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A Seasonal Recap of the 2023 Polaris Switchback SP 650

Last March and April, I had the opportunity to finish my 2022-2023 season on the SP format of the Polaris 650 Switchback Assaults that I have experienced and reported on over the past few seasons.

In this article, I share insights gained over several seasons with these snowmobiles.

See our “First Impressions 2022 Switchback Assault” article.  

Exploring the SP Models

Polaris’ SP models are often understated, easily overlooked and seldom talked about. SP models are value priced versions of the exact same premium labeled sleds that feature a little more glitz, more glamour, more marketing and a few more features that all add to their price.

2023 Polaris Switchback SP 650

Acknowledgments and Support

We thank Polaris for our continued opportunities to report on our experiences with Polaris Snowmobiles. Our SledMagazine.com trials would not be possible without the exceptional and ongoing support of our friends at Laquerre’s Marine and Sports Center in East Montpelier, Vermont.

Our SledMagazine.com long term trial sleds are always returned to Laquerre’s and offered at great savings. Give Laquerre’s a call for details on current new and used inventory as well as the best in service, accessories and apparel.

Selecting the 2023 SP 650

For my 2023 SP savings experience, I selected the 146″ Switchback 650. Any differences over my previous Switchback Assault were actually quite minimal. The pre configured SP model had a little less graphics, raw aluminum suspension rails, no trim color seat accent and the typically standard Message Center gauge package.

However, the 2023 SP had the same Matryx front and IGX 146 rear suspension geometry, same 650 Patriot power, same P-85 clutching, same most everything, with the 1.6” Cobra track.

For additional reviews of the Switchback model with Patriot 650 power, see our “Polaris Switchback Assault trial trilogy” article.                                                           

The biggest SP Differences?

What are the most significant differences in SP? SP could stand for Shock Package as this is where the SP differs the most from premium and Snow Checked models. The other biggest difference is no 7S gauge package.

The SP features Polaris’ Internal Floating Piston gas shocks (IFP) at the front, center and rear. These shocks have been proven to be reliable performers over several years and across several models. The premium version Switchback model came with Walkers Evans remote reservoir, compression adjustable shocks.

My Polaris IFP Shocks experience

After many miles of experience with the Walker Evans shock package, my trial of the IFP shock package was much more favorable than anticipated. After many miles I felt that their calibration was very well matched to the 146” track length and PRO-CC suspension, without the need or option of 20 clicks of Walker Evans adjustability. It was like the calibration was more precise right from the factory versus leaving it to the customer.

They provided a smooth comfortable ride at slower cruising speeds as well as rising to the occasion of increased speeds as well as more aggressive terrains or less favorable trail conditions.

Even in intentionally abusive conditions their performance resisted bottoming out and the Polaris IFPs performance remained consistent throughout longer rides and the nearly 2,000 miles (3,000 kms) that I travelled on the Switchback SP.

2023 Polaris Switchback SP 650
Always miles and smiles

 Let’s Look at Some Interesting Numbers

These numbers are based on our supporting dealer Laquerre’s Sports Center and Polaris MSRP US pricing. Regardless of exact pricing in your area, the basic comparisons remain relevant and you can draw your own conclusions.

  • The MSRP of our 2023 Polaris Switchback SP was $2,700 less than a 2023 Switchback Assault.
  • The Walker Evans shocks of a Switchback Assault cost $800 each new ($3,200).
  • In contrast, the Polaris IFP shocks of the Switchback SP are priced at $415 each new ($1,660).
  • The Walker Evans shocks are re-buildable at $200 each
  • After 2 years, both shock packages will realistically be performing at much less than peak capability. Maintenance or replacement investment may be required, with an $800 cost for rebuilding the Walker Evans shocks or approximately double that amount for 4 new Polaris IFP shocks.

Whatever your conclusions are to the above, my impression was that a Switchback SP model offered an opportunity for all of the Switchback Assaults crossover fun for less. SP models are less money in the beginning and over an extended period of ownership with very close to the same resale value.

2023 Polaris Switchback SP 650
Switchback SP, Premium model capabilities for less

It is my opinion that, every once in a while we need to put a little affordability into the sport of snowmobiling. The value of a Polaris SP model, offers this rare opportunity.

An added benefit of a Polaris SP is a typical in season availability. No need to commit to a new sled in March, you can wait until December or January and still have a great new snowmobile experience.

I am a guy that can appreciate the basics as well as top shelf. I’m not a flashy guy. I don’t stand on the seat and blow kisses. My pants are not ripped, I don’t show any skin and I don’t blow smoke. I’m just a guy that has a great time every time from mid December through mid April and reports on what I experience, feel and think. Thank you for visiting SledMagazine.com

Wishing you a Fantastic Snowmobile Season

Have a great 23/24 snowmobile season with friends, family, beauty, adventure and memories that will last a lifetime.

Other Polaris reviews here:

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