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2021 VR1 850. 137 Polaris
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400 miles. Excellent ride and handling sled Have 144 I grip screw in studs that have been great and do what they should. 1.5 storm track Do the i grips hook up like studs. No -but help a lot on icy trails and roads and loading up , 8” slim Jim dual carbides on shimmed stock skis with woody navigators -loosen FTS two turns , other settings tweaked here and there. love the 7s gauge , and a common discussion point at stops with other riders hanging around. The storage behind the gauge gets a fair share of snow dust in it . As does rear storage but I just line them and things stay dry. A lot of moisture in the headlight but don’t seem to effect it’s operation which I am still trying to dial in but don’t think it’s close to the axys light too bad as I thought it was the going to be awesome but it’s ok at best right now . Hand warmers are great and work instantly, had the latest update as it has been starting and immediately stalling 2-3 times a ride -then it runs- after the update it hasn’t stalled but it has backfired a few times now and it will wake you up !!! The sled is very delicate to clean without scratching. , mirrors I find decent but my bibs have a fold at the knees that will block a lot of the visibility. I have changed weights from the 10/72 to 11/74 and it has brought rpms from 830/8400 to 8150 no matter when I nail it haven’t been to top end but it’s much quicker to 80 mph , oil and gas is on par or slightly better than the 800ho. Overall some knit picking but we all paid good money for this model sled -everyone that’s tried it has got off it and laughed saying best ride and handling sled they ever tried and the gauge is incredible I really look forward to the weekend to get back on it
 

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2020 Arctic Cat ThunderCat and 2021 Polaris VR1 850
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400 miles. Excellent ride and handling sled Have 144 I grip screw in studs that have been great and do what they should. 1.5 storm track Do the i grips hook up like studs. No -but help a lot on icy trails and roads and loading up , 8” slim Jim dual carbides on shimmed stock skis with woody navigators -loosen FTS two turns , other settings tweaked here and there. love the 7s gauge , and a common discussion point at stops with other riders hanging around. The storage behind the gauge gets a fair share of snow dust in it . As does rear storage but I just line them and things stay dry. A lot of moisture in the headlight but don’t seem to effect it’s operation which I am still trying to dial in but don’t think it’s close to the axys light too bad as I thought it was the going to be awesome but it’s ok at best right now . Hand warmers are great and work instantly, had the latest update as it has been starting and immediately stalling 2-3 times a ride -then it runs- after the update it hasn’t stalled but it has backfired a few times now and it will wake you up !!! The sled is very delicate to clean without scratching. , mirrors I find decent but my bibs have a fold at the knees that will block a lot of the visibility. I have changed weights from the 10/72 to 11/74 and it has brought rpms from 830/8400 to 8150 no matter when I nail it haven’t been to top end but it’s much quicker to 80 mph , oil and gas is on par or slightly better than the 800ho. Overall some knit picking but we all paid good money for this model sled -everyone that’s tried it has got off it and laughed saying best ride and handling sled they ever tried and the gauge is incredible I really look forward to the weekend to get back on it
Nice review. Debating snow checking one in March.
Dont debate. Just do it. It’s an amazing machine
 

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For hardcore rapid paced trail rider do any of you SBA 144/146" owners have any regrets going with Assault vs a 137" or 129" track? With the "tipped-up" rails does the Assault really handle like a 137 or shorter. Ride mainly central VT tight trails with couple Maine trips, prolly 90% trails but we do venture off-trail in Maine when conditions allow. Curious about inside ski-lift and if any major issues with "un-coupled" skid regarding handling. Also is it a major or minor difference in ride quality going from Axys 144" Assault to the Matryx 146" Assault with Velocity shocks?

Thinking new VR1 137" 850 w/1.5 ice-storm hoping it will cover all the bases, but if the new VR1 Assault does trail duties well enough may go that route.

Have opportunity score a 2018 Assault 800 with 1.375 studded Cobra track which will work out to be about half what a new sled costs, figured I could upgrade the shocks, fresh top-end in a year and get buy 2-3 years while waiting for "next best thing" ideally with some Dynamix better shock technology.

