That’s right, my long-term trial of Polaris’s 146” Switchback has been a trifecta effort from 2021 through 2022 and into 2023.
We have all tried to block out the memories, but you may recall that our first CoVid shortened experience, began with the delayed arrival of our 2021 Polaris Switchback Assault.
We invite you to review that limited original encounter with the 146” Polaris. This original article revealed the unanticipated yet truly impressive trail capabilities of Polaris’ Switchback Assault. The 650 Patriot engine power and the Ice Storm 150 track were exceptional on the typically tighter and twisty trails of Northern Vermont. It would be safe to say that this snowmobile exhibited a much higher-than-expected degree of trail accuracy and performance.
In our 2022 attempt at completing our trials of the Polaris Switchback Assault in the hybrid type of conditions that were the target of our original exposure goals, we were once again plagued by delivery delays.
For this attempt at completing a well-rounded review, we selected the exact same engine and track configuration. The intent was to ensure that our expanded riding condition experiences would be based on an apples-to-apples comparison. In this “once again” late season arrival, our efforts did not begin until March 8th and the softer and deeper snow depths that we sought proved to be allusive.
Again, we were left short of the true full-spectrum review that our readers expect from our long-term trials. You can read our round 2 introduction here. As you will read we had a foolproof plan to avoid yet another disruption to our Switchback Assault exposure goals.
3rd test: in 2023
Finally, in 2023 our plan worked out and what turned into a trifecta review is complete. It’s definitely been a journey rather than a sprint, but our trial goals have finally been achieved.
What this unfortunate format of a full-season review resulted in, was a very complete experience with the true hybrid targeted capabilities of Polaris’ Switchback Assault.
The trail capabilities of the 146” track length were truly impressive which was not what we expected. What was expected was a sled that could be used in a variety of conditions, but that would also be a compromise in some of those same conditions.
That is not what turned out to be the reality of this snowmobile. The 146” length with Polaris’ tipped-up rear of rail design, resulted in a sled that was truly trail-worthy even in tight corners without any noticeable push or ski lift.
150 Ice Storm Track Option
Our repeated selection of the 150 Ice Storm track option, gave us not only impressive acceleration but also superior braking as compared to 129”-137” rear suspension formats. The 150 Storm track features 1.5” traction lugs in the center and 1.25” lugs on the track’s outer edges. This unique design configuration results in a release of side grip energy that results in exceptional trail handling. The pre-studded ICE format of this Storm track definitely gives added traction and safety in hard trail conditions.
Review of our 2023 Test
When our trial was finally able to be conducted in softer, deeper and steeper conditions, we were once again very impressed by what the 146” Switchback Assault could do. The 150 Storm track allowed superior deeper snow traction to what was expected or would be experienced with any 137” model. Its ability to get traction and pull itself up on top of deeper snow was beyond expectation.
The Switchback is no mountain sled, but its abilities certainly offer confidence well beyond expectation. The 146” Assault is not meant to be a mountain-capable sled or a 20-24” wide track-capable sled. But if you are looking to have greater traction confidence in deeper snow conditions, this sled is a great option. With available deeper lug track selections, the deep snow performance could be further enhanced.
Breaking trail after a big storm or following some of your 20-24” buddies on permitted outside of the trail is not only possible but possible with a very high degree of confidence. This same traction confidence is of great comfort when turning around or recovering from an unanticipated off-the-side-of-the-trail event. “Stuck sucks” is a motto of mine and the Switchback kept my stuck anxiety to a minimum.
Conclusion of these 3 years of testing
Throughout our multi-year trial, we have continued to experience and stood by our strong assertion that Polaris’ category-leading 650cc power provides everything needed. It consistently provided more than impressive performance, agility and adrenaline rush. Maybe it’s due to my age or maturity, but I now have 75 mph (120 kph) eyes, so I really have no need or desire to have 100mph (160 kph) capabilities. Plus, the savings are considerable.
Confidence is a word that I would use to describe the Switchback Assault. In my multiyear exposure, I found it to be a highly capable snowmobile that was impressive in all conditions. The compromise that was originally expected to be a part of this hybrid equation never came!
Polaris’ hybrid targeted Switchback Assault may just be the best multiple capabilities 146” snowmobile on the market.
The Polaris Switchback Assault is truly a Swiss Army knife of Hybrid snowmobile configurations.
Continue reading our other Polaris articles:
- Polaris 2024: What does the manufacturer have in store for us?
- Everything You Should Know About 2024 Polaris Snowmobiles
- 2023 Polaris Khaos Boost – Jim’s 1st Ride