Hardcore Sledder banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,519 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In January I was contacted by Vern Putzer of High Range Media Productions (Supertrax Media) on being selected by Polaris to participate in a new snowmobile evaluation February 1-3rd. I of course jumped at the chance for such an opportunity!

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Vern Putzer and the Lester’s from High Range Media, and to Melissa Rowles, Julie Benton, Chris Wolf and the rest of the crew from Polaris Industries. The coordination and execution of the event was flawless in my opinion, and I appreciate the work which goes into such an undertaking. Thank you so much for the great experience!

I and the other riders present, were there to evaluate 2 new introductions. Both very exciting, and which address many requests by consumers.

First, we rode a new Axys model called the Indy XC, which features a new 129” track fully coupled rear suspension, in a standard tunnel. This model will have 2 shock packages to choose from, just as the Switchback Assault, and 3 track options. One of the track choices is the new Camso Storm 150 track, which is needed to harness the power of the engine.

We were riding the machines on trails in the Hoyt Lakes Minnesota area. The trails were closed to the public and were only groomed at the beginning of the week, so they were not smooth. We were able to push the machines quite hard as a result, and really evaluate the performance. We also had models of every type there to compare to. They included the Rush Pro S and XCR, Switchback Pro S, Switchback Assault and others. All with different track options.

The new XC 129 suspension is a great trail suspension, and in my opinion the perfect choice for a combination of groomed trail and un groomed/ditch banging riding. It has the long travel front arm as the Pro XC and IGX 144 suspension has, so it rarely bottomed the front arm. The engineers told us the suspension is the same from mid rail and forward as both these proven suspensions are. From the front arm back, it is all new. It combines some of the playfulness of the IGX 144, with the planted feel of the Pro XC. The full coupling reminded me of the Xtra10 suspension of old, great control through the whoops and deep chatter while under power. The sled held its line perfectly compared to the IGX under these conditions and was very confidence inspiring. But it also allowed you to loft the front end easier than the Pro XC suspension. Even with the full coupling, you did not lose ride quality on the small bumps as you might think. The shock package also features a rising rate at the bottom of the travel, to prevent hard bottoming. The shocks are also the large diameter body to prevent fade. Cornering was as flat as the Pro XC suspension sleds, with ski spring preload adjustment playing a big part in that area. The clickers on the higher end shock package were easily accessible, better than in the past, and the engineers said this was one point they considered in the suspension design. The full tunnel on the Indy XC will also allow using all of the lock and ride accessories, as well as a new 2 up seat which will be offered. In all I preferred the XC 129 suspension over all the others for the best overall performance on the trails we rode. It is a great suspension, with compliance at slower speeds and over smaller bumps, yet can still handle being driven aggressive at higher speeds, soaking up the big hits. We did not ride off trail, but I am confident that the extra length of the 129”, traditional open tunnel, and Storm 150 track would all combine to work well in those conditions. One other benefit of the new suspension is that we were told it is the new top speed king of all their suspensions, due to the efficient track attack angle.


The other big news is a new Patriot 850 twin engine! This will be an option across the line, in all models which have the 800 now. But, IT WILL ONLY BE OFFERED DURING SNOWCHECK! This is an all new engine, not just an upgraded 800 Cleanfire HO. It only shares a few bolts with the 800 HO. Before I expand on that, there are also a few other improvements related to the engine, and from what I remember, some of them will be implemented across the line with other engine packages.

Polaris has changed the placement of the thermostat, removing it from the engine, and placing it in a newly designed coolant overflow tank. It is designed to maintain an engine operating temp of 100 degrees, for the best performance, and has a goal of consistent running temperatures. The engineers found that over time, the constant vibration of the engine would affect the thermostat, causing inconsistent opening/closing, as well as wear leading to failure. In riding the new 850 engine equipped models, I never saw over 125 degrees even in some icy low snow trail conditions.

