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2011 Polaris Assault Switchback Suspension Tuning

Recently I flew in to the Maxsled home state of Minnesota for a long weekend of riding.  Once my guides, otherwise known as riding buddies, picked me up at the airport we made a run past the Maxsled garage and checked out a couple of sleds for the weekend.

One of the sleds we have for long term testing this year is a 2011 Polaris 800 Assault Switchback in Orange Madness.  An eye catching sled to say the least and a great snowmobile for heading to the Crane Lake, Lake Vermilion and Voyageurs National Park/Rainy Lake areas.  More on the overall trip in a later article (although I must thank Spring Bay Resort http://www.springbayresort.com/ for the great cabin), but the focus of this article is a little how-to on setting up the 2011 Assault Switchback (with concepts that can be applied to any sled).

Everybody has their own preferences when it comes to suspension setup, but there are some known things that fit us all.  When trail riding, we hate sleds that push through the corners.  And we also hate sleds that ride like a buckboard.  And we hate sleds that transfer too much and lift the skis when trying to accelerate out of the corner.

We found these preferences to be universal amongst the 4 of us on this ride.  To set the stage and reference for this article, over 2.5 days of riding we covered 450 miles.  That ranged from baby bottom smooth groomed trails, to choppy lake ice, to 18” deep moguled out corners, to 2’ of powder and finally 18” of soft snow on top of a few inches of lake slush.  We saw just about every condition of snow/trail you can imagine.

On the first day of our trip, the universal opinion of the Assault was that it was horrible on the trails.  I have to admit that I hadn’t really looked at the Assault much as I was spending most of my time on a lovely green F8 Arctic Cat SnoPro so when the other riders with me were complaining about it I decided to take a peak.  The big complaints were “It won’t turn” or “It’s the worst pushing sled I’ve ever been on” or “It’s impossible to get the transfer tamed down”.  Well one look at the Assault and you have to think that can’t be right.  It comes with arguably the best shock package in the industry, Walker Evans needle shocks with full dampening adjustment in all 4 locations in the suspension.  Yes, real high quality units.  It also has the Pro front suspension and a very good rear suspension although that is where some issues arise for traditional flatland riders (more in a minute).  So at the end of day 1’s ride I decided to see what was going on.

The Assault Switchback is basically a ProRMK chassis with a wider ski stance and the standard RMK rear suspension.  It has a 144×1.35 Cobra track.  It has very good skis, great bars, nice running boards and a very good seating position.  Now I know what you are thinking, it’s a 144, it’s going to push.  Well maybe, maybe not.

The first thing you need to know about the Assault is that it has an RMK rear suspension (yea, I said that already).  And that rear suspension is mounted in the chassis like it is mounted in an RMK.  The RMK suspension is a non-coupled suspension and this is what can be a bit of a mystery to flat land riders.  The non-coupled suspension has an inherently higher degree of front to rear transfer in it.  Great thing if you are climbing a big mountain in 3’ of powder, not so great if you are honking out of a Northern Minnesota trail corner with the throttle pinned.

So, if you are riding your Assault Switchback on the trail, which most of you are going to be doing for a considerably amount of time, you have to tame that transfer down.  This is IMPOSSIBLE to do with the front rear suspension mount in the factory position… namely the lower of the 2 holes.  I know, you are going to be tempted to try, but it will never work.  You will get some of the transfer dialed out, but you will be doing things like stiffening the rear torsion springs to full tight and then the ride quality is going to suffer.

So step one, move the front rear suspension mounting location to the upper hole.  Yup, it’s only 5/8”, but it will make all the difference in the world.  And after we do the other adjustments it won’t have any noticeable effect on off trail or powder performance.  Move that mount up and re-adjust track tension.  In our test sled it took 10 full turns of adjustment to tighten the track back up after moving the mount, just make sure you tighten it up to factory specs.

