Arctic Cat was BUSY this past year!
For 2016 the company introduced new models; heavily revised its mountain sleds; switched to TEAM clutches on most of its models; added a new 4-stroke engine; offers new quick-adjust FOX shocks; and more.
Here are the highlights, with more in-depth stories to follow in the coming days.
One: Highly evolved M series models
Arctic Cat’s mountain team of engineers went to great lengths to ease side hilling and laying a sled over in deep snow.
-That effort begins with the new Arctic Mountain front Suspension featuring revised geometry, new spindles and A-arms. New spindle geometry includes an increase in spindle caster angle to 27 degrees (compared to 17 degrees on previous models), which results in increased ski camber for improved off-trail cornering and more predictable counter-steering, especially when side-hilling. The new lightweight, forged-aluminum spindles have less surface area than the previous design, reducing drag and improving performance in deep snow. New lightweight alloy-steel A-arms are lighter than previous designs and, matched by the new spindles, shed 2.4 lbs. for 2016.
Great news: Arctic Cat will offer a kit for the new front suspension and spindles that will retrofit on previous ProClimb chassis.
-Next is a new, narrower 34.5-38.5-in. adjustable ski stance (on all 2016 Arctic Cat M models except the HCR). It’s a wider range of adjustability than previous models, as well as providing the option for a narrower stance, that further enhances side hilling performance and carving.
-A new ski design called ProClimb-7 works in concert with the new AMS spindles for improved deep snow performance and adjustability. The skis incorporate a tapered width, from 7 in. at the front to 6.5 in. in the middle, which works with a revised rubber dampener to keep the ski tips up and floating on top of the snow while preventing diving or knifing into the snow. A wider ski saddle accommodates a full 4 in. of lateral ski stance adjustability, while a deeper keel design provides improved cornering in off-trail conditions.
-Out back, the FLOAT-ACTION rear suspension is redesigned for more travel and a better ride quality. New geometry includes a longer rear-arm pull-rod and revised rail profile that delivers consistent track tension during the full range of travel. A longer front arm shock works with the new pull-rod for increased front arm travel, which improves the ride performance in all conditions, especially in big bumps. The new FLOAT-ACTION suspension is built in three lengths to accommodate 141-, 153- and 162-in. track lengths.
-For 2016, M models will feature the industry-leading the PowerClaw track in either 2.25-, or 2.6-in. lug heights in 141-, 153- and 162 lengths. A 3.0-in. lug height comes on Limited models in 153- and 162-in. lengths. Marketing hype aside, the lightweight, single-ply PowerClaw track with a 3.0-in. pitch is unmatched for deep snow performance, with stagger set, curved-forward paddle towers that won’t fold over or take a set.
Two: Evolved XF High Country Models
Arctic Cat’s deep snow-focused, 141-in. track length XF High Country models have been popular with riders who explore the backcountry and yet still ride some trails, whether it’s in the mountains or flat land. For 2016 these models get even more focus on deep-snow performance, incorporating the same redesign as the M models:
-New AMS front suspension features new one-piece forged spindles and new A-arms, delivering new geometry for easier steering effort, reduced surface area for improved deep snow performance and is 2.4 lbs. lighter than the previous design. Yes, these models retain a swaybar.
-New 38.5-42.5-in. adjustable ski stance allows greater stance adjustment (with a narrower option than previous models) and versatility.
– New ProClimb-7 tapered mountain ski is 7 in. wide at the front and 6.5 in. wide in the middle, which keeps the ski tips up while going through deep snow for improved performance and handling. A wider saddle and ski dampener allows 4 in. of ski stance adjustability.
– New FLOAT-ACTION rear suspension incorporates changes to the rails and geometry for increased travel, improved ride quality in all conditions and consistent track tension.
-A revised version of the quick-adjust Telescoping Steering post is introduced for 2016, with a 9-position 3-in. range. The lowest position is 1-in. lower than previous designs, and also features tighter tolerances and a half-pound weight reduction.
