March 3, 2010
“We’re bringing back the same good football team that we had last year, but we definitely have some interesting things to show you long-term,” said Joey Hallstrom, Arctic Cat’s snowmobile product manager.
Sure, the team will have to restock with some young talent soon – most notably to make the pending, more-strict emissions standards that will go into effect for the 2012 model lineup. But for the coming season, with the starting lineup it has, Hallstrom said now is not the time to tear apart the team.
There are tweaks here and there, including new Limited Edition models with special features and paint that will be available all year. Standard, liquid-cooled F models have been cut, leaving customers to choose from the Sno Pro versions with an aggressive setup or the luxury LXR models.
Hit the trail
Sno Pro offers the utmost in suspension and performance from Arctic Cat. For 2011, the Sno Pro 500 in the tubular chrome-moly race chassis returns as the little sled with a big attitude. The only real change is the graphics, where a snarling cat face replaces the splash of color on the sides. To refresh your memory, it features a 500-class twin fed by batteryless EFI and Fox Zero Pro shocks with firm suspension settings.
We have a Sno Pro 500 in our fleet of demo sleds this season and it’s one of the most fun. Handling is superb, power is surprisingly strong from the 85 hp mill and the front and rear are one of the most capable suspensions in the sport. All of these qualities come together to build a playful, agile snowmobile.
In Cat’s short track lineup for 2011, the standard Fs are gone, leaving only the full-featured F6 Sno Pro and F8 Sno Pro ditch bangers in the polished Twin Spar chassis for trail riders. These Sno Pros feature the Infinite Rider Positioning (IRP) adjustable seat and handlebars plus upgraded Fox FLOAT 2 shocks up front and Fox Zero Pro dampers in the skid. New this year, the naturally aspirated four-stroke Z1 comes with a Sno Pro suspension setup. Cat’s other four-strokes return unchanged except for graphics.
Features like electric start, taller windshield, mirrors and comfort-tuned suspension settings highlight the LXR package; available as an F5 or F8. The new F8 EXT has electric start, push-button reverse and high-end shocks with a 144-inch track.
Speed freaks have at least one more year to pick up a 160 hp CFR8 or the 999cc CFR1000, with more white and less green in 2011 in their bodywork. These M Series-based machines are lighter with a rougher edge than the F machines.
Deep-snow and touring sleds
High-end touring continues to be a focus of Arctic Cat engineers. For 2011, Bearcat models that started as workhorses continue to transition into a utility/touring arena. The Bearcat Z1 XT has a lighter 20-inch wide track, but more importantly it has a new, limited-build sibling that’s quite a cruiser. The Bearcat XT Limited may be the most interesting upgrade package available from Cat for next season. This ultimate utility-touring machine has seating for three, with heated driver’s seat, a rear storage bag, engine heater and Desert Red paint job.
The Bearcat 570 line gets an upgraded rear suspension. Other T and TZ models return unchanged.
Crossfire 600 and 800 models as well as base M6 and M8 sleds lose their torsion springs in exchange for a coil-over Fox Zero Pro shock on the rear arm. M Sno Pro sleds return with even lighter Fox FLOAT shocks on the rear.
The ultra-popular and competition-based M8 HCR gets a longer tunnel and additional protection for the cooling system while it loses the key in exchange for a tether.
Other Limited models available
Limited Edition models will be available to more than just spring buyers – though their numbers will still be limited. Special paint and classy graphics is the most appealing feature on most of the Limiteds.
In addition to the aforementioned Bearcat XT Limited, four limited edition models comes with a cool and classy Sublime green paint job that Hallstrom compared to the look of a 1972 Dodge Charger. The F8 Sno Pro Limited also gets electric start, a tough front bumper, touring bag and hand guards. The Crossfire 8 Sno Pro benefits from a lightweight seat and re-shaped fuel tank from the M series sleds, plus hand guards and storage bag.
More Sublime Green is also found on the M8 Sno Pro Limited, along with a BCA backpack, hardguards, ice scratchers and handlebar- and rear-storage bags.
For more details, the full model lineup and other photos of the 2011 Arctic Cat sleds, pick up the Spring 2010 issue of Snow Goer magazine on newsstands March 23rd.