We recently had a chance to wring out two very appealing 600cc sleds close to Supertrax’ home base.
The two we rode back-to-back were the 2020 Polaris Indy XC and the 2020 Ski-Doo MX-Z 600 X. Conditions were good with about six inches of powdery snow over a packed-down, icy base.
We rode trails for about 80 miles with the exception of about four miles of snow-covered lakes. Here are some of our impressions.
Both these sleds use 129-inch tracks. The Ski-Doo had a 1.6-inch Ice Ripper and the Indy used a 1.25. We love those deeper 1.5 and 1.6 tracks and the factory-installed studs are a real bonus. In these conditions it was hard to evaluate the difference in straight-ahead traction but we definitely noticed better stopping power with the Ski-Doo’s deeper track.
Other pluses for the Ski-Doo were the above-par ride of its rMotion skidframe, the velvet-smoothness of the E-TEC 600R powerplant and the “right-there” feedback from its pDrive clutch.
Polaris’ 600 SDI Cleanfire mill is also excellent and so is its clutching. Frankly, no complaints here with either sled but we did notice the Ski-Doo’s engagement was not as smooth as the XC’s at takeoff and even at low speeds when the sled was rolling.
Out back, it’s pretty obvious Polaris has been working hard on matching Ski-Doo’s rMotion ride compliance and we felt this year was a quantum leap. The Pro-CC 129 is so close to rMotion it takes a very sensitive butt to tell the difference.
The most noticeable feature of the XC compared to the MX-Z is the way the two front ends handle and steer. The Ski-Doo X was equipped with adjustable carbides and although super-handy for medium speed trail riding, they just don’t grip in the corners like Ski-Doo’s stockers or especially, the Polaris.
The XC’s handling was flat-out incredible and the sled provides the kind of confidence that has you looking at twigs on the trail to see how close you can come to apexing a turn using them as markers. The front end never gives up and is perhaps the most endearing thing about the Indy XC.
Also front end related was the absence of damping adjustable shocks on the MX-ZX’s front end. Surely, with a premium upgrade to the X you should get more adjustability! To be fair, Ski-Doo’s tunnel-mounted adjusters for the back end’s springs and damping are a great upgrade and likely take up much of the increased cost for the X.
The Indy’s Walker Evans front shocks have been carefully calibrated and offer a sensible range of adjustability. Frankly, we didn’t have to touch them and for fear of changing the sled’s impeccable handling, didn’t want to.
One surprise was a comparison between these two sleds’ fit and finish. There was a time when Ski-Doo and Yamaha led in this category but the Indy has come a country mile here. The paint and detail on the XC is every bit as “touchy-feely” as the Ski-Doo and its full-color instrumentation is way less confusing and easier to use.
Last, the flat seat on the Polaris is perfect for corner smashing and way more comfortable on long rides.
It’s tough to call a winner here but I can’t help but feel, when you compare MSRPs on these two – and there’s a significant difference – the Indy is more than just a smidge better!