Three: XF CrossTrek models
Aimed at the rider who wants to ride trails, lakes ditches and untouched logging roads or goat trails, the new CrossTrek platform could be exactly what adventure riders are looking for. It’s essentially a ZR 137 Sno Pro model that’s been reworked with a 1.5-in. Cobra track for improved soft/loose snow performance and traction on hardpack; new collapsible saddlebags and a larger rear storage bag for hauling key gear; plus a taller 11-in. windshield with detachable mirrors. It comes with FOX FLOAT ski shocks and a revised front arm spring that gives it great comfort and cornering prowess. It comes in 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000 series engines.
Don’t let the mirrors and saddlebags fool you: this isn’t some soft-minded touring sled. It’s a full-on adventure machine that has the Sno Pro suspension package and the crossover capability of a 1.5-in. Cobra track. For times when you don’t need storage, the saddlebags can be detached in a matter of seconds.
I logged more than 100 miles on one last week and I will attest that it’s fantastic on the trails and good in loose snow. I would be completely satisfied with it even if I never left a trail, yet it’s track length and lug height add a high level of backcountry versatility.
Four: TEAM Clutches on Most 2016 Models
Yep, that’s right, Cat has gone to new TEAM clutches on most of its 2016 models. Together, the TEAM Rapid Response drive and Rapid Reaction BOSS driven clutch offer smoother shifting, optimal performance, maximum durability; increased serviceability; and reduced weight.
The new Rapid Response drive clutch offers these durability and performance advantages:
*0.25 lbs. weight reduction for 5 percent less rotational inertia, resulting in quicker acceleration
*Compared to the previous aluminum spider, an all-new steel spider provides a 70 percent improvement in fatigue strength and a 20 percent improvement in yield strength
*Flyweight durability has a 250 percent improvement in wear resistance
*The spider roller bearings are 30 percent longer than previous designs for greater durability
*A 70 percent increase in the contact surface area of the spider buttons offers increased durability and longevity
*Unlike previous designs, this is a serviceable clutch
*Yes, this clutch will retrofit on previous Arctic Cat models.
The new Rapid Reaction BOSS driven clutch features the Built On Shaft Secondary design, in which the clutch is designed with machined sheaves that mount directly to the machined-matched driven shaft.
Unique to Arctic Cat for 2016, BOSS eliminates the need for the steel clutch post in traditional designs, saving weight, reducing rotating mass, improving clutch balance and achieving tighter clutch/shaft mounting tolerance.
In addition to the benefits of BOSS, the Rapid Reaction driven clutch offers these durability and performance advantages:
*0.25-lb. weight reduction for 4 percent less rotational inertia, resulting in quicker acceleration
*Optimized cooling fin geometry delivers improved cooling, with 20-degree lower clutch and belt temperatures for improved belt life and performance.
*A jackshaft with a 30 percent increase in torsional stiffness
Five: ZR in 129 or 137-in track options
Reflecting the increasing number of trail riders who have migrated to 137-in. tracks, Arctic Cat has renamed these models ZR (instead of XF). Now riders can choose ZR 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000 models in either 129 or 137, and in packages that include LXR, Sno Pro and Limited, with the only differences being the track length (and the length of the SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension).
There will also be an El Tigre and RR package, albeit in 129-in. only.
The ZR 4000 (LXR and RR) and ZR 5000 LXR will also be available only with a 129-in. track.
Like I said above, this either/or with 129 or 137 for TRAIL riders reflects the fact that more people are moving to longer-tracked sleds. Five years from now, will 137 be considered a short track?
Six: FOX QS3 Ski and R. Track shocks
Ultra quick, super simple shock adjustability is now a reality thanks to the new FOX QS3 ski and rear track shock. A 3-position adjustment knob located on the remote reservoir allows instant compression tuning for riding conditions and/or intensity.
With three positions corresponding to LXR (1), Sno Pro (2) and RR (3) calibration, QS3 simplifies shock adjustment with tool-free simplicity.
I spent several days last week riding with these shocks and I’m fully sold on their performance and usefulness. It takes about 10 seconds to switch the shocks (30 seconds if you have to knock snow off of the track shock), with a completely noticeable difference between each position. And the ski shocks are coil-over spring units that deliver an extra plushness in the stutter bumps.
