Polaris Switchback 600: Off-Trail Handling

Here’s an inside look at how the Polaris Switchback 600 tackles ditches, untramped lakes and open play areas. Read on:

Forget about the 144-inch Switchbacks of the past. This 136-inch IQ exceeds the performance and maneuverability of the 144 by a wide margin on lakes, in ditches or when carving up powder snow.

The IQ’s handling in the deep stuff is in no small way linked to its exceptional mill. This section isn’t about power but it’s clear, the SB 600 is in love with its engine. So are we.

The SB is happiest stretching its legs on big pulls down Kevlar Lake. The extra flotation of the longer sneaker combines with nice weight balance and the IQ’s variable castor IFS.

This varying spindle castor responds to the sled’s extended front suspension in deep snow by straightening up the spindles. This promotes stronger steering response in the loose stuff with virtually no nervousness.

The long track ergos are well suited to flatland deep snow running with a comfy bend on the fixed handlepole handlebars. Polaris heard our crowing about the absence of hookers on base model prototype Switchbacks and responded.

They’re now standard equipment on the production line models. A nice functional windshield and well thought out intake plumbing keep snow off the rider and out of the airbox.

There’s a marked improvement in handling with this new 136-inch skid versus the overly-long-for-flatland-deep-snow-use 144 unit used since 2004. The sled can be powder hooked, thrown around in ditches and turned end-to-end in much tighter quarters now.

What didn’t we like about the new SB? Not much. However, here’s the problem: The Crossfire is a purpose-built deep snow weapon and the XP is just too light to ignore.

In actual fact the Switchback is the third lightest Crossover in this comparo but in this category of comparison – deep snow, we like it second best.

Read the whole Crossover Comparo article in Supertrax Volume 19, Number 2!

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