By Mark Boncher
Polaris has a star and they know it! The Matryx platform is the newest red carpet darling on the full size sled market, and it has proliferated across the entire line of sleds… oh, and there’s a turbo 850 Patriot motor this year… oh, and more happening on the Timbersled snowbike side… oh, and we are starting to sound like a broken record repeating the ludicrous amount of new tech, sleds, and options for 2022. Polaris brought the house!
If you think 2021 was a great year, wait till you feel the stampede of power produced by the new 850 turbo. Our test riders can’t stop talking about the new 2022 Indy XCR in the Matryx chassis either. Let’s not forget that Polaris has novice and youth options in the EVO as well. If you are a Polaris family, then the guys and gals working at the Polaris plants in Roseau and Wyoming Minnesota have got you covered. It’s an exciting time to move on over to Polaris too – we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
There’s not much of the Polaris lineup that the new Matryx chassis has not proliferated to. This updated chassis was new last year in 2021, and now you can get it in the trail, crossover, touring, and mountain segments. In addition, Polaris has introduced new ‘Starfire’ Snowcheck spring-only options. These come with options that Polaris is calling ‘factory mods’ that basically have premium factory-installed accessories from storage options to bumpers and windshields, to 2-up seats, and more.
In the trails, the Matryx VR1 was widely praised last year, and is available again in 2022 with Polaris specific technology like the huge 7S gauge with Ride Command. If you have not had a chance to try this gauge or ridden in a group with the GPS and tracking functions, we highly suggest you try it. This is still the best gauge and the tech bar has been set high by Polaris. Trail ride, group mapping, and Bluetooth are all part of what makes this gauge so versatile. The VR1 comes in the 129 or 137-inch lengths. Available in the 650 or 850 Patriot motors, the fun factor is extremely high for active trail riders. We also cannot stress enough how strong the 650 motor is. Many, many times our test riders had to look down to the stickers to see if they were riding an 850, only to find out they were on a 650. It is truly that strong!
The big news in the trails is the new 2022 Indy XCR in the Matryx platform. This comes in either a 128 or 136-inch length and 650 or 850 motor. It is basically the cross-country race sled, and since it is a Snowcheck model, you can get all kinds of accessories straight from the factory. The pitch on the track is slightly different (2.52-inch pitch) than the XC model sleds, hence the slightly different track lengths on the XCR. Don’t be fooled though, the 136 (available with any of 1.25 Ice Ripper XT, 1.35 Cobra or 1.60 cobra lug tracks) is fun both on and off-trail. The WER 2.0 Velocity hi-lo speed compression adjustable shocks offer a wide range of ride comfortability and capability. You get WER 2-inch diameter shocks in the rear Pro CC suspension as well.
Honestly, the most fun we had in the trails and rough stuff, and even on a lot of crossover areas, was on the 136-inch XCR version with the 1.6-inch lug. At 465 (or 474 for the 850) pounds dry, this one is super lightweight, and you can feel the perfectly balanced geometry when you toss this little buggy around! The tipped rail on these really adds to the playfulness. The 3.35-inch riser allows easy transitioning from sitting to standing, and all the other goodies like a race-ready radial disc brake, smart warmers on the handlebars, 4-wheels in the rear axle, and more come standard.
The Indy XC returns, and in the carbon fiber and aluminum Matryx chassis, this is a fantastic trail sled. You get some of the best colorways in the industry, and in either a 129 or 137-inch length. Track options are here too, which I personally love to have, with a 1.25 Ice Ripper, 1.35 Cobra, or 1.50 Storm. For years, I’ve put 1.50-inch tracks under most of the 137-inch sleds I’ve had, and this is a perfect crossover track. I even prefer it to the 1.6-inch tracks we’ve had on many trail sleds. Fox QS3 shocks all the way around make for easy adjustments, and there is a reason why so many of the new sleds from the OEMs come with these shocks… they work!
As for the crossover market, there are plenty of 137 XC sleds and XCRs that fit this bill, but the Assault models are really where it’s at for the crossover rider who wants very good trail and off-trail performance. These are super lightweight 146-inch sleds, coming in at roughly just 476 pounds dry on either the 650 or 850. You can order for Snowcheck as well, and get the ‘Starfire’ accessory packages from the factory too. The IGX crossover rear suspension can have any of a 1.35 Cobra, 1.6 Cobra, or 2.0 inch Crossover track rolling around it. In the Matryx chassis, this is truly a customizable off-trail sled, and with the 2.0-inch lug, it is really more of a mini-mountain sled. With the Lock & Ride Flex accessory system on the back, you can pick plenty of accessory options too.
The Voyageur 146 is also in the Matryx this year too… seemingly like almost everything else! Built to be more of a utility/touring sled with a 1.6-inch Cobra track and the same IGX rear skid that is in the Assault, this is a go anywhere, do anything kind of sled. You can only get it in the 650 Patriot motor though, with IFP shocks all around. The integrated storage and rack allow for easy transport of goods, gear, tools, etc. Plus, you get the hitch system as well.
The Titan XC and 2-up versatile Titan Adventure are still in the AXYZ chassis, but have more options and capability than almost any touring/utility machine on the market. Power and towing capability with a huge 20x155x150 Cobra track; articulated rear suspension; big running boards; power boosting electrical regulator; additional radiator cooling system for low snow and towing, plus lock and ride storage and rack are just a few of the amenities offered standard on the Titan Adventure. This sled is the perfect family; fishing; working; touring; deep snow sled, for anyone in the Northwoods that’s looking to have it all.
