The Pantera is back in the 2015 Arctic Cat snowmobiles lineup in as an all-new touring sled. The Lynx name is also back, part of a reworked and rebranded line of entry-level sleds for the Thief River Falls, Minnesota-based snowmobile manufacturer. Both of those are big news, but perhaps the most surprising news is that the Suzuki 800 twin, and other Suzuki engines in Arctic Cat’s lineup, are also back.
Arctic Cat had previously said it was done with Suzuki engines by model year 2015, but now that it’s time to announce those 2015s, Arctic Cat’s VP and Snowmobile General Manager Brad Darling announced an extension of the Suzuki supply agreement “for a couple more years.” That means those who love the incredible power hit of the ZR, XF or M 8000 get at least one more year with that feeling, and the turbo-charged 9000 models (previously called 1100 Turbos) are return as the fastest sled on snow.
Meanwhile, the ever-popular Sno Pro 500 gets a new name and a new chassis, the uses of the lone Arctic Cat engine in the lineup – the 600 two-stroke twin that debuted last year – expand for 2015, as do the uses of the 1049cc Yamaha four-stroke triple found in 7000 series snowmobiles.
In all, Cat comes out swinging for 2015 with 75 models. Let’s break it down.
A ZR For Everybody
Cat’s ZR line grows from 16 to 24 models in 2015, thanks to more engine choices and some name games.
Start with the engines: 2015 Arctic Cat ZRs are available with the Suzuki 500-class, 85 hp, two-stroke twin (the “4000” models); the 1056cc Suzuki, 125 hp, four-stroke twin (the 5000 series); Cat’s own 600-class, 125 hp, two-stroke twin (6000 series); the 1049cc, 135 hp, Yamaha four-stroke triple (7000 series); the Suzuki 794cc, 160 hp, two-stroke twin (8000 series); or the Suzuki 1056cc, turbo-charged, 180 hp, four-stroke twin (9000 series).
All ZR models come in the ProCross chassis with stable ARS front suspension, Slide-Action rear suspension and Radial Master Cylinder hydraulic brake. Most also get a 15- by 129- by 1.25-inch RipSaw track. For 2015, upgrades they share include a new larger diameter driven shaft assembly with a snap ring bearing mount for longer life, new involute/exvolute drive sprocket to get a better grip on the track, a more aggressive host bar on the dual carbide runners for improved handling, and lighter idler wheel block assemblies in the skid.
Now, to the packages, and the additional updates on each: The 2015 Arctic Cat LXR models are comfort-tuned cruisers with an attitude, with Arctic Cat gas shocks, electric start, a mid-height windshield and a storage bag.
The 2015 Arctic Cat Sno Pro package is the next step up, with Fox FLOAT 3 shocks above the skis, a larger diameter (2-inch) Arctic Cat IFP is on the rear arm shock, a low windshield and a belt bag. It’s set up more aggressively and gets new shock valving for 2015.
The Limited models are a combination of the LXR’s luxury features with the Sno Pro’s more aggressive setup, with a mid-height windshield, electric start, a storage bag and tunnel flares, plus Fox FLOAT 3s, a new race-style brake handle and a large front bumper.
The 2015 Arctic Cat El Tigre package, which expands beyond the 6000 model for 2015, and duplicates the Limited, except with “Team Arctic Green” splashes on the suspension rails, graphics, spindles and ski tips.
The RR package features a super-aggressive setup right off of Cat’s cross-country racing sleds. Fox FLOAT X EVOL reservoir shocks are found up front, with a Fox Zero Pro piggyback shock on the rear arm. It gets a racer height windshield, a tether switch, a lightweight brake disc and proud Team Arctic graphics. There’s even a full-season Tucker Hibbert Edition 6000 RR this year, for those who want the full racer appeal.
For 2015, the four-stroke ZR 5000 will only be available in LXR trim, but there are two new ZRs with 500-class engines – the ZR 4000 and ZR 4000 RR. The ZR 4000 is essentially a notably upgraded F5 – moved out of the Twin Spar and into the ProCross chassis that’s lighter, handles better and is more comfortable. It’ll come with comfort-tuned shocks and 1-inch lugs on its 129-inch track. The ZR 4000 RR is essentially an upgraded 500 Sno Pro. It previously was in Cat’s race chassis, but that chassis kind of evolved into the ProCross, and now the 500 Sno Pro evolves with it.
So yeah, the 500-class liquid motor is called a 4000.
XFs Follow Similar Pattern
Expanding the uses of the 600 two-stroke twin and 1049 four-stroke triple also create more XF crossovers in the 2015 Arctic Cat snowmobiles lineup. For the new model year, Cat segmented its crossover machines into the XF ProCross and XF ProClimb categories: The ProCross-based crossovers are for riders who stick primarily to trails but want the extra track length either for comfort or for occasional forays into the backcountry. The ProClimb machines Cross Country and High Country models are for the 50 percent-plus off-trail crowd.
