The 2-stroke is not dead! If anything Polaris believes it is healthier than ever. In fact, it’s betting on it! Recently I had a conversation with a die-hard Polaris friend who was scared that 4-strokes were going to take over snowmobiling like they did dirt bikes.
His fear was that 4-strokes would ruin snowmobile racing, and that only “millionaires” would soon be able to go snowmobiling, and that the sky was falling and that Nazis had the Ark of the Covenant. Point is, he was scared.
Well, if I didn’t do a good enough job of talking my friend off the 4-stroke cliff, hopefully the new lineup of virtually all 2-stroke sleds from Polaris will help. It certainly will give customers freedom to choose from tons of new 2-stroke models!
We can’t get enough Indy!
The newest tech-enhanced version of the iconic Indy brand will go viral for 2014.
Last year saw the intro of the 600 Indy and Indy SP, but now there are eight more Indy models! These are all 2-strokes and Polaris says they can easily meet the EPA regulations with the amount of credits and clean EFI sleds in its lineup. Plus they tell us their 550 fan-cooled engines meet minimum EPA pollution requirements.
Polaris brass also told us that they see the number of 4-stroke sleds decreasing as a percentage of the industry.
The most anticipated new 2-stroke trail sled is the 800cc Indy. This was an easy step for Polaris and will come in both an SP model and an SP Limited Edition spring-buy model. The 800 SP is the exact same 121-inch machine that was available last year as a 600 in the Pro-Ride chassis with the conventional coupled skid, and FOX shocks, but with the larger 800cc Liberty CFI liquid 2-stroke powerplant.
The 600, and now 800, Limited Edition models come with a 1-inch lugged HackSaw track, FOX shocks and one-piece hooked handlebars. Don’t worry though, the standard 600 Indy (with the smaller .91-inch Shockwave track, RydeFX MPV shocks, straight bars and 3.5-inch riser), as well as the 600 Indy SP (with the upgraded FOX shocks and 1-inch HackSaw track) remain available for 2014.
Largely because of the Indy introduction last year Polaris says it is growing market share in the “Trail Performance” segment. A major part of that segment had been overlooked for a couple seasons by Polaris, but this year Polaris easily covered it with a whole new line of 550 fan-powered sleds. The new 550 Indy 121-incher is the top value trail sled in Polaris’ line, replacing the Shift that sold for $6,399. This one gets RydeFX MPV shocks and a .91-inch lugged Shockwave track as well as straight bars. Like all standard Indy sleds, this has the standard straight tunnel and traditional coupled rear skid and suspension. No word at deadline on pricing, but watch the website for more details.
The 550 motor’s new exhaust cuts 5.5 lbs. and Polaris says the sound quality is better too. Overall, the sled is 50 lbs. lighter in the new Pro-Ride chassis than in the ancient IQ chassis.
In addition the new 550 Indy models will all have CVTech Powerbloc 50 Drive and Invance Driven clutches. AmSnow has experience with CVTech products (See CVTech Clutch Project, Nov. 2012 p. 46) and these clutches provide great durability, silky smooth engagement, less weight and rotating mass, quicker response and better backshifting. They also can be tuned with weights being changed without being removed from the sled.
There is more pinch force down low with the CVTech clutch, which is especially useful for off-trail applications, such as the new 550 Voyager. Polaris engineers tell us that the CVTech clutches had much less wear than other units in their dyno testing and the driven clutch is bullet-proof. This allows Polaris flexibility to spec a lower grade belt and still get great durability if needed. These clutches are Canadian made and cost varies with the exchange rate, so this move was not necessarily a cost based. These clutches run cooler and quieter as well!
A new seat on all trail 1-up Indys also aims at comfort as it’s 3.5 inches wider at the sitting area, more like seats on past Switchback models. On the 550 Indy short-track you also get the mid-height windshield standard and electric start is available as an option. The bars are positioned at a relaxed steering angle too.
You can get a new convertible seat bag, riser bag, and low-pro defrost bag for the Indys, and new Ultimate bumpers , formed gauntlets and graphic wrap options.
We noticed a lack of engine badges on the 550s. Badges are only on Polaris’ 600 and 800 sleds. The air intake duct on the hood (which was the brake duct on the Rush, just more open) and heat outlet ducts on the side are the easiest way to spot a 550 ... and its sound.
We have been singing the praises of the Indy for a year now with its good handling, trail manners, patented IFS with variable caster for stability and sharp response in the corners. Most of all though, these sleds are affordable! Polaris is doing it right for the working men and women out there who still love to ride.
Is Rush going away?
Heck no! But Indy is stealing some of Rush’s thunder.
For 2014 there will be only Pro-R Rush models available. Assume that the Rush is now only being marketed as Polaris’ big bump sled. This is the one that will get you through that nasty mogul field quickest or over that 30-foot road approach with ease. The Indy is now the standard trail sled and the Rush is where it should be, where it shines, in the rough stuff. New accessories including a riser bag and a low-pro defrost bag, as well as Ultimate bumpers, formed gauntlets and graphic wraps.
