2009 Polaris IQ
We're mountain guys. We'll admit it. Not just because we live 40 minutes from a fine specimen of them, but because they're so darn fun. But, we also respect them and fully understand the fun you can have on a short track sled.
When we lined out the freeride category sleds we were going to highlight this season, the Polaris 600 IQ was at the top of the list under the short track column (actually, the heading reads "Stubbies," but that's not important). And for those of you who are reading between the lines, don't worry-we'll get to the Assault in another issue.
Here's the skinny: The 800 IQ is a new model for Polaris. Yes, the fact that Polaris only offered the 800 Cleanfire twin in the RMK last season does make our heads swell a bit, but the potent engine deserved a place in a rocket chassis. If you were holding your 2006 tax refund check for the right time, this is it.
The 800 IQ gets, like we said, the popular 154-horsepower 800 HO Cleanfire engine. Stuff that in a lightweight, proven chassis (493 lbs. estimated dry weight) and you have one quick ride.
Most riders who are after the best in aggressive suspension components will opt for the Dragon SP version of the 800 IQ. Step up to that model and you get Walker Evans Piggyback shocks over the skis, a Walker Evans center shock and a Walker Evans compression adjustable rear shock. The 800 IQ features Ryde FX Pro shocks, which are high performance shocks in their own right and you also save $700 over the Dragon.
The standard track for the 800 IQ is the 15x121x1 HackSaw track, which will cover everything you do on hardpack. The Dragon SP gets a slightly more aggressive 1.25-inch profile RipSaw track, but most freeriders who venture into the backcountry will likely swap out for a 1.75-inch racing track.
Another feature that might cause you to go for the Dragon SP over the 800 IQ is the taller 5.25-inch bar riser. But both models feature fixed steering posts and handlebar setups that are second to none.
We love the Polaris Freeride seat, which is standard on the 800 IQ and 800 Dragon SP.
If we were shopping short tracks for backcountry freeriding, there are plenty of reasons that would make us choose either the 800 IQ or 800 Dragon SP. But we have to leave that choice up to you.