Now, in general, if you are tweaking your suspension and you think you need to dial any spring to full tight, STOP!  Something else is not right if you have to dial those springs full tight, so don’t do it.  After moving the front rear mount to the upper hole, make sure your front track shock preload is set at about ½ preload (1/2 the threads above and below the threaded collar).  And while you are in there, set that beautiful black WE shock to 2 clicks of dampening… yes, only 2 clicks of dampening.  When counting dampening clicks you start from all the way out (no dampening) and click in from there on the WE shocks.

Now move to the rear of the rear suspension.  Set your rear torsion spring preload to the medium setting.  I know, you are saying, “But Dan, with it there it sags”.  And you would be right and you want sag.  Set it to medium.  The manual will tell you something else depending on your weight, but set it at medium.  We had riders ranging from 175lbs to 270lbs and we never moved it from the medium setting.  And set that rear shock to 6 clicks of dampening.  You want sag-in in the rear suspension.  Half of the bumps you experience on a trail are what I call negative bumps… holes in other words.  If you have sag-in then the suspension can ‘fall out’ of the tunnel into those negative bumps and it makes for a much better ride.  This isn’t the place to go in to it, but take my word for it, you want the rear end to sag-in some.

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So at this point we have the rear suspension setup with its initial setup.  We’ll come back to it when we talk fine tuning later.  Now let’s move to the front corners.

Again, when looking at the Assault, you have 2 beautiful WE clickers sitting out front.  It’s a shame not to use them.  Now what did I say before about suspension springs?  Never full tight.  This applies to the front even more than the rear.  For our initial adjustment we are going to set the front spring preload at 1” of thread from full tight.  (NOTE:  We have had a couple of riders report that on their Assaults the 1″ was not enough to keep the spring retainers on.  Check yours after making this adjustment to make sure the springs are tight enough to hold the retainers on.  You can do this by suspending the front of the sled with a jack under the belly pan.  Tighten the springs until the retainers are contacted and then give them 3-4 more full turns to make sure they have tension on them to keep the retainers in place.)  Just measure it, estimate it, whatever, but get it close to 1”.  And then set the other side the same (count the threads to get them set the same).  And as for clicks on the WEs, 6 will do please.

Now we are setup with the initial settings and ready to ride.  We want a good balance of turning (no pushing), minimal transfer when on the loud lever hard, and good bump absorption.  Did I mention the WE shocks are great shocks?  They are.  They have like 20 clicks of dampening available.  Unless you are Levi LaVallee attempting world record jumps you aren’t ever going to use more than the first 10 clicks of adjustment.  If you do, it is going to be so over dampened that it will ride like an empty 1 ton pickup truck down a washboard dirt road.So to review:  Front shocks with max minus 1” of preload, dampening clicked in at 6.  Front of rear suspension moved to the upper mounting hole, spring preload at half way, 2 clicks of dampening, track tension set to factor specs.  Rear torsion springs at medium, 6 clicks of dampening.  Go ride.

What about fine tuning?  Well here are some general things to think about and how to adjust.

1 – Darting/Pushing – Depending on snow conditions you will experience more than comfortable amounts of darting or pushing on any sled.  You tweak that by adjusting front ski spring preload.  If it is darting, back a quarter inch of preload at a time out of the front skis.  The firmer the snow, the more likely it will be to dart.  If it’s pushing (not chattering, but pushing consistently) then dial in a quarter inch of preload at a time.

2 – Front end bottoms out in the bumps – Dial 2 clicks of dampening at a time in to the shocks.  Frankly, I don’t think you can tell the difference with just 1 click so I always go 2 clicks at a time.

3 – Front end chatters in the corner – Likely too much dampening, the shocks aren’t recovering or giving enough, dial a couple of clicks out of them at a time.

4 – You feel bottoming in your feet – This one is a little tough, but if you feel the hit in your feet instead of your bum then the front rear suspension shock needs a couple of more clicks of dampening.

5 – You feel bottoming in your butt – Yup, you guessed it, add a couple of clicks of dampening in the rear track shock.

