The Thundercat is back! Big power is the name of the game with over 190 HP on tap at any elevation. This sled rips! To top it off it feels much lighter than it is. The suspension soaks up the bumps surprisingly well when you consider how fast this four stroke really is. On the same token, the handling is just as impressive even at speeds. The combination of the Yamaha turbocharged triple and the Cat chassis results in a very well balanced platform. Arctic Cat claims that the new ZR9000 configuration is 10 pounds lighter than the previous Suzuki Turbo and it is noticeable. Acceleration from 20MPH to 80 MPH will make you giggle. You have to ride it to truly understand how hard it pulls through the mid to upper range. The Mitsubishi ECU provides a crisp bottom end with little to no turbo lag. We noticed how quiet the turbo and blow off valve was making the Yamaha motor a much more enjoyable ride. This machine has a broad power band and pulls hard from bottom all the way to peak @ 8750 RPM. Our 225 pound test rider was at 6500 foot elevation and the turbo still pushed this machine to 115 MPH on a loose snow base with a 137” track. This machine would have no problem seeing higher numbers on hard packed conditions. We would love to see just how fast this thing could run in optimal conditions.
The new Thundercat is equipped with the all new Team Rapid Response II Drive clutch which features an auto adjusting belt tension design. This is accomplished by using an idler bearing on the center shaft between the two sheaves allowing the belt to maintain a tight tension at all times even as the belt wears. This design is similar to what has been successfully used on many late model UTV’s. It reduces the effective starting ratio by 12.5% providing a smoother engagement and reduced belt wear. We liked how smooth the machine was upon take off and were impressed by how well it performs with the lower starting ratio. We suspect this system will be adopted to other models in the future.
Arctic Cat clothed the new 9000 with all new plastic incorporating easy 1/4 turn fasteners to secure the body work. The new plastic has a much better fit, finish, function and accessibility. Cat incorporated LED accent lights across the top perimeter of the headlights which is a classy feature found on many modern cars. We really like the new look of this machine and combined with the amazing performance feel it will be very popular. We have to say every one of our test riders wants to own this sled.