The 2015 updates largely shadow the ZR lineup. LXR models get more precise handling with bigger wear bars, get a better grip on the track with inny/outy sprockets, drop a little weight in the skid with magnesium idler wheel blocks and feature a larger diameter driven shaft. Sno Pro models get these improvements settings on the Fox FLOAT 3 ski shocks; the Limited models add on a hooked brake lever.
The XF LXR models (6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000) all get electric start, a mid-height windshield, comfort-tuned IFP shocks, a rear storage bag and a 15- by 137- by 1.25-inch RipSaw II track. The 2015 Arctic Cat XF Sno Pros offer the same engine choices and track with a more aggressive shock package (including Fox FLOAT 3s up front), a low windshield and a belt bag. XF Limiteds combine the best of both packages – aggressive shocks and comfort features.
The 2015 Arctic Cat XF CrossTour line – Cat’s “real adventure-style snowmobiles,” according to Arctic Cat’s Joey Hallstrom – expands for 2015 to 6000, 7000, 8000 and 9000 models with a 15- by 141- by 1.352-inch shoe, a rack behind the seat, a Fox FLOAT 3 shock on the rear arm and uses the traditional FasTrack skid. Add electric start, mirrors, a rear storage bag and the ability to easily install a second passenger seat.
Many 2015 Arctic Cat XF Cross-Country and High Country updates will sound familiar: magnesium idler wheel blocks, larger diameter driven shaft, upgrades to Fox FLOAT 3 shocks, etc. XF Cross-Country models come with a full width front end (adjustable at 42-43 inches) and a laydown steering post like smaller XFs, but with the ProClimb mountain chassis, dual-runner carbides and a 15- by 141- by 1.6-inch Cobra track. XF Cross Country Limited models add on electric start, a beefy front bumper and more storage.
The XF High Country models are made for the 75 percent off-trail rider and have features that enable more boondocking. It rides on a 15- by 141- by 2.25-inch Power Claw track, has a narrower ski stance (40-41 inches, adjustable), gets a more vertical steering post and uses a single-runner carbide on the 6-inch mountain ski. The XF High Country Limited adds electric start, onboard storage and a more beefy front bumper.
Pantera Is Back, In New Chassis
The 2015 Arctic Cat Pantera and Pantera Limited will come in Cat’s newest chassis and will feature a sporty engine, leading-edge comfort, a ton of storage capacity and a big weight saving over previous Cat luxury touring busses. The Panteras will be in what Cat is calling the new ProTour chassis. It’ll have the same front end as the ProCross unveiled in 2012, but with a one-piece tunnel featuring flatter running boards, plus a flatter, wider seat to better match the touring application.
An extended Slide-Action Rear Suspension handles things in back, featuring fiberglass overload springs that can be moved into place when a passenger is aboard, plus more Cat IFPs. It’s wrapped in a 15- by 146- by 1.25-inch shoe that feature’s Cat’s Quiet Track moldings to reduce track howl.
Power will come from the quick-reacting 1049cc, 135 hp Yamaha triple. Luxury features include a super comfortable second seat that can easily be removed for a solo ride. Driver and passenger are kept warm with a high windshield, heating elements in both seats, heated grips for both and even electric-heated shield plugins both front and rear. The backrest is highly adjustable and flips forward for easy use when on a solo ride.
“This thing carries all of the bells and whistles of a touring sled, but it’s also much sportier,” explained Product Team Manager Lynn Berberich. “With this chassis and the Yamaha engine, it feels so much more fun to ride.” Exact weights weren’t available, but one Cat designer estimated that this sled would likely be about 50 pounds lighter than the TZ1 Turbo it replaces.
Both models (base and Limited) will come with a huge storage box behind the seat, but the Limited gets extra goodies, starting with a 4.5-gallon auxiliary fuel tank in that box. It is plumbed into the main, 10.5 gallon tank and will empty first when both are filled, giving touring riders a huge range between fill-ups. To make up for some of the space lost with the fuel tank, the Limited also comes with sturdy, detachable, locking storage cases that hang of each side.
Lynx Is Back, Too
After bringing back the El Tigre and the ZR names last year, and Pantera for 2015, can anybody really be surprised when Arctic Cat turned to its past to rename it’s entry-level sleds?
The Lynx is back at the bottom of Cat’s lineup after a 22-year hiatus (we’re guessing most fond memories are of Lynx snowmobiles from the 1970s, but Cat also used the name from 1991-93). Each new Lynx will ride in the Twin Spar chassis and get power from the 565cc fan-cooled Suzuki twin good for about 65 hp. The package should look familiar: The base Lynx 2000 is really just last year’s F570 with push-button reverse, a single-carbide runner and a new name. The Lynx 2000 LT gets those features plus electric start, reverse, a two-passenger seat and rides on a 15- by 144- by 1-inch track, meaning it’s a renamed and updated version of the 2014 T570.
