So many sledders have snapped up the EDGE-based model since its introduction in early 2000 that seeing one certainly isn’t a momentous occasion.
The cross-country sled has essentially gone unchanged since its inception. After the first, familiar ride last winter, we realized why the sled hasn’t changed much: Polaris got it right from the get-go.
The sled still has a lot to offer in terms of good handling, a strong engine and adequate suspension performance. It had the familiar sit-down-and ride-it feel of an Indy that works admirably for rookies or seasoned veterans.
Our 2005 600 XC SP included Ryde FX Solo shocks up front and a Fox Position Sensitive 3 damper on the EDGE suspension’s rear torque arm. The skidframe was wrapped by a track with 1.25-inch lugs.
Some drivers grumbled about the sled before they hopped on because it was “outdated.” But after a blast down the trail, comments like “That sled flat-out works” and “Now I know why there are so many of these out there” were often said with a laugh and a smile.
Of all the sleds we’ve ridden, this was one of the best out of the box. Our candy-cane-themed Polaris ran well and delivered the strong, consistent performance that’s expected from the 599cc smallblock engine.
Clutch calibrations were spot on. Acceleration was strong and the pulleys backshifted quickly, which made the sled snap out of corners when we got back into the throttle.
The EDGE skidframe transferred weight for adequate traction but kept the skis on the ground for maximum control. The low-slung chassis was predictable through the woods. It cornered flat and held its line whether the snow was loose or packed.
Though the sled cornered like a champ and rode just fine, it was outclassed when compared to new models in rough conditions. This comes as no surprise, though, as chassis from all manufacturers have evolved past it during the past three model years.
Wide handlebars provided leverage to navigate through sweeping corners. The Phantom brake pinched the rotor with a lot of force, but it wasn’t progressive and didn’t provide a smooth feel.
After a six-year run in the EDGE chassis, the 600 XC SP is gone. It’s been replaced for 2006 by the younger, fresher 600 HO Fusion. But we’re sure we’ll meet countless XC SPs again. And that’s a good thing.