The 2009 Shift 136 was marketed by Polaris as an inexpensive hybrid sled meant for customization. In stock form it is a good trail sled, but we made several modifications to our demo to make it more off-trail worthy, including a handlebar setup from Race Shop Inc. (RSI).
The stock “swept” handlebar is bent in a way that puts the wrists in an unnatural position, and it’s too low, especially for off-trail use. We installed RSI’s carbon-fiber wrapped bar ($119.95) with a 10-degree bend, zero-degree rise and 10-degree pullback and 31.5-inch width. It included a cool black pad for style and safety.
We cut about 1.5 inches off of each end of the bar to put the width at 28.5 inches — similar to the stock handlebar’s width. Bar end hooks ($14.95 each) increased that width, so we should’ve taken another inch off of each end, but we had already installed RSI’s Hi-Power over-the-hook heater elements ($49.95/pair) and Snow Camo Gel Grip Wrap ($19.95/pair) before we realized this. We lived with it because that stuff doesn’t re-stick very well. We also installed a set of white hand guards ($28.95) with billet mount kit ($34.95) and a flexible mountain handle ($25.95); all mounted on top of a pivoting, 4-inch handlebar riser ($69.95).
We boondocked with the sled in Cooke City, Montana, and in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan’s upper half where we enjoyed the taller perch and the sturdy and flexible center grab strap that made sidehilling easier. For trail riding the flat bar was more comfortable and the hooks made it easier for cornering.
All of the hard parts proved sturdy and durable. The hardware held tight and the grip tape provided the right level of traction for our hands to be secure and move freely. We’d expect to have to replace the grip tape periodically because ours showed wear after roughly 700 testing miles.
Installing all of the parts was a big, tedious job. We had to remove the sled’s console in order to get an Allen wrench in place to fasten the handlebar riser to the steering post. Fortunately, RSI has redesigned its riser this season to use hex bolts so a person can get a box-end wrench on the hardware.
Pay attention to the routes for wires and cables if you install an aftermarket handlebar system on your sled, and it’s nice to have a helper available to hold parts in place and align the hand guards while you tighten the hardware.
— Andy Swanson