6 – The rear in wants to skip around on you when cornering in the bumps – This is a good indication of too much rear dampening, dial a couple of clicks out of the rear shock.

A brief note on bottoming of the suspension… in my opinion, you want the suspension to bottom out once in a while.  That’s how I know I have things dialed in and using all the suspension possible.  So if you never bottom your suspension out, dial out some dampening.  And never, ever attack bottoming by dialing up spring preload.  If you suspect your rear suspension is sagging too much then maybe the springs are shot and need to be replaced.  But if you pick your Assault’s (or any modern snowmobile for that matter) rear end up and set it down and it doesn’t sag in 2” or so then you have your rear spring preload too tight.

Finally, the Assault is a terrific sled and even though it has a 144” track on it we were able to dial it in and found it to be a very enjoyable, well-mannered trail sled that shines in the off-trail meadows and powder bays.  The comments from the first day were gone and replaced with “I can’t believe it’s the same sled” and “Hey it’s still my turn on the Assault”.  None of these changes had any adverse effect on off trail performance and we actually saw an increase in track speed in the powder and against our benchmark sled we saw a 7 mph top end speed increase.  Once again proving that a properly setup suspension is good for the rider and the sled.

62 Responses to 2011 Polaris Assault Switchback Suspension Tuning

  1. Tim Zisko January 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

    this is the type of article I was looking for but I have a 2016 Polaris switchback 800 pro s
    any help /will this article work/do you have a more recent article

  2. J2 February 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Dan I have used your set up and love the fact that the skis remain on the trail now. Before adjusting my headlight was looking at the clouds if I even looked at the throttle. Fun in the fields but not fun when you are cruising the twisties. The issue that I THINK that I have is that it appears to be sagging too much. If I pull up on the back of the sled until the track is about to start coming off the ground and then let go, it drops nearly 5 inches on its own. I didn’t measure that with my weight on the sled but can only assume that it’s more than 5″….that said I am not feeling the sled bottoming out but it just seems to go against what the manuals would tell you. To sum it up I’m loving the front end but not sure I’m digging the rear suspension. Any thoughts?? Sled is a 2015 switchback assault 600

    • Dan Canfield February 19, 2016 at 10:06 am #

      That sounds like a lot of sag especially if you aren’t sitting on it when you measure it. The uncoupled rear with the torsion springs can sack out the springs… they also offer accessory springs that are stiffer if you are a bigger guy. Have you tried dialing up the tension on them with the blocks? I wouldn’t be afraid of doing that. If you can get to 5″ or so of sag with you sitting on the machine then you’ll probably feel a bit more comfortable on it and be able to use more of the shock travel. Give that a try and see how it feels to you.

  3. Robert November 26, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Hi! Anyone tried this setup on -14 or -15 SBA?

  4. Brian March 31, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Caution….

    I tried this setup on my 2011 and there is not nearly enough preload on the front springs and ended up having both springs come off the clips. One of them severely damaged the shock :(. After researching on HCS, I found that many others had a similar issue. Other than that it seemed like a great start and I really appreciated the explanation.

    • Dan Canfield March 31, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      With your front shocks set with preload dialed all the way to 1″ of max you had the clips come off? Or did you miss read and loosen them to only 1″ of preload?

  5. Theresa aka Snowitch March 28, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Hey Dan,
    Totally pumped on this write up. Yesterday I bought a 2015 sba. It is so nice looking. And yes my only complaint is it is squirrely in the corners, I am definitely going to be tweeking her today. I shook her down last night for about 60 miles, various terrian. I am use to a sb144 turbo for stroke ( which I love, im use to a lot of weight, and that machine is like glue to the trail) I will hope and pray this will allow me to get back on track with my riding style quickly and feeling like I’m not going to barrel roll or be riding over my head. As I am quite aggressive on the trail. Ill keep you posted. Thank you for your knowledge being shared.
    Theresa
    Lunenburg, vt

  6. Rick February 9, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    3rd season on my 2012 SBA and I have wanted to do this for some time. Just got it done this week and the results are amazing on the trail. As long as it doesn’t adversely affect my mountain trips out west, I will consider it a great success! The hardest part for me was switching the holes up front. There must be a trick to lining up the holes to get the bolts back in that I don’t know. Took lots of swearing and contortions to get that done. Great results though, thanks!

