The XF Cross Country is a unique animal in that it bridges both trail riding and powder riding extremely well.
Although we wouldn’t call it a complete freestyler, we will vouch for its ability to handle all sorts of powder use, including some fairly aggressive climbing.
At the same time, this Cat is extremely good on trails. Its coupled back end and quick handling, hampered only by a pair of imprecise carbides, make it fun to ride and ever since Cat introduced this 137-inch track length a few years ago, it’s been one of our favorite ProCross configurations.
The Cross Country’s track and shock packages are what make it unique. We’ll take it a step further and blatantly declare this is a much better sled when you order it with a 2-stroke. Since the CC is definitely targeted at off-trail riding, weight is of the utmost importance.
Although the Yamaha 998cc turbocharged triple (9000) is very capable in powder due to its nearly limitless power, it’s way more comfortable on trails. Get it in the deep stuff and you’re usually pretty puckered with the prospect of getting it submerged.
The truth is, the new breed of crossover sleds from all OEMs needs to be slightly over-biased toward off-trail but still have strong competence on trails. Thus, choosing a fully coupled, sliding front arm skid is a stellar choice. Yes, the uncoupled 141 and 153 length tracks are really good in powder, too – actually flitting very close to a mountain sled’s potential – but the Slide Action 137 is just flat-out excellent in both applications.
Since the Cross Country uses a 1.75-inch Backcountry X track and has a full menu of Fox Zero Pro QS3 shocks (the front arm is a non-adjustable gasser) there’s absolutely no doubt you can adjust your way into a near-perfect trail ride.
Although a 1.6-inch deep track may be the ideal for trails, the 1.75 makes a huge difference off-trail and will likely survive slider wear on hard pack and won’t rip up the trails to the point snowmobile groomers will put an APB out for your sled.
Cat’s decision to move to TEAM primary and secondary clutches last year was a good one and guarantees you’ll get a good backshift in powder. It’s worth noting the Cross Country Limited has exactly the same gearing as Cat’s L-TX 137-inch trail-targeted sleds, so that underscores the benefit of Rapid Response clutching.
Back in the day, Arctic Cat’s most serious production racers were called “Cross Country Cats”. Although this one isn’t targeted specifically at cross country competition like those sleds were or even the current RR series, it has very strong potential to be loved by the above-average-skill, aggressive ditch and high speed trail rider.