2024 Polaris Mountain Snowmobiles – What You Need to Know
Polaris has revealed its lineup of MY 2024 snowmobiles and here’s what’s new and interesting in the mountain segment for the next model year.
The North Star manufacturer is mostly staying the course for MY24 in the mountain segment, with the exception of a couple of new items that are worthy of a deeper discussion.
You won’t find this these details in a spec sheet, so let’s dive in!
2024 Polaris Snowmobiles
Before we touch on what’s new, we should first discuss the reasons why it’s a pretty quiet release for Polaris deep snow sleds for MY24.
The last few model years have been huge for Polaris, including the introduction of the Matryx body style and its Slash short tunnel configuration to the RMK deep snow sleds, as well as the release of the turbocharged Patriot Boost and big bore 9R engine options.
It’s hard to hit the ball out of the park in every at bat, and Polaris is still rounding the bases from the last one.
Delivery Timing for Model Year 2024 Sleds
As everyone is well aware, Polaris has dealt with some setbacks in the last few years (including two Stop Ride/Stop Sale notices) which have ultimately affected the ability of the manufacturer to deliver all of its sleds to customers on time this winter and last.
The biggest issues of course have been the ongoing supply problem and resulting inefficiencies in manufacturing operations, which have forced Polaris and every other vehicle manufacturer to adapt many aspects of their operations on the fly and find ways to reduce the impact of global factors affecting parts and labour supply.
These issues have resulted in delivery delays that have affected the ability of some Polaris customers (and those of the other manufacturers also to be fair) to get a full season on their new sleds.
Snowmobilers are not happy about this.
Polaris of course is not happy with the situation either, and so the company’s number one priority for MY2024 is to get back to on-time delivery of snowmobiles to its valued customers.
This objective has led to Polaris to provide a “11.30.2023 Ship Guarantee”, designed to give Polaris SnowCheck customers confidence that they will have their MY2024 sleds in time for the riding season. This will make for happy snowmobilers.
If for some reason the ship date is not met, customers will get $1,500 off their 2024 SnowCheck snowmobile.
That’s pretty good assurance about Polaris’ commitment to on-time delivery.
2024 Polaris Mountain Snowmobiles
With that said, here’s what buyers of model year 2024 Polaris RMK deep snow sleds can expect to see new for MY24!
Series 9 Track
Brand new for 2024 Polaris snowmobiles is a 15” wide, 3.5” pitch ‘Series 9’ track with a massive 3.25” lug height, which they’re calling the 325 track.
The design goal for the 325 track is in-line with Polaris’ overarching goal for RMK sleds, which is ‘instantaneous lift’ as they call it.
The drawing board objective was a big lug track that gets on top of the snow quickly and moves forward. The problem with the previous 3” lug track (Series 7), was that while providing a lot of traction, it had a tendency in some conditions to dig down first to find traction aka trenching. In deep, soft snow this is not a desirable characteristic.
So Polaris engineering decided to apply some of the performance benefits they had achieved with the Series 8 275 track to a bigger lug version.
325 Track Design
Naturally, Polaris is quite tight-lipped when it comes to the design characteristics of the track, as it is proprietary and closely guarded stuff.
The same is true of Camso, and what manner of black goo they use to fulfill the Polaris design parameters and performance requirements in producing the track. It’s all top secret, black magic stuff, but the result is a track that fulfills all of Polaris’ requirements for performance and durability, and that’s pretty much all we’ll probably ever know about it.
What we do know is that the 325 track is around (2.75 kg) 6 lb heavier than the equivalent length 275 track (we’re assuming this is for the 155″ track length).
The 325 track shares the same dual-extrovert driveshaft that is used on sleds with the Series 8 2.75” lugged track. This driver was new with the 275 track when it was first released in MY2022.
The benefit of using the dual-extrovert driver is additional ratcheting resistance and more consistent performance.
All 2024 RMKs including those with 146”, 155”, 165” 275 and 325 tracks will all come standard with anti-stab wheels at the front of the skidframe.
This is technology that has been found to work well in the Polaris-owned Timbersled snow bike skidframes, and so the RMKs benefit from the partnership and shared development resources of the two manufacturing bodies.
325 Track Clearance
While the 325 track does use the existing 275 track driver, there were some necessary changes to the cooler and bulkhead to squeeze the oversized lug into the tunnel.
To have the proper clearance in all snow and operating conditions, these changes were necessary, which means the 325 track will only work with MY2024 and later RMK models, and is not compatible with anything MY23 and earlier.
Naturally we asked if a customer could attempt to retrofit a Series 9 325 track into a MY23 or earlier RMK, and we were told that it would technically fit on the shop floor but as soon as the track started spinning that there would be interference, which is why it won’t work for older RMKs.
It’s pretty well known by now that big lug tracks don’t particularly like high trail speeds.
The problem is twofold:
- Tracks with big lugs do not provide much in the way of cooling and lubrication
- Because of the larger width of the base of a tall lug, the tracks don’t like to bend, which is what happens every time the track passes the driveshaft and the rear idler wheel
All this generates a lot of heat, especially at high speeds, which can lead to delamination of lugs and track failure with prolonged bouts of excessive speed. Fortunately these conditions are pretty much limited to high speed trail riding.
But what about when you’re wide open, climbing a hill with your turbo-powered snow buggy? Well, you might be surprised to learn this, but generally track speeds in soft snow don’t generally get much higher than 65-70 km/h (40-45 mph). Which means track delaminations is a trail use problem, not a backcountry riding problem.