    • Dan Canfield February 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Rick, you might find it trenches a bit more in the really deep powder, but I think you’ll find the track gives up before the setup does.

      As for getting that front shaft back in… yup, can be difficult. Letting the tension off the rear torsion springs can help.

  7. Scott January 31, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Hey there, since this article, have you had a chance to tinker with a 2014 Assault 800 Suspension? Or do you think this will work the same. I just came back to Polaris, pick the sled up tomorrow and I’m just as happy to do the changes prior to the first ride IF it’ll all be similar. Thx

    • Dan Canfield January 31, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      If the rear suspension is the dual coil spring on the rear mounting bar then this setup applies. I have not been on a 2014 800 Assault so I don’t know what rear suspension it has. If it has the coil over suspension then the setup will be different.

  8. Greg Hart January 29, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    What carbide would you recomend with this setup? The stock 4″ just don’t cut it as far as I can tell. Has pro steer skis.

    • Dan Canfield January 31, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Greg, I don’t know what to tell you… we road in “groomed powder” type conditions… little to no icey spots on the trails so the stock skis and carbides worked great.

  9. Greg Hart January 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Two torsion springs.

    • Dan Canfield January 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

      Then the setup in this article should work on it great.

  10. Greg Hart January 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Has this setup been put to use on a 2014 model with success?

    • Greg Hart January 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      Has this setup been put to use on a 2014 model with success? I am not sure of the difference in suspension from a 2011 800 to my 2014 600 SBA.

      • Dan Canfield January 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

        Is the 2014 suspension a coil over suspension or does it have the 2 torsion springs on the back pivot?

  11. jack January 27, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Thank u will try !

  12. jack January 27, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Thanks for the info and your time, will give that a try. Its not much better with one person.

    • Dan Canfield January 27, 2014 at 9:20 am #

      I think that sled has Walker Evans shocks… if so, they are pretty stiff on the 2 up. One wants that because you want good shock action with the second person on. But because of that, they take some big swings at adjustment before you see much change.

      Try that limiter just to see if it helps at all.

  13. jack January 27, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Thanks for the info, very helpful ! Question, my girlfriends brother bought a 2011 750 turbo 2 up polaris. That machine has never handeled worth a damn no ski preasure brought it back to the dealer more than once still no difference. One time there overherd a fella complaining about the same thing, he was pissed. To this day he dosent ride it much hates the unit. Figure id reach out for him, thanks pal happy trails.

    • Dan Canfield January 27, 2014 at 9:06 am #

      Is it worse with a 2nd person on it or no change?

      The easiest test to see if you can give it some ski pressure is to shorten the limiter strap. I am ok with doing that maybe an inch at most, but if you do more than that then you collapse that front track shock more than I like it to be. But if pulling the limiter shorter helps then you can look at moving that front arm up in the tunnel. The tunnel likely isn’t drilled, but if you look from the inside of the tunnel you will see the mounting plate has holds in it, they just aren’t drilled all the way through the tunnel aluminum. Drill the next hole up, lengthen the limiter strap back out and move that front arm up in the tunnel and see if its improved.

  14. Alex December 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Dan,
    How would you set up the suspension for a lighter guy like me…145 lbs? Would you still use the same torsion setting at medium? Thanks!

    • Dan Canfield December 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

      Yeah, I probably would. We had light guys ride this sled after the setup and it worked great for them. I’d dial a bit of the dampening out of the shocks but start with the springs at the same setting.

