Last winter, I had the chance to test a Polaris Indy Vr-1 850 2022 for more than 300km. Here are my impressions.
Polaris Indy VR-1 850 2022: Motorization and New Features.
To begin with, Polaris has been one of the most active companies in recent years and is bringing a lot of new features to its entire line of snowmobiles. We note for example the addition of the 850cc Patriot engine in 2019 as well as the addition of the Matryx platform and the Patriot 650 engine in 2021. Having never tested the Matryx platform and owning a snowmobile with the Axys platform, I was curious to see if this new platform really makes a big difference.
For 2022, two engines from Polaris for the Indy VR-1. Either the 650cc Patriot engine that develops around 130hp or the 850cc Patriot engine. It is this last engine that I will test for which the performance is around 170hp.
Here are the main characteristics of the Polaris Indy VR-1 650 and 850 2022:
- 650 Patriot engine – 2 cylinders – 650cc. (2 strokes) – 850 Patriot engine – 2 cylinders – 840cc. (2 strokes)
- Drive Wheels: P-85 / TEAM® LWT
- Front shocks: WER® Velocity
- Front suspension: Matryx. 9.3″ of travel.
- Rear suspension: PRO-CC 16.2″ of travel.
- Center shock: WER® 2″ C/A
- Rear shock: WER® Velocity
- Track: 15 x 137 x 1.25 Ice Ripper XT, 15 x 137 x 1.35 Cobra, 15 x 137 x 1.5 Storm 150.
- Estimated weight: 467lbs (650cc),476 lb (850cc)
- Fuel capacity: 43.5 L
- Skis: PRO-STEER
- Distance between skis: 42.5 in
- Screen: Polaris 7S, 7 inches
- Choice of the windshield: hand guard (none), MATRYX medium smoked, MATRYX large smoked.
Matryx VS Axys
Polaris’ goal with this new Matryx platform is to improve the riding experience by focusing on the control and handling of the snowmobile. All this, without necessarily changing the dynamics of the Axys platform. To do so, Polaris worked hard to balance and lower the center of gravity of its snowmobiles. The chassis has been redesigned to give the rider more room to maneuver the snowmobile.
The seat is an inch lower than on the Axys, the portion of the frame facing the rider is 4.8 inches narrower, as well as the running boards by 3 inches. When seated, we notice that the position of the fuel tank is different and thinner than on the Axys platform. As for the rest of the components, the rear suspension and shocks are similar, but with a different calibration. The drivetrain also remains unchanged.
Aesthetically, I’m a bit ambiguous about the look. I personally have a little trouble getting used to the overall look of the snowmobile and its lights. I prefer the look of the previous generation on this point
During my test drive, I found that the driving position is simply natural, I can’t find anything negative to say. The riding position is also a bit lower than on the Axys platform. I feel comfortable and confident on the snowmobile. My leg position is less wide than on my personal snowmobile (Axys platform) and I appreciate that the frame is narrower.
On my day, it was very cold and I have to mention that the new frame protects a little bit better from the wind than the old generation. For my height and size (5p10, 185lbs), I have an exemplary riding position and a feeling of confidence that I don’t have with all snowmobiles.
Performance and General Behavior
Performance-wise, the 850 Patriot engine has more than done the job since 2019. No change with the test snowmobile. Acceleration is good, power is linear and pickup is good. On a personal note, I also love the handling of the snowmobile with this two-stroke engine, having less weight.
The front suspension has been a Polaris strength for a long time. In my opinion, it is still one of the best suspensions in the industry. The rear suspension also does the job but is less impressive.
I literally feel in control of the snowmobile, it stays on the ground, no matter what the terrain is like, it sticks to the trails. The ride is precise, with no swaying and I notice that the snowmobile is stable.
Moreover, the skis do not lift often and I can by experience mention that it does it much less than on the Axys platform. The shocks are of good quality, and adjustable in compression and rebound. I must note that the braking system is also excellent, which adds to the overall driving pleasure.
Ergonomically, the buttons are well placed on the handlebars and the relocation of the key behind the handlebars is very appreciated on my part. The 7″ main screen is simply a charm to use, but for my part, I wouldn’t need it to be so big. The interface is very intuitive and still easy to use. I like the layout and the changes you can make to the display to suit your taste.
What can I say about the function and the three adjustment modes of the heated grips to the nearest degree? Simply that Polaris had a great idea. It is literally a different system from the competition that is also simple to use. For 2022, overall, this interface is my favorite in the industry.
The space directly under the screen is well thought out and still quite large, the same with the space under the seat. The snowmobile panels are really better made and easier to open than on the Axys platform. In the end, everything seems to be more secure. I have to mention that I don’t like the look of the lights very much, but they are just very effective in the evening.
I would like to point out that Polaris does not reveal the exact power of its snowmobiles, a strategy that I absolutely do not understand and that I have deplored for years. Moreover, as much as it is positive to mention that the mirrors are standard on this snowmobile, which is rare, they are unfortunately located much too low. You have to bend your head down too much, which makes you take your eyes off the road.
I understand that it’s more aesthetically pleasing to have done it this way, but they are difficult to use. From a personal point of view, I would like to see a new rear suspension which is getting pretty old on the Indy models (Pro CC).
Polaris Indy VR-1 850 2022: Conclusion
To conclude, the Matryx platform is a nice improvement over the Axys Chassis. Still, the changes are not as marginal as in the past when Polaris switched from the PRO platform to AXYS. In my opinion, the platform is a logical evolution of the Axys platform which was already working very well.
All in all, I simply loved the Polaris Indy VR-1 850. This snowmobile is definitely at the top of the performance trail sleds at Polaris. A big thank you to Polaris and SledMagazine.ca for this test.