There’s been a flood of chatter about the prospects of Polaris bringing a new 4-stroke to the market for 2021.
Yeah, we know, a lot of it has been propagated by us – but we’re kinda good at sorting out the hints and figuring out what’s coming down the pipe from the OEMs – even when their corporate jaws are clamped shut and no official word is forthcoming.
Here’s a couple of our thoughts on where Polaris will go when a new 4-stroke finally hits the showrooms.
1. We have doubts Polaris will come with a full-blown, turbocharged 4-stroke right out of the gate. Polaris has not offered a 4-stroke snowmobile for several years and the largest part of the 4-stroke market is trail-based sleds. This is the segment they should attack first.
2. Thus, we think the new Polaris will be a naturally aspirated 4-stroke triple. The question is: How much power?
3. We think the power range Polaris should address is somewhere between 110 and 125. Why this range?
4. There’s a huge gap in the marketplace right now for a 4-stroke to replace Ski-Doo’s 130-hp 1200 4-TEC triple. Right now Ski-Doo 4-stroke customers have to choose between a 95-hp ACE 900 or a 150-hp Turbo.
The 1170cc 4-TEC was a very fast sled and is much missed by the Ski-Doo faithful, some who bought multiple copies over its tenure. Its price was extremely attractive to the masses compared to the faster but much more expensive 900 ACE turbo.
5. A big consideration: By offering a 4-stroke in a more subdued power range, Polaris gets to consumer test its new sled in a category where there are first, a lot more customers, and second, riders who are going to use the sled for more than just blasting lakes at full throttle.
6. Right now Polaris has a unique advantage with the lightness, performance and handling of the Indy/Axys platform. It’s entirely believable a heavier 4 stroke engine would perform better in the Polaris chassis than the competition.
7. We’ll go out on a limb and say the new 4-stroke will make about 110 horsepower – actually lower on the scale than the old 4TEC and less than the 2020 130 horsepower Viper.
However, a 110HP Polaris 4-stroke would have about 15 more ponies than a 900 ACE – enough to be truly noticeable – and maybe grab the attention of shoppers in the 900’s price range.
8. We’re guessing a turbocharged Polaris 4-stroke is inevitable. When will it arrive? Hard to even speculate on this topic when we haven’t seen a non-turbo mill.
Let’s say this – whenever a turbo 4-stroke engine arrives it will have enough power to grab the attention of Cat and Yamaha turbo owners.