Basically for the 3-4 days we go off-trail is it worth getting Assault or just stick a 1.5 or 1.6" track under a 137" and call it good.
I hate how most all 800/850's need new top-ends every 5K miles; (avg 2k-3Kmi/year, even more this year), half tempted to go with a 650 but I don't think it will like turning a longer deeper lug track in Maine.
 

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For hardcore rapid paced trail rider do any of you SBA 144/146" owners have any regrets going with Assault vs a 137" or 129" track? With the "tipped-up" rails does the Assault really handle like a 137 or shorter. Ride mainly central VT tight trails with couple Maine trips, prolly 90% trails but we do venture off-trail in Maine when conditions allow. Curious about inside ski-lift and if any major issues with "un-coupled" skid regarding handling. Also is it a major or minor difference in ride quality going from Axys 144" Assault to the Matryx 146" Assault with Velocity shocks?

Thinking new VR1 137" 850 w/1.5 ice-storm hoping it will cover all the bases, but if the new VR1 Assault does trail duties well enough may go that route.

Have opportunity score a 2018 Assault 800 with 1.375 studded Cobra track which will work out to be about half what a new sled costs, figured I could upgrade the shocks, fresh top-end in a year and get buy 2-3 years while waiting for "next best thing" ideally with some Dynamix better shock technology.

Basically for the 3-4 days we go off-trail is it worth getting Assault or just stick a 1.5 or 1.6" track under a 137" and call it good.
I hate how most all 800/850's need new top-ends every 5K miles; (avg 2k-3Kmi/year, even more this year), half tempted to go with a 650 but I don't think it will like turning a longer deeper lug track in Maine.
In the same boat as you.. planning on jumping ship to Poo for next year (spring checking) and can't decide between a 137 VR1 (that I would throw a 1.75" under) or go matryx assult with a 2"...
Coming off my high country and before that my sno pro I won't ride anything under 137x1.75.. decisions decisions..
 

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MY21 650 SBA 146, ES, ICE Storm 1.5
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There are folks running around with 650 SBA 146, turning 2" lugged tracks with stock 2.11 gears.
They are having no trouble getting thru deep snow.

Besides if you are a hardcore rapid pace trail rider, you shouldn't have more than the 1.5 ICE Storm, maybe the 1.6" Cobra with 1.95 gears. Mine works great in deep stuff, you should be more concerned about putting on Polaris Grippers or SLP Mohawks for flotation in deep snow.
 

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For hardcore rapid paced trail rider do any of you SBA 144/146" owners have any regrets going with Assault vs a 137" or 129" track? With the "tipped-up" rails does the Assault really handle like a 137 or shorter. Ride mainly central VT tight trails with couple Maine trips, prolly 90% trails but we do venture off-trail in Maine when conditions allow. Curious about inside ski-lift and if any major issues with "un-coupled" skid regarding handling. Also is it a major or minor difference in ride quality going from Axys 144" Assault to the Matryx 146" Assault with Velocity shocks?

Thinking new VR1 137" 850 w/1.5 ice-storm hoping it will cover all the bases, but if the new VR1 Assault does trail duties well enough may go that route.

Have opportunity score a 2018 Assault 800 with 1.375 studded Cobra track which will work out to be about half what a new sled costs, figured I could upgrade the shocks, fresh top-end in a year and get buy 2-3 years while waiting for "next best thing" ideally with some Dynamix better shock technology.

Basically for the 3-4 days we go off-trail is it worth getting Assault or just stick a 1.5 or 1.6" track under a 137" and call it good.
I hate how most all 800/850's need new top-ends every 5K miles; (avg 2k-3Kmi/year, even more this year), half tempted to go with a 650 but I don't think it will like turning a longer deeper lug track in Maine.
A longer sled will always be more work to get down the trail around corners. There is no way around that it's just how it is. That said the Assault 146" I have has no trouble on our wider more open Ontario / Quebec trails. I can easily lead or hang with anyone riding tight to their own side of the trail. Now if guys start to cheat and loosen up and ride where they are cheating and using up more trail than they should then yes they can get away from me on shorter sleds. But if someone is riding as hard as they can AND staying full right the entire time the Assault has no trouble being at the front.
 

