WINNER: ARCTIC CAT ZR5000 LXR
The definition of value is really changing in the snowmobile world. At one time, it was all about barebones sleds, stripped of goodies and priced to sell for pocket change. These days it’s different; snowmobilers want it all…versatility, electronics, gas mileage, power and luxury features… all at a body-slammed price.
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Mark will tell you it is impossible because sleds that offer the above are all crippled by some kind of flaw. Easy for him to say; he only comments on sleds with every conceivable extra, priced just slightly on the outskirts of Uranus.
There is one sled that stands out from all the rest and I’ve been telling you about it for the last three years: The ProCross-based ZR 5000 is an amazing sled. It comes with full instrumentation, a 137-inch track, great ZR handling and an EFI 1056cc 4-stroke twin as strong as the USS Nimitz. This Suzuki-built twin makes 123-hp and drives through a set of TEAM clutches to deliver 2-stroke-competitive power with an ample dose of torque thrown in. Its reputation for durability is flawless.
Sure, Mark will tell you it only uses downgraded shocks… but what kind of a downgrade is a set of 1.5-inch IFP gassers blessed with all the attributes of Cat’s coupled Slide Action with torque links? Only Cat’s latest and best technology!
Even this sled’s track choice is an upgrade: A 137 RipSaw II with 1.25 lugs – and it makes the 5000 extremely agile both in powder and on hard-packed trails.
The 5000 LXR sells for thousands less than comparably equipped 4-strokes in its power range and many hundreds less than equal-output 2-strokes with long tracks. People, this is a true bargain in a culture racked with high prices. Mark, pay attention!
RUNNER-UP: SKI-DOO RENEGADE SPORT 600 CARB 137
Yikes! Kent’s trying to hang you out with Cat’s geriatric, log-heavy, 1056 even-firing Suzuki twin powered ZR5000. Kent, why do you think Arctic Cat prices this sled so low and throws in so much standard equipment? Maybe because no one wants it?
Try being a little more insightful. That Suzuki twin is making its last trip through the brochure this year. It’s generator-esque, even-firing auditory cadence is old school. The time has come for a lithe, lightweight, perky and fuel-efficient 2-stroke alternative to your long-in-the-tooth 4-stroke selection.
The right answer to the value seeker’s search is the Ski-Doo 600 Renny Sport 137. This featherweight XP based ride is the real deal in deep, untramped snow, unlike your pick that requires Sikorski retrieval from even shallow boondocking adventures.
The Renegade platform has proven effective in deep snow, rides superbly on groomed or ungroomed trails while its carbed 110-hp Rotax mill makes the lead-filled 1056 look slow, even if it does have more horsepower out of the box.
This selection – that is, my selection – required maturity, discernment and a modicum of sno-mo-knowledge to completely understand.
Also: Try to not use the word “Uranus” in this fine publication.