When you first examine the new models from Arctic Cat for 2014, you might be confused as the familiar numbers like “800”, “1100” and “1100 Turbo” are gone. Instead we see numbers like 5000, 6000, 7000 and 8000. Arctic Cat has changed the way they classify their engine sizes, because a lower powered 1100 was already confusing when compared to the higher powered 800. To make things simpler to understand, the 1100 four-stroke is now the 5000 series. The new DSI two-stroke 600 engine (yep) is the 6000 series. The new Yamaha 1049cc four-stroke engine (new to Arctic Cat) is the 7000 series, the 800 twin is the 8000 and the 1100 Turbo is being called the 9000 series.
Also gone is the traditional “F” designation for their short tracked performance sleds. Gone. No more F8 or F 800. All of the short-tracked performance sleds are going back to the popular ZR badge. And to really jazz things up, the ZR 6000 with the new clean Dual Stage Injection 600cc two-stroke is going to be called an El Tigre as well. ZR El Tigre. This is the ONLY model this new engine is going to be offered in for 2014, in the 129” track length. If you want a new DSI 600, this is it.
If your head isn’t spinning yet, just wait. The 7000 series sleds are fitted with what we all know as the Yamaha Nytro motor. Yes, you can buy an Arctic Cat is three different track lengths with a Yamaha Nytro engine under the hood. They will all be identified with the 7000 series badge.
Three track lengths? We still have the familiar 129” track length for the short track performance models, but for 2014 Arctic Cat has added even more Crossover length models to their line-up. There are several new 137” track length XF models, fitted with a coupled Slide Action rear suspension so they will be far better suited for trail duty than the uncoupled 141” rail that has been on the XF models the past two seasons. That means we have two different lengths of XF models to choose from, the shorter coupled 137” ones (XF Procross) biased more towards trail use and the longer uncoupled 141” ones (XF Proclimb) biased more towards off-trail use.
All of this means there are a whole lot more models to choose from in the Arctic Cat line up. Two new engine choices, and the new 137” track length choice. The 141” XFs are now called XF CrossCountry, with the CrossTour and HighCountry models still on the 141” platform as well. With three engine sizes and three suspension/feature packages to choose from in each track length – the XF Crossover segment has clearly exploded for Arctic Cat!
Not all engine sizes are offered in all versions, for example there is only one ZR 5000 (1100 engine) and one ZR 6000 El Tigre (DSI 600 engine) but you can get a ZR 7000, 8000 or 9000 in LXR, Sno Pro or Limited versions. And of course, there is the Sno Pro RR with the adjustable shocks that is still available in ZR 8000 and ZR 9000 engine sizes (800 and 1100 Turbo, respectively). The Sno Pro RR models were actually very popular last year, as they are the only Cats with adjustable shocks. Why? According to Cat, most riders don’t know how to properly use knobs on shocks so they’re trying to keep it simple and keep things working right.
From a power perspective, the 1100 4-stroke should still be in that 123-125 HP area and thus gets the “5000” performance designation. The new DSI 600 two-stroke is also going to be in that same 123-125 HP area, but being the sled will be so much lighter it will be higher performance, thus the “6000” series designation. The Yamaha engine models with the “7000” designation should be a few HP higher than what Yamaha was getting in the Nytro, so figure about 135-138 HP. Then we jump to the 800 two-stroke twin, the same good old throttle-body EFI screamer that is good for right about 162 HP, and then of course the honking 1100 Turbo four-stroke and its 177 HP rating gets the “9000” series designation.
There are no 6000 or 7000 sleds in the mountain segment, nor are there any 6000 sleds longer than 129”. Not yet. The changes are confined to the ZR short tracks and the splitting of the XF series to 137” Procross and 141” Proclimb. With the growing Crossover market, this is a solid move and makes perfect sense. The 141” XF wasn’t the greatest on trail but works so very well off trail that bringing us a torsion-spring Slide Action 137” suspension gets us super excited around here. We’d almost bet that Arctic Cat will sell more of these than they do 129” sleds, with the exception of the new DSI ZR 6000 El Tigre. That one could see super high demand, but chances are it might be limited in supply. While not a direct-injection motor, it uses low-pressure cylinder-mounted injectors that spray a fuel-oil mixture on top of the piston and thru a slot in the piston skirt so it does a better job at piston cooling and rod bearing lubrication (pin and crank), something that DI engines do have issues with. It is less complex and should be lighter in weight, and it is all Arctic Cat, built in Saint Cloud, Minnesota at Arctic Cat’s own engine manufacturing facility. With these new engine options, Arctic Cat is positioning themselves well for now and into the future.
This article was from the Spring 2013 issue of SnowTech – published in March 2013
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