Polaris expands affordable trail sled lineup for ’14
Indy line range now runs from 550 to 800cc
A more affordable and conventional alternative to the still-avant-garde Rush, Polaris has significantly expanded its lineup of Indy trail sleds for 2014 by unveiling seven additional models that include low-displacement, fan-cooled, crossover, lightweight utility, youth, touring and 800cc sport variants.
With recent investments in the mountain, on- and off-trail crossover and high-performance trail segments, the latest new model announcement from Polaris is positioned to reach nearly every remaining segment in the U.S. snowmobile market, as well as appeal to growing international markets.
The storied Indy name returned to the Polaris stable for the 2013 model year. Indy’s family grows in 2014 with five new models powered by a 550 fan-cooled two-stroke engine, while the remaining two are powered by the high-performance, liquid-cooled 600cc and 800cc Cleanfire engines also found throughout the company’s lineup.
Compared to the Rush that is based on the Pro-Ride chassis with its innovative tunnel and external rear suspension system, the Polaris Indy models mate the front of the Pro-Ride chassis with a more conventional under-tunnel rear suspension design.
From the bottom up, the new models include the 550 Indy 121 ($6,399), 550 Indy 144 ($6,999), 550 Indy LXT 144 ($7,399), 550 Indy Adventure 144 ($8,399), 550 Indy Voyager 144 ($7,499), 600 Indy Voyager 144 ($10,299) and 800 Indy SP ($10,599).
“Every dealer in the Polaris worldwide network now has an Indy model that is relevant for their customers,” said Chris Wolf, Polaris director of snowmobile. “More sleds for more riders means growth for both Polaris and our dealers.”
The 550 Indy 121 and 550 Indy 144 will primarily appeal to entry-level riders and rental businesses in the United States, while the models with longer tracks, 2-up seats and cargo racks are aimed at the growing snowmobile industry in locations such as Russia and Scandinavia.
With a rear passenger seat and cargo area behind its backrest, the 550 LXT is a 2-up snowmobile with a torsion spring rear suspension and less-aggressive 1-inch track. Mirrors come standard, and all long-track Indy models include electric start and a tall windshield.
The 550 Indy Adventure 144 is designed for on-trail riding with occasional utility use and, with an optional rear passenger seat, lightweight two-rider duty. As part of its Adventure Cargo System, two side-mounted Lock & Ride boxes with removable, zippered liners will accommodate utility customers and riders looking to travel — with gear — greater-than-average distances. A backrest and seat bags are available as accessories. Other features include mirrors, a wide 42.5-inch ski stance and a coil-over rear suspension with a 1.352-inch Cobra track.
Positioned for utility use, the 550 Indy Voyager — resurrecting another historic model name — is intended for towing or light work in addition to trail riding. It includes a tow hitch and the same behind-the-seat cargo area as the 550 Indy Adventure, but has additional off-trail features: Gripper skis and an adjustable ski stance (39 to 41 inches) to enable it to float atop the snow and directly compete with Ski-Doo’s Tundra.
Also new for the 2014 550 Indy models, Polaris installed CVTech clutches that the company claims are quieter and smoother, with more belt pinch force on the bottom end that is helpful in towing and slow-speed driving conditions.
Compared with the outgoing 550 IQ Shift based on an older chassis, the new 550 Indy models are a claimed 50 pounds lighter due to myriad changes including a lighter exhaust silencer, resulting in greater efficiency, performance and ease-of-use, especially off-trail.
Contrasting the new Pro-Ride-based models with the old IQ chassis, Wolf said the new Indys ride and handle better, have rider-friendly ergonomics that make the models easier to move around on and are more fun to ride.
Essentially a 600 RMK mountain sled with a cargo rack and a different name, the 600 Indy Voyager 144 is powered by the 599cc liquid-cooled Cleanfire engine with Gripper skis, a 2-inch Series 4 track and the RMK’s torsion spring rear suspension.
Replacing the base Rush
In a reaction to soft sales for the base model Rush, Polaris has discontinued the base 600cc and 800cc iterations of the Rush as it saw customers gravitating to fully-featured Rush Pro-R models. The new 800 Indy SP will replace the 800 Rush in the lineup for 2014, with many of the same features and a lower price point.
For 2013, the base 800 Rush started at $10,999, while the 2014 800 Indy SP is priced from $10,599. Beyond the more conventional rear end, the 800 Indy SP has simpler gauges and a traditional float-style fuel gauge compared with the Rush. The 600 and 800 Switchback will still be available, which are essentially longer versions of the former base Rush.
“Dropping the base models simplifies the lineup and clarifies the positioning of the Indy versus Rush,” Wolf said. “We have a lot of history showing most consumers prefer premium models.”
He added that sales were soft for the base Rush models, which was something the company anticipated in its long-range product planning. The 800 Indy SP is expected to appeal to high-performance riders seeking the best value on a fuel injected snowmobile, while the Rush Pro-R models will appeal to customers looking for a no-compromises, full featured performance trail machine.
International, PG&A opportunities
Wolf said Polaris expects all of its new Indy models to serve an important function in the company’s growing international business, and specifically singled out the Voyager, Adventure, 600 Switchback Assault and Indy 144 models as specifically attractive internationally. The company’s manufacturing is very flexible, and will be able to accommodate any sales scenario that unfolds with the new roster of machines.
Additionally, the new models offer more PG&A sales opportunities than previous models, especially the IQ Shift. With expanded accessory options to leverage its Lock & Ride components, new options include saddlebags, a passenger seat, bumpers, racks and graphics, among others.