2010 Polaris Sleds

March 5, 2009
Filed under Polaris, Snowmobile Reviews, Snowmobiling Features

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Polaris’ 2010 model lineup is headlined with its new top-performance offering: the new 600 Rush.

With an innovative suspension that gives the machine a look all its own, it’s big news for the industry’s latest model year and something that could influence how snowmobiles are designed in the future.

Polaris also brought back and updated its former LX designation, updated the IQ line cosmetically and expanded its utility lineup. The Liberty 700 Cleanfire engine and the carbed 600 HO are gone from the lineup as Polaris expands the use of its 600 HO Cleanfire2 twin-injector engine across the categories.

Polaris Launches Its New Top-Performance 600 Rush

Arguably, the biggest news item for 2010 snowmobiles is from the Polaris camp: its new 600 Rush. It’s unlike any snowmobile to ever hit the snow. One look confirms it’s a different machine. While time will measure the sled’s market impact, we know enough to call the machine innovative with its progressive rate rear suspension.


Power comes from the Liberty 600 HO Cleanfire2 engine that delivers about 120 hp. The engine is mounted low and it’s a good runner, but the attraction to the machine is its unique rear suspension that is a coup from convention.

A quick glance is the only thing needed to determine the sled is different. The unique, mechanical-looking linkage moves the rear arm and rear track shock outside of the conventional skidframe. Polaris compares the Pro Ride progressive-rate rear suspension to a dirt bike. Every suspension works to isolate bumps, but the Pro Ride doesn’t bottom — its suspension rate rises parallel with the suspension load. It’s a system designed to eliminate the spine crunching, bottoming out effect of other suspensions, and the geometry makes a harsh impact “event” last longer so the shock is more effective to dampen the load.

The Pro Ride rear suspension has 14 inches of travel and features a Walker Evans remote reservoir shock with an easy-access clicker for compression adjustment and a threaded spring preload adjustment. Polaris said turning the compression just 4 of the 16 clicks makes a big difference with its performance, and the shock preload adjustment is also a weight-transfer tuning mechanism.

Front suspension is familiar IQ but there are some differences. A-arm mounting is trick with easy access to bolts for swapping out a wounded leg. The front bulkhead is unique to the new chassis, but much of the geometry is the same. At the time of the media sneak peek, Polaris was still testing what ski would be used come production.

While the rear suspension is innovative, there’s new manufacturing innovation for the snowmobile industry, too. The Pro Ride chassis uses unique, epoxy-like structural bonding in place of welds or rivets. Polaris said the joints are stronger, they ease manufacturing and yield much-improved frame member alignment. It’s a critical step to the overall chassis rigidity, which compared to the IQ chassis, the Pro Ride is 60 percent stiffer overall. Over-the-engine steering and the perimeter and triangulated framework help up front, and Polaris’ X-shaped, under-seat crossmembers that link to the forward shock mount of the Pro Ride rear system work to reduce chassis flex.

The cab is a hybrid design. It’s got the current trend of faceted, diamond-cut styling but there is visible Polaris DNA. The long, slender nose and hood vents speak Indy. It’s a completely new design, but recognizably a Polaris. The cockpit is conducive for easy standing or sitting, and while on the Rush in either position it feels slender and compact. Its minimalist styling offers the perception of a lightweight. Polaris claims a dry weight of 459 pounds.

When we rode it, we realized that one of the things that made the Rush rider active is the position and its influence on chassis behavior. The weight transfer characteristics are drastically different when riding on the rear of the seat versus up against the fuel tank. Like a motocross bike, shifting weight rearward on the seat and staying on the throttle is the way to navigate through stutter bumps or get the best traction. Riding with the body forward made the sled corner flatter, more stable and it created better overall corner control. The rigid chassis corners as predictably as the IQ, but with greater stability and with less inside ski lift.

It’s too early to tell whether this sled will prove to be a game-changer, but one thing is for certain: the 600 Rush will mark the point in time when the industry first realized the benefits of a progressive-rate rear suspension.


Polaris Offers More Choices For Snow Check

During the 2010 Snow Check period, Polaris Dragon and Dragon RMK customers can choose a different hood color than the base matte red. Matte black, matte silver and white are also options. All of them come with a special Snow Check-only Dragon graphics package.

IQ Performance Models Get Updates

The P2 driven clutch that was first used on a few 2009 models is now across the board in the Polaris performance segment. Polaris said the clutch improves performance and durability and also promotes cooler belt temperatures.

The 600 IQ and 800 IQ get upgraded with a lightweight plastic and aluminum front bumper that was on the Assault and Dragon SP machines in 2009. Polaris said the slimmer design moves through snow easier and the bumper is more durable and functional than the plastic unit it replaces.


