Remembering The Epic Polaris XLT Special

Few snowmobiles in the history of the sport have been as truly game-changing as the Polaris Indy XLT. When first launched for model year 1993, its amazing engine, cool sound and general aura took the snowmobile market by storm. And, before the winds had a chance to die down, the 1995 XLT Special was introduced as the first modern long-travel snowmobile, forever changing the ride-quality expectations of all snowmobilers. That helped fuel an amazing boom in the snowmobile industry in the 1990s, an era when Polaris built tens of thousands of XLTs, and still couldn’t keep up with demand.

This is a look back at the amazing XLT Special, through the 1995 Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year writeup that appeared in the March 1995 issue.


The XLT Is XTRA Special: 1995 Snowmobile Of The Year

Published in the March 1995 issue of Snow Goer magazine

It’s déjà vu all over again. The Polaris Indy XLT Special is sitting on top of the snowmobiling world because Snow Goer has once again picked the original baby triple as its 1995 Snowmobile of the Year.

Polaris Indy XLT Special
The Polaris Indy XLT forever changed the sport. Twice.

A lot has changed since we named the 1993 XLT Special No. 1. Back then we picked the XLT mostly because of its powerful, yet smooth three-banger. (We still love that throaty roar.) Of course, it also helped that the Special featured Fox gas shocks up front and in the rear. It was a great powerplant with a smooth ride to boot.

Two seasons later, Polaris has taken a solid package and made it even better. The engine is now a trail ported 597cc monoblock triple. And the suspension, well, the suspension is simply the best you’ll find in a production sled. You can bet your bottom dollar that more of the manufacturers will follow Polaris’ lead. Long-travel suspension is the trick device of the future.

We’re not the only ones impressed with the XLT Special. Since the first models rolled off the line this summer, the machine has captured the attention of consumers everywhere. Everyone wants to get a closer look at the XTRA suspension and rightly so. The front end, outfitted with Fox gas pressured internal floating piston shock, offers 10 inches of travel. The rear, also fitted with two Fox shocks, offers 12 inches of travel. Although there has been some quibbling about exactly how much travel the XTRA offers, one thing is indisputable – it works.

It would be unfair to say that the ’95 XLT Special is Snowmobile of the Year simply because of the XTRA, but that’s what put it over the top. It is a great sled overall but it’s Polaris’ leap forward in suspension technology that makes this sled XTRA Special. And for only $5,999, you can’t beat this package.

You’ll see a lot of these XLT Specials on the trail this winter. You’ll also see a lot of smiles on their owners’ faces.

XLT Spread

5 thoughts on “Remembering The Epic Polaris XLT Special

  • Avatar for Earl Lee Howell

    I have a 1993 two up Polaris xlt indy special is this a 580 or 600 not sure how to tell thank you

  • Avatar for Mike

    Yours should be the 580 triple. The 600 came out in 1995. I believe the 580’s were considered more reliable than the ’95-’96 600’s because of the added oil line to the crank. They removed that oil line in ’95.

    • Avatar for Chris

      1997 is when they added a extra oil line (for reliability) to the PTO bearing. It remained that way until 2001, being it was the last year of that motor, used in the polaris triumph. Some late production 1996 sleds came with the extra line, very few. Do not go by the year! Many used sleds have had motor swaps done. Look for the fourth line…

  • Avatar for Dave

    I had one brand new. What a dream it was, kept up with the 800’s but never got stuck (to light). Highest power to weight ratio machine on the market. And beautiful to! I still have it today -Dec 2022, been sitting for a deacde but only needs a crank to run again. For Sale

  • Avatar for Jim Lucyk

    I have a mint condition 1995 Polaris XLT SP , my son recently rebuilt the motor and used a ’99 bottom end with the extra oil line & added a set of Pro-5 triple pipes ……fired it up last Saturday and she sounds great , can’t wait to get out on the trails kinda feels like Christmas all over again !!!



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