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My Preferred ProCross Sled Set-Up


(1/24/2014)

Note: This is a companion piece to THIS SET-UP story I posted earlier today.

Midway through last riding season and now again this season, I’ve worked to calibrate my ProCross-chassis Arctic Cats to handle exactly the way I want. Last year I had an F800 Sno Pro. This year I’m riding the ZR 6000 El Tigre, which is also equipped with the Sno Pro shock package.

In my opinion, the Sno Pro machines come calibrated to absolute perfection for bombing through bumps and down the ditch, which is maybe 15 percent of my total ride mileage. I probably spend another 10 percent of my ride time boon-docking in the backcountry along the Minnesota-Canadian border. The remaining 75 percent is spent riding groomed trails.

For groomed trails, I want “flatter” cornering than how the stock Sno Pros handle. I want more positive cornering, with less push and less inside ski lift.

 

Ski and suspension experiments on my 2014 Arctic Cat F800 Sno Pro

So on my own, with my dog Bella and with some guidance by Arctic Cat’s suspension department, I’ve experimented with some changes to hit the handling sweet spot I’m aiming for. I tried everything I write about below last year on my 2014 F 8000 and again on this year’s ZR 6000. I’m still experimenting with some new things and will update this report when I’m ready.

The calibrations I’ve made are to these components:

1. Limiter straps on the front arm of the rear suspension [stock is hole #1: most front arm travel]

2. Coupling blocks on the rear arm of the rear suspension [stock is position #1: least coupling]

3. Ski carbides [stock is a single round bar with 4-in. carbide]

4. Rubber ski blocks for adjusting the ski stance [stock is 42-in. stance]

5. Skis

 

I don't talk shit when it comes to snowmobile set-up

I promise there's no BS in this story.

As of now, this is my preferred set-up:

1. Limiter straps: #3 or #4 hole

2. Coupling blocks: #3

3. Ski carbides: Deep-host bar version of the dual-skag runners (P/N P/N 2603-930/931) for cold hardpack conditions; Stud Boy 6-in. Shaper bars for loose snow and/or springtime snow

4. Rubber ski blocks: Repositioned for maximum 44-in. ski stance.

5. Torsion spring preload: #2 position

6. Stock skis

 

Arctic Cat ZR and HCR skis

The stock ZR skis (bottom) have a 7/8-in. keel. The HCR mountain skis (top) have a 1-1/4-in. keel. Beginning next week, I'm going to experiment with the standard M skis.

I experimented with the Arctic Cat HCR mountain skis last year. These have the deepest keel of all Arctic Cat skis (the stock ZR skis come with a 7/8-in. keel; the standard M Series ski has a 1.0-in. keel; and the HCR ski has a 1-1/4-in. keel). While they definitely provide more cornering bite, the tradeoff is that the steering effort is too much for my girly-man arms during a long day’s ride.

Beginning next week I’m going to evaluate the standard M ski on my ZR and see if that’s a happy middle ground.

 

Changing the ski stance via the rubber spindle/ski mount on an Arctic Cat

Going from 42 to 44-in. ski stance on an Arctic Cat

Swap the plastic spacers on the spindle

Flipping the rubber ski/spindle blocks to space the skis to their widest stance (44-in. compared to the stock 42-in.) is a quick, simple and effective mod for improving cornering. All that’s required is to remove the ski; turn each block so that the raised rib (see red arrow above) is on the outside each ski; and swap the plastic bushing on the outside of each hole for the ski/spindle bolt. Voila…two more inches of ski stance!

 

Jim doesn't like my trail set up when the bumps are big and gnarly

Friend Jim, above, claims this "situation" that he got himself into on my sled was the result of my trail set-up in conditions that required a stock calibration. Fortunately, after Jim's incident, it took by 5 minutes of wrenching and the sled was calibrated for the rough.

There are consequences to my favored set-up, namely handling in the big bumps. Frankly, with the front limiter pulled up to the #4 position and the coupling blocks on #3, it’s too harsh in big bumps.

I can change the front limiter straps and the coupling block position in about five minutes, without pulling the skidframe. Last spring during a ride on a GNARLY North Shore State Trail in April, I made the switch to a bump-oriented set-up, from my cornering set-up, while our riding group BSed for a few minutes during a break. Other than those knuckleheads giving me crap about being Ricky-racer, it was simple change that was easy and worthwhile.

This brings up my last point for now: It’s SO easy to experiment with any of these tweaks that, if you’re not experiencing the ride characteristics that you expect, I suggest trying some of this stuff.