The motor mounts have been completely redesigned because of a combination of customer feedback concerning vibration and performance inconsistency, and to ensure the power of the new 850 is properly transferred through the driveline. All 4 mounts resemble the old style large diameter puck mounts, with a central stud. The PTO side torque arm has been eliminated, and instead the rear motor mount is placed in such a way that it controls the rearward movement of the engine. The wide underside of the round mount and central stud, are inline with the rearward movement of the engine. The other 3 mounts are also mounted this way, with the stud and flat surface in line with the direction of engine movement under load. The aluminum bracket which the mount attaches to also has a raised portion, which encapsulates the rubber puck, so that it cannot expand to a larger diameter than designed under load. The vibration reduction with the new mount system was substantial. The ski tips didn’t dance at an idle, there was no feedback through the handlebars, seat and running boards. You could feel the difference while riding as well. This was compared to models which had the 800 HO engine and old mounting system. Vibration in the 600 engine equipped sleds was on par with the 850.

The entire wiring system under the hood has been simplified and rerouted for best serviceability. Instead of wiring being zip tied to contact points, there are specific tabs on the frame, and clips which attach to them. This will prevent improper routing after service, and the chance of a mistake being made on the assembly line. The relays and such are placed in a centralized “fuse box” for better protection and access.

One improvement the new 850 engine brings to the electrical system, is the change to one coil which will send power to a main distribution hub which the separate systems will draw from. Previously 3 coils in the stator generated power for the 3 main systems independently. Ignition, fuel system, and lighting/other electrical. (if I am remembering correctly!). Now, the electrical is comparable to an automotive system, which has the alternator generating power and sent to one point, then distributed to the various systems. This allows the voltage regulator to respond faster to load changes, makes the entire system simpler and more reliable, as well as provides more consistent power which the ECU and fuel injection system need to operate at top performance.

Now, what most everyone has been waiting for, a new more powerful engine from Polaris, the Patriot 850 twin! As far as raw numbers are concerned, we were not given them, but were told a 10% increase in power over the 800 HO, with a much wider powerband. The new engine is all new, sharing nothing with the 800 HO. If this concerns you the engine has been in development for 3 or more years (I apologize I forget the exact number). This includes dyno testing and thousands of miles of actual in chassis riding. Polaris will also be offering a special warranty program for sleds ordered with the engine, showing their confidence in it, and to put customers minds at ease about buying a first-year engine package. They also tested many different bore/stroke/rod length variations, not just in the engine room, but in chassis, before choosing this configuration. This engine gave the best in chassis feel, as far as power delivery, noise/vibration/harshness, overall performance over a wide range of conditions, handling and reliability. The engineers said it was easy to make good numbers on the dyno, but many combinations did not make for a nice driving sled. You must know that everyone who works at Polaris, are riders and enthusiasts. The engineers log thousands of miles during the development process.

Some key points of the engine are;
-increased crankshaft diameter and assembly process to increase strength and reliability
-different clutch taper
-greatly increased PTO crankshaft bearing load area (wider and diameter).
-new piston design with much longer skirt to decrease piston slap
-cylinder skirts extend into crankcase deeper to give more strength and piston support
- “Shrink wrap” cylinder head water jacket design to increase cooling efficiency
-coolant flow through the engine is optimized for maximum power output and consistency
-new combustion chamber design for reliability with varying fuel quality. The spark plug and the cylinder head around the plug is extended into the chamber.
-new v force reeds
-new Dell Orto throttle body, with holes drilled in the throttle blades for idle air bypass. You may now adjust the idle rpm if desired without affecting the TPS baseline setting.
-new magnetic/hall sensor type TPS, no adjustment required or possible. TPS is synched during initial assembly.
-exhaust sensor in the main pipe and in the muffler, which allows the ECU to better determine fuel and ignition requirements.
-new simpler VES system design, with cleaner, more consistent operation. Also, better overall power as a result of better cylinder pressure sealing.