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A longer sled will always be more work to get down the trail around corners. There is no way around that it's just how it is. That said the Assault 146" I have has no trouble on our wider more open Ontario / Quebec trails. I can easily lead or hang with anyone riding tight to their own side of the trail. Now if guys start to cheat and loosen up and ride where they are cheating and using up more trail than they should then yes they can get away from me on shorter sleds. But if someone is riding as hard as they can AND staying full right the entire time the Assault has no trouble being at the front.
Jamie - are you still digging the sled, or have you changed your mind on the initial "giddyness" you seemed to have? You're a guy that puts a ton of miles on & always seems to have good feedback on the pro's / con's of the sled. So just curious what your feedback is at this point in the season?
 

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2017 Assault 800 - (a few Assault's in a row) - we also have 2 Indy XC 2020 and 2021 850'S, and an 850 Matryx. All 137's. - I would NEEEVER trade my Assault for anything but an Assault - ...having said that - my second choice is the XC over the Matryx. (also just sold a 2020 XCR 850) ...i ride Ontario trails - lots of twisties too ....I put a pre-studded 1" lug on my Assaults - never go off-trail (so to speak). Woodys duallys up front. (ex-snowcross racer and auto racer thru Canada and the USA here too - so I don't exactly 'baby' my sleds) ;) I used to be in good shape - I am a bit of a potato currently - but i still have zero issues riding the rails off it.
 

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2017 Assault 800 - (a few Assault's in a row) - we also have 2 Indy XC 2020 and 2021 850'S, and an 850 Matryx. All 137's. - I would NEEEVER trade it for anything but an Assault - ...having said that - my second choice is the XC over the Matryx. (also just sold a 2020 XCR 850) ...i ride Ontario trails - lots of twisties too ....I put a pre-studded 1" lug on my Assaults - never go off-trail (so to speak). Woodys duallys up front. (ex-snowcross racer and auto racer thru Canada and the USA here too - so I don't exactly 'baby' my sleds) ;) I used to be in good shape - I am a bit of a potato currently - but i still have zero issues riding the rails off it.
COVID has a tendency to do that to folks (me included)!!
 
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2017 Assault 800 - (a few Assault's in a row) - we also have 2 Indy XC 2020 and 2021 850'S, and an 850 Matryx. All 137's. - I would NEEEVER trade my Assault for anything but an Assault - ...having said that - my second choice is the XC over the Matryx. (also just sold a 2020 XCR 850) ...i ride Ontario trails - lots of twisties too ....I put a pre-studded 1" lug on my Assaults - never go off-trail (so to speak). Woodys duallys up front. (ex-snowcross racer and auto racer thru Canada and the USA here too - so I don't exactly 'baby' my sleds) ;) I used to be in good shape - I am a bit of a potato currently - but i still have zero issues riding the rails off it.
Interesting putting 1" track on, I miss the days of throttle-steering my SRX's dirttrack style but am also one to hug right/inside of turns at aggressive pace and am IMO very kind to the trails. Learned long ago; (broken groomers, thaws/freezed) it could be couple weeks before trail is re-visited by groomer; (may have to ride same trails a dozen times before next grooming) so I learned to carry speed through the corners and roll on the gas not lighting the track up; (this wasn't possible on old-school hardtails but with newer 1.25"+ longer tracks pretty easy to set a quick pace w/out tearing up the trails; (not the fastest method from point A to point B but safest and easiest on the trails). Fortunately or unfortunately everyone rides the middle so by hugging the right most of sled is on smooth sailing, just the left ski takes the chatter.

The Assault 800 with studded 1.375 I rode leaps on command, quite impressive, so that seems like "enough" track. New sleds with 8" carbide and studded are very "locked in" on the trails; (no way to wag the tail) unless new powder or lots of loose snow.

