Face it, the crossover segment is taking over. Cross this, cross that, we now have so many different crossover sleds to choose from that it is tough to keep them all straight. The fact we now have so many variations to choose from just goes to show how the crossover segment of the market continues to grow. Riders want a sled with greater capabilities in a wider range of conditions.
Since Arctic Cat decided to no longer offer their 141” XF Cross Country models (which were actually excellent machines for 2015) they decided to fill that gap in the line-up with a taller lug 137” version, the 2016 XF Cross Trek. Same great track, just a slightly shorter track length.
The other main difference here is the rear suspension. The 137” is a torsion spring suspension with far more compliant ride quality, so this will be a better trail sled, no doubt. Having the torsion springs and rear shock on separate motion ratios provides a smooth ride in the little chop and stutter bumps, where the FLOAT air shock on the 141” is going to be stroking the spring and shock at the exact same motion ratio so it does come off as a firmer, more controlled action.
The 137” torsion spring suspension has two other key features the 141” Fastrack does not – the Torque Sensing Link at the upper rear arm mount (helps keep the skis on the ground during acceleration) and the Slide Action Front arm – this “sliding front-arm-mount” doesn’t force the front arm to collapse whenever the rear compresses with coupling. This gives you controlled ski lift during acceleration – yet with complete use of the front arm travel at all times.
What about off trail capability? Yes, we have traded some of the off trail capability and gained in the on-trail comfort and handling capability, this should be understood, but not much. It truly boils down to how much of your riding in on trail and how much is off trail. We believe for what you gained in the on trail comfort and handling that it is worth the smaller loss in off trail capability, which all comes down to how often you get into fresh snow that is really deep. 137” to 141” is minimal, so the bigger difference is in the rear suspension.
Curiously, when this new model was first being introduced it was fitted with coil-over shock up front, but this was quickly changed to Fox FLOAT 3 airspring shocks, making it a bit more on the aggressive side and giving it broader capability and performance on or off trail. In the rear we find Arctic Cat’s own brand of shocks, the Arctic Cat IFP gas shocks, which are a familiar design and construction, but admittedly not as high-end as the FLOATs up front.
This configuration for 2016 is also far better suited towards the emerging “Adventure” theme of new models. Greater versatility. From trails to lakes, ditches to backcountry, a sled like this will take riders wherever the adventure awaits, with comfort and confidence. It’s the ultimate crossover sled, engineered for all-condition versatility.
Built for long distance and adventure riding most wherever the snow falls, the Cross Trek models are loaded with features that deliver ample storage and rider comfort, including collapsible saddlebags and tunnel bag; goggle holder; cruiser windshield with side-mounted mirrors; and a 42-43-in. adjustable ski stance with deep dual-runner carbides.
There are many new features for 2016. An 11-inch mid-height Cruiser windshield with detachable mirrors is both functional and stylish. In the chaincase we now find a new Borg Warner chain and sprocket assembly which is more durable, with 20 percent less stretch. A new tensioner pad is made of Vespal for greater durability.
In the rear suspension we now find a new Tri-Hub rear wheel assembly that now features serviceable bearings for improved maintenance. Previously, when the bearings went you had to replace the entire hub assembly, so this was a smart upgrade. There’s also a new rear axle that is more durable, along with a new front arm that’s more durable. A new dual-rate front track shock spring improves cornering allowing for more set-in. This provides greater compliance and comfort in small stutter bumps; and retains big-bump control. We really liked this change for flatter cornering and ride quality.
All XF Cross Trek models are now fitted with new TEAM Rapid Response drive and Rapid Reaction driven clutches. This should be a noticeable improvement for both performance and durability, with even quicker acceleration and lower drive belt temperatures. These clutches put the power to the track with unmatched response and durability. The TEAM Rapid Response drive clutch delivers smoother shifting, optimal performance and maximum durability in a lighter package, where the TEAM Rapid Reaction BOSS driven clutch provides maximum durability and performance, with less rotating weight and optimized cooling. Rebuilds should be far less frequent, as well.
CrossTrek models are offered in four engine sizes, from the DSI 6000 to the 4-stroke 7000, the mighty 8000 2-stroke and the 9000 4-stroke turbo. This comes down to power, weight, durability and cost. The 4-strokes last longer, are heavier, pull harder longer with broader power. The 2-strokes are lighter, more agile, float better, but drink oil and do not last as long. The choice is yours. These are all very good engine packages, from 125 HP to 135 HP to 160 HP to 180 HP. The 9000, being a turbo, makes this power at all elevations, where the others will lose power as elevation increases, requiring calibration changes. With all that power and convenience, it is priced at $15,199. The 8000 goes for $13,699 and the 7000 is at $13,499, with the 6000 at $12,399. With their true versatility these will be some of the best sleds available for 2016.