2020 ARCTIC CAT ZR 8000 SNO PRO
For years, the bread-and butter sled in the Arctic Cat line-up has been the Sno-Pro. This sled variation has been offered with 600 and 800 2-strokes and even some years with a 700cc or a 1049cc 4-stroke triple.
The idea behind the Sno-Pro seems to have always been that it's a starting point for performance riders. Although its IFP gas shock package has been very good, more sophisticated dampers like FOX QS3s and Kashima coated high performance shocks have been reserved for the more expensive Cats like the RR and Limiteds.
As it is (or was) the Sno-Pro provided a lot of ideal trail riding features inherent with the ProCross chassis and was a versatile, fun ride for the masses. The 137-inch LTX version was especially appealing because of its excellent deep snow manners combined with its trail ability.
This year, it looks like Cat has re-targeted the Sno-Pro as a still-reasonably-priced sled but now one that offers some fairly serious high performance groomed trail capability.
Not only does the 2020 Sno-Pro offer the new ARS II front spindles and geometry but it has adopted the T-Cat and Limited's lower ride height. The idea here is to lower the sled's center of gravity and raise its roll center so handling is sharpened to a razor edge.
We can attest to this thinking after spending some hours on last year's Yamaha SRX and ThunderCat. The idea is to maintain the same amount of travel but calibrate springs so the sled has more ride-in or sag at static position when the rider is seated. There's also a change to the skid's slide rail mount for the front arm. It's now about an inch higher and the front arm sits much flatter at static.
The Thundercat and SRX relied on adjustable-on-the-fly 3-position damping to ensure no bottoming-out in the whoops, but the new Sno-Pro relies on dual rate springs and non-adjustable gas shocks to deliver a flatter, more stable trail riding stance in the corners.
Some of Cat's marketing refers to the Sno-Pro's ride as "firm". This is actually a little misleading as the engineers have told us the shock damping and spring rates are pretty much the same as last year.
The actual spring rates and damping is somewhere between the former LX and the 2018 Sno-Pro except the springs now have the dual stage feature. For the last ten years sled-builders have been working to improve ride quality and offer consumers more and more plushness with more stable cornering. Cat's intention is to deliver the best of both worlds.
Another clue the Sno-Pro is intended for high speed trail and ditch running is its one-inch deep track. This is definitely a departure as sleds in this class have always offered a minimum 1.25.
Here's the contradiction: The Sno-Pro has a longer track - presumably for going off-trail - but has a shallow-lugged track which would appear to compromise off-trail performance. Hmm. Seems like a mix-up.
Here's what we suspect is happening. Because Cat doesn't offer an 850 (yet) there has probably been some pretty severe navel-gazing about horsepower and top end performance.
Cat has already shown us it has a new version of the 800 C-TEC for 2020 with new cylinders, pistons and rods - making arguably 165 horsepower.
Along with the suspension and track change, just like the T-Cat and SRX, it's pretty much assured this 800 will pull as hard as the competition's 850s at top end.
It'll be up to the consumer to figure out how to get one of these monsters to hook up, though, and buyers will likely decide to stud-up that one-incher after a couple of pulls down Kevlar Lake with the track spinning past the C-note.
More Like This
LATEST VIDEOS View All
February 28, 2020
AJ discovers the benefits of #OneYamaha as he takes advantage of Yamaha’s wide offering of ...
Studding Up A 2007 Ski-Doo XRS PowerTek 800 For Lake Running!
February 27, 2020
AJ's in the TRAIL TECH shop studding a pals' 2007 Ski-Doo XRS PowerTek 800 with Woody’s purpose ...
2020 Indy Adventure XC 137 Full Test Ride Review
February 26, 2020
Motorhead Mark hops on the 50th Anniversary edition of the 2020 Polaris Indy XC 137 Adventure ...
2020 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 RR Full Review
February 25, 2020
Motorhead Mark puts Arctic Cat's 2020 ZR 8000 RR to the test as he unleashes everything this ...
SNOWTRAX TV 2020 - Episode 9 Sneak Peek
February 24, 2020
Coming up on the next episode of SNOWTRAX TV...
Top Gear View All
February 24, 2020
Ultimax XS Snowmobile Drive Belts
The crucial link for any snowmobile to effectively transfer power from the engine to the track is the belt; and when it comes to high-quality, ...
Ask Motorhead View All
April 3, 2019
NOT HAPPY WITH SHOOTOUT RESULTS
Luke responds to a viewer's disappointment about the results of our 600-class, 129-inch shootout.
Press Releases View All
Tourism View All
February 15, 2020
PLAN YOUR QUÉBEC TRIP NOW!
Have you been yearning to visit Québec but haven't figured out where to stay when you get there?