  15. Mike L January 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Thank you!

    • Rob January 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      I have a question on moving the bolts for the suspension up. I tried this and the right side bolt (silencer side) loosened but just spun while the other side came right out. Any thoughts or ideas is this normal? I have taken tracks out before on different models ( not Polaris) and have never had an issue. Thanks

      • Dan Canfield January 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

        Yeah, that is normal… those bolts are usually loctited in. The trick to getting them out is to losen one side and retighten it half a dozen times until it threads in and out easily. Then tighten it down and spin the other side out. Then take the one you worked on out.

        I also find that using an air wrench that can spin them fast helps.

        Dan

        • Rob January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

          Thanks I will try that. Should I loctite the bolts again? I wouldn’t think so but figured I’d ask

          • Dan Canfield January 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

            If you loctite them use blue.

  16. Mike L January 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Great write up Dan can’t wait to apply these changes to mine, just 3 quick questions: 1) what is the proper torque setting for the two forward suspension bolts? 2) when I remove these bolts what else should i losen/tighten so the suspension lines up easily when I raise it to the upper holes in the front, and 3) when you say adjust the walker evens knobs “all the way out or all the way in” do you mean all the way hard or all the way soft? Thanks so much.

    • Dan Canfield January 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Hi Mike, glad you found it useful.
      1 – Torque… don’t know. I have always just tightened them as tight as I could get them with my 1/2″ drive ratchet.
      2 – You actually shouldn’t need to losen anything to get the front end to line up, but after you get it all mounted the track will likely need tightening. By moving that front end up you are actually taking some tension out of the track. So once its mounted back in the tunnel you’ll probably find the track a little loose.
      3 – Yes, I’m talking about the dampening nobs being adjusted all the way hard or all the way soft.

      • Mike L January 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

        Thanks so much! So would hard=in? (I’m not currently near the sled) thanks again!

        • Dan Canfield January 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

          Yup, all the way in is hard, all the way out is soft.

  17. ray wilson August 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Thanks anyway

  18. ray wilson August 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Dan, great writeup. I picked up one of these suspension, 2012 assualt 144″ new takeoff, planning on installing in an 06 Yamaha Apex. Was wondering if you could help with location of mounting holes. Thanks

    • Dan Canfield August 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Ray, I’m not any help… I don’t have those measurements. I would suggest you find an Assault and measure from the drive axle to the front mounting points and then the distance between the mounting points. That’s assuming you’re using the same size (144) track. Otherwise, the distance between the 2 suspension mount points is the critical measurement for it to work right.

  19. Rick Clark March 1, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Im heading to island park in a few weeks how would you set up for powder riding tree boondocking for out there?? Im set up how you say here besides im still in the stock mounting position on the front skid shock and torsion spring on stiffest and a little stiffer on shocks 1 click all the way around (my preload is pretty close to what u say to do here from factory) i ride aggressive about 240lbs geared up and another 30 on the back of the sled/underseat
    Thank you!

    • Dan Canfield March 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

      Rick, if you have left that front rear mounting point in the original position then I think you are pretty good to go. That will help pivot the front end up out of the snow.

      If you could soften up the rear preload and still have decent ride quality you might try that as well.

      Dan

  20. Dan Canfield January 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    I agree, back that spring off… I don’t know if I mentioned it in the article, but I’m 250 without riding gear so with you being a “light weight” 🙂 back some of that preload out of that front rear shock. Just make sure you don’t go too far so the retainer falls off.

  21. Jamie McLean January 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Thanks Dan. I tried to follow exactly your set up as outlined in your article above, so my rear torsion preload is on the medium setting. I just brought the sled to my dealer and they replaced the front rear shock under warranty so whatever the stock set up is, I suppose that’s what I have. With the set up you’ve outlined, including moving the bolt to the upper hole, it has dramatically reduced inside ski lift which is my sole motivation for wanting to follow your set up. Its just super stiff right now. Logic tells me to back way off on the front rear shock preload but I don’t want to lose the benefit of avoiding ski lift so I wanted to check with you first. NOTE: in order to set my front rear shock to half preload, as you recommended, I had to crank the thread adjuster quite a lot of full turns. Again, I am looking up into the shock cover to see all the threads – not sure if this is what you did or did you just go by the threads that are visible below the shock cover? Thanks again for your input!!

