Polaris At 60: The 2001 Snowmobile Of The Year: Indy 600 XC SP

Coming out of the 1990s, Polaris was on a roll, capturing up to 45 percent marketshare in the snowmobile world. For 2001, the company unveiled its EDGE chassis, which featured better handling, reduced weight and some new engine packages. It was enough to earn Snow Goer Snowmobile of the Year honors. This article is from the November 2000 issue of Snow Goer


2001 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year

Polaris Indy 600 XC SP

Picture the scene: You leave a starting point with a full thumb’s worth of throttle. Beneath you, the sled grips the trail and vaults itself forward. The acceleration pulls your head back, so you do the four-point grab – fingers squeeze the bars tighter, toes reach higher into the footwells and curl back. Yet the throttle remains pinned to the bars.

Ahead is a rough minefield, filled with miles of muscle-shaking stutter bumps, spine-crushing g-bumps and bottomless square-edged holes, intermixed with sweeping lefts, tight rights, icy uphills and offcamber downhills. Heavy traffic and warm temperatures have beat the trail to death, and the groomer fund has run dry. The tow vehicle is 110 miles away.

Does that sound like a nightmare? To most, probably. To the owner of a 2001 Indy 600 XC SP, however, it’s another day of fun and adventure.

No trail sled is better matched to these conditions than the 600 XC SP. To build this fantasy sled, Polaris combined one of the sport’s best overall engines with a new chassis and new front and rear suspensions.

The chassis sets new standards for its light weight, exceptional ergonomics and smart engineering; the new front and rear suspensions both provide the best ride quality available, particularly for aggressive riders.

By now, hopefully you understand why we’ve named the Polaris Indy 600 XC SP the 2001 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year. Every EDGE chassis sled we mounted at Rode Reports left us begging for more seat time. The EDGE chassis sleds have 150 fewer parts, on average, than the Gen II chassis sleds they replace. All the features are still there, but wise product design eliminated dozens of nuts, bolts, washers and spacers.Snow Goer magazine

The EDGE rear suspension vaulted past competitive designs and became our immediate favorite. It’s light in weight but heavy in travel: It offers 9.8 inches of true vertical travel (or 13.8 inches of rear wheel movement, if the arc is measured). But more important than the inches is the ride quality. Nothing, save Polaris’ own M-10 models, could stay close to an EDGE sled in the rugged stutter bumps in West Yellowstone, Montana. But unlike the M-10 sleds, machines featuring the EDGE skid also offer excellent trail grip, perfect weight transfer and agile handling.

The EDGE trailing arm front suspension is also new. It offers tipped-in trailing arms, the controlled roll center handling and steering package and other similar componentry to Polaris’ XC-10 front suspension. On the EDGE, the system is tilted forward,allowing more travel, better bump absorption and more stable and predictable handling.

Overall, EDGE sleds are lighter, handle better, erase bumps with ease and are more comfortable to sit on. The only question was which EDGE sled to choose.

We chose the 600 XC SP because Polaris’ domestic small-block twin is one of our favorite powerplants. It offers a crisp 113-114 hp, with lightning-fast acceleration aided by variable exhaust. It will keep up with any of the 700s on the trail, yet it offers the light weight and snappy power of a 440 race engine. The high-tech CDI ignition includes throttle position sensors and a low-octane fuel switch. The engine’s fuel mileage is good, it’s throttle response is awesome and it has a light throttle pull.

All of these awesome components come together in a package that is truly better than the sum of the parts. We’ll should it from the highest mountain: For aggressive trail riders, the Indy 600 XC SP is the best machine available for 2001.

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