Snowmobiling from the town of Seney in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan one fine day in January was one of my favorite rides last winter. The area was an unbeatable place to ride a big sled like a 2010 F8 Sno Pro because the groomed paths are fairly wide and there’s access to many miles of trails.
We covered well more than 200 miles our first day. Though the area was down on snowfall compared to average, snow cover was good and we met some bumps that worked the suspension. The sled’s wide console protected my legs from the cold; and the heavy, stable chassis and isolating suspensions made it a great sled for the long ride. The playful power curve and sharp handling made it fun. “Wow! What a great sled for riding out here,” I jotted in my notebook after the ride.
Comfortable, stable, fast, adjustable, planted, reliable: all of those are words riders used to describe our F8 Sno Pro demo last winter. It was a strong runner that pulled hard on packed trails and straightened arms when accelerating out of the hole and when coming out of corners. We could get through those corners smoothly because handling was predictable and steering was easy.
Most of the miles we put on the sled were with light exhaust, clutching and fuel system modifications that made the power delivery more aggressive than stock. But even in stock form, this felt like our fastest demo sled last winter (we had two other 800s). A lot of our notes are related to the H.O. 800 engine. Staffers and friends alike said it pulled hard and generally ran well. The exhaust was noisy around clutch engagement, but up around cruising speeds the whole sled was quiet, without much track or exhaust noise to speak of.
Adjustability makes the F8 Sno Pro easy to adapt to short, tall, heavy and lightweight riders. If the front suspension was too firm or handling wasn’t right, adjusting air pressure in the Fox FLOAT 2 ski shocks by as little as 5 psi made a noticeable difference. The seat and handlebars can be moved to a custom setting with the Infinite Rider Positioning system. This is a cool feature that really does help the machine fit riders more comfortably, but ergonomic-related things that riders can’t adjust — the seat shape, the slippery seat cover, large-diameter handlebar tube and wide console — give the sled a clumsy feeling. Some riders complained about the bottom lip of the seat that contacts the legs when standing through bumps with feet in the footwells.
Keeping with tradition for our Arctic Cat loaners, our F8 Sno Pro was reliable so we never had to haul it to a dealer for a repair or update. Though the exhaust was loud and rough sounding at clutch engagement, it was quiet when cruising down the trail. There isn’t track noise and the only rattle comes from the recoil handle vibrating inside its pocket on the console when the engine idles down.
We liked the re-worked trunk/tunnel close-off panel compared to earlier F Series sleds because it was a cleaner, better-looking setup that allowed space to attach an aftermarket storage bag. For sustained, high-speed running, the sled needs a taller windshield to flow the air over the head. The arms get tired holding on, and since there isn’t very much traction in the foot wells, it’s hard to lock in.
Sled: 2010 Arctic Cat F8 Sno Pro
Modifications: Speedwerx Y-pipe, Stage 2 Hypershift clutch kit; Dynojet Research Power Commander V; 153 Stud Boy Power Point studs, Super-Lite Backers, 7.5-inch Shaper Bars; True Adventure Gear Tunnel Bag; Starting Line Products Belt Deflection Adjuster tool
Fun Factor: 8/10