Ski-Doo XP 800R X vs Polaris Dragon 800 SP

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Dear Motorhead,

I was hoping you could help me decide between a XP 800R X and the Dragon 800 SP. I ride 60% trail and 40% ditch riding and like to pound drifts and do a little jumping (usually into some soft snow). Which suspension/chassis is better for ditch riding/jumping and handling?

Which engine is better? I’ve heard the SP is the strongest 800 and has less vibration. I have also heard that the XP is really quick but hits a wall at 100 mph and therefore isn’t all that fast

I also wanted to know about any updates to the Doo. I understand the driveshaft problems were vendor related and should be fixed for 09. I also heard the ride in 08 was over sprung and over damped but the 09 suspension is recalibrated and uses a new rear arm. I also heard the X seat foam that gets sacked out, leaving you to ride the tank, is being changed to adrenaline foam.

How does the 09 XP suspension compare to 08 and the 09 Dragon SP?

Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Kerry Johnson


Thanks for your email!

I recognize your name and I think we’ve talked before. Your question is being asked by a thousand snowmobilers – right now – and is one of the biggees for this season.

The SD XP-X 800 has been improved. It now rides well and has a new seat foam bun – not the Adrenaline seat.

The drive shaft issue is covered and the adjustability of the X package shocks will allow owners to dial in more or less compression damping from a much softer baseline. The sled rides good now.

The XP 800 is light, aggressive and handles very flat. it jumps somewhat differently than anything we’ve ridden. You are way far forward. However, the sled is a great trail carver. Again, it is light and nothing comes close to its low weight.

The engine is carbed and very edgy – somewhat rough – and has a heavy throttle pull. However, it is good on fuel. The sled will pull big top end numbers – we did not experience any “nosing over” at the C-note. In fact the sled finger walks pretty hard past 110.

The new SP is the best IQ Polaris has built. The engine is smooth, unrepentantly fast – particularly at the big end and is reasonably fuel efficient. It is SDI so it is very smooth and has a light throttle pull. Top end is wild.

The new SP skid is incredible when jumping – in particular when jumping big. The sled rides way plush on trails but can withstand huge landings – without bumping preload. It’s almost strange the way it works.

The new A-frames and sway bar provide exceptionally flat handling however not quite as flat as the XP but just as predictable. What we mean is the XP has little or no inside ski-lift but the SP gives lots of warning and latitude to compensate when it does. If you like the way an IQ handles now – you’ll like the SP better.

From a reliability perspective we have to say our Polaris sleds were the best among all the rides we had in our PR fleet this year. We have had virtually no problems whatsoever with Polaris units (we have four of them) and would feel safe in saying they have really improved in this area in MY 08.

This is a hard call and I can tell you, our guys are pretty evenly split around here on which chassis they like best. Having said that, you are definitely comparing the two we would compare if we were spending our own money on an 800 ditch rocket.

How about this – we don’t think you can go wrong.

Hope this helps!

Motorhead Mark

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