There are many other points to the new engine, which I am missing. One key fact which proves the power this engine makes, is that Polaris also designed a new drive belt for it. The primary clutch has 6-gram heavier weights than the current 800HO yet has the same suggested full throttle rpm. If you attribute 2 grams of the weight increase to the harder belt, 4 more grams at the same rpm means a lot more power is being made. I was not able to confirm any other clutching calibration.

During the ride, we had a mixture of models, with 600, 800 HO, and the 850 engines. We were therefore able to do a direct comparison back to back, while riding the different models. We rode all day except for a lunch break, for approximately 6 hours.

What was immediately apparent was the greatly reduced vibration, when the sled was sitting still idling, and while riding, compared to the 800 HO. I would have to say it felt like the 600 in that regard. The engine also increased speed much quicker, with more mph gain and light throttle input, than the 800 HO. This is a classic heavy primary weight characteristic. This allows for a smoother riding experience, and usually delivers improved fuel economy as you do not need to be on the throttle for as long a period to get up to speed. The power delivery was much smoother and tractable than the 800 HO. With a rheostat feeling, that being the power was extremely linear from clutch engagement to full throttle. Again, very comparable to the 600 but with what felt like double the power! All the sleds equipped with the Patriot 850 engine were easier to ride faster and smoother than the ones with the 800 HO. The engine has great throttle response at all speeds, there were no hiccups in the mapping, and the power increase over the 800 HO was very noticeable. The one drawback because of the smooth power delivery, and increased acceleration, was the fact that you had to be more aware of just how much more speed you were coming into a corner with compared to sleds with the other 2 engines. This amount of power is not for a beginner or novice rider, especially on a winding trail through the trees! But, whereas the 800 HO seems to want to be ridden fast and hard the 850 was just as happy cruising in that 20-40 mph range with a casual pace.

Overall the combination of the Indy XC129 chassis/suspension and the patriot 850 engine come together to make the ultimate performance trail sled in my opinion. Great power right from low end, combined with the suspension allows you to wheelie over bumps, and play on the trail. The smooth power delivery and flat cornering lets you be quicker through the corners. If you want to pound through the whoops, or jump them, the XC 129 is up to the task, letting the sled hold a line exactly where you want it to, and at the higher speeds you can reach in a short distance with the power of the 850 engine. But, if you want to just cruise, the XC suspension is still compliant over trail chatter and smaller bumps, while the 850 engine loafs along feeling like a 600.

I feel Polaris faithful will be pleased with the new intros and changes made to address known issues. I also am sure riders of other brands will be swayed to the Polaris camp!

Kerry Million
HCS handle “Pockets”
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,084 Posts
Nice write up--better than I can do.

I would like to add that the new 850 has a 90 degree thermostat, and that it's in the coolant bottle.
This baby rips!

I too thought the 129 was a great ride, almost as good as the AXYS, in fact I think we were damn near splitting hairs.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
12,517 Posts
Just hushed everyone in the room so I could read it:bc: Great write up:thumbsup:.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
768 Posts
Great write up! How was the XC calibrated suspension wise? Similar to XCR in that a bigger guy could buy and ride it hard without needing to revalve/spring?

Also, do they still have the IQR bars on the XCR? The website just says std aluminum. That would be a HUGE miss by Polaris if they changed the bars. What bars were on the XC?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,686 Posts
In January I was contacted by Vern Putzer of High Range Media Productions (Supertrax Media) on being selected by Polaris to participate in a new snowmobile evaluation February 1-3rd. I of course jumped at the chance for such an opportunity!

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Vern Putzer and the Lester’s from High Range Media, and to Melissa Rowles, Julie Benton, Chris Wolf and the rest of the crew from Polaris Industries. The coordination and execution of the event was flawless in my opinion, and I appreciate the work which goes into such an undertaking. Thank you so much for the great experience!

I and the other riders present, were there to evaluate 2 new introductions. Both very exciting, and which address many requests by consumers.

