1994 Snowmobile of the Year: Arctic Cat ZR 440

Editors Note: The 1994 Snow Goer Snowmobile Of The Year was the Arctic Cat ZR 440. Here’s the article announcing the award, originally published in the Mach 1994 issue of Snow Goer magazine. Click through to see past snowmobile of the year honorees.

Wait just a minute. The ZR 440? How about the ZR 580? Formula Z? Vmax — pick any Vmax? It’s not brand new. It doesn’t have the biggest engine. So why make it snowmobile of the year?


The 1994 Arctic Cat ZR 440 did one thing better than any other ‘94 machine did. It caused a reaction. A huge nuclear-like reaction. Want to know why an excessive amount of midnight oil was being burned at Polaris and Ski-Doo? The ZR 440, that’s why. This sled will result in better machines down the road from all of the manufacturers.

Arctic Cat took the snowmobile racing scene by storm with the 1994 Arctic Cat ZR 440. It was in almost every major winner’s circle — oval and terrain.

But the machine with the most trophies alone doesn’t mean it is worthy of Snowmobile of the Year, What makes the 440 worthy is the fact that two other snowmobile manufacturers purposely developed sleds to go head-to-head with the ZR this winter. Want to know why the XCR Special and MX ZX were developed? The ZR 440. If it weren’t for the ZR, the XCR Special and MX ZX might still be on the drawing boards. But because all three are now out on the snow, we all win — racers and trail riders alike. Above all else, the ZR 440 represents innovation. That’s why the 1994 Arctic Cat ZR 440 is worthy of Snowmobile of the Year.

With its many improvements the ‘94 ZR will again be found in many a winner’s circle, but it will also be found in just as many pit-stop parking lots. Smart consumers reserved their ZR in the spring so they knew they would have one to attack the trails this winter.

For ‘94, the 440 received a new exhaust pipe, improved carb and clutch calibration to give it a better holeshot and stronger acceleration coming out of corners.

The engine sits in an all-new front chassis, the AWS 1V. A-arms are mounted at only a 5-degree angle. Increasing travel and mogul munching are Fox remote reservoir shocks. And the swaybar has been relocated. All of this adds up to a front end that knows no limit,

Wrapping around the new chassis are a new hood and bellypan. The hood is made of Metton for increased durability. A new, more integrated bumper protects the machine, while a new aerodynamic windshield protects the rider. Rider comfort and maneuverability have been increased with a new contoured seat and gas tank.

To back up the front is Cat’s FasTrack rear suspension. It too received a major update, the Easy Adjust Front Arm Control. This, in our opinion, represents the single best technological improvement of the year, Racers and trail riders will benefit for years to come. By turning a knob mounted on the handlebars the rider or racer can change the ski pressure (for complete details see the “First Look” on page 40). This will take a lot of headaches out of race prep and trying to set up for trail conditions. The sled has the capability to change as quickly as the conditions can. No other snowmobile can make this claim.

To get the power to the ground a new Yokohama track was installed. The new track offers greater tension and resists stretching better than the previous design. A new drive shaft design and machined drive sprockets transfer the power more efficiently.

And the best thing about the ZR is that consumers picked up the sled this fall with all of the extras at no additional charge. That’s right — the price they paid ($5,799) in the spring covered all of the updates. Ultimate technology for less than $6,000!

Are you convinced yet? You should be, but just in case you don’t want to take our word for it, wait until you try and catch the ZR 440 on the trail. Then you’ll understand the scope of the reaction. And why the Arctic Cat ZR 440 is the 1994 Snowmobile of the Year.

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