Polaris has really gotten their act together the past few years. Back when the RUSH first came out in 2010, it seemed as if...

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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  • Chris Keskeny

    January 17, 2013 #3 Author

    Really good speculative info on Polaris! I had a 2010 Rush, a 2011 Rush 800 and now own a 2012 Rush 800 ES. I average 3000-4000 miles per year. I love how the 800 works and sounds but I am getting sick of the only real advantage with the uncoupled rear suspension is the holeshot! I weigh 210 and find that in some conditions it works really well and other times not so good. I have never been fully convinced of it’s so called terrain dominating. I told my dealer in the fall of 2009 when picking up my first Rush that I would love to see that new front half of the Rush connected to a regular tunnel. My dealer made it clear to me that no way is Polaris going to do that! The Pro-Ride he told me is the future. I really do like the 800 engine but are now awaiting an 800 Indy or better I would love an 800 Switchback 136 with a tunnel. I should have mentioned above that last winter I tried out a 2012 Switchback 800 Pro R for approx 450 miles and was not impressed! I dealt it on the 2012 Rush 800 ES and took a real good bath on the deal. I would sure like to let Polaris know that by forcing people in just one direction has cost them sales. Faithfully awaiting an 800 Polaris sled with a tunnel (less weight) that I can beat down the trails with. Regards, The Recreation Wizard.

  • Jeff

    January 27, 2013 #4 Author

    Right on, but why not call it a 2014 Indy 600 Snow King Special? A 136 x 1.25 track with a traditional tunnel and skid so we have somewhere to put our snacks and sodas. No reason the SKS would be more than a $500 option, so $8,500 we should have a true trail shredding crossover. Come on Polaris, you were king in the 1990s with a strategy of awesome value and a huge fun factor. One more tiny step and you’re there! Keep offering the Rush for the hard core ditch bangers, but us 40-somethings long for the good old days and there just aren’t that many XLTs left. Oh yeah, we may have a few bucks for a new sled. I’ll take mine with a subtle ‘checker flag’ hood wrap please.

  • BlueStar

    February 7, 2013 #5 Author

    I am riding the 600 adventuer and i truely beleive this is one of the best sleds this company has ever produced, I can’t complain about 1 thing on this machine after 3000 miles without feeling like i am just nittpicking. Accept 1 thing, this sled needs a 4- stroke! I told my dealer perfect sled just needs a USA build 4-stroke, He ask why, I pointed at the Victory Cross Country and told him your going on a trip around the Gaspe, he was excited until i told him i was replacing the the 4-stroke in the cross country and was replacing it 600 2 stroke! He said why would you put that motor in a touring bike, i replied why would you put that motor in a touring sled! He got the point. This company puts tractor trailers out in quebec every winter with the new sleds, i watch people walk by and ask where is the 4-stroke? I actually herd 1 of the truck drivers say we don’t need1. I was rolling in the snow in disbelieve! I couldn’ t resist, i told the guy you have to buy a dune buggy if you want a polaris 4-stroke, then he was rolling in the snow! This company focuses on the mountain segment because it’s the cheapest thing for them to dominate! Don’t get me wrong i’ m a polaris faithful, but if this company spends there R&D money and builds a side by side tracked vehicle for the snow I’M GONE! By the way i’m snow checking 2 new sleds in april !

