With Chris Olin – Rox Speed FX
“What the heck is an RXf?” you’re asking yourself. Is it a Yamaha in Cat clothing? Is it an Arctic Cat with an identity crisis? XF or F? Or is it something that does not exist but could be something we would like to see? A missing link perhaps…..Hmmm. When we set out to build this project we wanted to build the ultimate flatlander cross over. The Arctic Cat Pro-Cross chassis is widely considered to be one of the best platforms for trail riding on the market and there is no question on the performance of this two lunged monster. This thing rips even before we started on this build!
The word Crossover is the buzz word in our sport and our society right now. Everything from SUV’s to motorcycles and GPS units combine what we love about one thing with the functionality of another thing. Everyone is looking for the magic potion that will be all things to all people. In fact the cross over automobile has been around since the early 1900’s. The invention of the Dual Cowl Phaeton body carriage was an attempt to improve the carriage by giving its riders the option of sitting inside the cowl (interior) or outside in the free air in effect crossing a convertible with a closed body car. Who can forget the Ford Ranchero (1957-1979) or Chevy El Comino (1959-1987). I can remember growing up as kid riding in the very back of my parent’s station wagon facing the cars behind us in a bit of embarrassment. Who thought crossing a bus with a car and then adding fake wood paneling was cool, Not! “But it’s so practical!” Now cross over wagons/SUV’s are the hot tickets and the buzz word in the automotive industry. What goes around always seems to come around again at some point! But, back to the purpose of this article.
We started with a 2012 Arctic Cat F800 SnoPro platform. We, like others, love the looks of the new chassis and we love the performance of the Cat on the trails, but we thought…what would it be like if we built a Cat that targeted the flatland riders. All of the other manufacturers were building a 136”/137” model except Cat. The XF tends to lean on the side of the mountain man vs. the flatlander in characteristics. Light bulb moment!
So we started out by contacting Bruce at Camoplast about acquiring a 136” track for our project. We selected the Camoplast Back Country 2.52 x 1.75” x 136” track. We wanted something that had the ability to truly cross over from trail to powder, the goal being the ultimate of both worlds. We decided to stay with the 2.52” pitch instead of making the jump over to the 2.86” pitch of the 2013 models. If you want to add a 2.86 x 136”/137” kit to your 2013 F800 the part number is 9126C and you will actually save 12% in weight over what we have done. The part number for our build is 9142C and fits the 2.52” pitch on the 2012 platform.
The next call was to Tony Vruwink over at Tracks USA to develop the extensions we would need to turn our 128” to a 136”. After some discussion about the purpose and plan of our build the group over at Tracks got to work. They designed, fabricated and shipped out a prototype set of 136” extensions in short order. The service and speed at which they worked with us is to be commended. We love working with good people! Tracks USA makes a wide variety of extensions for all four of the manufactures so give them a call or take a look at their website for more information.
Our next step in the build was to figure out how to give ourselves more bite in the britches so to speak. Horsepower! Who better to call than Speedwerx! They have been playing in the performance field for 18 years and worked with us way back in 2005 when we built our “CrossFire 8” project in the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of SnowTech. Jeremy recommended the Frogz Skin kit, Speedwerx stage 1 kit and adjustable pipe to help us get power to the ground in low and high elevation conditions. The kit includes pipe and Y-Pipe that adds about 9-10 hp over stock and is 5 lbs lighter. The muffler is 11 lbs lighter than stock and is actually quieter by 4-6db at 4000-5000 rpm. Now what’s really cool is Speedwerx has a system by which the rider can get max performance by having two stingers, one for low elevation 0-5000 and one for 5000+. If you’re a flatlander that runs out to the “Big snow” a few times every winter take a look at this system.
“If you’re going to modify the exit you have to modify the entry” so we gave Joe a call over at Boyesen. He sent us a set of Boyesen Rage cage Reeds for the big 800HO that gave us around 3-5 hp over stock. The biggest impact here is bottom end response and quicker acceleration. Improving air flow requires improving fuel flow especially when we are talking about mods and elevation. Enter Dynojet! Dynojet is the expert in the field of fuel mapping controllers. The Power Commander V connects into the factory harness and allows you to change the fuel maps based on the elevations you are riding. Speedwerx has the 800 twin maps dialed in for three elevation categories – 0-5000’, 5000-9000’ and 9000’and above. They can be downloaded off from the website via computer.
Power is no good unless it gets to the track. Along with the Speedwerx stage 1 kit we changed out the stock helix, secondary spring and weights for the Speedwerx Hypershift clutch kit. Jeremy of Speedwerx states “The high elevation set-up is designed to maintain rpm and reduce belt temps. Currently we are seeing 800 + miles on a stock 084 belt while mountain riding out west. Our low elevation set-up increases throttle response, acceleration, offers better back shift, adds 5 mph to the top speed, and longer belt life compared to the stock set-up.” We can say “yes it does!”
Next in the proverbial line of mechanics is gearing. Due to the added track length we decided to change the 21/38 stock gearing of the 2012 F800. We ended up running 21/48 which is based off from the XF’s 22/48 gearing. We are not looking for hyper lake running speed, but quick hit trail pop while still being able to jump off into the powder with our 1.75” x 136” Backcountry track. Plus, the gearing is much better for our belt life which we like.
On the list of changes was to update the tunnel to the new flat tunnel design used on the 2013 models. The added strength of the design as well as the elimination of the space for snowpack and slush build up was something we wanted on this build. Arctic Cat sells this kit through their dealer network so if you own a 2012 you can make this mod fairly easily. We customized the tail section of ours by fabricating an aluminum extension plate at the end of the new tunnel. That way our shiny new snow flap can clear the additional length we gained in the 136” track.