FOX QS3 shocks will come standard on all ZR Limited and El Tigre models. Plus I expect them to be an accessory option for the rest of us.
Seven: New Bearcat 7000 models
For the workers, trappers and heavy-haulers, Arctic Cat’s 2016 Bearcat 7000 XT and Groomer Special (above) models are all-new, including the stout ProUte chassis, new bodywork (that features a flip-up hood) and power from the 7000 Series Yamaha triple.
Key to these new machines is a new Wide Range 3-Speed transmission featuring Super Low, Low and High Gear options via a selectable shift lever, and providing the widest range and lowest gear ratio in the industry.
Also key: a new XTRA-ACTION articulating rear suspension that can be locked or unlocked, and that is a huge step in utility performance compared to the previous design.
Other utility-focused engineering includes a 37.5-43.5-in. adjustable ski stance; 20 x 154-in. track; new 10/8-in. tapered skis that deliver outstanding flotation; 14.7 gallon fuel capacity; new front mounted radiator that works with a heat exchanger; a handy, bright reverse light; and a host of other goodies.
Eight: New 3000 Series 700 4-Stroke Engine
The newest clean-technology C-TEC4 4-stroke engine delivers 65-hp-class power in a new Pantera and Bearcat platform for 2016. It’s a liquid-cooled 700cc parallel twin engine that was designed by Arctic Cat and is manufactured by Kymco – the same engine powering the Wildcat Trail and Sport UTV models. It features a closed-loop EFI system and four valves per cylinder, with an engine management system that eliminates engine braking and that delivers optimal performance at all temperatures and altitudes.
Quiet, smooth, fuel-efficient and with a low rpm engagement, this engine is going to please users who don’t need big power or high top-end speed. With pre-production clutching and riding at 6,400 feet last week, I saw top speeds in the low 50s on the Pantera.
Nine: XF 7000 CrossTour, an Adventure Sport Sled
Arctic Cat redesigns and consolidates its CrossTour line into a single model for 2016, the XF 7000 CrossTour. It gets the new ProTour chassis, which features flatter running boards, a 15 x 146-in. track and SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension.
Essentially a solo version of the Pantera (in a colorful package), the new CrossTour features the big rear storage case; a 4.3-gallon auxiliary rear fuel tank (for 15 gallons total); and electric heated seat.
This is another machine that gave me great satisfaction while riding this past week. For any rider who says that Twin Spar chassis was the most comfortable touring chassis in Cat history, I ask that you try this baby and then decide.
Ten: Pantera 3000 & Bearcat 3000
As mentioned above, there are new Pantera (above) and Bearcat models for ’16 that are powered by the new 3000 series engine. Both get a 15 x 146 in. track and SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension.
The Pantera has a 2-up detachable passenger seat (that’s heated, along with the driver seat), the big rear storage compartment, fiberglass overload springs, mirrors and other touring goodies.
The Bearcat (above) gets a mountain seat, 35.5-41.5-in. adjustable stance, low range gearing, a front mounted radiator and a rear rack.
Eleven: Pantera 7000 XT Limited
This big boy shares the same platform and 7000 engine as the new Bearcat 7000 models, but gets the Pantera touring treatment via 3-up capable seating and lockable side cases and large rear tunnel compartment.
Twelve: No New 800 Engine?
When Arctic Cat hosted editors for a 2016 info download in TRF in late January, it was stated that the company was very aware of the rampant rumors and expectations that had been pontificated by editors of a new 800 engine for 2016.
Then in the next breath, the spokesman said that the company was continuing its focus on overall quality and reliability, and that it wouldn’t release a new product until it was thoroughly tested and ready for market.
No, the person didn’t specifically say that the company HAD a new 800 and that it was holding off on introducing it until it was fully, completely tested and proven. But taken together, his two statements essentially implied that very point.
Thats all for now, but look here for more in-depth stories on the 2016 models this week.
Thanks for reading.