Polaris product planners won't leave a single sale on the table with the 2004 lineup. There are so many combinations and permutations available as a specific model that it's unlikely a dealer could even display them all on one show floor. And that's just the regular season machines. We're not even counting the Snow Check Select possibilities. Let's get started…
The heart of the Polaris product offering is a big one. Consumers have four different families to choose from. There's the kind-of aggressive XC SP group, the pretty-aggressive Pro X group, the hard-charging Pro X2 group and the race-ready Pro XR to pick out of.
All of these families have a few commonalities in new features. First and foremost, the models will all have a new cooling scheme. Code named "Parallel Cooling," the new setup is said to increase coolant flow to ensure the durability of the engine package. Specifically, the 500 and 600 models, as well as any Polaris with an M-10, will have an extra cooler in the rear of the tunnel, which will increase the heat exchanging surface area by 20 percent. The system is reported to increase coolant flow by as much as 40 percent.
The 700 and 800 models will all carry the Detonation Elimination Technology that debuted this year on the RMK Vertical Escape. In a nutshell, it retards the timing when it senses that the engine is detonating due to lean jetting or poor fuel. When it determines that the engine is safe, it will step the timing forward until it reaches normal operating spec. Both 700 and 800 engines will have a small decompression hole in the cylinders to aid in pull starting efforts by 35 percent.
All XC SP models will sport the wider runningboards with the cheese grater edges. They will all also carry the Team roller secondary and PERC electronic reverse.
The three levels of Pro X will all be built on the shorter wheelbase Pro X chassis. All will feature PERC, the Team secondary, Phantom brake and Parallel Cooling. The significant differentiations between the three levels are shock package and ergonomics.
The standard Pro X will have RydeFX compression-adjustable shocks all around, a full-length seat and handlebars set at 1.5 inches forward of the firewall. The Pro X will have all three liquid-cooled engines available, as well as a very fun 550 fan-cooled version.
The Pro X2 carries compression-adjustable Walker Evans shocks with remote reservoirs on all four points. Its hollow driveshaft and lightweight gears cut about 3.5 pounds off the standard sled. The X2 will also feature a shortened race-style seat, that is two inches higher and two inches more forward than the standard Pro X. A decorative chrome windshield will allow snow to dump into the rider's lap and roll off from there. Hand guards come standard on the X2 to protect knuckles from snow and ice chunks, as well as windchill. Click here for our first impression report.
The Pro XR is a spring only model next year. For those looking for a Polaris race chassis, this is it. It comes standard with the 14-inch Sno X track, racer hooks and grips, XR racer seat, which is three inches up and forward and 27 factory pounds lighter than the standard Pro X sled. It is built on the actual race chassis, with a handful of trail necessities added like an oil reservoir, larger fuel tank and trail calibrations on the Walker Evans shocks. Polaris noted that there will be a race spec kit available for the suspension, should a guy want to run the XR on a track. The XR only comes with an 800 Liberty twin in the belly.
The RMK family will all come standard with the Vertical Edge setup this year. All RMKs will have the Team roller secondary, PERC electronic reverse, a prefilter snow sock on the intake and bold new graphics. All RMKs will also have a new chaincase to allow use of the Phantom brake system. This results in a two-pound reduction over last year's Edge RMKs.
The new prefilter is similar to those available for the past couple seasons through the aftermarket. It is simply a piece of water resistant fabric on the outside of the intake vents near the cab.
The fan-cooled Trail RMK will join the ranks as a member of the Edge platform and will enjoy all the weight reducing features and suspension benefits of the chassis.
All 700 and 800 RMKs will have the decompression release valve in the cylinders and the DET electronics for protection.
There will be a 600, 700 and 800 model with 144-inch track, a 700 and 800 151-inch unit and the 159-inch track will be a standard in-season model with an 800 Liberty under the hood.
Polaris has renamed its models in the crossover segment for 2004. No longer known as an SKS, the Switchback will come in 600, 700 and 800 models. All will use the PERC electronic reverse, Team roller secondary, 144-inch track and adjustable front suspension width.
The 700 and 800 engines will have all of the convenience and durability upgrades as the others, such as decompression, DET and Parallel cooling.
The Classic line has become largely redundant, except for the small displacement models and the bold new graphics. A consumer could make a Classic XC SP with the Snow Check options. See a dealer for pricing advantages.
All liquid-cooled models come standard with the M-10 skid, electric start, PERC and mirrors. The fan-cooled models also come with PERC, electric start and mirrors, but use the Edge rear suspension.
There are a few new items in the Classic line. There will be an 800 Classic this year. The big cruiser will sport all of the gadgetry available, such as the ACE adjustment system for the M-10. It will also have Polaris' new adjustable seat system onboard (the 600 will, too). The new seat has a slideable bun, with five inches of adjustability. The bun comes off to open up a very spacious trunk. Additionally, the taillights on the new seat offer a very contemporary rice rocket, eurosport feel.
The touring segment had a handful of good comfort feature updates for 2004. There is a new pillow top seat, which is very comfortable for driver and passenger. The windshield is a bit taller now at 17 inches. The Edge front suspension has been tweaked a bit for better ride quality and handling.
Returning faves on the Polaris tandem line include the removable passenger seat and accessory options for a trunk lid. Polaris reps told us they are hard at work for a removable, lockable piece that owners can carry into the motel as a piece of hard-side luggage. The XTRA-12/M-10 hybrid rear suspension is also back for more comfort and fun on the trails.
This year the 340, both 550 fan and 600 liquid models also enter the Edge chassis.
This is the entry level at Polaris. You'll find all fan-cooled machines now carry the high performance Phantom hydraulic brake. At first this seemed a more than necessary but in riding the 340 fanner, it was cool to be able to stop the sled like a car on dry pavement.
The Super Sport's 550 fan-cooled engine has been reworked to add 2 horsepower at the top, and also broaden the powerband. This was done through a new ignition map and redesigned exhaust system.
The view from the cheap seats is that there is a Polaris sled for just about any need. You don't become the sales leader in the industry by building a limited lineup. In its defense of the number one position, Polaris doesn't seem to want anyone who walks into a dealership to walk out feeling left out. Figure out exactly what you want in a sled, and there is likely to be a model readily available for you.