Polaris moving its Pro-RMK models to the Axys chassis might have been easily predictable, but it represents the next stage in mountain snowmobile technology from the brand that set the benchmark for deep snow performance when the Pro-RMK debuted in 2011.
Polaris engineers focused on improving lift and maneuverability when they designed the 2016 Pro-RMK and they say they made it happen with a lighter and taller chassis, better tracks and a redesigned rear suspension. Polaris claims an 800 Pro-RMK 155 will be just 408 pounds dry. Designers kept the same rider position, rear suspension approach angle and a rigid frame – a formula that has worked well on the previous Pro-RMK.
Snow Goer magazine was invited by Polaris to test ride the 2016 Polaris 800 Pro-RMK models in Wyoming in January. The chassis felt comfortable, familiar and good, but like with many things that are new, experience helped us to learn how much weight was required to throw it into a turn. The machine laid over so easily and with so little effort that we over-initiated those first few turns, but we soon learned that just a slight lean or nudge was usually all that was required to lift a ski and sidehill across a slope.
Riding in a neutral position – with one foot in each foot well – the sled felt stable and solid, and reducing pressure on one side while putting slightly more pressure in the other foot well caused the machine to change direction. It was fun to feel how easily a rider can influence the Polaris Axys RMK.
We’ve been impressed with the 800 H.O. engine in our 2015 800 Rush Pro-S demo sled this season, and it feels just as good in the 2016 Pro-RMK. The Axys RMK testers we rode in Wyoming felt muscular with a broad powerband, and it responded to driver input just as quickly as did the chassis. With a full squeeze on the throttle lever that was hooked to the all-new tracks, the sled truly did jump up and out of the snow.
Precise trail handling isn’t a super important performance attribute for most mountain riders, but fact is that most riders need to burn at least a few miles down a trail before they can jump off the beaten path, meaning that the ability to swiftly make it down a trail is appreciated. We had to make a roughly 25-mile blaze out on a trail before we could play in the snow (and the same distance back to base camp), and it proved the Axys RMK’s cornering ability is good despite the machine’s taller construction.
Here are details about the rest of the 2016 Polaris snowmobiles lineup.