By Jason Kawczynski
Since the release of a factory 2-stroke turbo mountain sled two seasons ago, flatland riders across North America have been salivating at the thoughts of a lightweight turbo 2-stroke trail machine. Why can’t they, why not, or what if, were common questions and discussion points.
2023 has truly given a gift to the speed demons who just couldn’t break the habit of wearing 2-stroke cologne home after a day enjoying the trails. Thanks to our friends in Roseau, Minnesota their dreams have finally become a reality. Now you can have your choice of a arm-stretching Patriot 850 Boost for any segment of riding you choose!
That’s not enough for you? Don’t worry, they didn’t stop there! With a sense of equal opportunities for all, the mountain riders and 4-stroke fuel economists are also getting their gifts as well. There are no less than TWO new motors coming out, in addition to the industry-changing sea level turbo.
Turbos for everyone!
Bringing back the extremely popular Patriot Boost RMK (that sold out in roughly 3 days last year), you now have a plethora of new options to choose from to feed your boost addiction. Mountain riders can choose from the Pro RMK and the RMK Khaos in 155”,163” and 165” track lengths. Crossover riders get the coveted Matryx Assault 146” and trails can choose from either a 129” or 137” VR1. Naysayers all around will sure to be asking, “Why do you need something like that for low elevations” but the answer many will give is “Why NOT?”
In any Polaris you choose, you are going to start with 10% more power than a standard naturally aspirated 850 at sea level and that percentage goes up with the elevation. That equates to about 3-5% more power every 1000ft closer to the clouds that you ride, all factors being equal. So, most riders will effectively see a larger than 10% power increase in most of their riding areas sans maybe those who ride exclusively on the Hudson Bay. Run it simply on 91 octane or better pump fuel and the Polaris SmartBoost Combustion Control System offers up to 9 pounds of boost when the elevation demands it. As we have mentioned before, the 850 motor was designed from day one with the turbo in mind, so this is nothing like an aftermarket bolt on. You can count on a complete engineered package that will give you reliable performance backed by a factory warranty.
This isn’t just a motor that will take you to speeds that can surpass Doc Brown’s DeLorean, they do a lot more. This motor has been so exquisitely tuned to perfection and provides superior fun factor at any speed. Expect to find smooth power delivery and quiet operation, no terrible bodily sounds but with power for days whether it be off the line, at cruising speeds and top end. You get a factory setup and no cheater tweaks, so this sled will respond to you by standing its skis in the air at any point that you request. Cruising along at trail speeds, just grab a handful of throttle and hang on. Please be safe, no need to look behind you to see if your buddy is still chasing to pass you, because he is NOT (unless he is on a turbo of his own).
We can firmly attest the sled handles the same as their naturally aspirated counterparts. The turbo package adds only a nominal amount of weight, but in comparison boasts nearly a 100 pounds less than a stock 4-stroke turbo equivalent. Stealthy and envious onlookers at pitstops will be able to identify you with the Sinister Amber LED headlight accents that are the exclusive trademark look of the Patriot Boost and 9R lineup.
Unfortunately, these gems don’t come very cheap so you may want to secure your lotto tickets or hope for grandma’s inheritance come next December when the new snow check turbos arrive.
Free Breath’n Fun
No turbo needed? Not a problem! Polaris has you covered with plenty of options for trails and beyond. The ease of riding any Matryx chassis sled is no longer a secret, and Polaris spread Matryx love to everyone this season. With the dramatic increase in trail traffic this season, most every owner of a new ’23 will be able to confidently dodge the countless newbie riders on these narrow and comfortable modern machines. All snow check and most in season models will now ride solely on the Matryx chassis as the only remnants of the Axyz chassis will be found only within the entry level and youth lineup, most powered by the 550 fan motor.
The Polaris flagship for the trails, the Indy VR1 returns mostly unchanged with a few minor updates. Now all models come standard with 7S display, WER Velocity shock package and have new color options for full customization. Select from either a 129” or 137” track length both being available with three lug configurations of the 1.25 Ice Ripper XT, 1.35” Cobra or our personal favorite the 1.5 Storm.
The #1 OSM rider chosen sled from 2022, the race inspired Matryx Indy XCR returns again… and at a nice price point too as it has the less tricked out gauge. Due to the difference in track pitch it comes only with the ever so different 128” or 136” track lengths as compared to the rest of the trail models, and in track choices of 1.25”ice ripper, or the 1.35” and 1.6” Cobra.
Assault models return as well in both 650 and 850 Patriot motor choices with the standard snow check package of Walker Evans Velocity shocks and four different lug options from 1.35” to 2” on this 146” chassis. Somewhat to our disappointment this sled is again only fitted with the non-adjustable trail width 42.5” front end. However, you will find a new mid-width front end that is available on the SKS, that could have been a very nice option for this iconic crossover.
Choosing a mid-level XC trim package will give you the options between the Indy 129 or 136” with available motors in both the 650 or 850 Patriot, as well as the new S4 4-stroke. Also returning is the Switchback XC 146 with only options for the 650 and 850 motors. All XC models come standard with the proven performance of the Fox QS3 shock package
The SP value line trim comes with a ton of new updates for 2023. Not only do you now get the latest Matryx chassis across the spectrum, but a lot of other goodies are now standard as well like smart warmers and LED headlights. All models come with IFP shocks and the 650 Patriot motor as the only option, and the 600 Cleanfire offered last season is now officially phased out. A new Switchback SP also includes all of the aforementioned options and gives you a 146” crossover length in a value package, saving over $1k versus the similarly equipped in season XC package released last season.
