For 2017 Arctic Cat carves a new path with their latest version of brand new, do-it-all crossover sleds that lean toward the backcountry. The XF Cross Country Limited models come in 6000, 8000 and 9000 versions, featuring the ProCross chassis and an array of components that make them the “enduro” dirt bike of the snowmobile world.
Arctic Cat didn’t offer the XF Cross Country for 2016, with the 2015 model year being the last time it was in the line-up. Those models were fitted with the longer 141” track length and a 1.6” lug height Cobra track, but the biggest difference was found in the rear suspension and shock packages.
Now for 2017 we see the Cross Country upgraded to the snocross-tested 137” Backcountry X track with 1.75” lug height, a key element of the new Cross Country Models. It delivers outstanding traction in loose snow while still offering great bite and longevity on hard packed trails.
The other key improvement from the 2015 version is the switch from the FasTrack rear suspension to the Slide-Action rear suspension. This gives us the Slide-Action slotted front arm, with torsion springs, Torque Sensing Link and coupling blocks in the rear for a greatly improved ride comfort, handling capability and overall trail prowess. Where the 141” sled of 2015 was a killer off-trail sled, the 2017 version broadens the performance envelope and delivers an even more capable sled in a wider range of conditions.
Up front, the swaybar-equipped ARS suspension features an adjustable ski stance (42-43”) and ProCross-6 skis for excellent cornering capability on the trails, yet the mountain handlebar and mountain seat offer optimum ergonomics for deep snow carving. That is the beauty of the XF Cross Country models – it offers a blend of stand-up features and off-trail capability with on-trail handling and ride quality, bridging the gap even better than before.
Where the 2015 Cross Country was fitted with lightweight Fox FLOAT shocks up front and in the rear, the 2017 now features Fox ZERO QS3 shocks up front and at the rear, providing the ultimate ease of adjustability for all conditions and riding styles, allowing changes with a simple twist of the 3-position dial.
So, how does it compare to the 2015? The 2017 is more of a trail sled than the 2015 was. The difference in on-trail performance (ride and handling) is huge from the rear suspension and shock package change. This is what riders will notice first, and most. The 1.75” lug height Backcountry track does work better in the deeper snow than the Cobra 1.6”, but it is not quite as trail friendly in lower snow conditions. That said, most riders looking for that elusive blend of having a single sled that works well both on- and off-trail will find an excellent combination of features in the 2017 XF Cross Country Limited. We’re sure glad it’s back in the line-up.