I’m feeling a lot of love for the new 2015 Arctic Cat ZR 4000 models, and I know I’m not the only one.
If I were to put the two machines in human terms, I’d say each is like a first-love: the kind of gal who you might later say goodbye to because you’re smitten with something a little more exotic. And just like in life, you might find yourself wondering why you ever left your first love.
Either way, the ZR 4000 is unlikely to cause any regrets.
Here’s why I love it:
One – It has (almost) all of the performance I need. At 85 hp and with a top-speed of 80-85 mph (the variance was influenced by wind direction and snow conditions) in the ditch when I rode one in TRF a month ago, it satisfies at least 80 percent of my riding needs. I’ve owned a 2010 Sno Pro 500 (which runs dead-even with the ZR 4000) since it was new, so I’m very familiar with the acceleration and speed.
The 20 percent it comes up short is confined to times I’m riding backcountry along the border by my family’s cabin, and on occasion when I’m riding open/fast trails. I can deal with not being the fast guy on long stretches of trail, but for sure there are times when busting through deep snow that 85-hp just isn’t enough.
Conversely, for sure there are times when you can ride harder (and longer) on this sled than on something with more power, because it’s light and doesn’t fatigue you as much or as quickly.
Two – They’re light. I don’t know how light (Arctic Cat doesn’t provide weights and nobody else has weighed one), but I can tell you it feels really light. Lighter than my ZR 6000.
I love lightweight sleds because they’re fun to ride; they reduce rider fatigue; they decelerate quicker; they infuse confidence in my son or my wife when they ride; and they’re easier to move around the shop.
Three – They’re better than the two sleds they’ve replaced: the F5 in the Twin Spar chassis and the Sno Pro 500.
The ProCross chassis is an overall much more enjoyable platform than the Twin Spar, especially in terms of fun factor.
Compared to the F5, the ZR 4000 LXR has better shocks, better ergo’s (especially the seat) and better handling. Riders who like to knock off 250-mile days may prefer the cush and easy-as-pie steering of the Twin Spar, but not many of those riders are opting for the 4000-Series 500 EFI engine.
Part two of the story will be something of a comparison between the Sno Pro and the ZR 4000 RR, coming next week.
Four – Great value. There are a lot of people asking for a low-cost ProCross sled. At $8,300 U.S./$9,400 Canada MSRP, the ZR 4000 LXR is as close as we get to a cheap date. By comparison, that’s $2,700 less (U.S.) than a ZR 6000 LXR.
Like the Sno Pro 500 and most sleds in this price/performance range, I expect the various ZR 4000 models to retain their values as the years click by.
Five – Your mother would approve. From a mother’s perspective, nobody (or sled) is perfect for little Johnny, but this is one that she’ll brag about at bridge club.
There’s a lot to boast about: a stout 500 EFI twin that runs best on 87 octane; ProCross chassis; SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension; ARS front suspension; and an exceptional ride quality for a wide range of riders.
If it’s the LXR we’re talking about, it also comes with push-button mechanical reverse, Arctic Cat IFP rebuildable gas shocks at both ends; 1.0-in. Ripsaw II track and a great windshield.
The RR comes with FOX FLOAT X EVOL skis shocks with clicker dampening adjustments; FOX ZERO PRO clicker-adjustable reservoir shocks in the skidframe; the race-version of the SLIDE-ACTION skid; lightweight drilled brake disc; and a 1.25-in. Cobra track. This sled is going to win a lot of cross-country races next season, and it will ruin the day of many wanna-be ditch bangers and bump riders who can’t keep up with it on their more powerful sleds.
Are these sleds perfect? No sled is. In a perfect world, both would have push-button engine reverse; and the LXR would have electric start.
And they would happily clean the house and cook dinner.
Next week I’ll have more to say about the RR model and how it compares to the Sno Pro 500.
Thanks for reading.
Arctic Cat engineer Bart Magner preps one of the ZR 4000 RRs for a ride in January. The big window was added because it was a cool -15 degrees.
The day of riding in TRF occured during the USXC I-500 in January. I tagged along with Bart and engineers Larry Coltom and Terry Anderson. We rode more than 100 miles, running river, ditch and trails.
The 4000-Series Suzuki 500 EFI twin is a sweatheart engine, pumping out 85 hp on 87 octane and satisfying a wide range of riders.
I know some people scoff at 85 hp, but I also know that ZR 4000 will keep up with bigger sleds in most conditions (and run circles around some on tight trails).
Arctic Cat ZR 4000 LXR Specs.
2015 Arctic Cat ZR 4000RR specs.
Above are the main differences between the 2015 Arctic Cat ZR 4000 models.