With the popularity of long tracked sleds with detachable 2-up seats growing quickly, the focus has strayed from the 2-up touring category the last couple of years.
However, there are strong signs the market is gaining again and Arctic Cat is capitalizing on the popularity of its 7000 series 4-stroke to get eyes back on the touring segment.
Frankly, this Yamaha-built 1049cc triple is such a sweet mill, it just seems like it was born to be driven long distances with two on board.
It’s the only engine offered so far in the new Pantera 7000 2-upper, available in two different trims: Pantera 7000 and Pantera 7000 LTD.
The Limited is instantly identifiable by its blacked out tunnel and skidframe and the sled carries the rich aura of Panteras from a couple of decades ago.
Besides lacking a few amenities, the standard version has a silver tunnel and skidframe pieces but retains the same engine, suspension and 146-inch track as the LTD. Both versions use a special touring-only tunnel with deeper footrest areas, particularly for the rear passenger.
The super-premium LTD has an enhanced gauge package, heated driver and passenger seats and beautiful molded, hard shell, removable luggage.
There’s a covered mega-box at the rear big enough to swallow a removable auxiliary 4.3-gallon gas tank (this bumps the sled’s range to a claimed 200-miles) and still have room left over to carry a week’s worth of underwear and socks. Word is there’s 1500 cubic inches of cargo space back there.
We’ve ridden the new Pantera LTD and we’ll tell you two amazing facts about it: One, this sled rides like no other. It’s one of the plushest tourers we’ve ever experienced and it does it without air assist or special skidframe tricks other than Cat’s sliding arm technology with overload springs in combo with a 1.25-inch Quiet-Track.
The second thing we discovered is this sled turns on a dime despite its very long 146-inch track and skidframe. We kept waiting to uncover the handling compromise here but it never came.
The new Pantera is a lighter, more nimble upgrade from the already very effective Twin Spar based T-Series 2-uppers Cat has built the last few years and it just makes good sense to offer a tourer in the most up-to-date chassis platform Cat makes.