We’ve been pretty vocal about how much the SnowTech test riders like the Arctic Cat F8 as an outstanding trail sled. When the trails get rough, the F8 really shines. For 2009, the team at Thief River has seriously tweaked the chassis and suspensions, giving the F-series sleds a more accurate handling response. The number of changes is staggering and the difference is profound.
Rotating the chassis around the drive axle provides more running board clearance, with the rear arm mount of the skid frame now 63mm further back as well for more traction and better ride control. The running board angle is flatter, so the riding position is lower for better handling. Less preload in the rear lowers the cg and transfers weight better. The limiter straps are longer, as are the front arm shocks with a new rail profile.
Up front, taller spindles with a forward spindle angle help make the a-arms flatter, giving a raised roll center and even flatter cornering. Higher spring rates and increased low speed shock control provide better sway/roll control and improved G-bump performance. And yet another change is electronic engine reverse (finally), good for an eight pound weight reduction. It works.
The combination of the rigid Twin Spar chassis, Slide Action Rear Suspension and laydown 800cc fuel-injected two-stroke provides rock-solid performance in every respect. It is not as stout as a Sno Pro, but is better suited for groomed trail riders with its 1” Hacksaw track and not-as-firm suspension set-up. Electric start, a decent windshield and the premium gauge truly make it special. The F8 LXR (145 HP) retails for $10,399 and comes in Arctic Cat Green. Also offered is the F5 LXR (85 HP) for $8,199.