2011 Polaris snowmobiles unveiled

The writing was on the wall for Polaris to build an 800 Rush, and with competition getting fiercer in the mountain segment, this year seemed logical for the Roseau, Minnesota-based company to modernize its RMK. Polaris has 10 new models for 2011, with nine of them in the Pro-Ride chassis to cover top performance, trail comfort, mountain and crossover segments.

Modernized deep-snow sleds

The 2011 Pro-RMK is Polaris’ new flagship mountain sled. Built on the Pro-Ride chassis, the new sled is lighter and hosts a modern design engineered to be more predictable and easier to roll over in deep snow than the Dragon RMK it replaces. The 800 Liberty engine powers Pro-RMK models.

800 Switchback Assault 144
The new Switchback Assault now comes standard with a longer racing track.

The iron is, essentially, Rush Pro-Ride from the footwells forward and IQ RMK from the footwells back. It has a few significant improvements to reduce weight, including a new coil-over rear suspension that cuts 7 pounds compared to the Dragon RMK skidframe.

Mass was removed from the jackshaft, brake disc, bumpers, seat support, silencer, coolers and tunnel to bring the 800 Pro-RMK 155’s dry weight to a claimed 431 pounds. Running board extrusions, suspension rails, A-arms and handlebars are as strong as those used on Dragon RMK models, Polaris says.

The Pro-RMK uses the 163- or 155-inch Series 5.1 track with 2.4-inch lugs. Four Walker Evans coil-over shocks handle damping duties.

The 800 RMK Assault has been stretched to include the 155-inch Camoplast Competition track with stiffer, 2.125-inch lugs. It has Walker Needle clicker shocks up front with the same rear end as Pro-RMK. Ski stance is adjustable from 41.5 to 43.5 inches.

Polaris 600 Rush LX
Both the new 600 and 800 come with old-school graphics.

New 800 Rush

Polaris unveiled the 800 Rush Pro-R last month. It has Walker Evans Needle clicker shocks, a 1.25-inch Rip Saw track and aggressive color and graphics. The standard 800 Rush is another option. It has Fox rebuildable shocks all the way around and a 1-inch track. Suspensions on the base model are calibrated more toward the “comfort” end of the spectrum than the Pro-R package.

Polaris said the 795cc Liberty twin requires more cooling capacity than the 600, so it has a cooler in the rear end under the snow flap. This is standard on all 600 and 800 Rush models. Fuel delivery is courtesy of the Cleanfire Injection system.

The Rush Pro-Ride chassis has a new front torque arm to allow more stud clearance, plus an updated rail profile designed for more top-end speed and less track noise. The 600 Rush returns, available in Pro-R, standard trim or the LX package that includes electric start, power outlets, mirrors and a large rear storage bag. This sled also has Fox rebuildable shocks all the way around.

Modeled after the RXL race sleds of the late 1970s, Retro Rush graphics are available on Pro-R models ordered this spring.

Crossover segment gets new DNA

2011 Polaris 550 IQ Shift 136
The IQ Shift is back after a one-year absence.

The crossover segment gains Pro-Ride DNA, too, with the all-new 800 Switchback Assault 144. It mirrors the Pro-RMK model with the modern front clip and many of the same weight-cutting tricks, but it’s attached to a 144-inch rear end with tipped-up rails. The uncoupled skidframe is wrapped in a trail-friendly Camoplast Cobra track with 1.25-inch. A 2-inch track is available as an accessory.

Bumps are controlled by Walker Evans shocks all the way around. The Assault

Switchback has a 42.5-inch ski stance for better on-trail stability than the RMK. It has aluminum Pro Taper handlebars with bar hooks and controls similar to the ones used on the Polaris race sled.

The new 550 Shift 136 has the 550cc Fuji fan-cooled engine, coupled 136-inch suspension and a 1.25-inch Rip Saw track. The 600 IQ Shift 136 returns after a one-year absence, but its off-trail performance is improved with the 1.25-inch track, up from the 1-inch lugs it had in 2009.

2011 Polaris 600 IQ LXT
The 2011 Polaris 600 IQ LXT.

Snow Check color and graphics options for RMK and Switchback are Turbo Silver and Orange Madness.

Luxury on the trail


LXT is the new label for Polaris’ 2-Up trail luxury sleds. The 550 IQ LXT replaces the EDGE-based Trail Touring as the entry-level cruiser with electric start, mirrors and 16-inch windshield. Other engine options in LXT trim are the 600 Cleanfire or 750cc Turbo four stroke. These sleds also include a cargo bag, 12-volt outlet and RCA plug for accessories and heated shield. All IQ-based touring sleds have a 136-inch skidframe, called Comfort Rear Suspension.

For more details, the full model lineup and other photos of the 2011 Polaris sleds, pick up the Spring 2010 issue of Snow Goer magazine on newsstands March 23rd.

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