The Liberty 600 HO Cleanfire2 engine that was on the Shift 136 in 2009 powers the 600 IQ. Polaris claims its latest 600-class engine has better fuel economy and reduced emissions.

The 550 IQ Shift is the only 2010 model with the “Shift” designation. With the expiration of the 600 HO carb engine, Polaris said it could no longer offer the 600 Shift as a value machine because it would have required the costlier Cleanfire2 fuel system. In addition to the value-oriented 550 IQ Shift, the performance lineup consists of the 600 and 800 IQ, IQ Turbo Dragon and the 800 Dragon IQ.

LX Moniker Makes A Comeback In The Crossover Segment

After a year of absence and telling former LX buyers to buy Switchback models, the LX branding returns to the Polaris lineup to make shopping easier.

Two new LX sleds, the 600 LX and Turbo LX, are based on the Switchback platform all using the coupled 136 rear suspension to bridge trail bumps. They join the four Switchbacks, a standard and Dragon package with either the Liberty 600 Cleanfire2 or the Liberty 800 engine.


Because the focus of the LX nameplate is comfort, there are other features that come standard on the sleds. A 16.5-inch windshield, a storage bag affixed to the freestyle seat and handlebar-mounted mirrors are standard to both. The Turbo LX has the adjustable Rider Select steering system.

The 600 LX is powered by the Liberty 600 HO Cleanfire2 engine that was first on snow for the 2009 model year, and the Turbo LX is fired by the turbo four stroke engine rated at 145 hp on duty for several seasons.

The LX sleds and Switchbacks get the lightweight plastic and aluminum bumper, and the 600 LX and 600 Switchback models get the P2 clutch.

Eight Is Enough For The Mountains

A total of eight Polaris sleds compose the deep-snow segment, all carryover models. The 800 Dragon RMK comes in both a 163- and 155-inch configuration. The base-model 800 RMK is a 155-incher and the backcountry special 800 Assault RMK has a 146-inch track and specialized ergonomics. The 600 RMK 144 and the 800 RMK 144 are both equipped with the Freestyle seat to improve rider comfort. A 600 RMK 155 is also available and returns unchanged, as does the fleet-special, EDGE-chassis Trail RMK using the 550 fan engine.

New 600 WideTrak IQ Expands Polaris Touring/Utility Lineup

Polaris’ IQ WideTrak platform that was new last year has been expanded now that the Liberty 600 HO Cleanfire2 engine was queued up for duty. The two-injector engine is mated to the P2 clutch driving a 20- by 156- by 1.25-inch track surrounding the Utility/Tipped rear suspension, with 11 inches of travel. Up front, the IQ IFS has Nitrex shocks and 10 inches of travel.

The driver is informed by the digital multi-function display with a speedo, tach, fuel gauge and temp/low oil light. A 12-volt DC outlet powers accessories.

The Polaris WideTrak LX and WideTrak IQ return unchanged. The WideTrak LX uses the 80 hp four stroke and the WideTrak IQ uses the venerable 500 liquid twin.

2010 Polaris model lineup

Name: 600 Rush

Big Change: New chassis

Name: 800 Dragon IQ

Big Change: Spring color options

Name: 800 IQ

Big Change: Lightweight plastic

Name: IQ Turbo Dragon

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 600 IQ

Big Change: Cleanfire2 engine

Name: 550 IQ Shift

Big Change: P2 clutch

Name: 800 Dragon Switchback

Big Change: Spring color options

Name: 800 Switchback

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 600 Dragon Switchback

Big Change: Spring color options

Name: 600 Switchback

Big Change: Cleanfire2 engine

Name: Turbo LX

Big Change: New model

Name: 600 LX

Big Change: New model

Name: 800 Dragon RMK 163

Big Change: Spring color options

Name: 800 Dragon RMK 155

Big Change: Spring color options

Name: 800 RMK 155

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 800 Assault RMK 146

Big Change: Color/graphics

Name: 800 RMK 144

Big Change: Freestyle seat

Name: 600 RMK 155

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 600 RMK 144

Big Change: Freestyle seat

Name: Trail RMK

Big Change: Graphics

Name: FST IQ Touring

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 600 IQ Touring

Big Change: P2 clutch

Name: Trail Touring

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 600 Widetrak IQ

Big Change: New Model

Name: WideTrak LX

Big Change: Graphics

Name: WideTrak IQ

Big Change: Graphics

Name: 120 Dragon

Big Change: Graphics

*Special color options available spring-only

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