At this point in the season unless your head has been buried in sand – or snow, hopefully – you’ve already read about Arctic Cat’s new-for-2019 iACT suspension system that gives a rider on-the-fly adjustment of Fox Zero iQS gas shocks at the push of a thumb. If you honestly haven’t heard of the revolutionary iACT technology, don’t worry – you can read all about everything new Arctic Cat has to offer in our 2019 Arctic Cat preview.
You’ve learned about what the iACT does, and if you’re like us you’ve been itching to see how it responds on a real ride. We were fortunate enough to test a 2019 ZR 8000 Limited iACT 137 at Snow Shoot in West Yellowstone, Montana, where the snow was still plentiful in early March.
If you needed five more reasons to peak your interest – here’s what caught our attention:
1) It’s all about the iACT – Using the system is a breeze, and also makes a considerable difference between ride settings. All one has to do is hold the control button on the left handlebar down for three seconds and the left digital gauge will switch to displaying the iACT settings (with other settings such as odometer and tachometer now visible on the right gauge). From there, it’s as simple as a left click for soft and right for firm – with the switches to the shocks happening instantly. Cat unveiled the new iACT system as the result of a partnership with Fox shocks and engineering minds taking cues from automotive technology. When great minds come together to work a common goal sledheads everywhere benefit.
2) Easy information – Speaking of the gauge settings in front of you, don’t let all these gadgets go to your head and let you overanalyze a good ride. New handlebar-mounted controls come as part of the package and are easier to use due in part to clear settings illuminated on the digital dash gauges. Information could be visibly understood and the ability to switch settings made customizing a ride fast and efficient – no more getting off and messing with clicker settings. A new push-to-start button on the left side also makes starting easier and a new magnetic tether switch comes standard.
3) Complete control – A new Stealth lightweight brake master cylinder enhances braking performance through a more protected design, while a new 3-wheel rear axle system features lightweight 8.0-inch wheels complimented by new 5.5-inch side idler wheels. These upgrades are matched by the ARS front suspension that offers 10 inches of travel for eating trail bumps, plus the coupled Slide-Action rear suspension with 13.5 inches of travel. All of these may not be sexy upgrades that create flashy headlines like the iACT does, but it’s the little things that all add up to a great ride.
4) Effortless ergonomics – The ProCross chassis ride height felt low to the ground and offered a concise and tight ride on winding trails, but not stiff around corners. During a test ride wading through deep snow, powder would accumulate and rise over the hood but with the blip of a throttle the nose could easily be pointed upward again – All in one effortless motion the rider could be floating on top in no time. The new short-throw brake lever also felt nice and unobtrusive. The ZR Limited iACT also gets an enhanced LED headlight, rear tunnel flares, extra storage goggle holder and the wind protection of an 11-inch windshield. The rich just keep getting richer.
5) Still speedy – All of these comfort features make this sled seem like an Oldsmobile – ya know, classy and comfortable but slow and big as a boat. This sled is anything but that, though. New ECM calibrations deliver enhanced performance to complement the powerful Arctic Cat 8000-Series 794cc C-TEC2 engine with dual-stage injection. The sled also utilizes a TEAM Rapid Response II drive clutch and Rapid Reaction driven clutch to get you moving when it matters most. When testing the sled one reviewer noted that, “Acceleration was adequate even through continuous deep snow.”
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