2013 Polaris 600 & 800 RMK Review - Video
Pure Polaris RMKs through and through
Story by Matt Allred, Photography by Matt Allred, Aug 14, 2012
You do want a Polaris RMK. Really, you do. An RMK is a simple snowmobile with power and grit. It is an in-the-trenches soldier that has your back and will not leave you behind.
Pick your RMK, pick your motor and pick your track length. I like that.
What are your choices? For the mojo, two Cleanfire twin cylinder two-stroke motors are available: 600 and 800. Track lengths are paired to the motor. For the 600, two choices: 144 and 155. For the 800, one choice: 155.
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Is there shame is riding just an RMK? Are you kidding me? Straight up, no. I’ll take an 800 RMK 155 to any mountain, any day, any time and mix it up with Polaris’ higher-end RMK Pro, or a Ski-Doo Summit X or Arctic Cat ProClimb M8. You, who may be riding any of these other factory supersleds, do not bother me. The RMK 800 155 makes me arrogant because I can be arrogant on this.
What do you need to know about the RMKs? First, the 800 and 600 do not come with Polaris’ Quick Drive belt drive system. Provided is the same system used on the RMK Assault and all Pro Ride RMK models up to model year 2012, the chaincase. No fear here, the RMKs are tough. Also, the other manufacturers use a chaincase system – it is dependable.
The RMKs do not have the Pro Taper handlebars and carbon overstructure that the Pro RMK has. What they do have, however, are some nice “Pro” amenities such as PowderTrac runningboards and Pro Lite seat. Also, the RMKs are front loaded with Polaris electronic reverse (PERC). So, not bad, eh?
The handlebar with its curl-down ends, rather than hooks like the Pro uses, are not as tall the Pro’s Pro Taper bars. This is a point of lively discussion between Sr. Test Rider, Kevin Allred and myself. The Pro Taper bars are sweet ergo bars and we are adept with them, but the RMK’s bars are approximately one-inch shorter and the lower height allows us to be aggressive with our center-of-gravity moves when attacking the snow in thick trees. This allows us to keep are upper body close to the track’s drivers rather than over the cockpit. Also, we find the RMK’s curled down ends fit our gloved hands better. Yes, the RMK’s bars are heavier than the Pro’s, and they lack the minimalist controls (handlebar warmer controls, light dimmer switch and PERC), but for all intents and purposes, we believe we can notch up our nasty attitude a bit more with the RMK’s bars than we can with the Pro’s Pro Taper bars. This is just us Idaho country boys, where as you may feel otherwise. The Pro’s height and hooks give you the tools to be the handyman on the slopes.
The 800 RMK 155 is a sled that I just enjoy being on. I like to be on a snowmobile that I consider the sleeper. The 800 RMK, though heavier than the Pro, is not a snowmobile that performs less-than. I find the 155, with its sleek silver color, to be very masculine. The Clean Fire fuel injected twin with semi-direct injection (SDI) gives snappy throttle response with instant acceleration.
Also note, the RMK 155’s estimated dry weight is 435, right on par with the premium Arctic Cat M8 Sno Pro and Summit X and SP. Its cost ($11,199) is cheaper too, much cheaper.
600 RMK 144/155
The 600 RMK 144 ($9,699), feels strong. This snowmobile sees the light of day in the hands of many rental snowmobile consumers. To that end, what a great snowmobile the renters have for the day. The 600 RMK 144 is not a Pro 600 155 with Quick Drive and Polaris’ 155-inch Series 5.1 powder track with 2.4-inch lugs. It feels different on the snow. It may be all in my head, but I am a bit reluctant to take the 600 RMK 144 into the mix with 800s, be it the Pro RMK 800, the Pro RMK 600, both with Quick Drive, or the RMK 800 155.