Sold by SBS 800, sounds like I'd be happy with the Assault and while not ideal in super tight twisties can likely be dialed-in to my satisfaction and again not setting blistering pace in the tight stuff anyways, that's usually more open going like up in Maine, NEK or Quebec. I've still got a shorty 800 back in the corral in VT if needed for the tight stuff.
 

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2018 Rush 800 Pro-S, 2021 Matryx Switchback Assault 850
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For hardcore rapid paced trail rider do any of you SBA 144/146" owners have any regrets going with Assault vs a 137" or 129" track? With the "tipped-up" rails does the Assault really handle like a 137 or shorter. Ride mainly central VT tight trails with couple Maine trips, prolly 90% trails but we do venture off-trail in Maine when conditions allow. Curious about inside ski-lift and if any major issues with "un-coupled" skid regarding handling. Also is it a major or minor difference in ride quality going from Axys 144" Assault to the Matryx 146" Assault with Velocity shocks?

Thinking new VR1 137" 850 w/1.5 ice-storm hoping it will cover all the bases, but if the new VR1 Assault does trail duties well enough may go that route.

Have opportunity score a 2018 Assault 800 with 1.375 studded Cobra track which will work out to be about half what a new sled costs, figured I could upgrade the shocks, fresh top-end in a year and get buy 2-3 years while waiting for "next best thing" ideally with some Dynamix better shock technology.

Basically for the 3-4 days we go off-trail is it worth getting Assault or just stick a 1.5 or 1.6" track under a 137" and call it good.
I hate how most all 800/850's need new top-ends every 5K miles; (avg 2k-3Kmi/year, even more this year), half tempted to go with a 650 but I don't think it will like turning a longer deeper lug track in Maine.
I went to an 850 Matryx Assault from an 800 Rush. Handles ridiculously well on trail for a sled this size. It's not a Rush or Switchback, but it's really capable and you don't need to muscle it around on tighter trails.
 

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I have my Assault studded. 1.3 cobra with 1.575 gold diggers at 2 per row. This by far the least aggressive stud setup I've ever used. Compared to my last sled, with a 136 inch ripsaw studded 4 per row, my Assault is actually alot easier to handle in the twisty trails. Awesome sled, not the best at some things, but great at everything. No regrets
 

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2021 VR1 850, 18 Tiger 8000, 17 RS 6000, 16 ZR 6000, 12 F1100T, 11 EXT 800, 09 Z1 Turbo, 05 ZR 900
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There are folks running around with 650 SBA 146, turning 2" lugged tracks with stock 2.11 gears.
They are having no trouble getting thru deep snow.

Besides if you are a hardcore rapid pace trail rider, you shouldn't have more than the 1.5 ICE Storm, maybe the 1.6" Cobra with 1.95 gears. Mine works great in deep stuff, you should be more concerned about putting on Polaris Grippers or SLP Mohawks for flotation in deep snow.
There's nowhere you can't go in the midwest with a 136/137 Cobra or Storm track along with a set of good wide skis, in 2010 I put a 136 on my 09 Turbo along with Pilot 6.9's, I put Mohawks on my 12 Turbo in 13 and I had no fear of taking either one of those tanks off trail, I won't even mention the 2 strokes I've had the Mohawks on.

I've had the Polaris saddles for my Mohawks since mid January and I haven't put them on yet because quite frankly there isn't snow deep enough in the midwest to warrant a ski swap right now.
 

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Interesting putting 1" track on, I miss the days of throttle-steering my SRX's dirttrack style but am also one to hug right/inside of turns at aggressive pace and am IMO very kind to the trails. Learned long ago; (broken groomers, thaws/freezed) it could be couple weeks before trail is re-visited by groomer; (may have to ride same trails a dozen times before next grooming) so I learned to carry speed through the corners and roll on the gas not lighting the track up; (this wasn't possible on old-school hardtails but with newer 1.25"+ longer tracks pretty easy to set a quick pace w/out tearing up the trails; (not the fastest method from point A to point B but safest and easiest on the trails). Fortunately or unfortunately everyone rides the middle so by hugging the right most of sled is on smooth sailing, just the left ski takes the chatter.

