The big question is this: How much power do you really need?
Sure, a lot of snowmobile shoppers would argue, “If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound”; meaning if you’ve got your wallet out, why go for a 95-130 horsepower sled if you can spend a few more bucks and get a 160-200-hp one?
The hard truth is this – and it’s challenging to get power-hungry buyers to fully understand what we’re proposing here – not everyone wants or most certainly, needs more than the 130-hp ceiling this line-up offers.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular (and largest selling) trail sleds that fall splat into the middle of the power wars.
2021 POLARIS INDY XCR: Two Ways Get It Right!
When it comes to wannabe race sleds for actual trail riders, Polaris approaches the market in two distinctly different ways.
Both of the Polaris XCR models are targeted at the same market, but the company has chosen to offer the longer tracked Switchback XCR in the 137-inch Pro-Ride chassis using external shock technology and the 129-inch version of the XC in the Indy AXYS platform using conventional shock-in-tunnel tech.
We’re not sure why Polaris went this direction in MY 2021, but we tend to think it may have something to do with the intro of the new MATRYX platform this year.
Since either XCR is very, very close to being a competitive ditch warrior suitable for racing, we believe there just wasn’t enough time to get a new MATRYX calibrated to fit the bill of a very exclusive market.
Why continue with the Pro-Ride version in a 137-inch chassis? We think it has a lot to do with the past performance of this sled.
Frankly, The Switchback XCR is a fabulous example of the fine-tuning of an AXYS PRO-RIDE chassis and has proven its performance without any doubt in the past.
I guess the best answer is to ask another question: “Why mess with something that works so doggone good when it’s so likely there will be a completely clean sheet of paper in the next year or two?”
This brings up another interesting observation: If you want to know what the XCR future looks and performs like, borrow a ride on the 2021 Indy XCR 129.
This sled combines a jumbo set of Walker Evans WER compression and rebound adjustable piggybacks with a “race-inspired” Pro-CC coupled skid with rail doublers. There’s also a high performance brake with an external air scoop for cooling the brake pads when you’re running hard in tight areas.
We don’t even need to mention handling. Suffice to say, these two XCRs are at the top of the heap for knifing under your buddies in corners. Flat, predictable and accurate!
Both versions of the XCR use the SDI Liberty 600 Cleanfire and although this engine hasn’t been modified beyond subtle tweaks to the ECU and the clutching, it’s still the same efficient and reliable 2-stroke twin.
We can only guess if Polaris will go all-out in the future and make all XCRs Patriot 650s. We know what we’d do but that doesn’t mean Polaris will risk eliminating itself from some classes of competition. Hmm, I wonder what a 600cc Patriot would perform like?
As it is, Polaris will sell – or already has sold – every XCR it can roll off the assembly lines in Roseau this year. Good on them – and good on the riders who bought one. These two sleds are amazing!