1999 Polaris Super Sport
It is what it is, and that's all that it is- a comfy trail sled
Traditionally, the last snowmobile I test each season is last for a reason. After a winter like that of '99 with its marginal snow conditions and rough trails, I wanted the final long term test sled to be comfortable, powerful and easy on the eyes.
The Indy Super Sport from Polaris seemed to meet my criteria and I was excited to put the machine through its paces. I had just tested the Polaris 500 XC SP and was overwhelmed with its excellent overall performance. I knew the Super Sport would be softer sprung and nowhere as aggressive as the XC. Still I looked forward to a level of handling and comfort similar to the enjoyable XC.
As a plus, the Super Sport came equipped with additional creature comforts such as a very functional midheight windshield, electric start, and a Polaris-option tank-mounted map holder with all kinds of handy places to put stuff. The fit and finish of the Super Sport was first class and the second-generation body styling did indeed make the refashioned Super Sport easy on the old eyes.
But even better than that, the Super Sport was ergonomically correct. The seat was very comfortable- firm yet plush at the same time. The footrests were properly positioned for my style of riding and they were easy to lock into. I especially liked the new handlebars. Being one inch longer and straighter than previous designs the new bars were noticeably more comfortable and functional than the older versions.
Also new and much appreciated was the left hand control block. With just the slightest thumb movement one could select from four different hand warmer settings, three thumb warmer settings and access the high/low light switch.
Yet another new feature on the left side of the bars is the Polaris High Performance Brake system. I found the new brakes to be on par with anything on the market, refusing to fade and requiring just a small amount of pressure from one digit to slow the machine. The instrument grouping is nicely done on the Super Sport with the five-inch tach and speedo easy to read at any speed.
The rear suspension is the Polaris XTRA - 10 with 10.2 inches of fully coupled travel. The front and rear track shocks are Nitrex/Select. The fully coupled rear suspension is supposed to provide a superior ride and improved control as the front and rear of the suspension react together. This didn't happen on our test machine. In any kind of bumpy terrain, especially ditch running, the machine would pitch and yaw and act like a car with four totally worn out shocks. In the nastier bumps, it slammed me in the butt in an attempt to launch me over the windshield. I tried every adjustment in the book, all to no avail.
I have ridden other '99 Super Sports and found the ride and handling to be excellent. My final conclusion was that both rear shocks were faulty. The front XTRA-10 suspension was Polaris smooth and easy to adjust.
The engine was a disappointment. I anticipated smooth, strong power out of the all new 550 cylinder reed assist inducted motor. It was plenty smooth all right, but the power thing never happened. Sixty-five was the highest speed I observed on the speedometer with the norm being 62. In more than seven inches of powder or melting snow conditions, top speed dropped considerably.
On the upside, gas and oil consumption were good. In 973 miles the Super Sport sipped only 54.6 gallons of gas for an average of 17.82 miles per gallon. This is the highest miles per gallon average posted on a sled in recent years. The oil consumption was seven quarts for an average of 139 miles per quart. This is also the highest average seen in years.
My overall opinion of this snowmobile is mixed. As stated earlier, I have ridden other 550 Super Sports and have encountered no problems whatsoever. It was pretty obvious to me that our Super Sport was an exception as far as the rear suspension and the engine went. I'm just glad that we got it and not you.