Yet, the 600 RMK 144 has a purpose. It is designed for the first-timer who is exploring the mountain riding world, and for the beginner who wants to get it right the first time – to learn the art of boondocking – and to move up to an 800 in a year or two. Both the 600 RMK 144 and 600 RMK 155 ($10,199) are serious mountain sleds for the serious learner who is budget-minded. And that is OK.
Why You Want It
The 800, as mentioned, comes in a 155 only. The 600 comes in two lengths, 144 and 155. All these RMKs with their respective rear suspension length, share these components.
• Lightweight spindles
• Gripper skis
• RMK coil-over rear suspension
• Ryde FX shocks for front suspension and front track
• Ryde AFX shock for the rear suspension’s rear
• Series 5.1 powder track for the 800 and 600 RMK 155, with 2.4 inch lugs (same as the Pro)
• Series 4.0 powder track for the 600 RMK 144, with two-inch lugs
• P-85 drive clutch with Team LWT driven (same as the Pro)
All-in-all, the 800 and 600 RMK, though not a Pro or an Assault, are performance oriented deep-powder snowmobiles for the beginner – the 600 – and for the very confident rocker who is all stopped-up with self-worth and does not need a premium 800 to be a rider checking off his bucket list and knocking off his friends.
As I watched Sr. Test Rider, Kevin Allred, work his mountain skill on the RMKs, he never faltered; he was as crisp on the RMKs as he was on Polaris’ Pros. He did say as he climbed off the 800 155, “I like these handlebars and I like this sled, it basically matched my Pro RMK will.”
One aspect we did learn about the RMKs is the Ryde FX and AFX shocks are soft, in a good way. The Ryde shocks provide a more cushy and comfortable ride than the Pro and Assault. Of course, the sled owner can adjust the shocks on their Pro or Assault to be soft, but off the showroom floor, the RMKs are very comfortable for that little trail ride we westerners embark on while motoring to the high slopes.
This fall or winter, when you are searching for a Pro Ride or Assault RMK to purchase, and all the Assaults and Pros and sold, look at the RMK. Don’t think you’ve screwed yourself over by waiting. If needing a 600 and the Pro 600 is a budget buster, take the standard RMK 6 and go knock around. If you want an 800, grab that beautiful silver 800 RMK 155 and go tear ‘em up. Kevin and I sure have.
|2013 Polaris 600 RMK 144/155||2013 Polaris 800 RMK Assault|
|Engine||Polaris Liberty, 599cc two-stroke, liquid-cooled, twin; Cleanfire electronic fuel injection||Polaris Liberty, 75cc two-stroke, liquid-cooled, twin; Cleanfire electronic fuel injection|
|Drive||Polaris P-85 drive with TEAM LWT driven||Polaris P-85 drive with TEAM LWT driven|
|Front Suspension||Pro-Ride RMK adjustable A-arm suspension; RydeFX shocks; 9.0-inches of travel||Pro-Ride RMK adjustable A-arm suspension; RydeFX shocks; 9.0-inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension||Polaris RMK coil-over parallel rail slide with RydeFX & RydeAFX shocks; up to 16.0-inches of travel||Polaris RMK coil-over parallel rail slide with RydeFX & RydeAFX shocks; up to 16.0-inches of travel|
|Length||129.0 in||129.0 in|
|Width||46.5 in||46.5 in|
|Ski Stance||Adjustable from 39-41-inches||Adjustable from 39-41-inches|
|Track||155 - 15 x 155 x 2.4 Series 5.1
144 - 2.0 Series 4 track
|155 - 15 x 155 x 2.4 Series 5.1|
|Weight||435 lbs (claimed)||435 lbs (claimed)|
|Features||Handlebar riser with strap; electronic reverse; digital gauge; Gripper ski; Freestyle seat (on 600 RMK 144); electric start optional||Handlebar riser with strap; electronic reverse; digital gauge; Gripper ski; Pro-Lite seat; electric start optional|
|Fuel Capacity||11.5 US Gal||11.5 US Gal (Premium Fuel)|
|MSRP||155 - $13,099
144 - $9,699