In January 2020, I had the chance to discover the 650 Indy VR1 during private tests in Minnesota. I discovered then the new Matryx platform that replaced the AXYS chassis. This season, I was able to ride the 2021 Polaris 650 Indy VR1 in Quebec and see how it behaved in our climate and on our trails.
First of all, the Patriot 650 engine offers very good performance. In fact, it has nothing to envy to its 850cc big brother. Of course, it doesn’t have the same power at high rpm, but in everyday trail riding, it surprised me several times.
Although several people have told me that they have had problems with spark plugs during the break-in period, I have not had any problems on this side. I must say that I applied the tips I learned in the video clip below:
The engine is still very much present, offering good acceleration and acceleration across the powerband. It responds promptly to any throttle change.
The suspension does a very good job. The Walker Evans Velocity shocks are adjustable, allowing you to change their performance depending on the type of trail and riding conditions.
The driving experience is easy and precise. It almost feels like the sled is reading your mind. It also stays predictable on rough terrain, which makes it easy to control and minimizes the amount of effort required to correct your path when necessary.
The driving position is natural and instinctive. You sit relatively straight compared to some other models in the competition. This position makes me feel very confident, as I feel like I’m part of the vehicle. It’s a very pleasant feeling, especially when you adopt a more sporty driving style. The seat offers a good support and makes the driving comfortable even during very long rides.
At the handlebar level, we find the new control unit. After a brief period of adjustment, each of the buttons is easy to locate without having to look where you put your finger. You can change the display on the console screen while riding using the buttons. I was lucky enough to have the new display with the GPS. This system is very advanced in terms of functionality and customization. It requires a period of adaptation and learning. Of course, you have to discover all the possibilities before taking the trails.
Smart heated grips and thumbs
Heated grips and thumbs have changed very little over the past 20 years. The system has remained pretty much unchanged until 2021. Polaris is changing that with an intelligent system that allows the user to determine the exact temperature for each of the three levels. When one of these levels is selected, the temperature will remain constant, regardless of the conditions. No more switching from one intensity to another when it gets too hot or too cold.
There were two storage spaces available. One under the seat to put some tools and another hidden behind the console screen. The second one is large and remains well-tempered. Of course, you can also choose the Lock & Ride storage options offered by Polaris.
I must congratulate Polaris for offering a set of mirrors that does not disfigure the look of the machine. In fact, the mirrors fit perfectly with the lines of the snowmobile as if they were an integral part of the cabin. Wow!
In conclusion, I greatly appreciated this test and the Indy VR1 met my expectations. With the Covid crisis, I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I would have hoped and I think that’s a shame. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be able to get back on track in the next few years!
A big thank you to Polaris Industries for making this test possible!