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Features

POLARIS 4-STROKE LOGIC

By Kent Lester, Photo By: Mike Lester
10/12/2017

We've guessed, postulated and waited and so far we haven't seen a hint that Polaris has any desire to begin offering a 4-stroke snowmobile any time soon. This doesn't mean something isn't brewing, however.

So far, Polaris has limited its market to only offering 2-stroke powered snowmobiles and has had pretty impressive success with that strategy.

The company continues to hold second-place market share in the industry and its SDI 2-stroke technology is fuel efficient and very powerful.

Here's the rub: It's questionable whether or not Polaris can grow its market share without dipping a toe into the 4-stroke market. Some authorities tell us that 4-stroke shoppers only comprise about 20-percent of the industry's total sales.

This seems arguable as we continue to see more and more new-sled buyers at least giving serious consideration to 4-stroke sleds before buying.

Also, the Yamaha and Arctic Cat turbo-sleds have swayed a considerable number of high performance buyers over to the 4-stroke world.

Here’s the elephant in the room: Can Polaris sit out the 4-stroke market much longer?

We think the company has been building chassis prototypes and 4-stroke snowmobile engines for several years. So far there's been no commitment to a final design but the engineering teams have the capability to pull the trigger on a new 4-stroke when the time is right - and do it on fairly short notice.

We’ve predicted an engine based on the very strong turbocharged DOHC twin used in Polaris' off-road RZR 1000. This engine already delivers power in the 160-hp range and is CVT-friendly.

A twin would fit the AXYS front clip better than a triple - although considerable alteration of the engine bay would be required - especially if the engine were to be turbocharged.

Another twist would be an all-new engine using the RXR 1000's head design but a 3-cylinder configuration instead of a twin.

We're thinking MY 2019 might bring the answer we've been waiting for.