Most of the time when we tell you “all new” it’s more a matter of mostly new. Well, this time around about the only thing that isn’t all new is maybe the track. From the skis to the chassis to the engine to the rear suspension, the 2007 Arctic Cat Jaguar Z1 is about as “all new” as you’re going to find.
Starting with the Twin Spar chassis, we find Arctic Cat’s torsionally rigid chassis to mount next-generation suspensions to. The rigid chassis itself is reason to get very excited, as the difference this makes in suspension performance is very noticeable and should also greatly improve chassis durability. Much of this comes from the use of self-piercing rivets instead of welding the aluminum. Arctic Cat claims the chassis will be just as strong after 8,000 miles as the day it left the factory, a hefty claim, indeed.
Just as important is the rider-forward ergonomics this new platform provides. The seating position of the Twin Spar chassis places the rider with a 90-degree bend in their knees, something Arctic Cat reps were adamant about. They firmly believe this is a better riding position than the REV offers, especially at the knee joint.
Also new is Arctic Cat’s IRP (Infinite Rider Positioning) system; an adjustable seat, handlebars and footrests. The seat has seven adjustment positions, moving about a half inch forward and a 1/3 inch vertically with each of the seven positions. This amounts to a total of 3.66” forward and 2.41” vertical movement range. A thick (7.17”) of seat foam enhances the comfort with a forward slant to keep you in the cockpit. A cam lever at the rear of the seat lets you unlock, adjust and re-lock the seat with one hand.
The adjustable handlebars are really unique. A single locking lever top and center lets you move the bars fore and aft as well as being able to rotate the controls. A total of 3.32” forward and 2.11” vertical movement can be made, with a handlebar rotation of 85 degrees. The footrests can also be set to one of three positions, allowing the Jaguar Z1 to comfortably fit a wide range of rider sizes and styles. Also, a riser block can be installed to raise the bars even more, as the cables and wiring is said to be long enough to allow some further personalizing.
The Jaguar Z1 is powered by an all-new compact 1056cc twin-cylinder 4-stroke. This high-compression fuel-injected engine features four valves per cylinder and has a power delivery more like a two-stroke; it builds with the engine RPMs, for Arctic Cat-like acceleration.
An O2 sensor and feedback system provides phenomenal economy, making this the cleanest Arctic Cat, ever.
Several unique technologies make their debut on this engine; Arctic Cat’s patented anti-engine braking takes away the harsh compression braking found on other four-strokes, giving the Jaguar a feel more like a two-stroke when you release the throttle. The Z1’s exhaust cam has a patented automatic de-compression system, so turning over the big bore twin is easier on cold mornings.
A breather system on the Z1 oil tank keeps oil in the tank and out of the engine compartment if the machine is tipped on its side, and a low oil pressure shut down system will shut the big twin down if oil pressure becomes too low, a safeguard to enhance durability.
Motor mounts are focused at the engine’s center of gravity, providing smooth operation despite the big twin architecture. Stainless steel exhaust system resists corrosion and keeps the system looking good for years.
An adjustable height windshield offers five positions, from low and fast to tall and wind blocking. Total movement is in an arc with 3.55” of forward and 1.1” of vertical movement. All you do is unscrew the locks on each side, reposition the windshield and re-lock it.
Up front we find the seventh generation AWS front suspension. A CNC-machined front sub frame provides a strong mount, a key piece to making the Twin Spar chassis very rigid due to the lack of welds. Forged spindles and shock towers also increase the strength and rigidity of the front end and reduce the weight. The upper a-arm returns to a more traditional design with the shock inside the “A”, unlike the Firecat’s AWS-6. The turning radius is back to where it should be, and steering effort is light due to a progressive steering ratio that uses a solid roller bearing on the steering post.
In the rear of the sled we find the “Slide Action Rear Suspension”. This novel approach to suspension coupling comes from the 440 SnoPro race sleds. Rather than solid mount the upper mount of the front torque arm, a U-shaped slot allows some movement within a slot at this location. This allows you to maintain full front arm travel while controlling weight transfer under acceleration to help keep the skis on the ground for improved cornering and acceleration. The Slide Action reduces harshness by allowing a softer transition during coupling, instead of a definite crossover point from uncoupled to fully coupled. The slot allows the whole suspension to shift rearward when coupling, which provides an added anti-squat feature as well during acceleration.
Bottom line, your skis stay on the ground more often which means better steering response and handling across the board. Big-bump G-outs are less frequent, yet small chatter ride quality remains intact. The sled squats less when you gun it, and track tension is more consistent through the range of suspension travel. Getting the skid frame in and out of the sled is also easier. And finally, changes in rider weight are not as big of a deal with this arrangement, the suspension is more forgiving.
One long awaited feature is push-button electronic reverse. The Jaguar is fitted with the ACT Diamond Drive gearcase, and for 2007 the system has been enhanced with an electronically actuated mechanical reverse. The rider pushes a button under the throttle on the right-hand block and the system pops an actuator that locks a planetary gear for fast and positive reverse engagement. It is quick, smooth and always works; no engine stalling like is common with the reverse-rotation systems found on some 2-strokes. Yes, it weighs a bit more, but it works well.
Other technology in the drive train includes a four-tower primary with four flyweights, great for getting the extra torque of the 1056cc twin through the belt and into the gearbox. A 10.5” secondary clutch offers a lower ratio and provide a smooth low-speed take off while increasing high speed consistency with reduced belt slippage. A non-threaded belt adjuster aids in quicker belt fit and deflection.
How ’bout that snow-specific motor? This two-cylinder dry-sump 4-stroke fitted with EFI is built for one thing – snowmobiles. No compromises here, but it does cost more. It fits down into the chassis much like a Firecat engine, for a low center of gravity and centered mass. This greatly masks the extra weight of the extra hardware of a 4-stroke.
Quoted output is a stout 125 HP through the 1100 (1056cc), yet it is said to be cleaner than the T-660 engine! Cat engineers wanted the narrow, laydown parallel twin to have a power delivery more like the 2-strokes they were used to, so the torque curve increases through the RPM range instead of being as flat as most 4-strokes. This was to provide a “feel” of acceleration more like a 2-stroke. Engine compression braking is all but gone via a patented anti-engine braking system.
Wow. We didn’t fully realize the difference a rigid chassis could make. The Jaguar is noticeably heavier than say a Firecat, but the difference in ride quality and handling is most impressive. The rear suspension soaks up the bumps better than most anything, dare we say approaching an M-10 in comfort but more capable across a wider range of conditions. The skis stay planted, the thing rails flat, and the overall perception is nothing but solid. The engine feels to be right there with a Yamaha RS Vector, and the power really does build instead of the flatter torque from the Vector. Cat engineers wanted a 4-stroke trail sled that felt more like an Arctic Cat. In this, they succeeded.
Less mass seems to be in front of you with the engine where it is. The sound of the engine isn’t as pleasing as a Yamaha 3 or 4-banger, but it’s not as industrial as a Polaris FST either.
Overall we’ve been nothing but surprised by how the Jaguar Z1s have worked for us. We’re not crazy about the styling, but as you ride it you realize it is truly better by design. We scoffed at the adjustable seat at first, then tried it in all positions as the conditions varied. Low and back for flat running, high and forward through the bumps does make a difference.
The 2007 Arctic Cat Jaguar Z1 is available in three colors; Black, Green or Red and retails for $10,499.