Polaris Khaos146 vs Switchback Assault 146

January 2022 Feature Steve Janes

We don’t like dwelling on sibling competition … but while testing the 2022 models during the New Model Introductions at West Yellowstone, MT, we couldn’t help lining up the 650 RMK Khaos Matryx Slash 146 against the 850 Switchback Assault 146. (Both models offer 650 and 850 engine packages … we just happened to get these two out on the same day and decided to see how they held up to each other.) And although we really can’t remember which sled bested the other, we do know we had a blast hitting the jumps and carving through the trees.

Basically, you have an aggressive trail cross-over sled in the Assault and an aggressive mountain cross-over sled in the Khaos. Although both are built around the Matryx platform, the Assault holds strong to the trail performance DNA while the Khaos is based on the mountain performance DNA. Both share a lot of the same features, yet both hold strong to some specific handling characteristics.

Starting on the snow, the Assault uses the Pro-Steer skis for trail performance while the Khaos has the Gripper skis for deep snow performance. The Khaos features a narrower ski stance. With the track options, the Assault has four choices, including the 2-inch Crossover track, while the Khaos offers two choices, including the 2-inch Crossover track.

The Khaos features the RMK React front suspension and the Matryx RMK Khaos rear suspension. The Assault comes with the Matryx front and IGX 146 rear suspensions. Both use WER shocks, although they are slightly different.

Although both share the same engine and clutches, the Assault has a chaincase drive system while the Khaos comes the QuickDrive. The Khaos weighs in nearly 50 pounds lighter than the Assault—which gives the Assault a better command on the bumpy trails and the Khaos better control in deep snow.

Both require an aggressive riding style in deeper snow with the 146-inch track. So the question comes to whether you want that aggressive riding style to continue on the trails into the deep snow or whether you want to be a little more aggressive in how far you venture into the deep and steep.

Regardless, it’s always fun to have a little sibling competition.


Quick Specs


Engine: 650/850 Patriot

Drive System Type: QuickDrive (2.6 inch), QuickDrive2 (2 inch)

Front Shock: Walker Evans Racing Velocity Hi/Lo

Front Suspension: RMK React

Front Track Shock: Walker Evans Racing Velocity Hi/Lo

Rear Track Shock: Walker Evans Racing Velocity Hi/Lo

Track Width/Length/Height: 15 x 146 x 2-inch Crossover, 15 x 146 x 2.6-inch Series 6



Engine: 650/850 Patriot

Front Shock: WER 2 inch Velocity

Front Suspension: Matryx Front Suspension

Front Track Shock: WER 2 inch C/A

Rear Track Shock: WER Velocity

Track Width/Length/Height: 15 x 146 x 1.352-inch Cobra, 15 x 146 x 1.5-inch Ice Storm, 15 x 146 x 1.6-inch Cobra, 15 x 146 x 2-inch Crossover

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