2010 POLARIS SNOWMOBILES FEATURE RUSH
by Scott A. Sumner
Perhaps the biggest excitement in the snowmobile industry this year will be the arrival of the all new 2010 Polaris RUSH. It has the new Pro Ride chassis and the new Pro Ride rear suspension which is the industry’s first truly progressive rear suspension. It was fun to see the sled upclose at the 2009 Hay Days event held recently. “ What we have done is move all of the suspension geometry outside of the track. By doing so you are not limited by how much leverage you have inside the track in a confined space. The suspension can work for you from the beginning to the end and the rate progresses so you are using more of the spring and the shock as you get closer to bottoming. It gives you a compliant drive off the top and in a really big bump situation becomes very resistent to bottoming. We say it is virtually bottomless,” said Chris Wolf, Product Manager for Polaris Snowmobiles. He does the product plan and some of the retail promotions for the company. “ The suspension is much better than in the past and the only in the industry. Some of our engineers in Roseau looked at things differently and thought why wouldn’t we be able to do something that has ever been done in the past like putting a dirt bike type suspension in snowmobiling. They thought outside the box literally. Everyone started playing around with the suspension outside the tunnel and a couple years later we have RUSH.”
Product Manager, Polaris
“ The snowmobile industry is interested in technology and this suspension approach is a big advancement. I think it is very similar to what happened in the early 80’s with the IFS independent front suspension. Polaris was one of the innovators then and everyone wasn’t sure then but now no one would ever go back to a leaf strung suspension. I think RUSH is a similar advancement and we will see more innovation in this area in the future. RUSH will probably be looked at as a milestone leading the future,” said Wolf. “ Riding the RUSH prototypes was the most fun I ever had on a sled. We rode in conditions that were partly groomed and partly rough. It is very rider active, so very sensitive to the position of the rider meaning as you move forward or back you can we really change the attitude of the sled. It is also very good ergonomically and the mechanical aspects of the sled means it's very easy to move around. It has our race sled ergonomics and also is very adjustable. You can adjust the sled for you. You dial it in to your weight, set the springs for balance and clickers for ride quality and it is then set up exactly the way you want. The RUSH is a little lighter than the IQ, around 460 pounds.”
“ The sales of RUSH have been amazing. We have sold out all the sleds we plan to build this year and will start shipping them in the next 45 days. We have had great interest. We introduced it at X Games and followed it up with three different trucks on tours and got more than 1000 riders on the sled. We learned a lot about the chassis. Over 80% of the customers said it exceeded their expectations. It is radical but it works better. People can feel the difference. The RUSH is the biggest milestone this year in the sport of snowmobiling.” smiles Wolf.
Outside of the RUSH there have been mostly refinements year over year in the 2010 Polaris line up. The IQ chassis returns with the Shift series being the value side of the product line especially with the Cleanfire 600 engine available now for $7999 US. “ Where can you get a fuel injected 120 HP high performance engine in a current modern chassis, and available at prices cheaper than any time in the last 10 years. It is really amazing value.” said Wolf. “ The overall snowmobile industry is faring pretty well. If you compare to motorcycle or ATV numbers snowmobile sales have held up pretty well. Part of it is the passion we have around this sport. People don’t have to snowmobile but they do because they love it. Look at the people who come out here ( Hay Days ) on a hot September day and spend hours in the dust and the dirt. All they want to do is talk about snowmobiling and can hardly wait until the snow comes this fall. We have the best customers in the world and I think that bodes well for the industry.”
Radical New Suspension of the 2010 Polaris RUSH
Polaris also took the opportunity at the Hay Days event to introduce there race sled to the press. “ We did a few improvements this year but the sled worked so well for us last year we didn’t want to change a lot. We won just about all the championships in North America with it so it is a proven sled and we will go with it again, “ said Tom Rager, Race Director Polaris. “ We got the bulk of our guys back and did pick up Robbie Malinoski from Ski Doo. We are really looking forward to working with Robbie. I have known him for years and think he will strengthen our program more than it is already. I have been telling Robbie for years the Polaris sled would be good for his riding style. With our sled you can either finesse it through or you can pound it through. Robbie rides really hard and is very aggressive and I think he is going to do well this season.”
Tom Rager, Race Director, Polaris
The Amsoil team made big changes this year changing drivers DJ Ekstrom and Shaun Crapo. “ Steve Scheuring and DJ have been together for 8 or 9 years and they felt is was time to change. DJ raced for me as a junior and I am trying to help him with a few things. He has been good for Polaris and will always be a friend of mine. Shaun Crapo will stay in Idaho and be on our Hill Climbing team this season,” said Rager.
" The schedule looks good at ISOC this year. The TV package is good and we are going to some new cities such as Salt Lake City, Utah, New Hampshire, Sarnia, Ontario and Milwaukee. ISOC have worked hard to put us in the right places and I think have done a good job with it. The series will start in Duluth and then move to Milwaukee and then Canterbury which is a race that stands on it’s own. There will be no ISOC race at Valcourt this year. They will have a race but just not ISOC sponsored."
Robbie Malinoski is ready to race
Veteran racer at the age of 26, Robbie Malinoski is looking forward to his new team this year. " Steve Scheuring was looking to make some changes in his program and it seemed good for me. This will be the fourth product out of four I have raced so it is a full circle. My game plan when I first started to race snocross was never to race so many brands but just to ride snowmobiles because it was fun and something to do.” said Robbie Malinoski. “ The Polaris IQ race sled will suit my riding style. It is bigger sled, a little heavier sled and not so much of a finesse sled. You have to smash it and drive it really hard and that is the way I ride in a way. There is some pressure on me as you have a sled that works well and if I ride it you want to do well. Ross Martin, TJ Gulla, Levi LaVallee, TJ Bender and my team mate Andrew Johnstad means Polaris has a powerful team.”
The Canadian Malinoski is now living in Lino Lakes, MN full time and is married with a young child. “ I did some work on my house this summer and race dirt bikes 2 or 3 times per week. It is looking good for the upcoming season. We are doing the training and preparation and I feel my fitness will be 110% by Duluth. I do feel I am in my prime shapewise and making better decisions that I did when I was 22. It is good position.” said Malinoski.
Lucky Thunder Bay Rider Picks Up a 2008 Polaris IQ Race Sled at Haydays
The racer grew up close to snocross icon Blair Morgan and keeps in touch regularly with him during his rehabilitation. “ I talk to Blair every 2 weeks or so. He is driving a Toyota Tacoma and a Yamaha Rhino he’s got rigged up. Blair is just having fun. He had never had time to just relax before because he has been racing since he was a little kid. He is enjoying time with his family and seems like he is in good spirits and a good place in his life The situation is what it is. He knows it, has accepted it and is moving forward.” said Robbie Malinoski.