Quickly answering a primary competitor in the snowmobile market, Polaris has unveiled an 850-class, turbocharged two-stroke engine for its mountain sleds for 2022 while also spreading the Matryx platform and providing a host of other major updates to its RMK lineup in an aim to reclaim deep-snow supremacy.
The unveiling on March 1 of the Boost Patriot that begins adding horsepower at sea level and continues up through 10,000 feet comes a year after Ski-Doo took the wraps off its 850 E-TEC Turbo for model year 2021. However, Polaris says this isn’t a quick-answer situation: Instead, this engine package has been nearly a decade in the making.
Beyond that, Polaris for 2022 moves most of its top-end Pro RMK and RMK Khaos models into a customized version of the Matryx platform that was unveiled on select trail sleds for 2021. The brand also has a new “Slash” package that strips away running weight and reduces drag from select machine.
In addition, Polaris has notable updates to other parts of its lineup – to read about the trail, utility and crossover updates Polaris is making, click here. We’ll focus on the deep-snow machines in this article.
The New Boost
In introducing the new Patriot Boost engine platform, Chris Wolf, the president of Polaris’ snowmobile division, said the turbocharged platform has long tails at Polaris.
“We started the technology development with the 800 H.O. [engine], so we’ve been running turbocharged engines for years and years, but it is probably the most difficult technology development project that Polaris has ever embarked on,” Wolff said.
The high-tech turbo is exclusive to Polaris – this is not a bolt on – and adds up to 9 PSI of boost at altitude, and as little as 3 PSI at sea level, Polaris designers say, all on pump gas. An extra set of reeds in the air box and an extra set of injectors help feed the cylinders. The turbo itself is vertically mounted and spins in reverse to allow it to be packaged right where Polaris needs it. A so-named “Smartboost Combustion Stability Control System” monitors multiple functions and keeps everything in line.
There will be a lot of articles in the future talking about the technology of the system, but the big question is “does it work?” Based on our initial rides, we can tell you that the results are stunning. Power delivery is strong off the bottom, and then once the turbo starts adding to the fun it’ll stretch your arms faster than any stock machine on the market. But you’d better be holding on tight, because it can wear you out if you’re not ready for its amazing pull.
A couple of years after learning to spell the word Khaos with a “K,” Polaris-focused mountain riders have all sorts of news terminology to learn for 2022 – but it comes with exciting new features as well.
It starts with Polaris moving many of its mountain sleds to the Matryx chassis. But this isn’t just a matter of putting longer tracks on what Polaris unveiled last year: the mountain version of the Matryx has even tighter bodywork than the short sleds – giving mountain riders all sorts of room to climb around their snowmobiles when picking nasty lines in the backcountry.
Beyond that, the RMK version of the Matryx will also feature a one-piece tunnel that’s 3 inches shorter than the Axys setup and features a tapered close-off at the back in an effort to provide less drag when clawing through powder. It also has a shorter cooling system which should help prevent the buildup of ice chunks under the tunnel. The new ergonomics also include adjustable or removable toe holds.
Slash: More Than A Guitar Player
Those looking for the next step up that ladder, though, will want the “Matryx Slash” platform.
Its tunnel is 5 inches shorter than the Matryx (and, thus, 8 inches shorter than the Axys) and features a rear fender instead of a snowflap. Lightweight springs, a carbon-fiber overstructure and a choice of two different versions of Walker Evans shocks also come standard with the Slash version.
Boiling it down, Polaris will have roughly 2 billion combinations (OK, maybe a few less than that) for mountain buyers, especially if they order in the spring.
There will be “Patriot Boost RMK Khaos Matryx Slash” (yes, all of those words are in the title) models available in 146-, 155-, 163- and 165-inch tracks, or Patriot Boost Pro-RMK Matryx Slash models in 155-, 163- or 165-inch iterations, so plenty of turbo options are available but only if you order one for yourself in the spring.
There will then also be 850 and 650 Pro-RMK and RMK Khaos Matryx Slash models available without the turbocharger in those same track lengths. They also will be spring order sleds. The 650 Pro-RMK was a sweetheart sled that our test team couldn’t stop talking about after riding it last week – it was agile, fun, well balanced and incredibly capable.
There will be 650 and 850 Pro RMK and RMK Khaos Matryx models without the Slash package available in 155-inch lengths. They will be available for the full season.
Those who like the older setup still have options, though, as 850 Axys Pro RMK and 850 Axys RMK Khaos models return for 2022 in 155-, 163- and 165-inch track lengths. Also returning is a 600 Axys RMK 144 as well as an RMK EVO. Confused by all of the choices? Yeah, so were we!
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.