Sled: 2008 Polaris 600 Dragon IQ
Modifications: 120 Stud Boy Power Point studs; 6-inch Stud Boy carbides
Heading into last winter, we were excited to ride our 2008 Polaris 600 Dragon demo sled. The 2008 Polaris 600 Dragon IQ faired well in our 600cc performance sled shootout at Rode Reports in the spring of 2007 because it had received improvements to the ergonomics, chassis and suspensions and engine calibrations over previous IQ models. Would the production version work as well?
The feel was familiar Polaris IQ with a stable chassis that never commits an unexpected flinch, kick or tip. At moderate trail speeds, the front suspension was more comfortable and compliant over ripples than the rear. The rear track shock’s low-speed compression valving felt too firm, and clicker adjustments didn’t make a significant improvement.
The sled worked best for bombing through rough trails and big moguls because it was predictable over the bumps and in the air. After adjusting the torsion springs up a notch from full soft (stock) to medium, it was also the best machine in our fleet for rough trail riding. Other suspension-class-competitive machines in our stable were a 600 IQ Shift, MX Z 800R X, MX Z TNT, F8 Sno Pro and FX Nytro; all were 2008 models.
IQ models have a heavier feeling than most other two-stroke sleds even though they don’t necessarily have more mass. This “feeling” is a result of their solid, stable nature. The Dragon’s handling was good, but not as good as our 600 IQ Shift; the difference between the two was their front shocks. The Dragon had RydeFX Air 2.0 shocks and they allowed more body roll than the Shift’s coil-over dampers. The Dragon required more input to set the machine in its line and counteract the roll toward the outside of the turn, whereas the Shift would grab a line on its own and hold it with little effort from the driver. Each sled had 120 studs and 6-inch carbides.
While the 2008 Polaris 600 Dragon IQ was one of the first picks of Snow Goer staffers every weekend, it had a few let downs; one was a minor annoyance, another was bad and the other failure was downright catastrophic. The first trouble came with an electrical short in the gauge cluster. This problem didn’t cut our early season rides short, but it was annoying and required installation of a new gauge.
On a ride late in the season, the rear shock blew out, which reduced the sled’s fun factor for that ride. We cranked up the torsion springs to compensate, but the shocks turned out to be the least of our concerns on that trip. While running hard on a straight trail in northern Michigan, the crankshaft locked up.
Coincidentally, we were conducting a product test on injection oil and naturally suspected the lube might have been the cause, but a Polaris service representative said that the crank failure was similar to a few the company had seen last season in warranty claim evaluations and was not due to lack of lubrication.
Logging more than 2,500 miles on our demo showed that it was a darn good trail sled that worked well right out of the box. It had consistent suspension and engine performance and comfortable ergonomics. We just wish the 2008 Polaris 600 Dragon IQ would’ve spent less time in the shop so we could have put even more miles on it.