  • snowtoba

    February 13, 2013 #6 Author

    I couldn’t disagree more with the comments made here. Personally I ride an 2012 Assault SB and my old man has a 2012 800 SB with the progressive suspension. I like the extra track of the assault and the handling in deep snow since i do a lot of back country riding. If you want storage ride an assault, I carry 3 gallons of gas and a bag full of goody’s. I ride about 3000 a year half on trial half off. The assault is better off trail for carving and acceleration in the deep snow but the pro ride SB is no slouch, carves better than ski doo and weighs way less that a yamaha. I’m yet to be out ridden in southern Manitoba or in the white shell rough or groomed, on or off trail with my sled. My fathers sled I would say handles flatter in the trails and rides smooth in all conditions. Not many sleds can you pound 3 foot woops at 75 mph and feel comfortable to grab more throttle. When I switch sleds for a ride it takes a few corners to adjust the way i pick my lines but once I dial it in there’s no catching me. and for weight with uncoupled my father is about 270lbs 6ft before sled gear. He might not ride as hard as he used to but he loves his sled his front end stays planted. I weigh 190lbs 6′ 3″, before I take his sled for a long ride i turn up his rear shocks a couple turns from his settings and rock and roll. The front track shock will bottem once and a while but the rear has never given me a tinglier. I find teh ski lift is less than my assault and barley more than a ski doo. but whats a polaris with out the the inside ski in the air. that was my favorite part of riding the xc sp’s. if your a guy riding a properly set up rush and your complaining about the ride you should go back and ride a IQ or a edge chassis throw your self out of a corner full throttle when its not groomed and see how your back feels. The only down side to the base model SB is the front track shock, it can’t keep up when ridden hard. it needs to be re valved or replaced with a adjustable one. For the motor, on my 2011 SB assault i bet 800 e teks ( 121, renegades, and back country’s) the only sled to kick my butt was a cross fire 800. My dad used to be a ski doo guy, we got invited to ride the next year prototypes a couple times and went on dealer rides with the new toys. I got to take the R-motion for a spin one afternoon. Beat the crap out of it. tested the handling, played around in some drifts and deep snow, and pointed it across a drifted field and held it (threw the whole ride i was playing with suspension stiffer softer springs compression, factory recommended) Wide open for as long as I could, the R-motioin took it but bottomed out a couple times. the front end was sloppy and almost threw me off a couple times the handling was a ski-doo flat. I was fortunate enough to do the same to a switch back w/pro-ride it handled great it played better and when i did the field test i didn’t have to back off the throttle. it was a flat light day and i got surprised by a fair sized drift, the sled took to flight landed at 80mph with out bottoming on another drift returned to flight and kept my feet on the boards and hands on the bars. So i guess what I’m getting at is I’m very happy with polaris, both of our sleds perform amazing, and I am a person who has seen advantage to uncouple suspension, on and off trail.

  • Alan

    February 22, 2013 #7 Author

    Polaris needs a new 4-stroke trail performance sled. I’ve purchased 14 new Polaris sleds
    in the last 22 years and my last 4 sleds have all been 4-stroke models. FST-IQ LX

    Engineering can reduce weight, maintain power, and retain quality and I’ll continue to be a loyal Polaris customer. I cannot however buy blindly into the 2-stroke only line-up.

  • Akrider

    February 28, 2013 #8 Author

    Great article and right on the money about the Pro-Ride rear suspension. I’ve ridden the Pro-R in deep whoops and on rough trails and sure, the rear of the skid felt bottomless. Pretty amazing. But, the experience was ruined with the center shock constantly bottoming out and not being able to keep up with the rest of the chassis. I think the Indy is their future and if they expand that line-up they will see Rush sales decline.

    Their traditional, coupled rear skid can be made to work incredibly well with good shocks and the right valving. This is evidenced by looking at the Polaris IQR race sled. It has never switched over to the pro-ride skid and had no need to. I’ve got an IQR and it has amazing ride quality for the deep whoops. No need to offer the pro-ride skid in my opinion. It’s been 4 years now and the pro-ride skid has not revolutionized the sport.

  • BlueStar

    March 4, 2013 #9 Author

    Allen couldn’t agree more, i live in pennslyvania and in most years i ride 3000 miles all of those miles are done in 2 week long saddle bag trips to quebec, ontario, northern maine. While my adventurer is excelent on oil, it still is taking up saddlebag space. But after being taken to the cleaners for 400 mile tow jobs back to the truck while the rest of the group continues touring on there 4- strokes, its the reliability factor for me. Not all of us ditch bang or do back flips at the local carnival!

  • crazy mainer

    March 6, 2013 #10 Author

    You all have good and bad points but in reality no snomobile is ever going to be made that will satisfy eeryone….with that being said I actually prefer the base model of any sled and just ride it one season and modify it to your exact needs over the summer I know this sounds like alot to do but considering the money you save on parts you usually don’t need you can easily build yourself the perfect sled….I bought a base indy 600 which I simply modified with clutch work the suspension I wanted etc..and now have a machine that can roast most stock 800s and still $100.00 under the sp model asking price..the manufacturers will always fall short of the individual needs of all riders but the dedicated people have an itch that makes it better then any manufacturing company could for that one individual

  • polaris wraps

    February 11, 2015 #11 Author

    The Polaris ATV and the snowmobile range of it can look really great if you add more life to it. There is always the option of the polaris wraps which can unbelievably do wonder. These are available in a number of designs and in series rather which makes things easier for the customers to choose.

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