Think of this report as a verbal walk-around. We’re going to give you as much info in as few words as possible.
The overall visual presentation of this snowmobile is like nothing Polaris has ever delivered. It exudes a tight, clean and smooth look with tight-fitting body panels, paint with no orange peel and a touchy-feely look in front of the bars.
Up front the VR1 delivers unrivalled technology. The 7s screen can be navigated by touch (with gloves on), the left switch cluster or toggle switches mounted on the display.
The whole set-up is so intuitive even our “old tech” staffers could perform rudimentary (and moderately complex) tasks. Polaris scores a ten out of ten here.
The left side switch cluster is also clean and intuitive, giving riders the opportunity to navigate while underway. The new automatic preset handlebar and thumb heater control is near-perfect. This tech is not gimmickry – it works.
Finally, the versatility of the 7s as a gauge is without equal. It is so easy to call up tripometers, engine temperature, fuel level and to move all these elements around to your preferred location within the giant 7s screen.
MATRYX ergonomics are officially the best in the biz – even with a fixed handlebar riser. The seat is narrow at the top and front and flat at the middle and rear.
The tunnel is pyramidal at the top and provides noticeably more room for the rider. To put it more clearly, this is the closest you’re going to get to dirt-bike ergos. In typical Polaris style you simply lean forward for more bite and lean back for a light feel up front.
The IFS is made better looking with new cast (rather than extruded) spindles that can be painted in your fave color. To say the VR1 corners precisely is like saying a ZR-1 Vette is quick. Both are understatements. This, friends, is the benchmark in the sno-mo-biz for predictable turn-in, strong on-center and mid-turn feel and precise high-speed control.
The latest version of Polaris’ Pro-CC skid in this 129 inch variant is clearly targeted at Ski-Doo’s rMotion. Is it as good? In deep whoops and square edgers it delivers full measure against the new rMotion X. In lighter chop and trail moguls it is one click away from the Ski-Doo skid.
One area where Pro CC gives nothing away is weight transfer. We mean both front-to-rear and side-to-side. Pro CC delivers a weighted outside ski on initial turn-in with a light inside ski posture. However it never produces an abrupt one-ski incident. Weight transfer front to rear is welcome, playful and totally throttle and rider position controlled.
The ability to order your MATRYX in a plethora of colors means you can have a completely unique-to-you look. This blue and silver VR1 is getting compliments everywhere we go. Make sure you get a tour of the front storage cavern when you meet a MATRYX on the trail.
The storage area behind the display screen is nothing short of heroic. Caution! Check for small people hitching a ride in there. Even the seat comes off producing another nicely sized trunk.
After a couple of months riding it, the 650 Patriot is the bomb. The 600 class just got re-worked and this engine will convince you of this reality in one ride. Power delivery is exceptionally smooth because the 650 uses the same proprietary engine mounting system as the 850. This is notable because there is no torque stop. Eliminating the torque stop rids the chassis of vibes under full throttle. Every torque stop equipped sled does this. Not this one.
The mid-range is where the 650 shines. There is a large bubble of torque-rich power available at the 5500 to 6000 RPM zone which transitions into a nice 8,250 shift RPM wail. This new engine is remarkably fuel efficient and oil miserly. Start-up smoking is noticeably reduced. Keep in mind this engine is a close relative of the 850 Patriot.
That’s our quick take on the 2021 Indy VR1 Matryx 650 129.