Who rules the Mountain 600 class

Who rules the Mountain 600's

  • Arctic Cat

    Votes: 57 23.8%
  • Polaris

    Votes: 142 59.4%
  • Ski Doo

    Votes: 40 16.7%

  • Total voters
    239

BeartoothBaron

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Just interested in the discussion. Would prefer all those that only want to talk about how a 800 is superior just keep it to themselves. There is a market for 600's or they wouldn't build them!
All right, so I know this thread dates back to the prehistoric days when Hillary would soon be president, but after reading it, I just can't keep quiet. It starts off like watching someone taking off to climb a treacherous slope. Yeah, you've been eyeing it yourself, but you know what's going to happen. But wait, he's going, and looking good! Ohhh, he didn't hit that bump right... Dang, now he's thrown off his sled. Tumbling... Cascade of parts... Yeah, just like I thought would happen: Q – what's the best 600? Peanut gallery – an 800. It's like playing pinball: all you can count on is that the ball isn't going where you sent it for long!

Anyway, like the little engine that could (the 600), I will pull this back on track! I've always been a Polaris man: I love my 600 VES. The 600HO was great too, and the 600 Cleanfire is pretty solid from most reports (though apparently the first few years had issues). Honestly though, I don't see anyone other than Ski-Doo taking this one right now. The 600R is the only brand new 600 in at least 5 years. Pretty sure the Cleanfire dates back 12 years, just with new mounting, electric oil pump, and a few other improvements. The CTEC is newer than the CF, but probably a moot point as you'll see later. The reports from the Gen4 section are all smiles. It's subjective, obviously, but by all accounts it's got noticeably more grunt than the ETEC, it's smooth, responsive, and easy on fuel. Only question left is "how does it hold up?" Obviously it's dangerous to make decisions just based on numbers and what's newest – plus I'm not looking to buy a new sled anytime soon – but for sure I won't until I get a chance to ride a Summit 600R.

Disagree? Maybe the AXYS chassis makes up for it, and belt drive plus less weight offsets less power. Ideally, I'd like to ride those back to back. As for Cat, seems the M6000 decided to go MIA for next year. Too bad on that; just a pipe dream, but I have to believe a 415lb 600CTEC Alpha One would be a hoot. And if you're about to say "eight hun-" then stop. Don't make me come over there.
 

summ8rmk

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I see it like this,
If u want a 600, then ur really not in to climbing big hills or serious back country riding.
More of a crosover sled. Bombing down the trails with some good off trail characteristics.
For that description, i would choose a Ski-doo. Take away the tmotion and flex edge track and the Doo is a great trail sled with good off trail manners.



Polaris
 

Idcatman3

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All right, so I know this thread dates back to the prehistoric days when Hillary would soon be president, but after reading it, I just can't keep quiet. It starts off like watching someone taking off to climb a treacherous slope. Yeah, you've been eyeing it yourself, but you know what's going to happen. But wait, he's going, and looking good! Ohhh, he didn't hit that bump right... Dang, now he's thrown off his sled. Tumbling... Cascade of parts... Yeah, just like I thought would happen: Q – what's the best 600? Peanut gallery – an 800. It's like playing pinball: all you can count on is that the ball isn't going where you sent it for long!

Anyway, like the little engine that could (the 600), I will pull this back on track! I've always been a Polaris man: I love my 600 VES. The 600HO was great too, and the 600 Cleanfire is pretty solid from most reports (though apparently the first few years had issues). Honestly though, I don't see anyone other than Ski-Doo taking this one right now. The 600R is the only brand new 600 in at least 5 years. Pretty sure the Cleanfire dates back 12 years, just with new mounting, electric oil pump, and a few other improvements. The CTEC is newer than the CF, but probably a moot point as you'll see later. The reports from the Gen4 section are all smiles. It's subjective, obviously, but by all accounts it's got noticeably more grunt than the ETEC, it's smooth, responsive, and easy on fuel. Only question left is "how does it hold up?" Obviously it's dangerous to make decisions just based on numbers and what's newest – plus I'm not looking to buy a new sled anytime soon – but for sure I won't until I get a chance to ride a Summit 600R.

Disagree? Maybe the AXYS chassis makes up for it, and belt drive plus less weight offsets less power. Ideally, I'd like to ride those back to back. As for Cat, seems the M6000 decided to go MIA for next year. Too bad on that; just a pipe dream, but I have to believe a 415lb 600CTEC Alpha One would be a hoot. And if you're about to say "eight hun-" then stop. Don't make me come over there.
It's not an alpha, but you can get a Riot 6000 for 2020. The 2019 Alpha 600 I've seen looked like it did great.
 

BeartoothBaron

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I see it like this,
If u want a 600, then ur really not in to climbing big hills or serious back country riding.
More of a crosover sled. Bombing down the trails with some good off trail characteristics.
For that description, i would choose a Ski-doo. Take away the tmotion and flex edge track and the Doo is a great trail sled with good off trail manners.



Polaris
Well, yes and no. Yes, if you want the absolute best for steep and gnarly terrain, you're going to buy an 800 or 850, and probably turbo it at some point. That's not me, not yet at least. But do I ride a 600 because I'm content to putter around? NO! And that's the assumption that frustrates me about the direction of this thread: that a 600 will ham-string a capable rider. That's simply false 90% of the time, in 90% of the terrain typical mountain riders travel. Put another way, there are a lot more 800/850 riders underutilizing their sleds than 600 riders being significantly held back by theirs.