First, we rode a new Axys model called the Indy XC, which features a new 129” track fully coupled rear suspension, in a standard tunnel. This model will have 2 shock packages to choose from, just as the Switchback Assault, and 3 track options. One of the track choices is the new Camso Storm 150 track, which is needed to harness the power of the engine.

We were riding the machines on trails in the Hoyt Lakes Minnesota area. The trails were closed to the public and were only groomed at the beginning of the week, so they were not smooth. We were able to push the machines quite hard as a result, and really evaluate the performance. We also had models of every type there to compare to. They included the Rush Pro S and XCR, Switchback Pro S, Switchback Assault and others. All with different track options.

The new XC 129 suspension is a great trail suspension, and in my opinion the perfect choice for a combination of groomed trail and un groomed/ditch banging riding. It has the long travel front arm as the Pro XC and IGX 144 suspension has, so it rarely bottomed the front arm. The engineers told us the suspension is the same from mid rail and forward as both these proven suspensions are. From the front arm back, it is all new. It combines some of the playfulness of the IGX 144, with the planted feel of the Pro XC. The full coupling reminded me of the Xtra10 suspension of old, great control through the whoops and deep chatter while under power. The sled held its line perfectly compared to the IGX under these conditions and was very confidence inspiring. But it also allowed you to loft the front end easier than the Pro XC suspension. Even with the full coupling, you did not lose ride quality on the small bumps as you might think. The shock package also features a rising rate at the bottom of the travel, to prevent hard bottoming. The shocks are also the large diameter body to prevent fade. Cornering was as flat as the Pro XC suspension sleds, with ski spring preload adjustment playing a big part in that area. The clickers on the higher end shock package were easily accessible, better than in the past, and the engineers said this was one point they considered in the suspension design. The full tunnel on the Indy XC will also allow using all of the lock and ride accessories, as well as a new 2 up seat which will be offered. In all I preferred the XC 129 suspension over all the others for the best overall performance on the trails we rode. It is a great suspension, with compliance at slower speeds and over smaller bumps, yet can still handle being driven aggressive at higher speeds, soaking up the big hits. We did not ride off trail, but I am confident that the extra length of the 129”, traditional open tunnel, and Storm 150 track would all combine to work well in those conditions. One other benefit of the new suspension is that we were told it is the new top speed king of all their suspensions, due to the efficient track attack angle.


The other big news is a new Patriot 850 twin engine! This will be an option across the line, in all models which have the 800 now. But, IT WILL ONLY BE OFFERED DURING SNOWCHECK! This is an all new engine, not just an upgraded 800 Cleanfire HO. It only shares a few bolts with the 800 HO. Before I expand on that, there are also a few other improvements related to the engine, and from what I remember, some of them will be implemented across the line with other engine packages.

Polaris has changed the placement of the thermostat, removing it from the engine, and placing it in a newly designed coolant overflow tank. It is designed to maintain an engine operating temp of 100 degrees, for the best performance, and has a goal of consistent running temperatures. The engineers found that over time, the constant vibration of the engine would affect the thermostat, causing inconsistent opening/closing, as well as wear leading to failure. In riding the new 850 engine equipped models, I never saw over 125 degrees even in some icy low snow trail conditions.

The motor mounts have been completely redesigned because of a combination of customer feedback concerning vibration and performance inconsistency, and to ensure the power of the new 850 is properly transferred through the driveline. All 4 mounts resemble the old style large diameter puck mounts, with a central stud. The PTO side torque arm has been eliminated, and instead the rear motor mount is placed in such a way that it controls the rearward movement of the engine. The wide underside of the round mount and central stud, are inline with the rearward movement of the engine. The other 3 mounts are also mounted this way, with the stud and flat surface in line with the direction of engine movement under load. The aluminum bracket which the mount attaches to also has a raised portion, which encapsulates the rubber puck, so that it cannot expand to a larger diameter than designed under load. The vibration reduction with the new mount system was substantial. The ski tips didn’t dance at an idle, there was no feedback through the handlebars, seat and running boards. You could feel the difference while riding as well. This was compared to models which had the 800 HO engine and old mounting system. Vibration in the 600 engine equipped sleds was on par with the 850.

