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Polaris 2020: Indy Expansion, Agile New RMK Khaos

By John Prusak
2020 Polaris RMK family

The 2020 Polaris RMK family.

Polaris today unveiled its 2020 snowmobile lineup, and it includes a little bit of something for virtually any type of rider.

For trail riders or high-mile cruisers, there’s an expanded Indy lineup, featuring 137-inch tracks in the aply-named Indy XC 137 and Indy Adventure 137 machines, wearing the Axys chassis, full-length tunnel and coupled Pro-CC rear suspension combination introduced with the 2019 Indy XC 129 models.

For mountain riders, Polaris is offering a fresh take on its popular Pro-RMK platform with the  agile new RMK Khaos, aimed at those looking for a more playful experience.

For ditch bangers/racer-wannabes, the brand is offering new Indy XCR 129 models, moving the hyper-aggressive shock package and reinforced components off of the Rush and onto the Indy platform.

Beginners and transition riders weren’t forgotten either, as Polaris has a new 144-inch RMK Evo machine to expand on last year’s 121-inch Indy Evo transition sleds.

There are other treats in the lineup as well, like the availability of a factory-installed Ice Ripper track from Polaris for the first time; a battery charging port on all electric-start-equipped models; more durable bogie wheels will be utilized in the rear suspension of all Rush, Switchback, Indy and Voyageur machines; and upgraded components on machines ordered with electric start.

And, for the second-straight year, Polaris’ high-end 850 Patriot engine (with improved manufacturing processes in its second year) will only be available through the spring Snow Check order program.

Let’s take a closer look. Details on the 2020 Ski-Doo2020 Arctic Cat and 2020 Yamaha snowmobiles are also now available!

 

2020 Polaris 850 Indy XCR

The 2020 Polaris 850 Indy XCR.

Indy Expansion

Believe it or not, it’s been 40 years since Polaris launched its Indy nomenclature with the debut of the 1980 TX-L Indy. To celebrate, Polaris has a special graphics Founders Edition spring-order package on one model – but more importantly a vastly expanded Indy lineup for 2020.

                In fact, the number of Indy models balloons from 13 to 22 for 2020, thanks to the movement of the rough and ready XCR package from the Rush to the Indy 129 lineup; the stretching of the Indy XC concept into Indy 137 models; and the creation of 137 Indy Adventure 137 machines for feature-driven long-distance riders.

                The shift of the racing-derived XCR platform to the Indy 129 base (available with an 850-, 800- or 600-class engine) makes sense, given that’s the platform Polaris cross-country racers prefer. It includes multiple beefed-up components including reinforced suspension rails and tunnel bracing, chromoly rear pivot and front torque arm, a reinforced front track shock mount, solid bogie wheels, a solid and hardened jackshaft, an upgraded brake system, a four-wheel rear axle and a different handlebar. Upgraded Walker Evans Piggyback Needle shocks with Velocity internals are found all around, with separate high- and low-speed compression adjustability. It can be ordered with a 1.25-inch Ice Ripper XT, 1.35-inch Cobra or 1.75-inch Backcountry track. 

                For the six other new Indy machines, Polaris took the concept of the new-for-2019 Indy models – specifically the new, coupled Pro-CC rear suspension combined with the Axys chassis and a full-length tunnel – and stretched it to include a 137-inch crossover length track.

2020 Polaris Indy Adventure

The 2020 Polaris Indy Adventure 137 Founders Edition.

                The three Indy 137 XC models (600, 800 and 850) add more traction, flotation and bump absorption, thanks to a longer skid that has its rear torque arm moved back a couple of inches to match the track. Our test runs with the machine showed they still had great handling up front, with a notable upgrade of 137-inch Switchback models in stutter bumps.

                Expanding on the longer Indy concept are the new Indy 137 Adventure models with 600, 800 or 850 engine choices. They are designed for the high-mile solo-touring crowd, with beefy bumpers, factory mounted mirrors, copious amounts of storage and an easy-to-attach upgraded passenger seat as an accessory. Unlike past Switchback Adventure models, however, these new models ride on a coupled suspension, with storage from a hard-mounted storage box atop the tunnel instead of side-mounted storage bags.