Upgrades For The M Lineup
Arctic Cat will offer 13 M mountain sleds with some notable upgrades, plus the option of the 1049 Yamaha four-stroke triple or have another choice in the 600-class.
Updates found throughout the 2015 Arctic Cat snowmobiles lineup include new front-mounted wheels on the rear suspension to prevent the possibility of the rail tips snagging a track window, plus some weight savings in the rear suspension. Sno Pro and Limited models get new suspension braces to prevent bending on big landings, plus new settings on their Fox FLOAT 3 shocks. All M models except the HCR models now come with an adjustable 38-39-inch width front end.
The two standard M models (6000 and 8000) come with Cat’s own IFP shocks and a 153-inch track with 2.25-inch lugs. Sno Pro and Limited models all get Fox FLOAT 3 shocks, have Cat’s telescoping mountain handlebar, front heat exchanger, lightweight brake disc and ice scratchers with either 153- or 162-inch tracks with 2.6-inch lugs. The Limited models add a beefy front bumper, on-board storage and optional electric start.
Arctic Cat engineers narrowed the stance on the HCRs slightly, going to 40-41 inches on the 8000 (which gets a 153-inch track) and to 38-39 on the 9000 with a 162-inch track.
Here is the full 2015 Arctic Cat snowmobiles lineup, with updates:
Color and Graphics only
New name, color and graphics
Bearcat 2000 LT
Bearcat 2000 XTE
Bearcat 2000 XT
Bearcat 5000 XT Groomer Special
Bearcat 5000 XT
Bearcat 5000 XT Limited
Lynx 2000 LT
ZR 4000 RR
ZR 7000 RR
XF 6000 CrossTour
XF 6000 Cross Country
XF 6000 High Country
XF 7000 Cross Country
XF 7000 High Country
M 6000 153
M 6000 Sno Pro 153
M 7000 Sno Pro 153
Pantera 7000 Limited
New wearbars, idler wheel blocks, involute/exvolute drive sprockets and larger diameter driven shaft assembly
ZR 5000 LXR
ZR 6000 LXR
ZR 6000 RR
ZR 7000 LXR
ZR 8000 LXR
ZR 8000 RR
ZR 9000 LXR
ZR 9000 RR
XF 6000 LXR
XF 7000 LXR
XF 8000 LXR
XF 9000 LXR
New valving in Fox FLOAT 3s, plus new wearbars, idler wheel blocks, involute/exvolute drive sprockets and larger diameter driven shaft assembly
ZR 6000 Sno Pro
ZR 7000 Sno Pro
ZR 8000 Sno Pro
ZR 9000 Sno Pro
XF 6000 Sno Pro
XF 7000 Sno Pro
XF 8000 Sno Pro
XF 9000 Sno Pro
New valving in Fox FLOAT 3s, plus hooked brake lever, new wearbars, idler wheel blocks, involute/exvolute drive sprockets and larger diameter driven shaft assembly
ZR 6000 Limited
ZR 6000 El Tigre
ZR 7000 Limited
ZR 7000 El Tigre
ZR 8000 Limited
ZR 8000 El Tigre
ZR 9000 Limited
ZR 9000 El Tigre
XF 6000 Limited
XF 7000 Limited
XF 8000 Limited
XF 9000 Limited
New idler wheel blocks, larger driven shaft assembly and side air port on Fox FLOAT 3 rear arm shock
XF 7000 CrossTour
XF 8000 CrossTour
XF 9000 CrossTour
New idler wheel blocks, larger driven shaft assembly, updated valving in Fox FLOAT 3s and new side air port on Fox FLOAT 3 rear arm shock
XF 8000 Cross Country
XF 8000 Cross Country Limited
XF 9000 Cross Country
XF 9000 Cross Country Limited
Narrowed ski stance, new idler wheel blocks, larger driven shaft assembly, updated valving in Fox FLOAT 3s and new side air port on Fox FLOAT 3 rear arm shock
XF 8000 High Country
XF 8000 High Country Limited
XF 9000 High Country
XF 9000 High Country Limited
M 9000 Limited
Narrowed ski stance, Fox FLOAT 3 EVOLs in front, front wheel kit on skid, new idler wheel blocks, larger driven shaft assembly, updated valving and new side air port on Fox FLOAT 3 rear arm shock
M 8000 HCR
Front wheel kit on skid, new idler wheel blocks and larger driven shaft assembly
M 8000 153 and 162
Front wheel kit on skid, braces on suspension rails, new idler wheel blocks, larger driven shaft assembly, updated valving in Fox FLOAT 3s and new side air port on Fox FLOAT 3 rear arm shock
M 8000 Sno Pro 153 & 162
M 8000 Limited 153 & 162
M 8000 Limited ES 153 & 162
M 9000 HCR