Celebrating 60 years of innovation, Polaris spins a new AXYS
Entering model year 2015, Polaris celebrates 60 years in the snowmobile business, coming a very long way from the heavy, rear-engined Sno-Travelers of the 1950s. That’s the distant past. The near-past of the last five years showcases engineering leadership that includes a best-selling, deep powder sled weighing 417 pounds, a reintroduction of the Indy, and creation of a unique outside-the-skidframe rear suspension system for its Rush and Switchback series. Innovation and technical upgrades continue.
Where Polaris redefined deep snow riding with its light, powerful RMK models, the snowmobile pioneer has rethought how snowmobilers ride on and off the trail. Namely Polaris engineers and designers developed a next generation performance platform that takes into consideration:
• Rider-balance for control
• The desire and need to accelerate quickly
• Rider-centered comfort
Designated AXYS, this new riding platform concept is the backbone for nine new 2015 Rush and Switchback models.
Polaris riders will find two distinct riding trims in the premium AXYS line. Aggressive trail riders who prefer handling and cornering agility will want AXYS-equipped versions carrying the new Pro-S designation. The rider who likes to seek and destroy big bumps and break new trails will want to check out the Pro-X versions.
The AXYS platform is all new and includes a carbon-fiber overstructure, a feature first used on the lightweight RMK. By totally redesigning the sport sled chassis used for the Rush and Switchback, Polaris engineers could establish a more neutral riding position that is 4.5 inches further forward and represents better on-sled balance for improved cornering agility. The design also redefines the vehicle’s centralized mass, again adding to on-trail control.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Polaris 600 Indy & 600 Indy SP
Along with the redesigned chassis, Polaris engineers reworked the suspension, arriving at a new-for-2015 Pro-XC progressive rate rear suspension that combines a redesigned crank and pivot with a front torque arm that has been moved rearward to increase travel as well as better control of pitch. Polaris states that the new design results in significantly reduced ski lift when cornering and improved control when riding through chatter bumps. The new suspension delivers more controlled weight transfer during acceleration, resulting in quicker full throttle runs. As you might expect, with a new design, Polaris effectively reduced as much as 38 pounds compared to previous models.
Quicker acceleration comes with development of a new higher performance 800cc Cleanfire two-stroke twin. Based on the existing 800, it uses a lighter crankshaft that provides improved throttle response to reach optimal RPM more quickly.
The AXYS system used on the Rush and Switchback provide greater rider comforts as a result of enhanced wind protection, integrated storage and a new seat design for greater onboard maneuverability.
The new AXYS system is offered in two trims: Pro-S and Pro-X. Designed for serious on-trail riders, the Pro-S will be available at Polaris dealers all season. On the other hand, the Pro-X series will be offered only as an early season SnowCheck model. The Pro-X models have a taller 2.5-inch ride height, longer travel shocks and taller five-inch riser bar. The “X” series suits the stand-up riding style preferred by big bump riders.
The AXYS system will be available as 2015 800 and 600 Rush Pro-S as well as 800 and 600 Switchback Pro-S and the 2015 600 Switchback Adventure. The Switchback Pro-X models will come with Walker Evans shocks and aggressive tracks – a 120-inch length with 1.75-inch lug height for the Rush and a 137-inch length Backcountry X for the Switchback Pro-X.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Polaris 800 RMK Assault
Polaris did a major expansion of its Indy product line last season, but adds more off-trail versatility with introduction of the 2015 550 Indy Voyageur 155 and 550 Indy Adventure 155, both with a 155-inch long track and articulated rear suspension for increased off trail and deep snow capability. The long track Indys will also come with 9.5-inch wide Pro-Float skis that offer 45 percent more surface area than the standard Pro-Steer trail ski.
The Indy series is virtually a snowmobile brand in and of itself, with touring and sport models to satisfy any performance need. For the aggressive go-fast rider, there are two levels of performance from either the 800 Indy SP or 600 Indy SP. Want to take a friend along? Check out the two-up 550 Indy LT. Or, for a fully loaded touring get up, there’s the 550 Indy Adventure, complete with an onboard cargo system to stow weekend needs.
As with the Indy line, Polaris offers something for nearly every deep snow talent with its line of RMK and Assault models. The best-selling deep powder Polaris has to be the 417-pound Pro-RMK, available with 800cc or 600cc Cleanfire engines. These are built on the lightweight Pro-Ride chassis with carbon fiber overstructure and structural adhesive bonded components to reduce weight.
In addition to the Pro-RMK, Polaris continues to offer nine levels of mountain performance with its line of Assault and RMK models that can be configured with an assortment of track lengths.
For purpose-built snowmobiling, there are the Polaris’ IQ models, utilizing the IQ chassis and Liberty 600cc two-stroke powerplant. The 600 IQ LXT offers electric start and comfortable seating for two. For big jobs there is the 600 IQ WideTrak with a 20-inch wide track that stretches 156 inches in overall length and churns through a two-speed plus reverse gearbox.
But, if you don’t see what you want in a new 2015 Polaris snowmobile, check out the Polaris snowmobile web link. There you can build your own, unlike anyone else’s 2015 Polaris. This 60th anniversary pioneer not only offers limited edition 60th anniversary models, but you can play with upwards of 20,000 unique combinations of customization. Choose virtually anything you want.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Polaris 800 RUSH Pro-R
As Chris Wolf, Polaris Director of Snowmobiles, explains: “In three easy steps, riders will choose their sled, choose their colors, and choose their options. They will be selecting the colors of their choice for the side panels, tunnels and rails, and selecting features like their chassis, suspension, track, storage and comfort choices.”
You better get started, though, because this offer of customization is only available through the length of the Polaris SnowCheck Select period, which begins March 3rd and ends April 15, 2014.