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Sure, there’s plenty of talk out there about Polaris and Cat bumping their 800 2-strokes up to 850ccs to match Ski-Doo.

Seems logical the whole industry would follow suit and inflate displacements so everything is uniform.

The other side of the argument asks: Why bother? Those two 800s are making power so close to the E-TEC 850, it seems like an unnecessary bother to try to match it with same-displacement.

I mean really, it’s not like the 850 E-TEC is running away and hiding from either the Cleanfire or Cat DSI down the lake.

Ski-Doo set the bar at 162-hp and whether you’re checking independent dyno numbers or manufacturer’s claims, the end result is a set of three engines that deliver very similar results.

Considering the above, when asked if the 800 Polaris is enough, we have to say it really is – and here’s why:

First, if you’ve ever ridden this 800 in a long tracked chassis in the powder, you’ll know how responsive it is to throttle input. Frankly, we don’t know of any other engine that tips-in better than this one.

It feels like a snocross open class engine, with immediate throttle response and zero lag or hesitation as it climbs up to its redline.

It is the definition of strong, with a rat-a-tat power delivery gnawing big chunks of torque that makes you feel like some kind of Herculean rider when you tap it.

Second, considering it’s a big-inch twin, the 800 Cleanfire is very smooth and because Polaris has done its homework with engine mounting and harmonics, it doesn’t transfer nasty vibes up into the bars, running boards or seat.

No one ever talks about smoothness with this engine but it really is surprisingly polite and refined. This is a very good trait for trail riders stacking up big miles.

Third, in every AXYS chassis this 800 is planted in, it delivers excellent, low-friction top end and monster acceleration.

Sure, some of it is due to Polaris clutching, but the big thing to consider is how everything, engine, clutches and chassis works together to generate power.

We wonder if Polaris bumped displacement the extra 6-percent to get to 850ccs, it might not make much difference at all.

Kent Lester
Kent Lester
Kent Lester is Co-Publisher of SUPERTRAX Magazine and a regular contributor to this website.

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