2016 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Limited 137 Test Ride

ZR 8000 Limited 137 test rideArctic Cat shuffled the name of its popular trail-focused crossover snowmobiles by renaming XF models with 137-inch tracks as ZR models. One Arctic Cat that should be a hot seller is the 2016 ZR 8000 Limited 137. After test riding the machine last month, here are five of the machine’s features to which we give a thumbs-up.

  1. ZR 8000 Limited 137 test ride
    New clutches should be more reliable and last longer than earlier pulleys from Arctic Cat.

    New TEAM Clutches – To improve durability and reliability, Arctic Cat and TEAM Industries developed the Rapid Response CVT system for all 2016 models powered by 5000 through 9000 Series engines. Rollers for the new drive clutch are significantly wider and buttons are bigger for more stability and more-consistent operation. The Built On Shaft Secondary (BOSS) clutch mounts directly to the jackshaft, which is also new, for less weight and tighter tolerances. Our test ride wasn’t long enough to evaluate durability and longevity, but by closely examining parts of the system we could see that the whole package took a major leap in quality over the old system. While we didn’t disassemble the clutch to confirm, there appears to be more contact area for the drive clutch’s center post and cover bushing to reduce wear, and the huge buttons should keep the spider square within the towers to prevent binding. Unlike clutch engagement on most late-model Arctic Cat two-strokes we’ve driven, clutch engagement for our tester was smooth, which will help the belt last longer.

  2. ZR 8000 Limited 137 test ride
    Soft-Medium-Firm. New Fox QS-3 shocks are easy to use and understand to control bump damping.

    New Fox Shocks – Another feature that has us excited about the 2016 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Limited 137 is its new shocks. Fox QS-3 coil-over dampers hang over the skis and a larger version of the shock is on the rear arm of the Slide-Action skidframe. “QS” means Quick Switch, and “3” refers to the number of clicker settings – soft, medium and firm. All El Tigré and Limited models will feature these shocks that offer a noticeably more-compliant ride than the Fox FLOAT shocks Cat has been running for more than a decade. QS-3 coil-over shocks provide better stutter bump performance and easy external adjustability that, unlike FLOAT shocks, keeps ride height and bump damping settings separate.

  3. ZR 8000 Limited 137 test ride
    Here is the new dual-rate spring, shown on an El Tigré.

    New Suspension Springs – The ZR 8000 Limited 137 also gets new springs in the rear suspension. A dual-rate spring wraps around the front-track shock, and new torsion springs with an 11 percent softer rate, Cat says, make for an all-around more comfortable ride. The dual-rate spring helps improve compliance and brings flatter cornering. (Not that the ProCross chassis necessarily needed flatter cornering, but every bit helps, eh?) The front suspension has always worked well to soften the bumps, but we’ve complained about the rear end feeling like only a portion of the travel is used before the suspension suddenly feels harsh. With the new springs, we felt a more comfortable ride. New suspension springs are yet another great revision for the 2016 ZR 8000 Limited 137.

  4. ZR 8000 Limited 137 test ride
    These plastic pieces keep snow off of the driver and console.

    Tunnel Flares – For some reason, ProCross-based Arctic Cats throw snow at the driver’s back side. Chunks fling off of the track and tap the driver on the shoulders, back and thighs. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s weird and distracting. Fortunately for ZR 8000 Limited 137 riders, flares attached to the tunnel direct the snowballs directly back to the trail, where they belong.

  5. ZR 8000 Limited 137 test ride
    Some Limited riders will be working hard to keep their M and ZR model’s green body clean next winter. But it looks great on snow!

    Bright Green Color – Arctic Cat has historically been the most colorful brand on snow (though lately Ski-Doo has been giving Team A-C a run for its money). It started with the green 1996 ZR 440, and every year since then Arctic Cat has had at least one sled modeled after Kermit The Frog. The color palette for the 2016 ZR Limited 137 is especially vibrant, but even though we typically prefer to make a modest entrance, there’s something about this eye-catching shade of green that has us excited to have one parked at the SG shop next fall. Luckily for people whose eyes can’t tolerate the bright green color, the 2016 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Limited 137 is also available in black.

OK, so we’ve covered five great features about the 2016 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Limited 137, but here’s one thing that still needs attention:

  • ProCross sleds are loud to the driver’s ears because a lot of noise comes out through the hole between the gauge and steering post. Limited and El Tigré models include a small storage pouch there that helps to reduce the commotion, but the platform needs more refinement to better control engine and exhaust noise.

2 thoughts on “2016 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Limited 137 Test Ride

  • Avatar for Frederuck Kolodziej

    Why are the new sleds so ugly?

  • Avatar for Steve

    I always like the ZR, everything about it screams badass. Except I am neither a fan of Lime Green, QS3 shocks or Arctic Cat’s rear skid. To me, it should produce more travel than it does and be better suited for mogul mashing, I hear it bottoms to easily. Secondly, having a shock with 3 settings might be marketed as being easier to adjust but then it doesn’t necessarily translate into better rides for people of various riding weights. I’d rather have a shock with more adjustments over 3 because there could potentially be more wiggle room between medium and hard instead of hard and harder. Like a clock adjusting by hours versus hours and minutes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *