2015 ARCTIC CAT ZR 6000 R XC

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Arctic Cat knows racing. Yep, and more importantly, they see racing trends early. They were the first OEM to address the re-emergence of cross country snowmobile racing and the first to build a USCC spec, race-ready sled to address what many thought was just a blip on the meter.

Wrong-o, friends. While snocross has been waning in popularity, struggling with reduced participation and fluctuating spectator attendance, not to mention the OEM’s lack of interest in development-driven racing, the USCC and other grass roots XC bodies have seen growth.

As far as we’re concerned, sno-X’s biggest problem is the OEM decline in sno-X driven development. This may have something to do with consumers’ reluctance to clear 100-foot spans when they trail ride. Seriously, where the OEMs can learn more about snowmobile use and abuse in a short time is through development-driven, cross country racing. Let the hate mail begin.

So here comes Arctic Cat with a limited production, XC targeted, production based Pro-Cross 600 powered by an oil injected, 20-mpg, production 600 DSI mill. There are unique tweaks here and I think it’s safe to say Brian Dick had an influence on all of them.

There’s a 2.86 pitch 1.25 Cobra track using 8-tooth drivers that tuck the axle in the tunnel for XC durability. A variable 43.5-inch ski-stance using AC’s race spec suspension pieces is up front.

A Team secondary hangs on a rifle drilled jackshaft. There’s a torque sensing slipper gear on the drive axle. A full-on racing brake with racing pads improves feel.

The rear drop link has seven coupling positions for fine tuning weight transfer. Fox EVOL RC shocks with gloves-on adjustability hang front and rear. Subtleties like an improved rail cap to prevent track spearing under racing conditions make good sense.

Even though the electric fuel gauge remains intact, the XC uses a clear tank. There’s even subtle geometry tweaks in the skidframe for better control. All these touches and more are covered in a sticky, high-grip seat cover.

So what’s the big deal? Cat already builds a limited production sno-X racing sled with a ton of one-off stuff this sled doesn’t carry. It’s way cooler. Yes, Grasshopper – that is correct – and that is the point.

This is a trail based, modified production sled which won’t cost a king’s ransom to own and will be infinitely less costly to repair and maintain. You could buy this 6000R XC and race it with no modifications and be very competitive right out of your pick-up truck bed. Essentially, this is what racing should look like.

Arctic Cat could have toned-down the Tucker-spec racing RR and sold it for ji-normous jing as an XC sled. Helmets off to Cat for not doing this. What we need to grow snowmobile racing is a better template – a template that allows a participant to race a production sled one weekend and trail ride it the next. This is exactly what Arctic Cat has done.

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