There's a common misconception floating around the snowmobile community that Polaris shot its wad last season with the new Pro-Ride line of snowmobiles and is looking to "maintaining and improving" last year's line for 2012.
What might be slipping under the radar is that although Polaris introduced 11 new models last season, this year it is back with an additional nine all-new models that promise to dominate their respective classes for 2012.
Although six are in the 600cc class, three represent the 800 class. The three 800s added to the lineup for 2012 fall into two segments-two in the crossover segment in the Switchback package and one in the performance segment in the Rush package.
So you are probably asking yourself right now: What does this have to do with the 2012 Polaris 800 RMK? (Okay, you probably weren't asking yourself that question . but since we brought it up, let us explain.)
Last year the top-selling model was the 800 Pro RMK 155. The second leading selling model for Polaris was the 800 Pro RMK 163. Although it would make sense for Polaris to just sit on its hands this season and recoup some of that R&D investments, by the emphasis of the company to continue improving its 800-class sleds, you can bet that the refinements for 2012 will make this year's 800 RMK even that much better.
The RMK line has become a benchmark for deep snowmobility. And the Polaris philosophy for the RMK: Make it light. Make it simple. Make it work.
When we rode the 2012s last spring, we had in our minds a few questions that we were looking to answer. Here's what we found out:
Is the 2012 better than the 2011?
Certainly. New is always better. Although there aren't a lot of big changes for the 800 RMK, it's an accumulation of small refinements that make the 2012 better.
What does the base 800 RMK have in common with the Pro RMK and Assault?
Size-wise, the three are about identical except for ski stance (the Assault is 2.5 inches wider). Although the 800 RMK doesn't have quite the braking system as the other two (hydraulic vs. Lightweight Cyclone), power-wise it's identical. The biggest difference is in the suspension package-the 800 RMK is good, the Pro RMK is better and the Assault is best.
How good is the powerband?
Some may claim the 800 RMK offers the least power in its class . but those making that claim certainly aren't feeling it on the snow. The 800 RMK just flat out flies through the powder. Now this may be due to its light weight, giving it an impression that is has more power since it's so responsive. But that doesn't matter to us. When you grab the throttle, this sled flat out rocks.
What did we like about the 2012 800 RMK?
Well, just about everything. However, there are some things we did like more. For example, we preferred the 155 track to the 163 track. But this is mainly because we believe not all western riding is centered around deep powder. The 155 is very versatile-handling well in the bumps while still providing enough flotation for most riding conditions.
Ten second response to "How did you like the 2012 RMK?
If you're looking for a "super hero" of snowmobiles, the 800 RMK is it. It will go anywhere, do anything. If you're riding extreme terrain in extreme conditions, you want to be on the sled that can make you a better rider.