If we dared to close our eyes and give a blind test ride to the racer-wannabe sleds, we could typically pick out the Arctic Cat Sno Pro in a heartbeat.
With ergonomics aside, the distinguishing characteristic of a Sno Pro has been its race-me-now buckboard suspensions. Note the words “has been.” Our 2007 F6 Sno Pro came to us as a kinder, gentler machine. Its ride certainly will appeal to a larger cross-section of riders, with a more forgiving suspension setup. We’ll no longer have to warn potential buyers that it’s truly just for Ricky Racer.
The front suspension features Fox FLOAT shocks with 9.5 inches of travel. The rear uses a 2-inch diameter IFP rear-arm shock and the new sliding front arm.
The front and rear suspensions work especially well in tandem. The FLOATs were all but impossible to bottom. We really liked this setup. In past years, we’ve sent the shocks out for some dialing-back. This year’s setup was perfect for our aggressive — but not exactly racetrack — style of riding.
We experienced some push from the front end. Cat loyalists will probably be disappointed with this, as push was not a problem prior to the Twin Spar chassis. The steering effort is especially light.
The sled’s ergos were generally well-liked, but with some hits and misses among various drivers. The wide running boards were a hit, the floppy-feeling throttle lever was a miss. Some liked the plush seat, others found it too wide.
It also feels tall. With that feel comes the expectation that the sled would feel tippy. It doesn’t, and this machine offered excellent stability. However, we did wonder if some instability would occur if the machine actually bit well into the corners.
Things we noticed in the “what were they thinking?” category include no spare belt holder (we had to contort it into the trunk) and a difficult-to-remove clutch guard (fixed for 2008). Also, a retainer strap on the side panel broke right away.
Several commented on the “big” feel of the machine, whether in overall girth or handling. Of all the liquid-cooled F machines, this one is officially the second-lightest at a claimed 495 pounds (the F5, the lightest, is 485 pounds). Yet it just doesn’t have that same lightweight feel that we’ve really grown to expect from a performance-driven Arctic Cat.
The biggest disappointment on this machine was the engine.
Compared to other machines in this class, the F6 Sno Pro just felt sluggish. The mill seemed to work hard to bear the load of the chassis. Throttle response and low-end power was poor, and it lacked a crisp feeling and sound. One rider called the engine “soggy,” and there’s real
ly no better description. On the plus side, we noted an average of 13 to 14 mpg.
We’ve heard a lot of riders complain about the new softer, roundy look of the F Series. Our general styling complaints included the flimsy feel of the plastic, the glossy shine and an odd looking tunnel close-off. Of course, we’d have probably really liked the looks from the get-go if it performed tip-top in all categories. We will say that the style did grow on several of us by the end of the season.
Overall, the sled was average. The things it did well averaged out the things it didn’t do so well. It gave decent performance in a variety of trail conditions, and will be generally pleasing to much of the more aggressive — but not race-ready — trail riders. It’s just no longer what a die-hard, tough-as-nails Sno Pro rider will want.