                Other Indy models – like the various 550-powered machines and the 121-inch, pricepoint oriented 600 Indy – return unchanged except for the items related to the electric start on so-equipped models. Rush Pro-S, Switchback and Switchback XCR models return for 2020 with the short tunnel and exposed/external rear shock on the uncoupled and playful Pro-XC rear. The Switchback Assault returns as one of the sport’s most entertaining 50/50 crossovers essentially unchanged.  

2020 Polaris RMK Khaos

The 2020 Polaris 850 RMK Khaos 155.

Let The Khaos Begin!

Polaris’ Pro-RMK stood alone at the top of the mountain market for many years until competitive brands started finding creative ways to make their sleds more playful than the stable and predictable best-seller – like the tilting rear arm on Ski-Doo’s tMotion rear suspension or the single-beam Arctic Cat Alpha One.

For 2020, Polaris is firing back with the new RMK Khaos. It feaures a ton of Pro-RMK DNA – from the raised Axys chassis to the second-year Axys RMK React front suspension to the Powdertrac running boards – but its rear suspension is redesigned to allow for a looser, more platful feeling when playing in deep powder.  

                The Khaos – only available with a 155-inch track and either an 850 Patriot engine (Spring Break order only) or 800 Genesis (full season) – is aimed at being the “world’s most agile mountain sled,” according to Polaris Snowmobile Product Manager Marty Sampson.

                “We’ve been very, very focused on making [the Pro-RMK] the most technical, most precise, most responsive sled on the market, and we own that,” Sampson said when introducing the machine. “But what we’ve also heard from some riders is, ‘I don’t just ride like that,’ and ‘a Pro-RMK is not always as playful as I want it to be.’”

                Sampson described the punky looking RMK Khaos as a “rebalanced” Pro-RMK, with the majority of the difference coming in the rear suspension design that features new rails, new front arm geometry and a longer limiter strap that work together to lighten the weight on the skis, make the machine easier to initiate a carve on and overall allow the Khaos to be more lively and dynamic than the Pro-RMK.

                Compared to other Pro-RMK models, the Khaos also features chassis reinforcements (including a new aluminum overstructure and beefy rear bumper) and high-end Walker Evans Velocity shocks all around. It’s available with the QuickDrive belt system on the version with a 2.6-inch lug track but a traditional chaincase on sleds equipped with a 3-inch track, Powdertrac running boards and more.

  

2020 Polaris 850 RMK Khaos

The 2020 Polaris 850 RMK Khaos.

              The rest of the Pro-RMK lineup returns pretty much unchanged, with spring-order 850 and in-season 800-powered Pro-RMKs in 174, 163 and 155-inch lengths; an in-season 600 Pro-RMK 155 and base model 600 RMK 144; plus closely related 850 and 800 SKS models (146 or 155-inch lengths) on the same chassis except with better cooling, additional bogie wheels and an adjustable 39-41-inch front end. The RMK Assault, meanwhile, was dropped.

Evo-lution

A year after introducing its Indy Evo as a downsized trail sled aimed at smaller and younger riders, Polaris is answering the call for a similar machine in the mountain market with the new 2020 RMK Evo.

                Like last year’s trail Evo, the RMK Evo rides on a downsized version of the Pro-Ride chassis, with a ride height 5 inches lower than a standard RMK, plus smaller driver controls, a smaller fuel tank and a forward-shifted seat. On the Evo models, the suspensions have been sucked closer to the ground – with just 4.1 inches of front suspension travel through the RydeFX MPV shocks, and 10.1 inches under the seat. Power comes from Polaris’ longstanding 550-class fan-cooled twin, limited through the ECU to top-out 50 mph.

  

2020 Polaris RMK EVO 144

The 2020 Polaris RMK EVO 144.

              The Evo RMK comes standard with Gripper skis set at a 39-inch stance, a 15- by 144- by 1.75-inch Backcountry track and hooked handlebars. Sampson described it as a confidence-inspiring and easy-to-maneuver sled for youth transitioning to bigger snowmobiles, new riders or people of smaller stature. Like the trail-oriented Evos, it will be available with and without electric start, and can be upgraded through an accessory Evolution Kit to a sled with more speed and suspension travel as the rider’s confidence and control grows.

What offerings have you most impressed? Be sure to leave your opinions in the comments section!

Editor’s Note: Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door 6 times per year for a low cost.

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