We had predicted Cat may make more use of its new-last-year Pantera 7000 platform back in December but didn’t believe its execution would be this good.
First, you need to understand this sled has a 146-inch track! That’s a lot of meat under you and with that much contact with the snow you’re going to make some sacrifices with turn-in at the handlebars.
Surprisingly, the sled handles very well and the amount of effort at the bars and turning resistance is minimal, even at lower speeds where you’d expect it to be a bigger factor.
The marriage of the Yamaha 1049 triple to this extended chassis is very good and the sled seems to accelerate every bit as strong as its 7000-series brethren.
This sled’s skidframe is fully coupled, just like the Pantera’s and delivers one of the best rides in the biz.
Shock calibration is spot-on for riders of nearly all weights and even with a full load of cargo and a full auxiliary gas tank, the sled turns, rides and handles extremely well.
Incidentally, that spare tank should create some legendary pit-stop tales of distance running. Driving conservatively, we think riders may be able to get close to 200-mile range between fill-ups and that just opens up all kinds of opportunities for exploration.
Off-trail, we’re not so sure this sled is going to be the bomb. It’s extra chassis mass, spare tank and 4-stroke get the numbers up fairly high but its 146-incher does compensate for the weight.
We think the sled will be very good in medium powder but we’ll be surprised if its performance level and weight allows much play-riding and hill-climbing.
As it is though, strap on a ton of extra gear, fill’er up and head out on the long distance tour of a lifetime. This sled will be a blast!