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Polaris Khaos 9R SLASH 146 in 2023: The Mountain Acrobat!

Accustomed to riding pure mountain machines such as the firm’s popular PRO RMK, my mandate is to evaluate the performance of the Khaos 2023. Since its release in 2020, the Polaris Khaos 9R has positioned itself as the mountain freestyle element of Polaris.

It is no coincidence that Caleb Kesterbe ( USA ), Emil Ahrling ( Sweden ) and Bret Turcotte ( Canada ) are riding the Khaos 9R for 2023. These high-level athletes who know how to show off their skills have turned to the 146″ long chassis.

Creating a craze for this short tunnel length, Polaris is polarizing the sport’s seasoned riders towards this category.

From the start, the Khaos is known to be a wheelie machine, and many purists are skeptical about its real performance in the mountains.

Polaris Khaos 9R: New kid on the block!

However, the younger generation has been able to innovate by developing climbing techniques that are redefining alpine riding. It is exactly in these climbing methods that the Khaos 9R becomes the go-to option. Its premium Walker Evans shocks with external reservoir enhance its absorption capacity, which stands out everywhere on different terrains.

Polaris Khaos 9R

The current riding trend seems to be toward machines capable of redirecting through aerial maneuvers to avoid total bogging down. It is indeed in various acrobatic techniques that the characteristics of the Khaos are also appreciated.

As far as I am concerned, the Khaos 9R makes me salivate since its release. The low inertia motor combined with the Matryx Slash chassis (Slash=short tunnel) can only be a wild beast that everyone wants to try.

First Ride

At my first contact with mountainous terrain, I noticed that the slash tunnel allows me to manipulate the Khaos as I please. This novelty appeared in 2022 and is here to stay since it greatly reduces the snow drag. It becomes easy to flip the machine instead of getting stuck. It is an extremely agile machine!

Whether you like this style of mountain freestyle motocross or not, the Khaos Slash is a concept that suits the topography of our Quebec territory. Indeed, you don’t need to ride at a high altitude to appreciate its virtues. The Khaos 9R is suitable for coulees, river banks, narrow trails, ditches filled with snowy gusts, etc…

Four tunnel lengths are available: 146, 155, 163 (3″) and 165 (2.75″ heel). Polaris offers the Patriot 650 850 850 Boost and 9R as engines!

Transmission and Engagement

As for the Patriot Boost and 9R engines, they come with the P22 clutch, which is different from the P85 of other models. On my first ride, I could see that this is a no-adjustment transmission system since it no longer has a belt height adjustment screw. It is a new design with a bearing in the primary clutch.

The models equipped with the P22 have a tendency to continue to advance in shallower snow and it is a vigilance that one must bring to his driving! However, in deep snow, there is only pleasure waiting for you at the end of your thumb! The power transfer is amazing and wiggly!

9R Engine

The first time you start the engine, you notice that the compression level is higher than the Patriot 850, which makes me wonder how difficult it is to start this Big Bore in very cold weather. Apart from that, this is such an impressive mill that it is difficult to popularize all the power that this twin-cylinder puts out. The stock power curve is not as long as I would have thought according to the technical data. However, the immediacy of the engine is unmatched by any other engine I’ve tried so far. Once again, this is an engine/transmission ratio that will stand out in tighter sectors.

The decrease in engine inertia also helps. This can also be felt in the reduced vibrations. Of course, this is also reflected in active driving and in the ease of driving the Khaos. For example, if the nose of the snowmobile finds itself at a dead end on a downhill slope, there is no doubt that the quick acceleration will allow you to reposition the machine in another direction. At least, it works in the Khaos Slash 146″ version! In short, you have to try it!


Expect a high engine/transmission ratio in RPM on the 9R. Whether in Western or Eastern Canada with the LOW/HIGH altitude setup, you will find higher RPM. This is why it is a good idea to have heavier primary clutch ramps on hand. Usually, the 2 grams/ramp should drop by 250 rpm. Of course, this varies due to track length and height, pilot weight, etc…

For example:

  • Set up low altitude 14-80 (original ramps) rpm = 8650 approx
  • Replaced by 14-82 – 250 rpm = 8400 approx
  • Set up high altitude 14-72 (original ramps) rpm = 8650 approx
  • Replaced by 14-74 – 250 rpm = 8400 approx

Although the target figure is 8200 rpm, it seems for the moment inconstant to reach and this figure becomes optional once in action!


Polaris Khaos 9R

I am impressed so far and it seems to me to be a machine that will appeal to experienced riders who like freestyle snowmobiles. The Khaos 9 R 146″ is lively and maneuverable! Combined with its estimated 175 HP, the Khaos 9R is a daring machine dedicated to those who are ready to push their own limits!

Smiles guaranteed!

Other Polaris reviews here:

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