If you’re looking for value on the used market, here’s a tip: Know more about the sled you’re considering buying than the common snowmobiler.
Case in point would be the 2012 Polaris 600 Rush Pro-R. The unique Pro-Ride platform that was the base for the original Rush – including the funky looking rear end with the outboard shock – was introduced for 2010 to much fanfare. Those Rush models, along with the nearly identical 2011 units, were fun, rowdy and exciting, but they could also be a handful on a twisting trail thanks to unwanted ski lift – both inside lift in the middle of turns when cornering hard but also when both skis would rise when the rider would jam at the throttle. The wheelie-happy monsters were exhilarating, but not necessarily stable.
One sweet spot was in 2012, when Polaris made geometry changes to create a more controlled ride. In the rear suspension, designers raised the lower mounting point of the front torque arm while also going to a lighter spring rate on the rear shock. Up front, Polaris integrated what it called the Race IFS geometry, with longer lower A-arms, taller and more vertical spindles and a new steering post. The combination limited inside ski lift and kept the sled more planted. A Rush was still easy to wheelie, but the rider had more control over when it happened.
These alterations made the Rush a better snowmobile, but they aren’t obvious to the naked eye when seeing a used Rush for sale. So, according to dealers we contacted, most used sled customers are unaware of the changes and may undervalue the snowmobile. For instance, a 2011 Rush Pro-R with 3,000 miles might sell for roughly the same price as a 2012 model with 4,500 miles, but the 2012 is a superior snowmobile.
“Most people looking for used equipment are usually looking for the value – they want a decent sled in good condition with not too many miles,” said Mike Menneto, owner of Wild Horse Powersports in Malta, New York. “Only people who are really spec-savvy will know that it has the different front end and rail.”
The dealers said the Pro-Ride platform has been rather bulletproof. Both the front and rear suspensions have proven to be quite durable, though Vic Moyer of Fred’s Fastrac in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, said one expensive repair that has cropped up for a few customers has been when the bushings in the front torque arm wear out and the entire arm needs to be replaced.
The Cleanfire 600 engine, after some piston ring problems in 2010, has been rock solid ever since. The rest of the driveline has held up well, too. The Walker Evans shocks on Pro-R models have also proven to be durable, Menneto said.
So what would they look for if taking in a used 2012 Rush on trade?
“We just look at the usual things – the track condition, suspension bushings and things like that, and we do a compression test on every machine we bring in,” Menneto said.
“We’re going to look at the front torque arm closely, because that’s an expensive piece,” Moyer said. “Then we’re going to make sure the track is OK. Before we put it out for sale, we’re going to clean the exhaust valves and replace the fuel filter – that’s a lot more important to replace today than it used to be because the systems are a lot more on the edge.”
There is one problem with 2012 Rush models that both dealers mentioned: “My biggest problem is finding them – I’ve been trying to get ahold of as many of those used ones as I can,” Menneto said.
Editor’s note: Each Issue of Snow Goer magazine contains an article on a sled that would be worth considering if shopping on the used sled market. This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of Snow Goer. To subscribe and get similar content delivered to your house seven times per year, click here.