I know from talking with some of the people who read this site that many of you have experimented with different skis and calibrations.

I’m curious what kind of handling you prefer and your preferred set-up. Please tell!

Thanks for reading.

Holy COW is my Arctic Cat set up nice for most conditions!



Comments (17):

c.thomas says:
1/24/2014 4:51:00 PM

hi john,I have a 2012 f800 snopro(awsome handling sled). the first thing,I installed was a set of c & a xtx skis with 8" woody heavy bar carbides, I set my coupling blocks on #2 position set my preload to #2 position on rear of skid and run 75psi or 100psi on front fox float ski shocks. I left preload setting on front of rear skid at factory settings along with limiter straps. I don't ride alot of groomed trails or flat smooth lake runs,most riding is ditch,farm field and rutted out bush trails. I also like to play in the powder,when we have it here in north central North Dakota. As a side note,I was thinking of installing a 1.375 two ply cobra with studboy superlite pro series backers and power point studs.( I'am around 225#to235# with gear) Riding style aggressive to semi aggressive to trail,it is a little heavy in front on wet snow days other than that ,I love it
skurtenb says:
1/25/2014 8:13:00 AM

John, what windshield do you have on the zr?

I've got a 2013 F800 LXR. For my setup, I run the limiter in the 3 hole from the bottom, front ski preload at about 2.5" from the bottom, (stock was 2.25") bergstrom triple points with ski savers and the shims(shims make an unbelievable difference in cornering) and have also flipped around the rubber boots on the skis as you indicated. rear preload is set at the #3 position (270 lbs for me). Also studded with 138 studs in the middle of the track only. I've tightened the skid front shock spring pre-load as well as I was bottoming out once in a while on the front of the skid.

95% of my riding is on groomed trails. this set up very close, I think this weekend I will turn up my front shock spring preload just a bit. I did hat the front springs tightened up 3" fron the bottom collar and found that it really dug in but the turning effort was more than I wanted to deal with all day. somewhere in between is probably the right spot.
I can't say enough about the ski shims. I was very skeptical about them at first, and then I decided to put them on and I could not believe the difference that single change made, it was incredible.

Great articles, love your writing!
flintstone says:
1/25/2014 8:54:00 PM

when adjusting the limiter straps should we adjust the shock spring?

for example with the straps full loose We usually just barely have the shock spring tight but then if we pull the straps down should we go ahead and adjust the spring or just leave it with the extra pressure on it?

better question might be what does the adjustment on that spring all do/ effect. my understanding was it is suppose to balance everything out?
John Sandberg says:
1/26/2014 1:31:00 PM

skurtenb: I run a Cat LXR windshield (I'm a big fan of wind protection).

Interesting about the Bergstrom ski shims. What, exactly, did they do for you that you're so pleased with?

Flintstone: I should be more scientific and actually measure front arm ski preload via a tape measure. I'll do that sometime in the next week and let you know where it is. However, part of the reason I don't know is because I actually move it around several times a year, just tweaking.

Whenever I tighten up the limiter straps (and thus compress the shock) I also reduce the preload (which probably puts it back, close to same rate as the stock preload with the stock limiter strap holes).

Generally speaking, I prefer front arm preload that's just slightly on the light side, rather than on the firm side. If I find the front arm is bottoming too much (once in a while is normal and good), then I flip the sled on its side and tighten up the preload a few turns.

Note: Once I've loosened the locking collar on the front arm shock, then I never tighten it again with the spanner wrench. Only finger tight. That way, trailside adjustments don't require the spanner. Just turn the spring with your hand and the threaded retaining collar will also turn to change the preload.
Tom White says:
1/27/2014 5:52:00 PM

John out here in the east a few guys have been putting Ski Doo Pilot skis on their new sleds and the results are amazing. These machines carve through the corners like they are on rails with the new skis, hopefully the guys in engineering are working on something new for the future cat's, I think there is a lot to be gained in this area.

