Polaris’ rush into the future continues, as the factory that debuted the Pro-Ride chassis on the 2010 600 Rush and then expanded parts of it with the 2011 800 Pro-RMK is bringing its light weight and handling benefits to three 2012 models it unveiled today.
Today the Roseau, Minnesota-based manufacturer announced the 2012 800 Switchback Pro-R, the 600 Switchback Adventure and the 600 Pro-RMK 155, each in a Pro-Ride chassis.
The company will announce a demo ride schedule to showcase the models yet this week on its web site (www.polarisindustries.com), and will followup by announcing the rest of its 2012 lineup on March 3. Let’s take a closer look at today’s three models.
800 Switchback Pro-R
After introducing the Pro-Ride setup on short-trackers and then following with a revised version on long-trackers, it isn’t shocking news that Polaris would fill the middle of the lineup. What is interesting, however, was the company’s approach.
The new 800 Switchback Pro-R most closely resembles the Rush Pro-R models, meaning it shares the unique Pro-Ride rear suspension with the Rush, complete with the rear coil-over shock mounted above the track, instead of having the more traditional rear suspension setup found in the RMK.
Polaris officials said they are going to market the machine as having “the heart of the Rush, and the soul of a crossover,” noting that, from the stirrup forward and from mid-tunnel back, the new Switchback really duplicates the Rush in many ways. At mid-tunnel, however, about 7 inches was added to the machine, allowing for a longer track for improved flotation.
Standing beside a new Switchback, it’s actually somewhat easy to forget that you’re not looking at a Rush – the front bodywork is the same, and the length of the track is masked by the distinctive rear suspension setup. The visual tip-off is the longer, more aggressive running boards and the slightly taller handlebars.
Aside from the longer track, the Switchback also gets all-new front suspension geometry aimed at stabilizing the front end. It’s adorned with Walker Evans shocks, like the Pro-R Rush models.
But before you assume this is just a long Rush, it gets many of the treatments also found on last year’s 800 RMK models, including a hollow jackshaft, drilled brake rotor and lightweight silencer. The track that drives it is a 15- by 136- by 1.35-inch Cobra.
600 Switchback Adventure
Sharing many of those same features while adding a few more is Polaris’ new 600 Switchback Adventure – a machine patterned after popular, adventurous on- and off-road motorcycles with go-anywhere, do-anything auras.
The Switchback Adventure comes with Polaris’ “Adventure Cargo System.” It includes two oversized, hard-side saddlebags that mount behind the seat on each side of the machine, utilizing the Lock & Ride fastening system found on the company’s ATV racks. The sled also has electric start, reverse, mirrors, power outlets, a tall windshield and special wind deflectors that protect the driver’s legs.
The bags and general design make the machine look like something a motivated rider may use to try to cross the Snowbelt. The 136-inch track with 1.35-inch lugs gives it off-trail capabilities. It’s a mold-breaking machine that Polaris hopes will becomes the preferred alternative for high-mile riders who want a full-featured sled but without a geezer-sled stigma.
600 Pro-RMK 155”
Two of the best selling sleds in the entire snowmobile market this year are Pro-RMK 800s from Polaris. For 2012, the company is expanding the features that made those machines so popular to the new 600 Pro-RMK 155”.
Escaping the old chassis on the 600 Pro-RMK 155” brings with it complete re-engineering, with structural bonding, lightweight jackshaft and rotor, punched snowflap, carbon fiber rear bumper, LED taillight, redesigned silencer, RMK coil-over rear suspension, Walker Evans shocks, Pro Taper handlebars and weight savings wherever possible.
In fact, Polaris says its 600 Pro-RMK 155 will weigh 431 pounds – 53 pounds less than last year’s 600 RMK.
All of this adds up to what should be a great boondocking sled, with excellent ergonomics and powder-riding capabilities.