If you have kept up with SnowTech you may have seen some mention of the Custom Axis kit for the 2012 F&XF Hygear has developed with Custom Axis. We decided to reach out to the Hygear boys and give these shocks a try on our build. We went with the Custom Axis DA/DR Piggybacks in front. These shocks are light and compression and rebound adjustable. The skid kit for the F800 uses a Custom Axis DSC/DR center and DA/NS rear shock.
The dual rate spring on the center shock is set up for rider weight, and provides a soft initial rate for stutter bump compliance along with a stiffer rate for bottoming control. The dual speed compression adjuster on this shock allows the rider to fine tune bottoming resistance, as well as cornering, small bump feel, and overall vehicle dynamics. The rebound adjuster on the rear shock helps dial in ride comfort. These things look amazing on the sled and meet the objective we set out for on this build.
A must have for the Procross/Proclimb chassis is a Racewerx front bumper and skid kit. This thing is rock solid and provides the best protection from giving these rigs unwanted nose jobs. Protecting the intercooler and air intake is vital when you are off trail in no man’s land and the skid plate is just plain insurance! Another cool addition from Racewerx is a product they call a Rapid Block. It allows you to quick adjust the coupling block in the skid to 6 different positions without a tool. The adjuster allows you to go from max transfer to max ski pressure simply by turning the dial so to speak. Knee pads are a welcome addition as well from Racewerx. These are low profile but provide enough pad and grip without getting in the way. Doug has also come out with a nifty seat knob you can manage with your gloves on if you need to access your battery or under seat storage.
We knew by adding a 1.75” lug and added track length we would affect the steering similar to what happens when adding studs. So we gave Adam a call over at Starting Line Products to inquire about the performance of the SLP “Straight line tracking” ski verses the SLP “Powder Pro” ski in regards to the Pro chassis. Adam stated that they would recommend the SLP Powder pro ski. He states, “The Powder Pro Skis give a more planted feel in the front end and create enough bite to rail through the corners. Because of their unique design they also provide unparalleled handling in loose or powder snow, which is exactly where the XF and M-Chassis models need improvement. They also work extremely well on the F-Chassis whether riding on trails that are groomed or loose and torn-up.” If you have followed our builds of the past you will notice these are one of our favorite mods. The skis are aggressive, but they do not wear you out. The last thing you want is to feel like you have been wrestling steers all day in the pasture.
Now for the Rox Contributions to this build. The 2012 F800 came stock with a 4.5” stock riser which is a little short for our taste. Rox is known for our patented height adjustable and pivoting risers. New for this year is a T-style solid series of risers that range from 1” to 10.5” in height. They are billet aluminum and made in the USA. We chose the Rox BR 6.5” for this build. They are robust and have that custom look of high end quality Rox Speed FX is known for. A very cool addition was custom orange anodized Rox Edge Grippers. They add gription and strength without cutting apart your running boards. Rox has also redesigned the Flex-Tec hand guards for the 2012/2013 season. They are now made of 100% water proof materials and have a new 3D raised rubberized logo plate. They have a factory finished look and all the functionality you depend on in cold, harsh or rowdy conditions. Something new for Rox is what we call the remote switch kit. It allows the rider to move the left hand control module that holds the hand warmer switches to the center of the bar which eliminates the possibility of bumping them while riding. If you are a stand up rider you know what I am talking about.
Now to wrap it all up…yes, Pun intended. We have done something we have not done before and we are pumped with the outcome. A 100% matte finish wrap from Blown Concepts. Sweet job Robb! She’s a real looker, as the old timers used to say.
In conclusion this project was a blast! The RXf Rox! Our cameraman who is used to riding mountain sleds took off down the trail and returned with “Holy**** that thing is fast!” There is nothing like running a trail or ditch with a capable sled! Feeling the sled suck up the bumps as the trail flies by is amazing. Being able to jump off and enjoy an untouched lake, field or hillside only adds to the fun. We feel we totally achieved or goal of building the ultimate flatland Cross Over Cat!
All of the companies we worked with are top notch and can be trusted to provide you with value for your hard earned dollars. Arctic Cat did a great job with the new platform in my opinion. I like a company that embraces change and pushes the envelope. At the end of the day, the goal is to put a smile on your face and enjoy the adventure. God Bless and good riding!
“Oh give me land lots of land under starry skies above don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love don’t fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evening breeze
Listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me out forever but I ask you please don’t fence me in.
Just turn me loose let me straddle my sled underneath the blue bird skies.”
~Robert Fletcher/Cole Porter
Skis – Starting Line Products / 208-529-0244 / www.startinglineproducts.com
Motor/frogzskin/PC V – Speedwerx / 651-982-0600 / www.speedwerx.com
Shocks – HYGEAR Suspension / 607-533-7434 / www.hygearsuspension.com
Skid Extension – Tracks USA / 320-382-6128 / www.tracksUSA.com
Track – Camoplast / www.camoplastsolideal.com/snowmobile
Bumper/kneepads/Rapid block / Race Werx / 612-396-7011 / www.racewerxinc.com
Wrap – Blown Concepts / 612-767-7645 / www.blownconcepts.com
Reeds – Boyesen / 800-441-1177 / www.boyesen.com
Ergonomics – Rox Speed FX Inc. / 218-326-1794 / www.roxspeedfx.com