Each season on SnowTrax Television I try to pick a sled I’m going to do a little sumthin’-sumthin’ to, and last year’s rebirth of the Polaris SKS RMK drew me in.
Since off-trail riding in the flatlands had been growing in popularity, I knew the extra bulkhead cooler and wheels in the skidframe would make for a perfect flatland off-trail shredder, and so to the chopping block I went.
The SKS weighed in significantly heavier than the basic 155 Pro RMK, which was just shy of 410 pounds. The SKS’s extra 30 pounds is due to the extra cooler, coolant, rear skid wheels, piggyback shocks, traditional chaincase drive system as well as other parts and pieces. Would I have liked the RMK Pro? Yes. Would it have been the right sled for the flats? Nope!
MBRP offers two exhaust systems for the SKS and both see huge weight reductions as well as solid performance gains. The trail exhaust system reduced the weight of our project sled by ten whole pounds and because of the reasonable decibel level is trail legal in most states. The race version is a little louder, but does save an extra three pounds.
When it came to suspension, the stock Walker Evans shocks were okay, but okay wasn’t what I was going for, so I opted for the Stage 5 Elka shock package allowing nearly limitless adjustability via wide-range clickers in the high and low speed compression department as well as a wide range rebound clicker and a true dual rate spring set up. While the Elkas are a little heavier than the Walkers, I was more than happy to sacrifice a pound to gain the superior suspension compliance.
Style is a big deal in off-trail riding, everyone wants to look like they slay powder for breakfast, lunch and dinner and bring the message home with a crazy wrap or something that says they’re the shiz-nit. Personally, I’m more into the sexy approach, so I drilled the powder track stock orange running boards off and a few pop rivets later had a sweet set of black Powdertracs installed, which look great and got a lot of attention throughout the season.
The skid needed some additional help for the days a bit of trail riding was required to get to the best off-trail play areas. Because I had the 2.25 competition track on the SKS I knew there would be some sliders hungry for a little snow to cool them down. Ice scratchers from Polaris go on pretty easy and are that extra bit of insurance for when you’re done getting stuck for the day and have to cruise 30 miles of trail back to the truck. You’re going to stay slippery with these without giving off the pungent smell of Hyfax.
While I’m talking about added protection I opted for a Polaris skid plate covering the front bulkhead and belly area so when you hit something buried in the powder, and we all do, you’ll be able to save the important bits from too much abuse.
Increasing wind protection was another answer from the Polaris catalog with a cool flat black windscreen that added some important protection. Polaris screens go on with just a few push darts and if you roll your sled over when getting unstuck, they seem to stay put very well, not popping off like some other brands do.
Hidden behind the Lexan was a handy goggle and glove storage bag from Pure Polaris. It’s an easy install and holds your goggles and an extra pair of gloves so you’re not pulling your backpack off to get some clear vision. The design causes zero interference with the handlebars or grab bar and it’s nice to know you’ve got some extra space to store stuff.
There’s never a doubt you’re going to get stuck when you’re haulin’ the mail off-trail. It’s gonna happen and if you can get yourself out quicker and easier, well that’s more energy for getting stuck again. The AXYS extreme rear bumper was a must-have for my project. It not only stiffened up the tunnel, but also provided a much larger area to plant my digits when grabbing a handful of backache to get the SKS unstuck. It’s also all-black like the runningboards and looks killer against the orange tunnel.
It was a no-brainer to plan to carry extra fuel out back with the incredibly simple, adjustable fuel can holder from Pure Polaris. It fits a bunch of gas can designs and uses the T-slots in the tunnel to mount. A couple of thumb screws and an adjustable buckle strap and voilà, there’s the insurance plan strapped down and ready.
I like to bring some stuff with me when I ride off-trail. In the mountains it’s really important to be prepared, even if you’re not expecting to be stuck overnight. Having some extras could be life or death and the Burandt Tunnel Bags give you the space you need to store food, water, safety gear, a shovel or just about anything you could imagine. Like the fuel can holder, this install uses the T-slot tunnel mounts and goes on in 30 seconds.
Finally, a handlebar-mounted Pure Polaris storage bag gives you a great place for your phone, an FRS radio, a bottle of water that’s easily accessible and anything else you might need that’s usually in your pockets allowing you to be free to move around on the sled unencumbered by bulky items. Plus, when you hit the “ejecto” button and find yourself pine tree fresh, your phone won’t be busted and your pants won’t be wet from a leaking bottle of water. However we can’t guarantee they won’t be wet from something else in a situation like that.
All things considered, the SKS was one of my favorite projects. Sure we didn’t hack and cut and weld anything onto it, but that sled worked so incredibly well with just a few minor adjustments, it’ll have a special place in my mental garage for some time.