READER UNDECIDED ON NEW CATS

Sure is a lot of buzz about the new sleds. Wow, what a decision to make! I have a couple questions:

You were right… I am very excited about the 2012 Arctic Cat snowmobiles. However, I was really hoping for an SDI or DI version of the 800 2-stroke (or at least a 600 version). Now I’m wondering if I should wait another year. Do you still think AC is going to do a “cleaner” 2-stroke? Or, does the current lineup suggest that AC is heading to all 4-strokes in the next few years?

Secondly, if you scan the forums you’ll find a lot of discussion about the reliability of Ski-Doo’s ETEC motors – specifically crank failures due to “isoflex grease”??

I know you can’t believe much of what you read on the internet, but there’s just so much of it out there. Is there anything to this?

Lastly, awesome reviews of the new Cats… you guys are the only media (I found) that actually added anything to the “corporate line” handed out by AC.

I really need to know more before a spring purchase. Did you get to ride the XF800 or XF1100 off trail? REALLY interested in your thoughts of these two machines as boondockers.

Thanks,

Greg

Greg:

I haven’t put anything up on the web about the new XF’s yet but intend to. I was very skeptical about this sled when I saw it had no torque link in the rear suspension, wasn’t coupled and didn’t use the sliding front arm. Frankly, I expected it to ride like a dump truck.

I gotta admit I was wrong. The rear skid defies all logic and, likely due to good spring and shock calibration, delivers a very good trail ride – much better than I expected. As for off-trail riding, the lightweight skid and the slippery belly pan on the XF lets it get up on the snow and float really quickly.

Surprisingly, the XF I rode most was the 1100 EFI and I thought it was exceptional in powder – another surprise. Probably a 600 2-stroke would work marginally better but, honestly, unless you’re into hardcore powder riding, this is a great crossover.

Yeah, the 800 is still a TBI engine and doesn’t have too many tricks. Truth is, the protos we rode were really, really fast. Don’t know whether production ones will match this power level.

As for the E-TEC, we’ve had several 800 E-TEC press sleds, all with pretty decent miles on them this year and they have all performed very well and are still going strong.

I know some owners were angry because they weren’t getting performance or gas mileage as claimed and even were having some running (idling and acceleration stumbling glitches) problems because of the initial programmed-in break-in mode on the sled’s computer. Once you get past this deal, the engines really work good. Dunno about bottom-end failures.

If I were you, I don’t think I’d wait a year for the Cat. I don’t think there’s another 2-stroke coming – although Cat swears all-4-stroke is not their long term strategy (they’d pretty well be kissing-off the mountain market).

If you wait too long, I don’t think you’ll be able to get a 2012 and you’re gonna be really ticked when your buddies have one and you don’t.

Kent Lester

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