Long-Term Test: 2016 Polaris 600 Switchback Pro-S

This 'crossover' is best suited for groomed trails
2016 Polaris 600 Switchback Pro-S snowmobile
The best around? Pretty darn close! The 600 Switchback Pro-S earned high praise from everyone in our test riding crew on the trails, where this sled shines brightest.
Ryan Thompson – RLT Photos
When it comes down to it, trail riders want what we’ll call the “3 Cs”: Comfort, Control, and Corner-to-corner acceleration. The 2016 Polaris 600 Switchback Pro-S affirmatively ticks all those boxes. And that’s basically why I refused to leave the seat of this sled when we put our first miles of the season on the Pro-S!

A crossover, you say?
Only in Polaris marketing materials is the 600 Switchback Pro-S a crossover. Sure, it does have the capability to do more than the shorter Rush when you dip off into the fresh (so long as it’s not very deep fresh), but make no mistake: the natural habitat for this snowmobile is the groomed trail … and it absolutely shines there.
2016 Polaris 600 Switchback Pro-S snowmobile
Ryan Thompson – RLT Photos
Through hundreds of miles of riding in the North Woods during our annual Real World testing, the 600 Switch more than held its own with the big 800s through the trails. Its handling was light, the pop from the stout Liberty 600 was playful, and the suspension surprised us with how capable it was in rough terrain. It only lost out to the 8s in the lake sprints, and to the ultimate performance-minded suspensions in the big moguls.

If there was one thing I’d change on this sled, it would be to upgrade the shock package a little bit. It doesn’t need much, but moving up from the current 1.5-inch to a 2-inch shock diameter with obviously a bit different valving it might give this sled some extra anti-bottoming that would turn an already great snowmobile into something even more supreme on the trail. The new 2017 Rush XCR follows this line of thinking. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another model year or so for the Switchback version.

Still, the Switch 6 is one offering Polaris should be very proud of. It comes in at $1,300 US less than the 800cc version of the 2016 Switchback Pro-S, but we can tell you that it doesn’t feel like $1,300 less in performance on the trail.

Every one of our test riders displayed a big smile when they took their helmet off after a ride on the 600 Switchback Pro-S. We’re sure it will do the same for many more trail riders down the road.
2016 Polaris 600 Switchback Pro-S snowmobile
Ryan Thompson – RLT Photos
Take 2!
This sled does everything you want it to on the trail. It corners, handles bumps, and accelerates hard. Some more storage would be nice, but overall it’s a terrific sled from Polaris. – Butch Veltum, AmSnow Test Rider

3 Takeaways
  1. The 600 engine is quick enough to keep up with the 800s in twisting groomed trails.
  2. Suspension is sufficient for probably 90% of riders, but will bottom out when pushed at pace through the very, very rough stuff.
  3. Ergos are great, but you’ll want to add storage of some sort.

Engine: Liberty 599cc Cleanfire twin 2-stroke Drive: P-85 primary, Team LWT secondary HP: 123.8* Exhaust: SC VES, Single Brake: AXYS radial disc brake Ski Stance: 42.5 in. Front Susp.: AXYS w/ Walker Evans comp. adj. piggyback needle shocks (9.3 in. travel) Rear Susp.: PRO-XC w/ Walker Evans comp. adj. piggyback center shock, Walker Evans comp. adj. piggyback needle rear shock (13.4 in. travel) Track: 15x137x1.25 RipSaw II Fuel Tank: 12 gal. Rec. Fuel: 91 Octane Dry Weight: 447 lbs. Wet Weight: 559 lbs.* Price: $11,799 US / $13,099 CA (non-ES) Real World Stats*: Top Speed: 87.77 mph 1/4 mile: 15.46 sec. Season Avg. MPG: 13.48
*AmSnow Tested
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