The Return of the El Tigre For the past few years Arctic Cat has been offering their 4-stroke 1100cc as their entry into the...

The Return of the El Tigre

For the past few years Arctic Cat has been offering their 4-stroke 1100cc as their entry into the 125 HP class. The logic was so many people were buying the 800cc two-stroke, and with the EPA regulations the 4-strokes were a great way to meet the requirements as well. And we all should recognize the benefit of a 4-stroke engine when it comes to long-term reliability and reduced warranty issues.
But in the back of our minds, we all missed the 600cc two-stroke from Arctic Cat. The 600cc two-stroke market had been the “bread and butter” of the snowmobile industry for many years, and while Polaris and Ski-Doo still carried the banner Arctic Cat was quiet. No longer.


The other curious thing we have going for 2014 is the re-badging of the Arctic Cat performance sleds. Gone is the F-designation, so there are no more F6 or F8 sleds, or more recently F 1100 or F 800 names. Gone. We are now back to the tried and true, the fast and familiar ZR name for Arctic Cat performance sleds. But wait; not only are the 2014 performance short track sleds called “ZR” there is yet another twist – a ZR El Tigre featuring a brand-spanking new 600cc two stroke engine!
The ZR 6000 El Tigre (offered with or without electric start) is going to be a limited model for 2014, most likely due to the all-new 600cc C-TEC2 engine. This engine is the first snowmobile engine designed engineered and produced by Arctic Cat, featuring clean engine technology like Dual-Stage Injection, open-window pistons, electronic oil metering and more. The C-TEC2 600 reflects the decades of engine design knowledge from the same Arctic Cat engineers who created the laydown engine, Exhaust Pipe Temperature Sensor and batteryless EFI.
“Every component of the C-TEC2 600 was designed and sourced by Arctic Cat,” said Donn Eide, Snowmobile Engine Design Manager at Arctic Cat. “It is a cleansheet design incorporating new and existing technology pioneered by our team of engineers.”
The C-TEC2 600 delivers 123 horsepower and will be produced at the Arctic Cat Engine facility in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It features the convenience of pushbutton engine reverse and incorporates ideas proven in the Sno Pro 600 race engine, including the crankshaft design and crank wheel construction. Using Finite Element Analysis, the C-TEC2 600 engine is 8.5 lbs. lighter than the former 600 Suzuki 2-stroke engine used in Arctic Cat snowmobiles. And like other Arctic Cat fuel injection systems, the C-TEC2 600 is a batteryless EFI system with Arctic Power Valves and an Exhaust Pipe Temperature Sensor for consistent performance and stable operating RPM levels.
These limited edition El Tigre models are in effect Sno Pro calibration sleds featuring the third-year ultra-stout ProCross chassis hosting the ARS front suspension and the FastTrack Slide-Action rear suspension (with revised front-arm geometry) for a combination that effortlessly carves corners and swallows bumps.

El Tigre

The Arctic Race Suspension (ARS) combines tall lightweight ski spindles and widely spaced A-arms for the greatest torsion rigidity and strength. The lower A-arms mount to the chassis in a 30-degree angle from the chassis centerline, with optimal caster/camber angles to improve comfort and cornering traction while reducing bump/steer. The one-piece spindle construction with ball-joints eliminates the added weight and stiction of spindle-in-housing designs. The tall spindles are now lighter by nearly 1 pound for 2014. These have become an identifying feature of the new ProCross platform, making these sleds look very different. The one-piece forged spindles are this tall to reduce forces/loads into the spindle, and to allow a longer distance between the upper and lower A-arms for added chassis strength. Maximizing the distance between their mounts on the bulkhead makes the front end very strong and capable, and it shows when you put this chassis through the rough as it maintains its composure and remains very predictable and controllable.
The El Tigre Sno Pro also gets new FOX FLOAT 3 shocks up front. These next-generation air shocks still feature an “air spring” instead of the familiar metal coil spring to provide preload and spring rate, but now have an improved air valve access for easier pressure adjustments.
In the rear we find the ever-evolving FastTrack Slide-Action rear suspension. This design features a unique fastened Tri-Hub rear axle assembly that’s lighter and more durable than two separate wheels. The Slide-Action design with coupling is also unique because the front arm features a U-shaped slot that fits over a fixed shaft (that’s attached through the tunnel) to allow a half-inch of sliding movement. Unlike all other coupled suspensions, this “non-fixed-front-arm-location” doesn’t force the front arm to collapse whenever the rear compresses with coupling. The result is the full benefit of rear coupling – controlled (or eliminated) ski lift during acceleration – yet with complete use of the front arm travel at all times.
Revised front-arm mounting geometry includes raising the arm-mounting position on the rail as well as relocating the arm-mounting position on the tunnel rearward. The new geometry improves small bump compliance, reduces track tension through the full range of compression and reduces ski lift during acceleration.
Delivering the power to the 15 x 129 x 1.25-in. Ripsaw II track is the Arctic Drive System (ADS) with Torque Control Link – a plate connecting the PTO side of the engine to the bearing housing of the jackshaft which maintains consistent center-to-center distance and proper alignment. The result is improved and consistent performance and quicker acceleration. The use of self-aligning bearings along with chain /gears and the jackshaft design allows the use of the new TCL system, and is light and easy to change gearing. The ADS also features a longer center-to-center distance and the brake rotor remains on the driveshaft. There’s also a new race-version master cylinder on the RMC hydraulic brake for enhanced braking. A new driven clutch sheave has larger cooling fins to reduce drive belt temperatures for improved performance and durability
With a cockpit aimed at high performance, the ZR 6000 El Tigre utilizes a newly-shaped seat with increased foam. This new seat foam shape should improve the comfort and ergonomics. The seat foam height has increased across the entire seat, with 1.2” (31 mm) of additional foam at the back and increasing to 1.7” (43 mm) of additional foam at the front. The result is more foam for increased comfort and an overall flatter seat, but more importantly this will raise your hips in relationship to your knees which makes standing or lifting your butt up off the seat far easier. We also get a reshaped side panel on the seat for improved comfort while cornering and standing.
The El Tigre also gets the new Deluxe Digital Gauge that features two operator-configurable displays for speed, rpm, clock, odometer, hours, coolant temperature, exhaust temperature, intake air temperature, voltage and fuel level.
A limited number of ZR 6000 El Tigre models will be available for 2014, including the ES model with electric start. These are the only models with the new 600cc C-TEC2 engine for 2014. The 2014 ZR 6000 El Tigre retails for $11,199, and the ZR 600 El Tigre with electric start sells for $11,599.

From the September 2014 issue of SnowTech Magazine. To see all the great articles from SnowTech you have to be a subscriber to the magazine. Subscribe here – and have SnowTech delivered to your door.

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