Editor’s Note: The Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year was officially announced in the November issue of Snow Goer magazine, which is currently mailing to subscribers. The text from the magazine announcing the award is posted below. To get the full feature story explaining the development of the winning sled’s Axys chassis, pick up a copy of Snow Goer — this issue his newsstands on Tuesday, September 23.
Go ahead, trail riders; try not to fall in love with the 2015 Polaris 800 Switchback Pro-S.
Blasted at the snowmobiling public seemingly out of nowhere, the Switchback Pro-S and other machines found in the new Axys chassis set new benchmarks, for Polaris and for the snowmobile industry. Let us count the ways.
Compared to its predecessor, the machine is 38 pounds lighter, and the body panels fit tighter. The new 800 H.O. engine is mightier, and the new LED headlight is brighter and whiter.
Beyond the rhyme, Polaris designers created all-new driver ergonomics, made the sleds handle better, gave them a new brake and even a long-overdue new left side handlebar control. Plus 60th Anniversary models include a new LCD digital gauge that ties into Polaris’ Rider X app, giving riders a GPS-fed guide to virtually all of the snowmobile trails in North America, right before their eyes.
Taking this big of a jump in any year would certainly make a snowmobile worthy of consideration for the prestigious Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year award, which annually honors the best examples of innovation, excellence and efforts to move the sport forward. But it’s the way that Polaris designers accomplished these fetes that iced this cake. More computer aided design was used than ever before, thanks to new techniques of measuring force inputs into a chassis.
Even though you can see some of the previous Pro-Ride chassis in the design, Polaris says 93 percent of the parts on the new chassis are new for 2015, and most of those parts are lighter than their predecessors, aiding in the massive weight loss. The driver was moved forward 4.5 inches at the seat and hands and 2.5 inches at the feet, while the rear suspension arms were moved back to create improved handling and balance, and better ride quality overall. The 800 H.O. engine utilizes a lighter crankshaft, a cutting edge intake system, all-new variable exhaust valves and other amenities to create more horsepower throughout the powerband. The machine’s body panels fit together better for improved fit, finish, style, ease of serviceability and wind protection.
Combine it all, and you’ve got a snowmobile that accelerates quicker, handles better, looks sharper, is ideally balanced and doesn’t wear out the driver. That puts the Polaris 800 Switchback Pro-S on the 2015 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year pedestal. The inside story of how engineers created a machine worthy of such praise can be found on pages 24-27 of the November issue of Snow Goer magazine, but the real story is the ride of this new machine. The whole package flat-out works.