2020 BEST IN CLASS: BEST CROSSOVER SLED
Another Year, Another Battle! These Guys Think They're Right. What Do You Think?
WINNER: 850 INDY SWITCHBACK ASSAULT 144
No wonder I'm always right, Kent. The Indy Switchback 144 has been the benchmark in the X-over segment since the sled was first introduced with an 800 Liberty. Our insightful readers are in full agreement with my enlightenment surrounding this important segment.
What's at the root of this amazing dual-purpose, capable trail, capable off- trail ride? It's about balance. Everyone in this biz wants to claim it has the best 50/50 X-over every year… then they build two crossover sleds to satisfy their customers.
The drill seems to be this: Build a 75/25 trail biased X-over for wannabes and a 75/25 off-trail one for hardcores. All the while Polaris keeps building the Switchback Assault 144 that hits a homerun for this segment with one sled powered by three different engines, an 850, 800 and a 600.
We have a pretty diverse group of pilots here at Supertrax/SnowTrax Top Secret World HQ who ride thousands of klicks every winter.
I rely on their expert opinions when things get as complex as they are in the crossover segment. If Kent would simply settle down and resource these assets he too could share in my enlightenment. He doesn’t. The riders here all agree the 144 SB Assault is the only true 50/50 ride.
If a day's trail riding lies ahead, this sled's near-perfect handling will keep you at the front of your pack. If a day of boondocking in untramped pow is in order, the Assault can lead the way. If this sounds like there’s no downside to the Switchback Assault, you would be correct.
Now available with Polaris' superb 850 Liberty, the equation just got stronger. Limitless off-trail power and competitive on-trail squeeze. It's all you need in one package, Kent.
RUNNER-UP: ARCTIC CAT RIOT 8000
When it comes to being open-minded, Mark's brain is like a steel bear trap: Completely clamped shut!
Polaris hasn't changed the SW Assault's design for several years (Mark' quote: Yeah, I know; it's because it's so good) and the competition has been sneaking up on it.
This year, Cat brought out a completely revised version of a crossover called the RIOT. This is the first time we've actually liked a standard version of a model more than the premium one – in this case, the RIOT X.
Why? Because the baseline RIOT uses new IQS trail front end geometry, a revised uncoupled skidframe lengthened to 146-inches and my favorite track – a 1.6 lugged Camso.
Frankly, it doesn't cater to a bunch of flatlanders who are trying to be mountain riding wannabees. The RIOT performs admirably in powder and exceeds expectations on trails.
Mark, do you think Arctic Cat hasn't been watching the Assault's success? The engineers knew exactly what was needed and built the RIOT to exceed the Assault's prowess as a crossover. Done deal!
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