The Indy Adventure also returns but adds the option of the S4 motor. For those looking for an easy ride that you can take a passenger along, the all-new Indy Adventure X2 features a 1+1 suspension setting, dual runner carbides and removable seat that can be quickly changed around to accommodate a passenger when needed. However, the X2 will only be available equipped with the 650 Patriot or S4 motor and unfortunately not an option with the 850 as is a choice with the standard Adventure. Both the Adventure and Adventure X2 will have the option to order the 7S display as well for those necessary GPS guided “Adventure” trips.
New ProStar S4 4-Stroke
Polaris joins the smokeless crowd with their all new S4 motor. This parallel twin may look surprisingly familiar to the dirt riders and it should – as it’s based on ProStar 1000 motor powering the Polaris ATV/UTV lineup. Sharing most of the top end design, this motor differs with a dry sump oil system to let the engine mount lower in the chassis. With millions of these ProStar motors produced throughout the years in various styles by Polaris, their proven reliability is sure to carry over into snowmobiles. Featuring 1000cc of displacement and a power range somewhere around 90hp, they won’t be the fastest on the trail but tuned for great overall performance and excellent fuel economy. It also features an electronic throttle control that delivers precise control with little discernable difference in operation than a traditional cable throttle. As with many other E.T.C. motors, it also comes pre-configured with three drive modes, Eco, Standard and Sport. Easily changed at your fingertips on the fly, for whatever mood you find yourself in. This S4 is available in the Indy XC, Adventure, Voyager, Nordic Pro and Titan.
Mucho Mountain Options
All the popular favorites return with their specifically descriptive names as well as the new SKS 146. Choose from six core models in 2023, with sub-configurations of various motors and tracks to give you a whopping 26 different options that can tackle the deepest terrain. All in-season offerings will be only the 650 and 850 motors, where Patriot Boost and 9R can be secured via pre-order within the Pro RMK/Khaos Slash models. No more is there a choice for the Axyz platform anywhere here as all of the full size mountain lineup transitions exclusively to Matryx.
New for ’23, the Khaos now comes with Patriot Boost and 9R motor options as well as the standard 850 returning from 2022. The 9R Khaos will only be offered in a 146” length where the 850 and Patriot boost will be in a 155”, 163” and 165” track lengths. The Khaos and Pro RMK Slash models will now be available in-season in all track lengths as the standard Pro RMK is now only offered in a 155”… however now has the 650 Patriot as an extra option.
The somewhat newcomer to the mountain lineup, Matryx 650 SKS is dubbed the crossover of a crossover. With characteristics between a Switchback and mountain sled, it boasts good deep snow capabilities with superior on-trail performance. Its 39-41” adjustable front suspension finally offers a mid-width front end between the trail/crossover lineup and the RMK/Khaos 36-38”. Standard options also include a 146” x 2” crossover track, LED lighting and smart warmers, but only with the Pro CC rear suspension and IFP shock package.
Patriot 9R Big Bore!
You will need to find something different next season to pass the time in your garage modding your new sled while waiting for the snow to fall. Polaris has done the work for you with the factory big bore 900cc Patriot Engine. All the mods needed to squeeze that last bit of power from a stock engine come pre-configured for your ease and fun. Offering an estimated 7% increase in horsepower and 12% increase in torque at any elevation versus a standard 850 this fast revving naturally aspirated beast will give you near Patriot Boost power at sea level in a slightly lighter weight package. Its low inertia design features a lightweight crank and flywheel paired with the P22 clutch, which provides you with a very snappy package. Only available on the Pro RMK and Khaos Slash models for 2023.
Cool Air Kid!
Budget seekers and youth riders have a lot of options to choose from with the extensive lineup of entry level sleds still offered in 2023, that fit in nearly every riding segment. Youth and beginner riders have the classic trailing arm 120 Indy, the Evo 121” and Evo RMK 144”. Segment buyers can choose from the Indy Sport for trails, Switchback Sport for crossover use, 550 Voyager for work/utility and Indy Adventure for 2-up fun! All these sleds will share the same 550 fan motor with its proven durability mounted to the AXYZ platform and priced extremely reasonably for what you get in any package.
All New Bling
After you have solidified your choice of rides the options don’t stop there. Check out the enormous number of new accessories that are available for customizing your ride.
Auxiliary lights deliver 2000 Lumens of extra shine and are mounted on both sides of the stock headlight. These aux lights feature two options of light dispersion, flood for wider visibility and punch for farther down the trail lighting.
New Lock and Ride compatible Flex waterproof roll-up bags finally keep everything dry, plus there are built in foam knee pad options, waterproof dash storage, and more!
Snowcheck and Dealer Stock (will you be able to get one?)
For ’23, the window of opportunity to secure your new sled was much shorter this year, to be exactly only25 days. This of course is to head off any supply chain issues and delayed deliveries that we saw across the board from all the OEM’s and pretty much every other manufactured product imaginable in any market. While most, if not all, of the 2022’s have been delivered by the time of reading, this was offset by eliminating a huge allotment of the typical dealer stock units.
This season Polaris hopes to return the in-season impulse buying feature for those customers that had no intention of buying a sled until they stopped at their local dealer for a jug of oil and leave with a brand new machine off the showroom floor. Thus, the long ride home creating the correct excuse to their spouse as to why they HAD to get it.