To limit this problem, Polaris officially suggests keeping prolonged trail speeds below:
- 97 km/h (60 mph) for sleds with Series 8 275 tracks (2.75″ lug)
- 80 km/h (50 mph) for sleds with Series 9 325 tracks (3.25″ lug)
For MY2024, sleds with 325 tracks (only) will have programming to display a warning message on the gauge when the rider exceeds the recommended track speed for more than a specified duration (four seconds we believe). The sled will not restrict power in any way, but it will log the excessive speed warning into the sled’s computer.
While Polaris is not officially saying anything about warranty claims with regards to higher than suggested track speeds and any potential issues as a result, be forewarned that we expect flagrant disregard for the recommended track speed limit to, in all likelihood, be taken into consideration by the manufacturer when processing track issue claims.
To give us appreciation for what this all means, in test riding the MY2024 RMK sleds we kept a close eye on track speeds on the trail. While 80 km/h (50 mph) does feel a little on the slow side for a nicely groomed trail, it’s really not that much slower than a natural pace for a mountain sled on an access trail. Many trail systems have speed limits below this.
But yes, many riders like to go faster and it is nice to feel the wind in your hair sometimes. So if this is how you ride, it’s worthwhile to consider the option of the 275 track for its slightly higher recommended trail speed limit and lower likelihood of sustaining damage at prolonged high speed.
The 325 track will be available exclusively on the SnowCheck 9R and Patriot Boost RMKs.
This maybe doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is! We’ve been harassing Polaris engineering for years to produce a scratcher that doesn’t bend or break the first time you reverse on it.
Snowmobile tour operators, newbies and the forgetful—rejoice! Polaris parts sales may take a little hit, but we’re super grateful to have a scratcher that you can put down and forget about.
The Polaris engineering staff we’ve talked to are pretty ‘mum’ about what took so long to get a reversible scratcher designed (trust us, we asked ad nauseum). Of course, we heard answers about getting everything just right—things like metallurgy, torsion, geometry and durability—which we’re sure is all very valid. Maybe there’s more to it, but for whatever reason, we’re just glad we can stop asking! Now, we can safely drop our scratchers at the beginning of the season and put them up when it’s time for summer storage.
Seriously though, Polaris does recommend stowing the scratchers once you’ve made it to the soft snow, to extend the lifespan of them more than anything.
Reduced Engine Temps
In the first week of March, Mountain Sledder rode some 2024 RMK sleds, and we kept an eye on the temperature gauges of the sleds to measure the effectiveness of the new reversible scratchers.
They work really well! We saw operating temperatures much closer to the thermostat rated temperature than we’ve ever seen before.
On cool winter days with ambient temperatures between 0 and -10˚C (30 to 15˚F) and soft groomed trails we were seeing operating temperatures in the range of 40 to 17˚C (105 to 117˚F).
This is in the range of 20-25˚F lower than what we would expect to see with the MY23 and earlier non-reversible style scratcher. And this was with sleds running the new Series 9 track with 3.25” lug. Nice.
Why Are They So Much Better at Engine Cooling?
Well, for one, the reversible scratchers are mounted farther forward on the skidframe and their design doesn’t reach so far back, so there’s more chance for snow to be kicked into the tunnel and heat exchanger.
Secondly, they scratcher tips are bend inwards, which Polaris tells us helps direct more snow inwards towards the skid/track/tunnel, for better engine cooling. Simple, but it seems to work.
For the same reasons, the new scratchers also are reported to do a better job of lubricating the sliders for better life expectancy.
Less Stress on Tracks
Those tracks with 3” (and now larger) lugs can really heat up on the trail due to less snow being kicked around and the bending of the track as it passes around the driver and rear idler wheel (as mentioned above).
So in this case, something so simple as the newly designed scratcher can also help reduce track stress and the risk of delamination, improving the life of your expensive big lug track.
Naturally, the scratchers were designed in conjunction with the 325 track to work efficiently for that specific application in addition to the existing tracks used on RMK sleds.
Standard Equipment on MY24+ Sleds
The new reversible scratchers will be standard on every MY2024 RMK and moving forward.
For riders of MY2023 and earlier sleds, the good news is that they are also reverse compatible back pretty much as far as you’d want to go, for any RMK made since the IQ chassis that is. So when you break the ones you’ve already got, you can upgrade to the new style and never worry about it again.
2024 Polaris Snowmobiles
Alright, so there are the details of the new features of the 2024 Polaris deep snow RMK snowmobiles! Of course there are some flashy new colours to check out as always, but these are the key differences of the MY24 RMK models from what was available before.
From our perspective of riding the new sleds, we can say that in some very deep snow the 325 track performs very well! As promised, it does get up on top of the snow quickly and moving forward efficiently. In some of the excellent snow conditions we experienced in our day riding the new Series 9 track, it made noticeably easier work of getting ‘unstuck’ and moving again than an equivalent PRO RMK with the 275 track in the same deep conditions.
Check out this video below of what the Polaris ambassadors and engineering are saying about the track. Usually we take this sort of promotional testimonial with a grain of salt, but based on our experience riding trees in deep snow we really can’t disagree with anything they’re saying about it. It’s good!
Stay tuned for more to come on the 325 track and model year 2024 Polaris mountain snowmobiles!