The Assault 800 with studded 1.375 I rode leaps on command, quite impressive, so that seems like "enough" track. New sleds with 8" carbide and studded are very "locked in" on the trails; (no way to wag the tail) unless new powder or lots of loose snow.

Sold by SBS 800, sounds like I'd be happy with the Assault and while not ideal in super tight twisties can likely be dialed-in to my satisfaction and again not setting blistering pace in the tight stuff anyways, that's usually more open going like up in Maine, NEK or Quebec. I've still got a shorty 800 back in the corral in VT if needed for the tight stuff.
Yeah I love it - the 1" pre-studded track, allows some sideways slide (which in turn minimizes ANY inside ski lift) - but not what you would expect for corner sweeping - prob due to the length on the snow still. I don't clean out the corners at all - now the wife's shorty Indy is a broom. I am not sure she has enough a$$ weight to plant the sled - and we have many studs on it - but those sleds are nasty for trails.
I carry a fair amount of speed (ok, a lot) into the corners and it rails them with JUST enough slip to make it LOOK like I am a pro. haha - but realistically, sure it takes a bit more effort to navigate - but the PROS faaaaaaar outweigh the CONS.
A few weeks ago, I nearly got a new sled - some hotshot on an 'S-Brand' met me at a blind corner COMPLETELY out of control and swept even flake of snow at the corner and sent it and me over the outside berm into the bush - luckily with the momentum I had (and snowcross background), I kept some throttle on and went down the embankment and back up onto the trail - where the rest of his group tried to finish the job and do a head-on. NONE of these guys were in control... Thinking that the original guy DID make contact with my sled - I got off and checked - i think it was all the ice and snow that showered me - i had a calve bruise the whole week.
Anyway - point is - these sleds handle amazing and even under 'surprise panic moments' - they don't do anything erratic - they land true, they steer true (without nervous darting) and the back end does the typical Polaris mini-sideways squirt when brakes get hit hard - so I will have my potato ass back on another Assault as soon as this ones needs an refresh. :)
 

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Jamie - are you still digging the sled, or have you changed your mind on the initial "giddyness" you seemed to have? You're a guy that puts a ton of miles on & always seems to have good feedback on the pro's / con's of the sled. So just curious what your feedback is at this point in the season?
I'm very happy with my sled and will probably keep it another year or buy the same sled again. I haven't got a ton of miles on it this season unfortunately just shy of 3000 miles. There isn't much I don't like about the sled and what I don't like maybe isn't a factor for some guys. I still find the sled with how the throttle block is to the way the bars sweep awkward to take a hard right turn. I cannot lean off the sled and run the throttle properly. I have to flip my hand around and use my fingers from the bottom if were really riding fast. This is NOT right IMO I have owned a Doo and Cat as well and never experienced this.

The only other thing I am dealing with is the ski / carbide combo. I have not found something I am 100% happy with on the front end yet but I will.

Otherwise I am performing maneuvers on this sled I couldn't do on any of my sleds before!
 

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Great feedback and sorry to hijack/alter the post @Polaristuner to shorty vs assault discussion. Sounds like folks are digging the VR1's and especially the Assaults. Will be curious to see the 2022 lineup, sounds like the evolutionary changes are all worth it going Matryx VR1 even though the Axys sleds are great sleds.

Now just need to decide if I "go big" meaning snowcheck a new 146 or try to hunt down mildly used 144. Also pretty sure I"m going 850, goal is to always have 2 sleds and likely roll a 650 shorty into the mix 2-3 years down the road for the high mileage'r.
 

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2021 VR1 850. 137 Polaris
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Discussion Starter #20
I ride with fellow Polaris riders with many axys based models best sled of the group had been a 2018 xcr800 switchback. And even the matryx chassis ride and handling make that switchback feel old. That is until it gets dark and the headlight comes into question then the matryx is like my old 1998 700 xc but that’s still in progress, wish the adjuster was external to make on the fly adjustments
 
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