2010 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year: Polaris 600 Rush

When Galileo suggested the sun was the center of the universe, he was imprisoned. When old Chris Columbus said he’d sail around the world, folks said he’d fall of the face of the earth. And when Orville and Wilbur thought they could fly, people suggested they’d crash and burn. Ben Franklin? Begging to be electrocuted. For that matter, there were plenty of people who thought Edgar Hettee and J. Armand Bombardier were nuts when designing single-passenger, over-the-snow vehicles.

Time proved each of these explorers and inventors right, and people remember their names, not those of the doubters. But nobody said being an innovator would be easy.

So who says the shocks of a rear suspension have to be encased within the track? Not the folks at Polaris. It would have been much easier for them to build another “me-too” skidframe. Nobody would have batted an eye had they come out with the slightly tweaked IQ rear suspension, with the rear arm mount moved a few millimeters forward or back, and maybe a change in a shock mounting location.

Instead, Polaris is rushing forward with the all-new Polaris 600 Rush for 2010, a machine that brings fresh thinking to the market and therefore earns the 2010 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year honor.

At a glance, you know you’re looking at something different – with its jumbo Walker Evans rear shock mounted outside of and above the track, and a unique, exposed linkage behind the seat, it truly looks unlike any snowmobile that’s ever skimmed across the surface the snow.

The Pro Ride progressive-rate rear suspension is the center of attention. It offers a claimed 14 inches of travel, but numbers don’t even begin to tell the story. It’s how the suspension reacts, with a truly progressive, rising rate, that makes this machine unique. Finding the bottom of the suspension stroke is next to impossible when it’s set up correctly, as the machine dashes through crater-sized holes with ease while riders on other machines brace for spine-compressing impacts.

The Rush isn’t just a new skidframe attached to an old chassis. The entire machine is new, with a lot of innovation mixed in. From the handlebars back, it looks different and is different, but the innovation starts well below the exposed bodywork. Most notable is a move to something called “structural bonding” for holding chassis components together. A mega-powerful adhesive holds together the sub assembly, replacing nuts, bolts and rivets. That means less weight and more torsional rigidity. To traditionalists and non risk-takers, having a glue-together chassis might sound as scary as trying to sail off the end of a flat planet, but such structural adhesives have been at work in cars and airplanes for years – it’s not new technology, just new to our sport.

These new parts and pieces are mated to two industry-standards – the smooth handling, stable IQ front suspension and the Liberty 600 Cleanfire2 engine — to make a winning snowmobile.

From the X-shaped cross-members beneath the seat to the unique ergonomics and the grab-your-attention looks, the Rush easily earned the 2010 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year award, which places a premium on innovation, trendsetting representations of the future and a unique and positive impact on the sport.

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