Long Term Test: 2017 Polaris 800 Rush XCR

Right ride for performance
2017 Polaris 800 Rush XCR snowmobile
What We Wanted!
Polaris faithful wanted and needed something to compete with the race replica sleds from Cat and Ski-Doo, and the XCR delivered! The public can now get the same cross-country performance as racers!
We were pumped when Polaris said it was bringing the XCR back for 2017. Not only does the XCR name evoke so many memories of Polaris racing domination, but this version also comes with a killer spec sheet. Our early prototype rides were tantalizing, and we were anxious for a full season of testing on this pony.

Good on paper, and more!

Polaris claimed the race-ready, reinforced chassis was stout, beefy, and ready to tackle any race track or similar terrain we could throw at it. Indeed, that test was passed with flying checkered flags. The sled is confident when the terrain gets choppy. And the shocks have the capacity to keep up in such terrain for an extended period of time.

When we were told the XCR would have Pro-X shock capability at a Pro-S ride height, we were salivating just thinking about how such a combo might perform in the trails. After all, that’s been one of our main gripes about the Rush and Switchback sleds in the AXYS
platform. The Pro-S suffered a bit in the rough stuff, while the Pro-X rode too high and created too much body roll for most trail riders.

The XCR is a hybrid of the two, and it delivers on the marketing promise. The ride height is the same 46 inches as the Pro-S position, and a larger shock body on the front track shock (now 2 in. instead of 1.5) adds the necessary ingredient to really allow you to let the XCR rip across the mogul fields.

I know we talk about how much we like the 137-inch track length, but when the twisties get tight, the hard cornering abilities of the 121-inch Rush are not only appreciated – they’re exhilarating. Even with the beefed-up chassis components, the front end of the sled is nicely weighted for aggressive handling. None of our riders ever really felt out of balance on this sled, which is what you want when you’re pushing the pace.

We had the XCR outfitted with a full complement of Stud Boy Power Point studs and Super-Lite Pro Series backers. The combination of the stud package and the strong stopping power of the AXYS Race brake was a real confidence boost. We were never afraid to charge hard into any situation, knowing we could stop.
2017 Polaris 800 Rush XCR snowmobile
Corner to corner

We give Polaris high marks for delivering on a lot of what was promised in the XCR package, but we are never satisfied. The thing most talked about was mid-range to top-end power.

How can that be, you ask? We’ve raved about Polaris’ 800 H.O. since its debut. While the strong pull is still there when accelerating from one corner to the next, those long WOT pulls across the lake or down a railroad-grade trail left us wanting a little more.

“Where’s the top end?” That was asked by more than one test rider after some extended sessions aboard the XCR. Understand this sled is geared toward the cross-country racer types, and top end speed probably isn’t highest on the priority list for that type of buyer. That being said, nobody likes to be passed on the lake by his or her riding buddies. Most of this sled is extremely well suited for the weekend warrior, but top speed just isn’t one of those things.

We do know this engine produces some incredible top speeds in other sleds, as has been shown at our New York Shootout. It also showed better
top end in our Switchback Assault.

The only other irritation was a noisier-than-normal ride. The skis are the main culprit, but the noise from the exhaust and wind buffeting was also greater than on the Pro-S. This sled just seems to generate more noise than some Polaris sleds we’ve ridden.
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