The 600 and 800 Pro-R Rush with the eye-catching uncoupled exposed progressive rate rear suspension are both available with Walker Evans shocks, 1.25-inch track and the standard hollow jackshaft and drilled wave-type rotor. Pro-Ride steering and variable caster IFS are standard.
Both the 600 and 800 Rush will be available in Limited Edition spring models with the WE compression and rebound adjustable shocks and a deeper 1.352 lug Cobra track and Rox riser below the bars too.
Crossovers get Indy-fied
The hybrid segment of Polaris’ line also gets some more Indy-esque offerings for 2014.
The Switchback Adventure 600 was introduced two model years ago and last year a new 800 Adventure was introduced as a spring-buy model. Those models are still available for 2014, but there are two new Indy 550 crossover sleds!
The new 550 Indy Adventure rounds out the Adventure line and has the Pro-Ride front-end, but uses the RMK-like 144-inch uncoupled rear suspension, not the extended Rush-inspired Pro-R rear skid that its 600 and 800 Adventure cousins share.
The 550 Adventure has a big 1.352-inch lug on the track, a modular cargo and seating system standard and a cargo rack. Premium features include electric start, deflectors, mirrors, 12V and RCA outlets and big Extreme front bumper.
Another new crossover sled is the 550 Indy Voyager, which aims more toward utility. Voyager also has the Pro-Ride front-end and RMK adjustable IFS. Like the 550 Adventure, it features the RMK-inspired uncoupled rail and the same Cobra track. This one is a little more RMK like though, but with more utility items like Gripper skis, a tall windshield, comfort seat, electric start, big cargo rack and a tow hitch.
The new Voyager line of crossovers comes in a 600 Indy version as well with the 600 Liberty CFI motor. This one has RydeFX MPV shocks and the 2.0 lug Series 4 track for churning powder, hooked bars, and a 3.5-inch riser. All the same goodies apply to the 600 that the 550 has as well, but there also is a mountain strap and Extreme front bumper.
There are some changes in the Switchback lineup.
The standard Switchback is available with 600 or 800 motors along with FOX shocks and 1.25-inch RipSaw track. The Pro-R Switch also is still available in the 600 and 800 with W.E. shocks and 1.352-inch lugged Cobra track with hollow jackshaft and drilled rotor.
The Pro-R Switch Limited Edition is only available in the 800 with W.E. adjustable compression and rebound shocks Rox riser, 1.352-inch Cobra track and Adventure cargo rack. These still come with the elongated uncoupled rail like the Rush with progressive rate ratio and great bump soaking ability. These also give more off-trail capability, storage, and comfort than in the past.
New for 2014 is the Switchback Assault 600 with the same W.E. needle shocks and lightweight rotor and jackshaft as the 800. The 800 Assault also is available and both have the RMK-style tunnel, tipped-up rail and 144 x 1.352-inch track, along with Pro Taper bars.
The convertible passenger seat and universal carrier Lock & Ride accessories also are options for the Switchbacks as well as the new convertible seat bag, riser bag and Ultimate bumpers and formed gauntlets.
Mountains are growing!
This segment of the snow-industry is still on its way up! Polaris says that it remains No. 1 in the mountain market, thanks to its wildly popular RMK Pro-Ride models.
This year the base RMK will again be available with a 600 or 800 CFI engine and the 600 will be available with either a 144x2.0x15-inch track or a 155x2.4x15-inch track. The standard 800 will be a 155-incher.
Both have extruded running boards, and are solid value options for mountain riders.
The Pro-RMK is available with a 600 or 800 engine, and either a 155- or 163-inch track. The Pro gets the upgraded W.E. shocks, the low inertia belt drive system (new last year and replacing the chaincase) and new lightweight carbon fiber over structure. The Pro also features extruded boards and at 417 lbs., the Pro-Ride chassis remains light and well balanced.
The RMK Assault 800 returns as the “rough and tumble” RMK. It has W.E. clicker adjustable shocks, a 155-inch stiffer durometer Competition track, wider front-end, extruded boards, and new carbon fiber over structure.
New accessories for the RMK include an adjustable fuel can rack, Burandt Flyer bag, Ultimate bumpers, formed gauntlets and graphic wraps.
Not tired of Touring
New on the 2-up side is … you guessed it, another Indy!
The 550 Indy LXT is basically the Voyager, or Adventure, but gets the conventional coil-over rear suspension instead of the RMK lineage like the other two long-track 550s. There is a 2-up seating arrangement, passenger grips, tall shield, ES, mirrors, the 12V & RCA outlet, and the same cargo rack that is on the Voyager. The Lock & Ride accessories on all the Indy crossover and touring sleds as well as several other Switchback and touring models have the option of a new convertible passenger seat, new rack, fuel can rack or universal carrier.