Tom
Keith Voyles says:
1/28/2014 1:35:00 AM

Hi John,
I ride 2012 xf800 with the 141 1.5 track and the uncoupled rear skid with no torsion springs. I run the front ski shocks at 70psi and the rear shock at 125psi haven't touched the front straps or shock spring from the stock setting. the biggest improvement that I did last week is put on a set of woody's slim jims with 6 carbide. that alone has eliminated all darting and I don't push in the corners anymore. This set up has been great in smooth groomed trails and in rough trail conditions also. I think next time I go riding I will pull down the straps 1 hole cause the front end gets a little light when u hit it hard out of the corner
skurtenb says:
1/28/2014 11:21:00 PM

John, the ski shim "flatten" the ski against the snow. Ever look at your worn down carbides and notice that the front is more worn down than the back? The theory is that by flattening the angle of the ski you have more carbide making contact with the surface. I can tell you that I rode it the same day, had my usual loose steering, put the shims on, and wow, the skis carved better and it took a little more effort in the steering. Something had definitely changed for the better. I could not believe it. Check out the bergstrom website for more info. Better yet, give those shims a try and see what you think.
Rob says:
1/29/2014 6:32:00 PM

Hi John,

Do the stock skis on a 2013 F1100 Turbo ProCross have that adjustment that you mention?
John Sandberg says:
1/30/2014 8:18:00 AM

Rob: Yes, all ProCross and ProClimb machines have adjustable ski stance via the rubber blocks.

Skurtenb: I will try the shims, thanks for the feedback.
taperk600 says:
2/8/2014 9:31:00 PM

For my 14 6-RR, I'm still dialing it in, but it's very close in all conditions with this:
Fronts:
Main @ 70 psi
Evol @ 110 psi
Rebound at out 9 (from all the way in)
Compression at out 9
Skis-- USI X2 triple Threats with 7.5" shaper bars and stage 4 fin kit

Skid:
Limiter straps in 2nd hole
Front arm compression at 11
Front arm spring with zero pre-load (just tight enough to put tension on the spring after adjusting limiter straps with skid off the ground)

Rear arm
compression at 10 out
rebound at 8 out
Torsion springs on softest
coupler blocks on lowest setting.

Not that this will work for all riders, but thought I'd share.
Have now installed HyGear prep'd shocks with DSCs all the way around and custom valving.....even better now !!!
taperk600 says:
2/8/2014 9:32:00 PM

Oh--- forgot, the skis out here in the east are all set to max stance that I know of. Maybe it's the dealers setting them that way ??
John Sandberg says:
2/12/2014 10:15:00 PM

taperk600: On your limiters, are they in the second hole from the end of the straps, or from the beginning? In other words, did you "tighten" the straps by one hole, or by three holes?

I'm guessing your dealer is setting up the sleds with the widest stance.
Steve Fox says:
3/25/2014 9:11:00 AM

Just bought a 2013 F8 Sno Pro LTD and ride mostly groomed trails. Looking for a set up for good flat cornering and top speed.
SnoPro Bro says:
1/1/2016 12:07:00 PM

Hey John ...Thanks for the superstar tips!
New to the SnoPro Family and love the sled as far as jumping & mogul pounding goes but it seems to flat out SUKS when precision turning is concerned (Fox Floats). I had considered trading for some coil-overs so I could set the front height/preload and tilt a bit more weight on the skis BUT after reading a bit I think I'll go with the 1" keel skis & try to find a happy medium with your other tweaks .....Thanks bud "Happy New Year SnoPro'ers"
Gary Revak says:
1/18/2016 4:14:00 PM

Hi Guys.
I have a 2013 TZ1 LXR Arctic Cat 2-up. I've had Cats all my life and love'em. My wife doesn't care to ride her own on long trips anymore and that's why we bought this sled. We like the sled, it has all the creature comforts but we have one problem. With both of us leaning as much as possible we still have trouble keeping the inside ski from coming up in the corners. I know my way around sleds a little but really haven't done much adjusting as the sleds I've owned handled great the way the were. Together she and I weigh about 300 lbs. I've got the cam position blocks set on 3 and the overloads engaged. I haven't adjusted the front spring adjusters or adjusted the limiter strap or anything else yet. I could use your advice as to the adjustments to make. It's hard for the little woman to enjoy the ride if we're constantly on the verge of tipping. Never had this problem before. We had a 2-up Panther years ago, but the center of gravity was lower and the track was wider. I could use any help you may be able to give.
Thanks.
Gary
Vic Geier says:
3/8/2017 7:17:00 PM

Any more tips on setup for turning? I have a 2016 ElTigre 6000 with C&A XCS skis and 9 inch Bergstrom triple points and the stock limiter position,129 inch track,I have no confidence in the corners on ice or snow.
Fred says:
1/14/2018 7:00:00 AM

I have a 2014 7000rr what would be the best setup for me I find the sled does not corner well any help would certainly be appreciated tks

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