Polaris has really gotten their act together the past few years. Back when the RUSH first came out in 2010, it seemed as if that exact model was rushed to market (funny, huh). But since that time they have taken the Pro-Ride platform to new heights in their popular RMK series, expanded their progressive rate rear suspension to their Switchback series, and most recently added the popular Indy models back into their line-up. The Indy sleds feature the front end chassis & construction of the RUSH with a more traditional tunnel and coupled rear suspension design, something Polaris remains very good at.
So for 2014, it makes perfect sense for them to give us more Indy-based models to choose from. Gone for 2014 are the base RUSH models, as their Indy brothers are duplicates in the line-up. The only RUSH models left are the Pro-R 800 and Pro-R 600, the good ones with the Walker Evans clicker shocks.
Which brings us to the Polaris Indy. The Polaris Indy, one of the most legendary names in the history of snowmobiling, made its return to the Polaris lineup in 2013. For 2014, the popular 600 Indy and 600 Indy SP return with new seats and they’re joined by several new INDY models.
If the 600 Indy was so popular, why not offer an 800 Indy? Sure enough, 2014 brings us the 800 Indy SP, for riders who like to carve the trails with stronger acceleration. Also available during SnowCheck Select for Spring buyers there’s an 800 Indy SP LE (and 600 Indy SP LE) with special paint and graphics, multi-colored seats and equipment options; your choice of three windshields, storage bag options and electric start.
In an interesting twist, Polaris is coming with several 144” track length versions of the Indy series. The 600 Indy Voyager 144 and 550 Indy Voyager 144 are described as “light utility” models that are well-suited for work and for off-trail riding”. The INDY Voyager models are going to be extremely capable off-trail sleds with their 144” tracks, high-flotation Gripper skis and narrow, adjustable RMK front suspension. These new models also provide a smooth, comfortable ride, so they’re right at home on the trails, but they’re also well-suited for work with their large, durable rear cargo rack. The 600 Indy Voyager 144 is going to see some sales in the lake effect snow belts, where the added flotation of the 144” track and the fuel economy of the 600 twin is going to be preferred over the less-capable in the deep (but more capable in the rough) Switchback 600 models.
A variant of this is the new 550 Indy Adventure 144, an extremely versatile model with the innovative Adventure Cargo System and Lock & Ride Convertible Passenger Seat. It is an Adventure model, but with a traditional tunnel. Yet another variant is the 550 Indy LXT 144, a touring model with a full complement of comfort features for high mileage riders. There’s also a stripped down version called the 550 Indy 144, and of course a short track 550 Indy 121.
While we expected to see more Indys, we simply did not see all of these new models coming. So many new 550 fan-cooled models (four different 550 Indys with a 144” track?) is somewhat of a surprise, but Polaris must be selling enough 550s fans to make it worth the exercise. They are a lower-powered and lower-priced option, and while not appealing to the typical performance rider they likely have appeal to the broader world-wide market that Polaris is eyeing with lust and desire.
Two new models that we’re happy to see are the full-season 800 Switchback Adventure and the new 600 Switchback Assault. The 800 Switchback Adventure was offered last year as a spring-only model, but due to popular demand makes its return as an in-season offering. It has the versatile Adventure Cargo System that lets a rider install or remove saddlebags in seconds without tools. The cargo rack can also hold the new accessory Lock & Ride Convertible Passenger Seat, which converts the sled into a 2-up machine in just seconds.
The new 600 Switchback Assault 144 joins the 800 Switchback Assault 144 in giving riders the confidence to take on any terrain, anywhere. It is extremely nimble and well-equipped to dominate on tight, rough terrain and when landing from jumps and drops. We’ve seen a number of Switchback Assault models being used as Crossover sleds in a wide variety of conditions, so we’re confident the new 600 version will also be very popular as well.
In the heart of the Polaris line-up for 2014 there are no major changes to the Rush Pro-R, the RMK models or the Switchback models from last season. In fact, these sleds are working very well right now. Polaris seems to have gotten the drive axle issue taken care of on their RMK belt drive, citing supplier and tolerance issues. There are no new engines or significant engine changes for 2014, as the 550 fan, 600 CFI and 800 CFI are now working well for Polaris. They’re going for lightweight more so than peak power with the 800, and in the light Pro-Ride chassis it does work very well. The 600 CFI is a stellar engine, with good power and excellent economy, fuel and oil. Four-strokes? There remains a single Turbo IQ LXT four-stroke in the Polaris line-up for 2014, which now works quite well. Actually, Polaris now has their entire line-up working quite well.
This article was from the Spring 2013 issue of SnowTech – published in March 2013
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