  22. Dan Canfield January 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Where did you get the replacement from? Did they valve it for your weight/riding style? It sounds like too much preload in that front/rear shock to me. What do you have the rear torsion springs set at for preload? Soften them all up until it is mushy and then dial in from there. Sounds like maybe your shock is valved really stiff.

    I’m guessing your front shock springs have taken a set, that’s fine. Try this… spin them until they retainer is just touching the spring so that the retainer won’t come off… sounds like 3/4″ is what that would be. Then measure how much more adjustment you have available and set them at 1/4 of that amount. So if you have 4″ of additional thread you could preload them at, dial them to 1″ more of preload and start from there to see how they work.

    Dan

  23. Jamie McLean January 15, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    I have a couple questions about this setup: first, I set my new front rear shock to about half pre-load (had it replaced because it was blown – I think maybe right from the factory?). To do this, I looked up into the cover that is on the shock to be sure I was seeing all the threads. Is this correct? It seems WAY too stiff at this setting (I’m about 180lbs). It’s zero plush and makes my eyeballs rattle even on a groomed trail – even at zero clicks compression. Did I do something wrong? Also, you say the front shocks should be at about an inch of visible threads. If I try to set mine at an inch of “visible” thread (to the bottom of the spring retainer) my springs want to fall off. The absolute most I can go is about 3/4″ of visible thread. Again, am I doing something wrong? Many thanks!

  24. Mark McCullough January 2, 2012 at 1:45 am #

    Hi Dan

    Have you done a setup for the prormk? I find there is a lot of sag, but I think that is normal. Do you lower the front suspension down one bolt hole or leave it? I talked to Carl’s cycle they told me to loosen the front spring so it has very little preload and the rear spring lenght to 10 3/8″, but I found that the rear suspension would not move enough so I loosen it to 10 1/2″ and the rear moves better. I’m just wondering if I’m on the right track or not.

    Thank you’
    Mark

    • Dan Canfield January 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Mark, I haven’t. But I think you are on the right track… the coil over on the ProRMKs is very much like the Holz coil over and that info that Carl’s gave you is tuning info on how to dial in a Holz coil over.

      Dan

  25. John April 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Hey,

    What happened to your follow up article?

    • Dan Canfield April 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      Which one are you looking for John?

  26. John April 14, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    FYI, Your instructions should come with the sled. We noticed, after leaving mine on the factory settings during break-in, that both front shock spring retainers blew off when the sled’s front end was not under load. Luckily I remembered that same issue happening with AC ZRs back in the day from wheelies and had some brand new shock retainers I could use….

  27. John April 7, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    Dan,

    I just picked up a left over SB ASSAULT 144 and this article is going to be so helpful. I know a guy a few posts up kind of touched on this, but I want to be a bit more clear. I will use the trails to get to the off trail stuff for the most part with this sled…with that being the case for me should I not move that front rear mount up at all and just do the rest of what you said and fine tune from there. I ask b/c I don’t want to lose any front end lift that’s so important when off trail riding.

    Thanks again…Great Article and Much Appreciated.

    John

    • Dan Canfield April 7, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      I would try the setup that I used in this article and if you need a little more transfer/front end lift, dial a little more preload into the front rear shock. I think you’ll find it’s off trail performance acceptible. If you have to dial more than 3/4 of the pre-load in to that shock spring, then look at switching it back to the lower hole and dialing from there.

      Dan

  28. Charlie king March 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Just bought one of these and I agree 100% with the issues. Did you adjust the limiter straps in the front mine are in the middle hole(stock)?? setting up to these sugestions will put a 100+ miles on it Sunday
    Thanks Charlie king

    • Dan Canfield March 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

      I didn’t mess with the limiters or front track shock spring preload, I was able to get it dialed in without touching them.

