The Polaris Rush line-up had quite a launch on its first year of production in 2010 and brought lots of interest and expectations for 2011. This is mostly due to the good performance of the ProRide chassis in 2010 combined with the improvements announced by the manufacturer in 2011. When launched, the only edition was the 600 Rush; we could not wait to see the new versions of this platform in its 2nd year of production. To ensure a maximum experience during the trial of the new advanced Rush series, people from Polaris and CM Barbeau, Polaris dealer in the Québec region, proposed to us a more competitive edition of the new platform. Our two partners chose the new 2011 800 Rush for our long-term trials to be published in SledMagazine.com.
A major change in 2011 is the introduction of the Pro-R series in the various Rush models. In replacement of the Dragon series offered on the IQ chassis, the Pro-R are made for the most demanding pilots and propose, among others, a more rigid suspension with Walker Evans compression adjusters shocks. This change in the name of the models was important for our trials in two ways. We quickly saw that the 600 Rush tested in 2010 was in fact equivalent to the 2011 Pro-R, but without the name. This let us believe that our 2011 800 Rush would be smoother and more comfortable than the 2010 that was in fact a Pro-R without the name.
Our expectations have been fulfilled ; we benefited from Fox shocks more suitable for touring snowmobilers and the front part geometry of the Pro-Ride rear suspension has been modified, as well as the track angle of incidence. The result was obvious as it reduced by far the bouncing effect at the center of the sled that was so irritating in 2010. The front IQ suspension, now called Pro-Ride, also benefits from the comfort of the Fox shocks all while providing a very aggressive type of riding, not to say surprising on the Pro-Ride chassis. With so much precision and immediate response in turns, the new Rush pilots may be surprised and may need some time to get used to the aggressiveness of their machine. The riding position is the same than in 2010 and is once again one of the most efficient in the snowmobile industry. It allows the legs to be fully extended, even for taller pilots; thus, less fatigue during long rides. A major advantage of the Pro-Ride chassis is that we switch from a touring position to an aggressive position in a split second and this also improves the handiness of the machine. Regarding the seat, it fits an aggressive riding, but is not enough comfortable for longer rides. Luckily, correcting this problem is already planned for the 2012 line-up.
Concerning the motorization, the new Liberty 800 cc engine combined with the very efficient and proven P-85/TEAM-LWT clutch system will satisfy most of the pilots. Very responsive at low speed, the CleanFire injection 800 cc engine kicks in acceleration while offering very satisfying top speeds. Even if not visible, many improvements, such as the lighter inner mobile parts, provide more bite and power to the Liberty 800 cc than in 2010. You will notice the addition of the mid-flap cooler, integrated to the tipping plate of the ProRide suspension. The need for more refreshment is surely due to the addition of an engine that develops close to 160 HP. The fuel consumption seems fair, with an average of 15,06 MPG or 18,85 l/100 km over a full season of 4 781 km. However, the oil consumption of 0,035 l/100 km surprised us; it is among the best consumption of the industry for such an engine. Even if the CleanFire system has been improved during the last years, we would appreciate less smoke and smells.
Two optional features should seriously be considered by Liberty 800 buyers. First, the mid-size windshield, then the electric start are truly appreciated at very low temperatures. Indeed, the recoil starter is really unpleasant and may even be a problem for those with limited strength. Obviously, we must also add mirrors since it is compulsory in the province of Québec. The hand warmers provide quite enough heat but their tiny controls have not yet been improved to make them usable with mittens while riding. The global look of the 2011 800 Rush is very successful with the addition of the red color on part of the hood all while keeping the graphics sober, which keeps intact the sport look of the Rush.
Even if during the last years some snowmobilers were not sure about what Polaris intended to do on the on-trail market, it is now obvious to us in 2011 that Polaris is a serious player on the on-trail snowmobile market. All the riders who appreciate an instant response from their sled regarding handling and performance, will now have to seriously consider buying a 2011 Polaris 800 Ru