Here's just a few advantages of 600s: A geared down 600 is also easier to work in tricky, low-speed maneuvering. Less rotating mass means less gyroscopic forces. Longer range and less oil use. And the big one: they last longer and are less likely to blow belts and burn clutches. My 600 has around 4500 miles and never been opened up, still great compression, has always run great. It's not the hardest-run sled, but I don't baby it.

That said, good points about the Doo. The consensus seems to be that the Rev chassis is more playful and easy to ride, where the AXYS takes a bit more effort but is more precise if you know how to tell it what you want. Haven't rode a Rev though, just repeating what I've gathered. Both are plenty of sled for what riders like me tend to do – mostly off-trail, boondocking, and moderately aggressive climbing. Even for the best of riders, if you can't have fun an AXYS or Rev 600 (heck, if you can't have fun on an old Indy), then I've gotta wonder what you're really in it for...

6s are great but I cheat !!
Yeah, down the road, when I have money to burn (and after I get a newer sled), I'd like to build my 600 into a twin-pipe 660 and see what she can do! Pretty sure that'd easily beat a stock 800 VES. Since this thread won't stay on track anyway, I'll just mention I've been wondering for a while if we'll ever see a 700 class again. I'd guess not, but I'd like to see it. Not like during the old 6/7/800 days where there was no weight advantage over the 800 though. My pipe dream would be for a 6/700 built off the same basic design. The 600 class version would be built primarily for durability, the 700 would push the design out and offer roughly the same HP/cc and durability as the current 800 with less weight. For better or worse, in the long run we'll probably be doing well to see two motors offered in the mountain category (a la Doo, who dropped the 800 when the 850 came out).
 

0neoldfart

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The best 600...

My wife rode a modded M8 for 4 seasons until she tore her rotator cuff. So I snowchecked a Pro 600 155 for her as it was the lightest machine in 2013, and she didn’t want a Polaris 800 due to the previous motor track record. So she rode it for the season, and when we went to trade it on an 800, it really wasn’t feasible. So we went with a mod: Carl’s 660, Kmod skid and front end, C3 belt drive upgrade, tunnel stiffeners and a 2.6” PC track with Avid drivers, among other things. This sled rips, and will hang a beating on a stock 14 Cat or Polaris 800, it due to the lesser torque, you have to ride it aggressively ( think 125 2S motocross bike vs a 250 - you can have equal lap times with a good rider that knows how to use it). Is it for everyone? No. Can you embarrass unsuspecting riders? You bet.
Best part of the sled is it’s light, handles awesome, and revs like a blender. Power isn’t an issue, at 6-8000’ it pulls 64g weights with even my 230lb carcass on it.
If I rode at 9k plus, I’d be on an 800 though...
 

Big10inch

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Unfortunately the 600 Polaris is heavier than the 800. The 800's come with more lightweight parts and the engine block itself is the same, there is ZERO weight savings by going to a 600 in most cases.

The simple fact is, they do not make 600s that rule in the mountains, not as long as they make 800cc + machines.
 

Reeb

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I bought my daughter a 600 Polaris this past winter. I was torn because the 600 weighs so much more than the 800’s. At 12yo she’s not ready for an 800. So we settled on a Switchback Assault for her with a RMK front end. We lost the 3p drivers and track that comes w the RMK(146 vs 144) but gained the shocks and front end I ended up using on my turbo pro.
It’s a great sled. Engine is a little behind the Cat cTec and about the same as the etec.
I like the chassis more than the others and it absolutely rails on the trail. Super fun sled. I’m not regretting any part of my decision to buy the Polaris.


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BeartoothBaron

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Man, how many times do you have to say, the question was "who rules the mountain 600 class?" not "which 600 can do more than an 800?" That said, you do make a good point about weight – it's unfortunate that Polaris doesn't at least match the weight between the 600 and 800/850. Were the 600 truly optimized, it'd be 10lb lighter than the 800/850; that said, four pounds isn't the end of the world. And then Ski-Doo does it right, the 600R is 7 pounds lighter than the same model 850 (although the Summit X, which is 850 only, drops a little weight).

I think 0neoldfart is on to something: some riders don't actually need the power, it just makes things easier in some situations. It can also make things harder in some: a well-clutched and geared 600 is hard to beat in situations where you need just the right amount of speed and power. Of course there are definitely places where you get caught out and just have to pin it, and more power almost never hurts then. Ultimately though, I'd argue most riders (including myself, including 800/850 riders) would benefit more from a riding clinic and some targeted upgrades to their sleds (assuming they're riding something recent) than more power. Obviously there are some spots where a relative newb could point a AXYS 850 and make it to the top where no 600 could make it regardless of the rider, but like I've said before, it's a minority of even the people who ride the top dog sleds that spend their time in that stuff.

Finally, once again, I don't think there are many 600 riders who'd never use more power if they had it. It's just about trade-offs: if a 600 will take you where you want to go, why go to a sled that typically goes half the distance before major problems? If that difference is something the average rider will only notice 10% of the time, it just doesn't add up. Yeah, I'll probably be riding a bigger sled at some point, but not until I can afford to blow one up. When you've got something that just works, don't be in a hurry to ditch it!
 

Reeb

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Just to clarify....

My daughters Switchback Assault in a 144” tips the scales at 460lbs. My Dad’s RMK 155” is 420. That’s not single digit numbers. Just imagine the Polaris 600 with 40lbs shed off of it? Nothing would touch it. And it absolutely works Etec’s as it is.



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Teth-Air

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In 2013 I bought a new Polaris RMK 600 and a RMK 800. The motor did not last any longer on the 600 than the 800 as both failed at the lower PTO connecting rod bearing. It is more of a function of how hard they get ridden and typically 600 riders don't ride as hard. In my case my son rode the 600 harder than I rode the 800.
 
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