with piggyback Needle shocks, while the front track shock is a piggyback with a large 2-inch-diameter for fade-resistance, greater durability and improved ride performance. The rear track shock has the industry-exclusive Velocity Series Needle Technology for the ultimate in ride and control, with the piggyback positioned midway on the shock body for a position-sensitive damping curve to provide improved ride comfort and resistance to bottoming.

Every one of these models comes with an integrated underseat storage bag for secure, weather-tight cargo storage. With the longer 137” track, an even wider variety of tunnel-mounted accessory cargo solutions are available. These include the new 46-liter ADVENTURE Storage Bag that installs easily and securely. It comes standard on the INDY ADVENTURE 137 models and available as an accessory for INDY XC 137 sleds.

The INDY XC 137 and INDY ADVENTURE 137 are both available with the 600 Cleanfire and 800 H.O. Cleanfire engines in season, and they’re available during SnowCheck with the 850 Patriot engine.

Ride Impressions

            We’ve logged well over 3,000 miles on the INDY XC 129” the past two seasons (pre-production and production sleds) so when we were able to get some serious seat time on the new 137” INDY XC we could immediately appreciate the advances afforded by the added track on the ground. First off it hooks up better and gives you better traction, both for acceleration and braking. The tail isn’t as prone to come around with the longer wheelbase, so the stability and confidence is greater. This also gives you less rocking and pitching compared to the shorter track length for a smoother ride. Overall, stability is noticeably improved, tracking straighter and not being as “busy” as a shorter track sled. These are all reasons so many trail riders have been migrating to the 137” length, finding it to be more versatile yet still almost as quick to respond as a 129” sled. Almost.

137 XC Indy Polaris

Smaller riders and those spending most all of their time on tight twisting packed trails will still prefer the shorter length, but as soon as you need or want the added capability the 137” becomes the better choice. 

            If you’re only riding packed trails then the 129” version is excellent, but anytime you need the added capability of the longer track (loose snow, fresh snow, deeper snow) we’ll take the 137” length hands down. The sacrifice in handling is minimal and barely noticeable, as what you gain from the extra length far outweighs the slight reduction in sharp handling response. Smaller riders and those in the tightest of trails would be the ones better suited with the 129” track, but we truly believe most everyone else would find the 137” to be the ideal combination.

We’ve always been big on tunnel-mounted fuel cans and cargo bags, so the added tunnel length is a plus in as it is now easier to carry both a cargo bag and fuel caddy at the same time. Polaris has a host of new accessories for these models as well.

2020 Polaris 800 Indy XC 137

            If you’ve spent any time on the INDY XC 129” then you pretty much know how good the INDY XC 137” is going to be. They are so close that they will be indistinguishable in many conditions. Where the hinged progressive rate rear suspension of the Switchback and RUSH models had the coil spring on the rear shock, the INDY XC goes back to a coupled design with torsion springs. This, combined with the Velocity Series rear track shock and the rising rate geometry does an excellent job at filtering the stutter bumps, giving you good shock stroke in typical riding with decent resistance to bottoming at full stroke (this is where the needle shock excels, at full stroke it is more difficult to bottom it out). Realize the INDY XC is still more of a trail sled, a very good one, and that if you’re a harder-charging higher-speed ditch runner then the XCR models will deliver an even more appropriate shock package with firmer valving and spring rates, better equipped for higher speed bigger bump capability. Problem is, the 2020 XCR come sin two forms; the 129” is on the INDY XC platform, where the 137” version is still a hinged Switchback, but it does work extremely well. It is difficult to say the INDY XC is better than what we’re replacing. Different yes, better in many respects, but Polaris really does have the progressive rate hinged PRO-XC skid working well. To each their own. 

            If you haven’t figured it out by now, we really like the INDY XC sleds, both the 129” and 137” versions. The riding position is neutral and doesn’t constantly force you forward with the flat and level seat, and the front end is very forgiving. The rear suspension flat-out works. Overall the machine is well balanced and confidence inspiring. We’ve been on several units the past two months, from 800s to 850s and Adventure versions, and each one was consistently the same – smooth and predictable, and crazy fun to ride. And ride. And ride.

First Ride: SnowTech Reports on the 2020 Polaris RMK KHAOS

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