(Listen to an exclusive SnoWest Podcast with the Polaris RMK engineering team discussing the tech behind the 2016 Axys Pro RMK here)
You've waited since the January 31st teaser release of the 2016 Pro RMK 155 to see the rest of what Polaris has in store for 2016. Here it is.
Highlights for the 2016 Axys mountain sleds include:
- New AXYS chassis with instantaneous lift
- New 800 HO engine
- New front suspension with forged aluminum control arms
- New monotube Walker Evans shocks
- New rear skid
- New Series 6 2.6-inch track
- New Series 7 3-inch track
- Slim Axys bodywork
- Rigid chassis
- Lighter, strong, durable
- 408 pounds (In-season Pro RMK 155 x 2.6 weight)
- 90 percent new parts
- Added model: SKS (features front cooler, aluminum overstructure, chain case drive, added idler wheels)
The Axys chassis replaces the Pro-Ride platform, which served the RMK since 2011 and had a big impact on the progression of mountain riding. The Axys shares some of the top tunnel extrusions, running board beds and the same carbon fiber overstructure, but the bulkhead, tunnel sides, running board supports, suspension hangers, and pretty much everything else but the Gripper skis are new for 2016.
The entire platform is raised 1-3/8 inches thanks to taller spindles and elevated running boards. The drive shaft and four rear suspension mounting points remain in the same relative position as the previous Pro RMK, but the rest of the chassis is raised for improved snow clearance, less drag, better sidehilling and improved handling. With the running boards lifted 1-3/8-inches out of the snow, the Axys Pro RMK can cut a better sidehill without the body of the sled panelling out and hanging up in the snow.
With that, the rider position hasn't changed. The steering post and handlebar locations are the same, so the feel going from a Pro-Ride RMK to the new Axys RMK should be familiar. However, with the raised platform, new engine and refined suspension calibration, there is a distinct and impressive improvement in agility, power and handling.
As for tracks, the Series 6 track features a 2.6-inch lug height, unique lug pattern and 2.86-pitch drive. The Series 7 track has 3-inch tall lugs and runs on a 3.0-pitch drive. The difference is to maximize each track's performance in its intended snow condition. A taller lug track needs a bigger space to bite snow, so the 3-inch track runs a wider pitch. Polaris states that its Series 7 3-inch 155 track is seven pounds lighter than a Camoplast Challenger X3 track. There is one more track option, though it will be more popular among Assault and SKS models than the RMK. The 2.25-inch Peak track features stiffer, wider lugs for a solid bite in packed conditions.
The 800 HO engine has a full year of production under its belt and brings a high performance, high power engine package to the RMK line that it needed. The new engine features a lightweight crankshaft (2.5-lbs lighter) with porkchop-style crank journals, electronically-controlled exhaust valves and an electronic oil injection pump. Another new feature: engine coolant bypass that allows for 40 percent quicker warmups. The new powerplant delivers a 10 percent increase in power-to-weight... which is one way for Polaris to state that the horsepower is increased without giving the output numbers. But trust us, this engine is leaps and bounds above where last year's engine was, power-wise. And its throttle response is pretty incredible, too.
Watch for the March issue of SnoWest Magazine for a full-writeup on the 2016 mountain sleds.