All great shows have a cast of characters, no different than the ArcticInsider supporters you read about here. Two familiar names on these pages are longtime powersport journalist, Pat Bourgeois, and Arctic Cat dealer Tom Rowland, owner of Thomas Sno Sports in Ogilivie, MN.
Pat brought his two demo sleds, a Polaris (2020 Adventure 600 137) and Ski-Doo (2020 Backcountry 600 146). Tom didn’t hold back any punches by bringing his 2020 Thundercat 137. It was truly fun getting the opportunity to ride three different brands over the course of 150 miles, despite these models starring in their own separate categories. If I had to liken the Polaris Adventure to an Arctic Cat model, I would say its closest to a ZR 6000 137, and the Ski-Doo Backcountry would be comparable to a Riot X 146, if it had a 600 engine.
“I’m not man enough.”
I’ll be honest, I’ve logged quite a few miles on Z1 Turbos and Thundercats over the years, but it’s typically not my first go-to Arctic Cat choice for a midwest trail ride. Why – Cuz I’m not man enough. I say this tongue-in-cheek, but you may say the same if you’ve never experienced the arm-pulling power of this 200hp 4-stroke turbo rocketship. It’s truly incredible!
I can’t stress enough, the 2020 Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Thundercat is one potent snowmobile built for the ultimate in high performance and quickest crossings of lakebeds known for impromptu drag races. Available with two different shock packages — Tom’s Thundercat had the FOX QS3’s with manual 3-position setting knobs, you can also choose the iACT (Now renamed ATAC for 2021) version which allows you to control your shock setting from the handlebar mounted gauge.
Powered by the C-TEC4 9000-Series DOHC Turbo Triple that sets the highest standard for power, smoothness and reliability, with an intercooled turbo and three injectors that deliver maximum horsepower at any altitude and with no lag. Those 200-plus ponies hit the track consistently every time thanks to the quick acceleration and auto-adjusting design of the TEAM Rapid Response II drive clutch, Rapid Reaction driven clutch and the entire Arctic Drive System.
Like all ZRs, the Thundercat is built on the race-proven ProCross chassis — This ultra-rigid platform is matched by a revised ARS II front suspension, offering 10 in. of bump-eating travel, plus the coupled SLIDE-ACTION Rear Suspension with 13.5 travel. The Thundercat is equipped with a 137-in. Ripsaw track and 1-inch lug, plus single-runner ski carbides deliver the utmost speed through a variety of trail terrain. It was a complete joy to confidently set this front end into a corner, let it stick, and feel the rear follow underneath you…then apply throttle. Sweet. Glorious throttle. Throttle that never seems to end.
When headed into a corner, the engine braking on this big four stroke slows itself naturally, but when it’s time to slow things down, the Stealth lightweight brake master cylinder provides enhanced braking performance with a comfortable short-throw brake lever.
As a premium model, you get a comfortable heated seat, ultra-bright LED headlight, rear tunnel flares, 11-in. medium-height windshield and a goggle holder.
If you want the ultimate in speed from Arctic Cat, buy a Thundercat. If you’re too chicken, I’d suggest the Chicken Tenders at the Kwik Trip in Two Harbors, MN.