The entire wiring system under the hood has been simplified and rerouted for best serviceability. Instead of wiring being zip tied to contact points, there are specific tabs on the frame, and clips which attach to them. This will prevent improper routing after service, and the chance of a mistake being made on the assembly line. The relays and such are placed in a centralized “fuse box” for better protection and access.

One improvement the new 850 engine brings to the electrical system, is the change to one coil which will send power to a main distribution hub which the separate systems will draw from. Previously 3 coils in the stator generated power for the 3 main systems independently. Ignition, fuel system, and lighting/other electrical. (if I am remembering correctly!). Now, the electrical is comparable to an automotive system, which has the alternator generating power and sent to one point, then distributed to the various systems. This allows the voltage regulator to respond faster to load changes, makes the entire system simpler and more reliable, as well as provides more consistent power which the ECU and fuel injection system need to operate at top performance.

Now, what most everyone has been waiting for, a new more powerful engine from Polaris, the Patriot 850 twin! As far as raw numbers are concerned, we were not given them, but were told a 10% increase in power over the 800 HO, with a much wider powerband. The new engine is all new, sharing nothing with the 800 HO. If this concerns you the engine has been in development for 3 or more years (I apologize I forget the exact number). This includes dyno testing and thousands of miles of actual in chassis riding. Polaris will also be offering a special warranty program for sleds ordered with the engine, showing their confidence in it, and to put customers minds at ease about buying a first-year engine package. They also tested many different bore/stroke/rod length variations, not just in the engine room, but in chassis, before choosing this configuration. This engine gave the best in chassis feel, as far as power delivery, noise/vibration/harshness, overall performance over a wide range of conditions, handling and reliability. The engineers said it was easy to make good numbers on the dyno, but many combinations did not make for a nice driving sled. You must know that everyone who works at Polaris, are riders and enthusiasts. The engineers log thousands of miles during the development process.

Some key points of the engine are;
-increased crankshaft diameter and assembly process to increase strength and reliability
-different clutch taper
-greatly increased PTO crankshaft bearing load area (wider and diameter).
-new piston design with much longer skirt to decrease piston slap
-cylinder skirts extend into crankcase deeper to give more strength and piston support
- “Shrink wrap” cylinder head water jacket design to increase cooling efficiency
-coolant flow through the engine is optimized for maximum power output and consistency
-new combustion chamber design for reliability with varying fuel quality. The spark plug and the cylinder head around the plug is extended into the chamber.
-new v force reeds
-new Dell Orto throttle body, with holes drilled in the throttle blades for idle air bypass. You may now adjust the idle rpm if desired without affecting the TPS baseline setting.
-new magnetic/hall sensor type TPS, no adjustment required or possible. TPS is synched during initial assembly.
-exhaust sensor in the main pipe and in the muffler, which allows the ECU to better determine fuel and ignition requirements.
-new simpler VES system design, with cleaner, more consistent operation. Also, better overall power as a result of better cylinder pressure sealing.

There are many other points to the new engine, which I am missing. One key fact which proves the power this engine makes, is that Polaris also designed a new drive belt for it. The primary clutch has 6-gram heavier weights than the current 800HO yet has the same suggested full throttle rpm. If you attribute 2 grams of the weight increase to the harder belt, 4 more grams at the same rpm means a lot more power is being made. I was not able to confirm any other clutching calibration.

During the ride, we had a mixture of models, with 600, 800 HO, and the 850 engines. We were therefore able to do a direct comparison back to back, while riding the different models. We rode all day except for a lunch break, for approximately 6 hours.

