2023 Polaris Mountain Snowmobiles | Mountain Sledder
February 28th, 2022

2023 Polaris Mountain Snowmobiles

On the heels of model year 2022's simulataneous release of both the Matryx platform and Patriot Boost engine package, we didn't have high expectations for Polaris to follow up with new technology for model year 2023 Polaris snowmobiles. Boy, were we wrong! Headlining the release is a new 899 cc big bore engine in the mountain segment, called Patriot 9R. Here are the details of the 2023 Polaris mountain snowmobiles release!

Polaris is clearly not content to coast on the success of it’s ’22 lineup. Despite a very limited release of Polaris’ factory turbo-charged 2-stroke Patriot Boost last spring and the ongoing supply crunch that has affected delivery times, you might have thought that Polaris might take a year to play catch-up (we did).

However, that is not the case as the North Star company continues to push with the release of a new 899 cc big bore version of their 850 Patriot, called 9R, available in the 2023 model year Polaris snowmobiles lineup.

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2023 Polaris Mountain Snowmobiles

Patriot 9R

Before we get into the details on the 2023 Polaris snowmobiles lineup, we have to talk about Patriot 9R first because the new engine is the biggest news for MY23 and will be available in both the Pro RMK and RMK Khaos SnowCheck’d mountain sleds.

So what is the Patriot 9R engine, and why did Polaris decide to make it?

Let’s address the ‘why’ first. Some Polaris customers are taking their current sleds and going to the aftermarket for big bore and other mods to improve performance of the Patriot 850. So why shouldn’t Polaris—a manufacturer with more development resources at their disposal than every snowmobile aftermarket company combined—offer that performance enhancement right out of the box? That’s their thinking. With Patriot 9R, Polaris is making available what is basically a modified race sled, straight from the factory. Which is great, because let’s face it, sledders can never get enough power.

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Patriot 9R Engine _-2

So what is Patriot 9R?

Well, Patriot 9R offers more power than the 850 Patriot, sure. 7% more to be precise. But raw horsepower was not the goal for 9R. If a rider simply wants more power, they already have the Patriot Boost engine, which delivers 10% more hp to begin with and up to 50% more at 3,000 m (10,000 ft) of elevation than the 850 Patriot.

Patriot 9R offers a different sort of power. It’s a lighter (1.2 lbs than 850 Patriot), lower-inertia, quick-revving engine with 12% more torque than the 850 Patriot.

Here’s how that is achieved:

  • Big bore 899 cc cylinders with enhanced plating process
  • Lightweight crankshaft with 3% lower inertia
  • Lighter flywheel (by 10%) improves response
  • New head design for larger displacement with improved cooling efficiency
  • New pistons with ceramic coated domes
  • CNC machined porting on intake ports and revised exhaust ports in crankcase and cylinder
  • Tuned pipe

Patriot 9R specialized components include head, cylinders, pistons, crankshaft, flywheel and tuned pipe.

And while it doesn’t directly contribute to performance, Polaris sleds with the 9R engine package will come with a Cobra Cords starter rope that is more durable and less elastic than the standard rewind starter rope, for improved starting.

If you’re looking for proof that the 9R offers more grunt and down low performance, look at Keith Curtis’ hillclimb race results from last year, where he won the 2021 900 Improved World Championship at Jackson Hole riding the 9R engine. Okay, but if you’re thinking that maybe Keith Curtis could probably win a hillclimb race on a pogo stick, you might be right.

Polaris Patriot 9F

Keith Curtis’ 9R engine

Fortunately, Mountain Sledder had the opportunity to ride the 2023 Polaris snowmobiles a week before the reveal, including both the 2023 Pro RMK and RMK Khaos sleds.

Based on our experience, we can confirm that the 9R offers substantially more low-end grunt and snappier response than the Patriot 850. This translates into a much improved riding experience in tight, technical terrain where engine speeds are typically lower, but when you need the power, you want it delivered right away.

The 9R fulfills on its promise in those situations and does feel stronger overall than the 850 Patriot. In general, our feeling is that the the 9R power delivery significantly helps the RMK sleds accelerate forward and get on top of the snow very quickly when called upon.

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Mountain Sledder rider, Sean McCaig, getting acquainted with the 2023 Polaris Pro RMK Slash 155 with Patriot 9R

Naturally, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drag race the Patriot 9R vs the Patriot Boost on the flats (as meaningless to mountain riders as that is notwithstanding). At 2000 m (6700 ft) elevation, where the naturally aspirated 9R suffered a 30% horsepower elevation-related deficit to the forced-induction Patriot Boost, it managed to keep pace with the Patriot Boost off the starting line for some distance before the Patriot Boost sled eventually pulled away. So while that information should be taken with a grain of salt, we interpreted it as a sign that the 9R would most likely smoke a likewise naturally aspirated 850 Patriot powered sled out of the holeshot under similar circumstances.

Stay tuned to sleddermag.com for more in-depth reports on our experiences riding the 9R engine and the 2023 Polaris snowmobiles in general to come!

2023 Polaris Mountain Sleds

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Moving on to the MY23 Polaris mountain sleds, we see that the AXYS platform is now completely gone—all mountain sleds for 2023 will use the Matryx platform. Matryx continues to further the tenets of the Polaris ride experience, which are instantaneous lift, rider balanced control and immediate response.

With AXYS gone, RMK Matryx platform (with its longer tunnel and full-length snow flap) becomes the base model in the mountain segment. Matryx Slash, with its shortened, tapered tunnel and short, horizontal snowflap, will now be available in-season as well for MY23, along with both the Patriot 850 and 650 engine options.

