With the recent focus on Arctic Cat’s CTEC-2 EPA certified 2-stroke and the company’s supply relationship with Yamaha for 4-strokes, competitor Polaris has been somewhat overshadowed.
So what’s coming from Roseau, Minnesota? For the past five years, Polaris has made no bones about the fact it has felt the future of snowmobiles lies with 2-stroke engines.
Although its Weber-supplied 750 has been an excellent and surprisingly powerful engine when turbocharged, the brass still feel snowmobilers want the lightness and efficiency of 2-strokes. Recent info from ISMA (the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association) seems to indicate this strategy may be flawed.
Fully 25-percent of the market is now 4-stroke and no OEM can afford to walk away from that many prospective customers.
We think, without saying much, Polaris has been working on both 4-stroke and 2-stroke development for a few years now. We fully expect to see direct-injected Polaris 2-strokes by MY2016 and a line of built-in-the-USA 4-strokes even sooner.
Polaris has had incredible results from its DOHC parallel twin 4-strokes used in its ATVs and SxS vehicles. There are already two that could be utilized as snowmobile engines and both are pretty impressive. The just-released 1000cc version produces a naturally aspirated 107-hp and there’s a completely under-stressed 900 that makes easy power in the 80-plus range.
By utilizing Polaris’s deep knowledge of turbocharging, these engines could cover a lot of bases and make power in ranges from 110-hp upward into the 180-hp stratosphere.
Both Cat and Ski-Doo have set the bar high for 2-strokes and you can bet Polaris is well aware of it. We think there are big things brewing and Polaris knows full well it won’t gain market share without major upgrades in engine development.