Polaris is not letting off the throttle for 2023, not in the slightest. Instead they are charging forward hard and fast with the introduction of several new models, two new engines and the expansion of their Patriot Boost engine to the trail and crossover segments.
So where do we start? At the top, bottom or middle of the line-up? We have so much to talk about, so much new and different, so much to choose from. At the top it is. Polaris introduced their turbocharged Patriot Boost 850 just last season for their 2022 deep snow RMK models in very limited quantities and now for 2023 we see it also offered in both trail and crossover models. Polaris calls them “the world’s first no compromise hypersleds” – the 2023 Patriot Boost Indy VR1 (shown above) and Patriot Boost Switchback Assault. Built on the Matryx platform with the revolutionary Patriot Boost engine, these SnowCheck exclusive hypersleds represent a step change in performance. Incredible speed and acceleration and up to 110 pounds lighter than competitive snowmobiles, these machines combine speed, handling, and control like never before. This isn’t marketing hype, this is for real. You have never had this kind of power at this kind of weight straight from the factory with a full warranty, ever.
You can now choose from Indy VR1 models in both 129” and 137” track lengths fitted with the Patriot Boost engine package, along with a 146” Switchback Assault with the Patriot Boost. Claiming an extra 10% over the naturally-aspirated 850 engine we will be realizing something to the tune of 175 HP from a lightweight two-stroke, and the results will take your breath away. These machines are not for the weak or timid, rather they are expert-class machines for expert-class riders that demand your utmost in respect and restraint. They are very fast, very powerful and very exciting, but we cannot stress enough the need to exercise the utmost in caution as they are potent weapons. Be sure to read our “First Ride” report in the Spring issue of SnowTech Magazine on these new sleds that will forever change the landscape of big power sleds from this point forward. Subscribe to SnowTech to recieve the Spring issue.
Also at the top, of the mountain that is, we find a new 9R engine package that Polaris very deliberately and intentionally does not call a “900” although that is exactly what it is. For some reason they do not want to use the term “900”, likely to avoid any baggage or stigma that might be associated from the past, or last 900, they offered. The new 9R engine package is only offered in RMK series sleds for 2023 and is an incredible performer as well.
When the snow gets deep and the terrain gets steep, Polaris’ mountain lineup of RMKs deliver lift, control, and response for superior deep snow performance.
Also on the deep snow side, Polaris has brought back their SKS 146, now on the Matryx platform, and has settled into offering Pro RMK and RMK Khaos models in both standard and Slash versions. The Slash models are where we not only find the Patriot Boost engine returning from 2022 but the new 9R engine as well, in addition to the proven 850! The new 9R engine is like having a mod engine right from the factory, and we’re not kidding here. The 9R gets trick features like CNC ported exhaust, lightweight crankshaft and flywheel, ceramic coated pistons and a new head design. Together these changes give us an engine package that is 1.2 pounds LIGHTER than an 850 with a 7% increase in power and 12% more torque! The low inertia and lighter crank train enables the engine to respond even quicker and hit harder for incredible handling and dynamic agility. It might seem odd for Polaris to offer an 850, a 9R and a Patriot Boost but the mountain sled market is extremely competitive right now and this gives riders plenty of options and choices to best match their machine to where and how they ride, along with their desires. Again, be sure to read our “First Ride” report in the Spring issue of SnowTech Magazine on this new engine package and the models it is featured in as we have been on them on two different occasions and have been able to ride them long and hard so we already have a great feel for them, how good they are and how well they perform. Subscribe to SnowTech Magazine to recieve the Spring issue.
In the middle of the line-up we find the return of one of our all-time favorites, the Switchback SP. This time the Switchback SP is offered on the Matryx platform with a 1.6” Cobra track and with the popular Patriot 650 engine package, but the basic formula remains the same as a value-sled using Polaris-sourced IFP high-pressure gas shocks instead of the higher end piggy-back Fox QS3s of the Switchback XC and Walker Evans Velocity Series of the Switchback Assault. This also means we find a more compliant ride and calibration, something very welcome to lighter riders and those who cannot get the Assault or XC models adjusted to their liking, even with the shocks set at full soft. The Switchback SP joins the 650 Indy SP 137 which also makes the leap to the Matryx platform. Gone for 2023 are the AXYS-based Indy SP 129 & 137 models with the 600 engine.
In what could be the biggest surprise from anyone for 2023, Polaris jumps into the 4-stroke trail market with the introduction of a new ProStar 4S engine that is being offered in a host of models; Indy XC 129 & 137; Indy Adventure & Adventure X2; Voyager and Titan. This is a 2-cylinder 4-stroke based heavily on the popular and proven engines used by Polaris in their dirt products for many years, with many of the components and layout optimized for snowmobile use.
“The new 2023 snowmobile lineup shows our commitment to bringing a better snowmobiling experience to every rider, whether they are new to the sport or a lifelong rider. From the mountains to the trails and everywhere in between, there is a sled for every rider in the 2023 lineup.” – John Stockman, Vice President & General Manager of Snowmobiles.
More additions to the middle of the line-up are found in the Indy Adventure series with the new Indy Adventure X2, purpose built for two with a standard M2 passenger seat. Both the Indy Adventure and Indy Adventure X2 are available with the new ProStar S4 engine package for 2023 in addition to Patriot 2-stroke options.
The 1000cc 4S is said to produce under 100 HP and by our extensive testing we’d put it in the 90 HP range. It sits low and is narrow enough o fit right into the Polaris Matryx platform, spins right at 8200-8300 rpm and has that unmistakable 2-cylinder sound much like a Polaris Ranger or RZR. A dry sump oil system allows for easy starts in cold temps and a counter-balancer delivers smooth operation, with power transfer via a P22 primary clutch. One of the features that was impressive on these models were the new Polaris TS shocks, a piggyback design with a five-position quick adjuster that was quite capable in the rough terrain. It looks quite similar to the Fox QS3 shock but it is Polaris-sourced and has five settings instead of three. Be sure to read our upcoming “First Ride” report on this engine and the models it is fitted into as we have spent many hours and miles riding these machines.