What was immediately apparent was the greatly reduced vibration, when the sled was sitting still idling, and while riding, compared to the 800 HO. I would have to say it felt like the 600 in that regard. The engine also increased speed much quicker, with more mph gain and light throttle input, than the 800 HO. This is a classic heavy primary weight characteristic. This allows for a smoother riding experience, and usually delivers improved fuel economy as you do not need to be on the throttle for as long a period to get up to speed. The power delivery was much smoother and tractable than the 800 HO. With a rheostat feeling, that being the power was extremely linear from clutch engagement to full throttle. Again, very comparable to the 600 but with what felt like double the power! All the sleds equipped with the Patriot 850 engine were easier to ride faster and smoother than the ones with the 800 HO. The engine has great throttle response at all speeds, there were no hiccups in the mapping, and the power increase over the 800 HO was very noticeable. The one drawback because of the smooth power delivery, and increased acceleration, was the fact that you had to be more aware of just how much more speed you were coming into a corner with compared to sleds with the other 2 engines. This amount of power is not for a beginner or novice rider, especially on a winding trail through the trees! But, whereas the 800 HO seems to want to be ridden fast and hard the 850 was just as happy cruising in that 20-40 mph range with a casual pace.

Overall the combination of the Indy XC129 chassis/suspension and the patriot 850 engine come together to make the ultimate performance trail sled in my opinion. Great power right from low end, combined with the suspension allows you to wheelie over bumps, and play on the trail. The smooth power delivery and flat cornering lets you be quicker through the corners. If you want to pound through the whoops, or jump them, the XC 129 is up to the task, letting the sled hold a line exactly where you want it to, and at the higher speeds you can reach in a short distance with the power of the 850 engine. But, if you want to just cruise, the XC suspension is still compliant over trail chatter and smaller bumps, while the 850 engine loafs along feeling like a 600.

I feel Polaris faithful will be pleased with the new intros and changes made to address known issues. I also am sure riders of other brands will be swayed to the Polaris camp!

Kerry Million
HCS handle “Pockets”
Absolutely amazing write up. Thanks so much!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,000 Posts
Good write up. I think Polaris hit the nail on the head with this one. They've pretty much addressed all the issues with the 800 and fixed them along making some more ponies. Everything is done right from getting rid of the retarded motor mounts,beefing up the crank,dropping the cylinder farther into the case, taller pistons, and coolant design. Only thing I question is the single ring pistons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,889 Posts
Nice write up. I think they hit a homerun as long as they don't have too many issues with the first year production run.
To me it's the sled package I've been waiting for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,519 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Great write up! How was the XC calibrated suspension wise? Similar to XCR in that a bigger guy could buy and ride it hard without needing to revalve/spring?

Also, do they still have the IQR bars on the XCR? The website just says std aluminum. That would be a HUGE miss by Polaris if they changed the bars. What bars were on the XC?
The XC 129 suspension was far superior to the XCR for ride quality, and took the big hits just as well. It could have been the set up, as we noticed different sleds with the same suspension were adjusted completely different. But the XCR was very rough unless you were wide open. And even then it didn’t have the control the coupled XC skid had.

I cannot say what bars were on the XCR I think the XC has standard bars. Some of the sleds had the ROX risers added, some were stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,431 Posts
Nice write up--better than I can do.

I would like to add that the new 850 has a 90 degree thermostat, and that it's in the coolant bottle.
This baby rips!

I too thought the 129 was a great ride, almost as good as the AXYS, in fact I think we were damn near splitting hairs.

the description on the polaris site states a 100 degree stat. just for fyi. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,246 Posts
Any inputs on the XC vs the Pro S ? I see a lot comparing to XCR............we ride Pro S's here and would appreciate anyone's input , thanks...........cheers....:bc:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,084 Posts
the description on the polaris site states a 100 degree stat. just for fyi. lol
Hmm--I did have a birthday, since the ride. :cry:

Any inputs on the XC vs the Pro S ? I see a lot comparing to XCR............we ride Pro S's here and would appreciate anyone's input , thanks...........cheers....:bc:
I ride a Pro S--I own 3 of them.
I didn't keep track of the names of them, as I was jamming as much as I could in a short time. The Indy 129, after the engineer adjusted it for me, rode with in a whisker as good as the S they tuned, for me.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top