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This year’s focus on Ski-Doo’s 800 E-TEC has probably overshadowed the new 800 Cleanfire 2-stroke Polaris introduced for 2011.

We’ve ridden this engine thousands of klicks already this year and we can honestly, without hesitation, endorse it as one of the best engines of 2011.

It’s performance is right there with the E-TEC and, if the EPA info we’ve been getting is correct, this is a super-clean engine too with very little smoke emitted at warm-up and while riding it.

Polaris did a lot of late season and spring testing of this mill in Chile last year and it must have really paid off. The way the motor starts and runs and its consistent uber performance is a big payoff for the extra work the engineers put into it.

We’ve evaluated the engine both in the RUSH and in the Assault Switchback and in all kinds of different temperatures and snow conditions.

Its variation in power output and in the way it runs is nearly nil. We gotta give a big-hats-off to Polaris for this effort.

Certainly, the whiz-bang hype of direct-injection gets a lot more press and sizzle, but this motor is a big breakthrough and will inspire a lot of confidence in the Polaris brand.

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