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Don't worry, sales reps never lieAccording to a salesman at Carl's, Polaris has been providing them with pistons and cylinders for these kits for the last couple of years. I don't work there so I can't verify that but that's what I was told.
I hope I didn't scare Indy Dan away? I was just trying to spread a little common sense and perspective into the conversation, much like BeartoothBaron is above. I too did not buy a 900 for this season, but will in the future, if they hold up. I was genuinely worried about my 850 after reading Dan's gloom and doom about it, back in 2018. It turned out great and this time around, feels like daja vu.
Nope, pretty sure it wasn't anything you said (he's a guy, so...). I found the thread and dug through it a little. There's a lot to be gleaned from it. https://www.snowest.com/forum/threads/850-gone-down-already.445843/ The big lingering question I have is whether the cylinder finish on the early production 850 that he was very concerned about was representative of the hone on most 850s, or if it was a one-off, or maybe part of an early run. There are really only two possibilities: either he was right about that engine having a bad hone - but most came with a better hone - or it wasn't that big a deal. Even if Poo said "yikes!" and improved the hone, I don't doubt Dan's hone is better; either way, the 850 doesn't seem prone to eating pistons and rings. One thing Dan was definitely right about was the PTO bearing: Polaris ended up adding a retainer ring for '20 and later. There was also the blocked oil line that took down some early 850s, plus a few people who have frequent plug fowling issues. So the 850 was far from perfect, but obviously mass failures never materialized (thankfully); seems pretty on-par for a Poo motor. One thing you'll also find him saying multiple times is that he loves the design of the motor: unlike the 9R, his concerns were more about the details of how it was built and some of the component choices than the basic design.
The other thing about Dan (and I hope he comes back to this thread) is that he works off much higher standards than Polaris. Both are out there to make money, yes, but I do think Dan saw what he thought was a real problem. And he definitely didn't suggest every 850 owner should tear down their brand new motor and send it to him. Full disclosure, I've got one of his long-rod Pro motors, and will probably hold onto it for a long time it or at least keep it "in the family." Dan's predictions may not be perfect, but I don't know of anyone who builds a better motor, and he stands behind what he builds. He'll honestly tell you what he thinks of anything he goes hands-on with, whether it helps his business or hurts it. And the other thing is, Dan builds motors to improve on what you get from the factory, and to address weaknesses guys like @TRS find (take a look at that thread and see how many motors Poo has replaced for him under warranty!). That doesn't come cheap. Meanwhile, Polaris builds motors to the lowest cost possible. If there's a weak spot, but only 5% of riders run long and hard enough to find it, then it's often cheaper to replace a hundred or so motors for them than to add, say, $50 per engine to address it. And I think that's where perfectionists like me get frustrated with Polaris: I'd rather buy it right once for a little more than have to worry about taking even a little extra chance of it burning out on me in a bad spot (much as I don't like how sleds just keep getting pricier). I know that's a risk you take no matter what you ride, but it is enough of a consideration for me that I'd probably avoid anything first-year from Poo even if cost were no object. Actually, with bottomless pockets, I think I'd buy a new 850 and have Dan redo the motor. I still love a lot of what Polaris does, but there's always something...