If you’re predisposed to mostly flatland snowmobiling, an important new, 2023 Polaris powerplant may have slipped by you this past spring.
Here’s the skinny: Polaris is offering – in limited numbers – a 900cc normally aspirated, factory modified Patriot twin. The engine is completely spun off the current 850 Patriot twin architecture but has myriad factory modifications that produce a 7-percent improvement in peak HP and a nearly 20-percent jump in peak torque. These are not inconsequential numbers.
Without getting bogged down in techno-details, let’s analyze what Polaris is up to with this mostly unprecedented move. First, Polaris is obsessed with maintaining its market share lead in the deep snow market. Offering this one-of-a-kind factory mod (basically a hillclimb powerplant) engine to the masses gives Polaris a leg up on the competition (Read: Ski-Doo) in the top hillclimb classes.
That’s not rocket science and this bald faced, unapologetic introduction of a mill using a plethora of CNC Billet machined parts is a calculated investment in the continued strong equity Polaris and its RMK brand hold in the western market.
Okay, are you good with this analysis so far? Here’s where we step off the obvious path and think about the future. If Polaris can mass produce these 9R engines in sufficient numbers and offer a full factory warranty, we have to believe there’s more up the Polaris corporate sleeve.
Last time I checked it was made crystal clear to me that if you build more of whatever you have expertise building, something called “economies of scale” kicks in and makes every unit you build more profitable as you build another, and another and another.
Would flatland, trail and boondocking buyers be interested in the 9R to power their MATRYX Indy VR1, Indy XCR or Matryx Assault? Ah, yes they would. Hands down, running away they would! In fact, we think the perfect place for the 9R to go next is in an XCR variant – the XC-9R.
The improvement in throttle response from a low inertia crank and flywheel are enough to put you in front of your power crazed buds on normally aspirated 850 Patriots. What about nose-to-nose down Kevlar Lake with an 850 Boost? We estimate the 9R will step out on the Turbo for the first 100 to 150 feet but then the enormous power of the now fully boosted turbo fights back with a ridiculous surge of bare-chested thrust. Keep in mind, an XC-9R would be at least 20 pounds lighter than the Boost Indy VR.
If all this takes you deeper into your speed induced psychosis – we’re with you. If we were Polaris we would look very seriously at leaving the big switch on at the end of the Osceola 9R engine production line for maybe 20 minutes a day – for a couple weeks, then merge those engines with a full-on ditch-banger-ready XC-9R Matryx .
Polaris could dream up any kind of MSRP they want for this new model as long as they kept the total numbers relatively low and Snow Check-only available. After all, only a year ago most snowmobilers wouldn’t have believed Polaris would take the 850 Boost to the trails.
What do you think?