It’s not easy to take a modern snowmobile design and shave off double digits of mass.
Polaris began its AXYS weight reduction program with very broad strokes and re-wrote the former RUSH platform from the ground up.
The rear suspension is completely new although it still uses the external shock layout we’re familiar with. All the linkage and arms in the upper shock system have been vastly lightened.
The engineers claim by using much aluminum and thinner wall steel they’ve been able to reduce weight in the new PRO-XC suspension by a whopping 13-lbs! Chassis strength at both the front and rear is actually better than the RUSH.
With the seat removed you can see how the mounting setup at the rear is now firmly tied to the tunnel and a whole system of “overstructure” for the rear end was eliminated. The huge arm that squishes the upper rear shock is now fully made of extruded aluminum.
At the front, with the bodywork stripped away, you can see tubular carbon fiber supports running over the top of the engine are used to keep the front of the sled super rigid.
Polaris’ unique bonding (super-strength glue) process is in full use everywhere in the front end of the sled. The 800 engine lost significant weight, too.
Polaris claims the dry weight of the new AXYS, using a 120-inch track is now 32-lbs lighter than a Ski-Doo REV-XS. They claim the new AXYS Switchback with a 137-inch track is 34-lbs lighter than a 2014 Ski-Doo Renegade.
If this is accurate, it means Ski-Doo no longer holds claim to producing the lightest sleds in the Mountain, FreeRide, Crossover and Performance Trail categories.
Yup, the big wheel keeps turning in this business and it opens the door for a whole new world of products over the next five years.