  29. Mikael March 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Hi!

    I just bought a Switchback Assault and found the suspension to be a bit harsh or if I back off the compression it bottoms out too easy. Your description seems to solve that problem but if I want to keep the transfer (to be able to make the skis lift over obstacles for intstance) or at least some of it, how do I do that?

    Grateful for any tips.

    Mikael

    • Dan Canfield March 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      I would start by just dialing more spring preload into the front rear shock and see if your transfer comes up to the level you want.

      If not, you’ll have to move that front rear mount back down and then start tuning the suspension again like I describe.

      Dan

  30. Tommy Jensen March 9, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    HiYa Dan !!

    Great write-up !!
    By any chance are you going to possibly be doing a same type suspension tuning write-up on the new 2012 Pro-R switchback ???

    • Dan Canfield March 9, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      If I get my hands on one I’ll do it.

      • Tommy Jensen March 9, 2011 at 10:10 am #

        🙂 Thanks for the quick reply !! I will look forward to it !!
        I currently am riding an 09 Renegade 600 X (I’m kind of a 600 guy), geared down 2 teeth for more low/middle grunt, 1 3/4 track, 6.9 pilots. Were easily 60/40 off trail to on trail.
        I love my gade but want a sled that pulls over easier in the play areas and like everyone, i want great trail handling (like my Gade) also. 🙂
        Was looking at the Assault Switchback but after seeing the 2012 Pro-R Switchback, I’m now kinda leaning that way. I guess I’m looking for your opinion on both sleds.
        I know they will both be good off trail.
        I was looking at the Doo Backcountry X but I feel even with the more narrow front end, it would still be harder to pull over than the Polaris would be.
        Question about your write-up. After doing what you did to the Assault (moving to the upper hole) and dialing in all the shocks, can you elaborate on how well it handles on trail. Also do you know if the 2012 Assault Switchback got the new front end like the Pro-R’s did so they run more flat in the twisties ??

        Thanks Dan for what ever info you can give me !!
        Tommy J.

        • Dan Canfield March 9, 2011 at 10:53 am #

          Ok, well the new 2012 Switchback has the Rush type rear. Polaris says that it is a 70/30 type sled… 70 on trail, 30 off. I don’t know how they come up with that ratio though. 🙂

          On our 2011, after tweaking the suspension it would ride just nearly as good as the F8 SnoPro with Fox Floats that we have. It handled flat in the corners, no more pushing, and tracked out of the corner under powered very predictable. Before we tweaked the settings, if you hammered the throttle out of the corner and it wasn’t straight you were going to be off in the trees.

          The 2012 has the same front end as the Pro Rs.

          That all said, Doo’s new rear suspension is pretty nice. We rode it at the SnowShoot and I think Larry or Shane will be doing a write up on it soon, but it handled big bumps and stutter bumps nearly as good as the Rush in my opinion. I don’t now if it’s available on their cross overs though.

          Dan

  31. Larry Kaduce February 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Since my first review of this model HERE I cannot believe the differences in Dan’s setup!

    I loved this sled before and now it’s even better. It handles much better in the trails, pushes less and offers a ride that is close second to the Arctic Cat. It’s still fun to drive–even without the wicked weight transfer–and I was able to launch it over approaches and drifts by blurping the throttle.

    Brilliant article, Dan!

  32. john parsons February 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    very nice write-up, have you had any experience on the set up of the rmk assault?
    just sent my skid shocks out to be revalved because the rear of the sled would sag about 3” under it’s own weight, maybe i jumpeed the gun

    • Dan Canfield February 24, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      I haven’t played with the RMK Assault. The RMK Assault has a different rear suspension, like the Holz Racing Products suspension, a coil over setup. The Holz suspension when setup right has quite a bit of sag in and is designed that way. I might suggest you call Jack Struther’s at Carl’s Cycle in Boise, Idaho… he’s a suspension wizard and could give you the proper setup instructions for the coil over setup.

  33. scott February 17, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    One of the best, if not, THE best explanation of suspension setup….well written!!!

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