The smaller EVO sleds are also available in 2022. Praise is warranted here with sticking to a family friendly model to get younger riders and novices into snowmobiling. Three smaller models are offered by Polaris including the 120 Indy, Indy EVO and RMK EVO. The Indy is trail focused with a 121-inch track, and the RMK has a longer 144-inch track. All specs are basically unchanged from 2021, but there are new colors and graphics.
850 Turbo Slashes up the Mountain Powder
More headlines were made by Polaris in the mountains this year, debuting the new 850 Turbo motor. Since the conception and initial ideas were put to paper for the 850 motor, it was always overbuilt. This was no coincidence, as a turbo was always on the minds of the engineers. It took a while, but the turbo has finally made its way out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Enter the Patriot Boost motor! This 2-stroke turbo is claimed to put out 10% more power at sea level versus the standard 850, but at an amazing 9 psi of boost, you will get up to 50% more power at 10,000 feet. This is all done with Polaris’ patent pending SmartBoost Combustion Control System, and it runs on 91 octane pump gas! Like we said, it took years to develop, and it was co-engineered along with the naturally aspirated 850 Patriot motor. We will have lots more on this motor to come, but many upgrades were made to make this turbo reliable, easy to use, and fun! A few points include new crank seals, new piston with exclusive alloy composition, higher resolution flywheel, new ECU, new P22 primary clutch with idler bearing, which cuts the need for belt deflection and adjustments.
Following on the line of co-development, the 850 crankshaft, rods, head, bearings, water pump and engine mounts were all made initially to handle a turbo. The throttle body is off the snowcross sled, providing additional injection for the amount of fuel necessary for a boosted application. There’s a new intake reed and special carbon fiber petal design that Polaris worked on with Moto Tassinari, to make for this specific motor. The turbo is mounted vertically for the best packaging and best fresh air to exhaust flow, and Polaris claims it to be 40% lighter than comparable non-OEM turbo kits. It is a reverse rotating turbine, and it comes with a patent pending exhaust and wastegate. To keep the turbo all lubricated, there is an added oil pump. The bearings are liquid cooled and in a lightweight aluminum bearing housing. The wastegate is positioned on the pipe for the greatest power and response, and a large bypass for exhaust flow through the wastegate give it good response when you are not on the boost.
There is just way too much to talk about here on the new turbo, but it will be available in the new Starfire Snowcheck Pro RMK Matryx Slash 163 or 165, or the new Starfire Snowcheck RMK Khaos Matryx Slash 155. The new models in the mountains include the Pro RMK Matryx, Pro RMK Matryx Slash, RMK Khaos Matryx, and the RMK Khaos Matryx Slash. There are technically 4 different track lengths in the RMK lineup (155/163/165), and now the new 650/850 RMK Khaos comes in a shorter 146-inch version as well. It is honestly confusing to us with all the models, options, and packages for the mountain sleds here, but it does make for lots of unique sled possibilities coming straight from the factory!
While snowmobiles continue to be the dominant form of winter motorized fun and excitement, the Snowbike segment is alive and well too. Timbersled announced 3 trims for 2022 including the Pro, Premium, and Sport. The Pro is for the rider who is extreme, and needs to be able to go anywhere. Snowcheck only, the Pro gets new Fox QS3 IBP suspension, has a 3-inch track option, and more. The Premium in-season level has Fox QS3 suspension, and 3-inch paddle track option. Finally, the Sport is the standard version with IFP shock.
Also new in 2022 is the Riot 3, which is a 129-inch snowbike with a 3-inch paddle on the track. You can get it in the Snowcheck Pro model or the in-season Premium level packages. Upgrades with the other snowbike are the S-package suspension on the ARO 129-inch, ARO 3-inch lug track, Riot, and Riot with the 3-inch paddle.
Basically, the new models for 2022 break down to the Riot 3 Pro, and the ARO 3. Both are 129-inch long, and available as Snowcheck only. The full model lineup is the Riot 120; Riot 3; ARO 129; ARO 3; ARO 137; 120 SX (snocross version), and the youth Ripper model. The Riot continues to be the slightly narrower track, and with the S suspension, has a more dirtbike type feel. The ARO is a more traditional and stable feel.
A couple of new cool options topped the list for accessories from Polaris. A new adjustable windshield that goes from mid to tall height and covers the hands was #1 for trail riders who put on big miles. Also, under the seat there is a new option for oil storage – 2-quart volume that is made to work with the Matryx seat.
Test Rider Comments – XCR 136”
The XCR is hands down one of the best riding machines I have ever been given the chance to ride. The 136” track configuration gives perfect handling on the trails, with flat cornering and completely effortless steering. Taking it off trail, it’s just as capable, even with the shorter track. Finally, a true crossover sled that you don’t have to sacrifice on trail prowess for off trail capability. – Jason Kawczynski, Test Rider
Test Rider Comments – RMK Turbo Motor
Get ready to hang on for dear life; this is nothing like any two stroke you have ever rode before. Hit the gas and this sled will stand up at will – but watch out, she will keep going and going until you release the throttle! – Jason Kawczynski, Test Rider
They finally did it! The sled everyone this side of the equator with even the slightest bit of competitiveness has been waiting for. With 9 lbs of boost and a cut/ tapered tunnel you can’t get this sucker stuck. Being even narrower than the AXYS which was formally known as the narrowest sled on the mean you can thread this rocket threw even the tightest over grown clear cuts. I literally bought Stock in Polaris before they released their 2022 sleds and it’s done quite well.
– Jordan Hammack