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The rider interface of the Matryx platform is specifically designed to be narrow and to allow the rider to control the sled with ease.

2023 Pro RMK

The Pro RMK continues to provide the most predictable and precise ride in the Polaris lineup. In a nutshell, the base Pro RMK features:

  • 650 or 850 Patriot engine
  • RMK React front suspension
  • Pro RMK rear suspension
  • Walker Evan Racing Light ski and front/rear track shocks
  • Track options:
    • 15 x 155 x 2.6″ Series 6 track
    • 15 x 155 x 2.75″ Series 8 track
  • Matryx Stealth brake
  • Gripper skis
  • 4 colours
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2023 Polaris Pro RMK 155 with Patriot 650 engine option

2023 Pro RMK Slash

The Pro RMK Slash improves upon the base Pro RMK model with the lightweight, shortened and taper tunnel. It also features a centralized cooling system which reduces weight and the potential for snow and ice buildup. The Pro RMK Slash features include:

  • 850 Patriot, Patriot Boost or Patriot 9R engine options
  • RMK React front suspension
  • Walker Evan Racing Light or Walker Evans Racing Velocity ski shocks
  • Pro RMK rear suspension
  • WER Light or WER Velocity front/rear track shocks
  • Track options:
    • 15 x 155 x 2.75″ Series 8 track
    • 15 x 155 x 3″ Series 7 track
    • 15 x 163 x 3″ Series 7 track
    • 15 x 165 x 2.75″ Series 8 track
  • Matryx Stealth brake
  • Gripper skis
  • 11 colour options (depending on engine package)
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2023 Polaris Pro RMK Slash 155

RMK Khaos

RMK Khaos delivers a more playful experience derived from a revised rear suspension geometry that increases transfer and allows the sled to loft the skis more easily, along with a more robust and customizable shocks setup. The base model RMK Khaos features:

  • 850 Patriot engine only
  • RMK React front suspension
  • Walker Evan Racing Velocity Hi/Lo ski and front/rear track shocks
  • RMK Khaos rear suspension
  • Track options:
    • 15 x 155 x 2.75″ Series 8 track only
  • Matryx Stealth brake
  • Gripper skis
  • 4 colours
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RMK Khaos Slash

RMK Khaos Slash takes the playful nature of the RMK Khaos to the next level, with a lighter weight, shortened and tapered tunnel. Combined with the short snowflap, the Khaos Slash runs no risk of the tunnel or snowflap hanging up in the snow when the skis are in the air. Highlights of the RMK Khaos Slash include:

  • 850 or 650 Patriot, Patriot Boost or Patriot 9R engine options
  • RMK React front suspension
  • Walker Evan Racing Velocity Hi/Lo ski and front/rear track shocks
  • RMK Khaos rear suspension
  • Track options:
    • 15 x 146 x 2.0″ Crossover
    • 15 x 146 x 2.6″ Series 6
    • 15 x 155 x 2.75″ Series 8
    • 15 x 155 x 3″ Series 7
    • 15 x 165 x 2.75″ Series 8
    • 15 x 163 x 3″ Series 7
  • Matryx Stealth brake
  • Gripper skis
  • 8 colours, depending on engine option
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The Patriot Boost and 9R sleds have special colour options, including the Neon/Orange Burst colourway on this 2023 RMK Khaos Slash 155 with 9R engine

MY23 SnowCheck

We’re all well aware of the issues that Polaris (and all snowmobile manufacturers for that matter) have had to deal with in making their model year 2022 deliveries. Polaris explained to us the situation around the parts and labour supply issues that are facing every manufacturer, worldwide. The company continues to be committed to buiding and delivering all 22s before any production of model year 2023 sleds begins.

Moving forward, Polaris is taking many steps to improve the company’s ability to deliver units on-time for MY23. We won’t go into detail on that here, but an important point for Polaris customers is that not only will the Polaris SnowCheck window be shortened for MY23 (March 24th will be the last day), but like the Patriot Boost last year, there WILL BE limited numbers of high-end customized models available. Likewise, dealer orders will be allocated and locked to help alleviate potential supply and demand issues. In another move to ensure their supplier orders match output, Polaris will limit in-season availability to select per-configured stocking units, which means that only some versions of any particular model will be available from dealers in-season. The days of Polaris producing 21,000 uniquely configured snowmobiles in a year may be over for good.

SnowCheck only options will include the Patriot Boost and Patriot 9R engine packages, WER Velocity shocks (on non-Khaos models), the 7S display and more colour and customization options.

SnowCheck Exclusive models include (all Matryx Slash):

  • 9R/Boost Pro RMK 155/163/165
  • 9R/Boost RMK Khaos 155/163/165
  • 9R RMK Khaos 146
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Sleds with either the Patriot Boost or 9R engine options also feature some pretty neat looking amber grid highlight accents in the headlights
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2023 Polaris Mountain Snowmobiles Summary

With its model year 2023 release, Polaris has built upon the success of the Patriot Boost and Matryx platform and continued to produce sleds that push the boundaries of what customers can expect directly from the factory.

The new 9R engine option is certainly a welcomed addition to the lineup, and it’ll be interesting to see how much demand there is for the naturally aspirated big bore powerplant.

We suspect that it will be a very appealing option for riders who spent a lot of time in tight, technical terrain and who want a very quick-revving and torque-y engine characteristic. Other riders who play in more open areas frequently may continue to be drawn to the insane power of the Patriot Boost option.

Either way, if Polaris can get their supply troubles under control and improve their delivery times as they’ve promised to do, there will be many happy Polaris riders in the mountains next winter.


– MS