The Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year award annually anoints the snowmobile that each season introduced new technology, offered something new to the industry or moves the sport forward.
With past honorees offering new technology (2019’s Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha One featuring a revolutionary single beam rear suspension) and new offerings (Yamaha’s SnoScoot and Arctic Cat’s ZR 200 in 2018), this year’s selection heading into a new decade will likely rekindle some fond memories for some readers.
More than 40 years since Polaris unveiled its Indy lineup, the Polaris 850 Indy XC 137 is poised to yet again please its faithful fans. Read below to learn about its official nomination, and why it was chosen as the 2020 Snowmobile Of The Year.
The Polaris 850 Indy XC 137
The first Polaris Indy snowmobile – launched 40 years ago in the form of the 1980 Indy TX-L – wasn’t the first consumer-available snowmobile with an independent front suspension; that honor went to the 1979 Arctic Cat Trail Cat. The Indy was, though, the first one that really worked well, and it revolutionized the snowmobile industry while charting a clear path for Polaris to grab the No. 1 spot in snowmobile market share – a position the brand held until Ski-Doo took it away in 2003.
Four decades later, the Indy moniker is back atop the Polaris trail lineup in the form of Indy XC 129 and 137 models. Like the original Indy, these new machines don’t technically break new ground – in fact, compared to the funky-looking Rush and Switchback models with an exterior rear arm, they could be considered a bit of a throwback for Polaris, with a more traditional design and full-length tunnel.
However, like the original Indy, the new Indy XC models are so impressive in the field that they chart a fresh path for the brand, allowing it to mount a legitimate challenge for dominance on twisting trails across the Snowbelt.
The Indy XC lineup was introduced for 2019 – powered by the owner’s choice of a 600-, 800- or 850-class two-stroke twin and the new rear suspension wrapped with a 129-inch track – and was an immediate success, claiming the top market share position in the top trail performance class. By combining the new Pro-CC rear suspension – featuring its smooth-riding, coupled design that shines in all conditions – with the well-laid-out Axys chassis and Polaris’ excellent dual A-arm front suspension, engineers designed machines that were predictable, fun and engaging, whether a rider is casually cruising or in full-on attack mode.
For 2020, Polaris doubled-down on the concept and created even more versatile Indy machines with a 137-inch track, offering more weight-carrying capabilities, better flotation and a plush-yet-well-connected ride. After an initial season with some manufacturing challenges, the 850 Patriot engine is backfore its sophomore year, delivering a powerful punch and a rededication to quality that’s backed by a four-year warranty.
The resulting 850 Indy XC 137 is an uber-capable, easy-to-ride machine that any member of the family can drive with confidence, thus raising the bar in the heated trail crossover market. It assures trail riders who have grown weary of technology focused on the mountain market that they deserve to expect great things, and it delivers on that promise. For that, it earns our highest honor: The 2020 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year award!
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. 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 or your computer for a low cost.