The beginning of the beautiful winter season kept us in suspense, full of various news regarding the snowmobiles’ world… Even Mother Nature added her own touch by giving not much snow on many regions of the province of Québec. So, we were expecting the arrival of our trial snowmobile, the 2011 Polaris 800 Rush, a Christmas gift prepared by CM Barbeau, Polaris dealer located in St-Emile, near Québec City. In fact, we rode our first kilometres on this machine on December 23rd, 2010. It is already our 4th season with Polaris, the North Star manufacturer. Last year, we had the opportunity to test the Rush, but with a 600 cc engine; so we were anxious to be able to compare the two models. All the more that we knew the suspension would be improved, since the SledMagazine.com Team had tested it at the last Snowshoot in March 2010. You will be able to consult the specification sheet of this sled in this same section of the magazine. No more waiting; I invite you to read our first impressions after riding close to 900 kilometres…
When I saw the Rush, the first thought that crossed my mind was its different, eye-catching and has a sporty look. Of course, this look fits its spirit! How fiery right from the first seconds. The engine is incredibly responsive and we must be careful because we can be easily surprised to realize the power of this 2-stroke 800 cc engine that develops close to 160 HP. The acceleration speed is outstanding and noteworthy. The fact is that the Rush is more appropriate for aggressive snowmobilers who like speeding and playing in bumps. As our trial model is not equipped with an electric start, we sometimes had problems to start the engine in cold weather (-20 ºC). With the temperatures we have in Québec, I consider the machine must have an electric start, because it is not obvious for female pilots… And it is hard even for many male pilots !
Difficult to go unnoticed with the Rush… Immediately, people see the Pro-Ride progressive-rate suspension; its modification concerns the geometry of the front of the track. Right from the first kilometres, we have been able to appreciate the change in the softness. The small bumps are easily absorbed, unlike last year. I am sure that we will be able to test this suspension in bumpier trails during the season and thus, be able to give you details on its performances, all while finding the optimal adjustment according to the trails conditions.
Thanks to its new Pro-Ride chassis, this snowmobile beneficiates from an exceptional handiness. I really saw it during my different rides; we did not have any problem cornering, and this, in any trail conditions we met. However, we noticed some tendency to overturn in these same turns when we were piloting more aggressively. Sometimes, it even made the ski lift inside the corner. We are already working with CM Barbeau’s experts to find the right adjustments and thus, to fix the problem.
Having said that, even the taller pilots are satisfied! Depending on the handlebar configuration, every type of pilot can find the perfect combination, as many snowmobilers prefer to raise the handles. We must admit that the optional handlebar gauntlets must be seriously considered if we want to be more comfortable in our Québec colder winter temperatures. We have to mention that the hand warmers made the difference as they were very efficient under the conditions we had last December. Since a few years, we are used to very strong temperature fluctuations during winter; we can say that the new cooling system at rear of the track seems to meet the needs of our powerful engine.
In conclusion, we must admit that the season is nicely started and that during the next weeks, we will be able to appreciate the various modifications made on our trial snowmobile since last year. So, do not miss our next article on the 2011 Polaris 800 Rush!