2014 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 RR Review
Two-stroke replica racing Cat
Story by Jerry Bassett, Photography by Jerry Bassett & Arctic Cat, Sep 10, 2013
Arctic Cat carefully defines its 2014 Race Replica RR model as having a championship pedigree. Thatís more than fair since the ZR 8000 RR does not pretend to be an actual copy of the 2013 Sno Pro 600 Cross Country racer. Thatís good!
First of all, while there may be a few hardy trail racers who want and could survive day-to-day life with the actual race sled, that would not be a realistic enough number to make it a profitable exercise for Arctic Cat. The company figured out that the costs of putting a limited build racer on the trails can only be a ďwinĒ if that race sled is actually racing on the trails in closed course competitions. However, the pool of racer wannabes who would roll out nearly 14,000 US dollars for a high performance trail sled that came with race sled goodies and Team Arctic heritage is definitely bigger and a much more realistic target market.
Plus, in some ways, the current breed of 2014 Arctic Cats built around the ProCross two-piece chassis is a replicated racer on its own merits. That tall spindle Arctic Race Suspension came directly from the race department. The chassis geometry draws directly from racing input. The location of the hydraulic brake came from racing knowledge. Make no mistake, all of the ProCross Cats trace their inherent handling and balance prowess to recent racing sleds and race engineering. Itís all part of the Arctic Cat DNA!
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Ski-Doo MXZ X-RS
Although Arctic Cat gives its 2014 ZR 8000 (and a turbocharged ZR 9000) an RR (for Race Replica) designation, you would be best served to consider the modern ZR 8000 RR as the ultimate Sno Pro version! The fundamental RR truth remains that the underpinnings are ProCross, just as they are with other ZR versions. The RR showcases the race sledís runningboard rolled edges and reinforcing. The chassis of both models houses a racer version of Catís slide-action FasTrack rear suspension. Each features top line Fox Evol shocks with adjustable damping. These shocks use pressurized nitrogen inside an aluminum body and dual speed compression damping to adjust high- and low-speed compression settings. In addition these serious for the snow shocks include patented Fox ice scraper technology (FIST) to eliminate the threat of moisture getting inside the chamber or icing over seals. To help keep the shock operating more consistently, the Zero X design incorporates a remote reservoir mounted piggyback-style. This race sled shock will give the RR rider virtually the same tunability as a Cat racer.
Look for this style shock on both the front and rear suspensions. Enjoy the adjustability as the shock springs enable tuning for ride height as well as allowing you to tune for ride and trail conditions. This sled brings serious joy to the handy and knowledgeable tuner, but it could be frustration and fits for the unknowing. If you arenít up to fine-tuning your ride, work with your dealer or a serious friend with experience in the black magic art of maximizing suspension setups.
The shocks are race bred, but the track itself replicates excellent trail manners. Where the cross country terrain racer features a two-ply Cobra track, the actual RR brings a fairly standard Ripsaw track to the trail. It measures 129 inches in overall length. The racerís track is an inch shorter, but both are 15 inches in width with a lug height of 1.25 inches for grip.
Up front, the tall spindle design on both real racer and race replica controls 10 inches of travel. But the skis doing the grip and grab into the corners are different. The RR comes with ďtrailĒ skis with a single runner. The 2013 Sno Pro 600 terrain racer counted top of the line C&A Pro ADX skis for its bite.
Youíll note that the RR seat, while similar to the race sled, is the new for 2014 design with improved ride height and overall comfort. We consider this saddle one of the best in the industry as it gives us a nicely sculpted and secure perch from which to rise to meet bumps or straddle to cruise long miles. The race sled saddle is all business.
So, too, is the race sledís underhood powertrain. Donít misunderstand; the ZR 8000 RR with its Suzuki-built two-stroke 794cc twin throws way more power to the track than the 2013 race sledís 600 twin. But if you must have close to actual race sled engine displacement, you can now opt for a recently introduced ZR 6000 RR. Shown to the world at Minnesotaís Hay Day event the weekend of September 7-8th, the newest RR comes with Arctic Catís own engineered and manufactured 6000 C-TEC2 that measures 599 cubic centimeters and puts out somewhere between 120 and 130 horsepower.
As with all of Arctic Catís 2014 RR series snowmobiles, these models give you easily modulated electronic fuel injection. The 2013 terrain racer brought you back to pre-mixing the oil to feed through dual 40mm Mikuni rack-mounted carburetors. That may be de rigueur for racers, but itís nonsense for modern trail riding. The RRs operate tuned Arctic clutching, including an rpm-sensing six-post driver working with Catís own 10.75-inch diameter roller cam driven. The racer worked with an Arctic driver and a TEAM driven, which might win races but wonít win over trail riding fans who want to ride more and tinker less.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Polaris 800 Indy SP
You may have caught on to the Arctic Cat theme here. Bring the best racer traits to the serious rider, but all the while maintain the civility of the Cat, which the company has strived to give its snowmobile-buying public since the 1960s and the advent of the slide rail suspension. The ZR 8000 Race Replica succeeds well. It brings incredible ride tunability, big bump handling, race sled styling and, yet, maintains the EFI ease of starting, comfortable ride position and modern electronics. It goes extremely quick in a straight line. It bites the corners hard and securely. It absorbs the nasty bumps, but can cruise the groomed miles as you want. Plus, this replica sled really looks the part with its in-your-face Arctic green coloring and bold Team Arctic lettering.
Arctic Cat marketers seem to know their public as they give the ďlookĒ of the racer in what we would call the serious default of the ultimate Sno Pro. The 2014 ZR 8000 RR lets you have the thrill and pretense of the race sled while allowing the day-to-day ride-ability of a modern snowmobile. Itís kind of like having it all.
|2014 Arctic Cat ZR 8000 Race Replica||2013 Arctic Cat Sno Pro Cross Country Race Sled||2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 Race Replica|
|Engine||Arctic/Suzuki 794cc, two-stroke, liquid-cooled, twin; 46mm throttle body injector electronic fuel injection||Arctic/Suzuki 599cc, two-stroke, liquid-cooled, twin; Heated Mikuni TM40 rack carburetors||Arctic Cat 599cc, two-stroke, liquid-cooled twin; 47mm dual throttle body Dual Stage electronic fuel injection|
|Drive||Arctic 6 post rpm-sensing drive with 10.75-in Arctic roller cam driven||Arctic rpm-sensing with TEAM drive||Arctic 6 post rpm-sensing drive with 10.75-in Arctic roller cam driven|
|Front Suspension||Arctic Race Suspension (ARS) twin A-arm suspension; Fox Float X EVOL shocks with rebound and compression adjustability; stabilizer bar; up to 10.0 inches of travel||Arctic Race Suspension (ARS) twin A-arm suspension; Fox Float X EVOL shocks with rebound and compression adjustability; stabilizer bar; up to 10.0 inches of travel||Arctic Race Suspension (ARS) twin A-arm suspension; Fox Float X EVOL shocks with rebound and compression adjustability; stabilizer bar; up to 10.0 inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension||Arctic FasTrack parallel rail slide with Tri-Hub rear axle assembly; Arctic slide-action with coupling blocks, torque-sensing link; adjustable torsion springs; internal floating piston Fox Zero Pro piggyback shocks with adjustable damping; up to 13.5 inches of travel||Arctic slide-action parallel rail with 7-position coupling; Fox Zero X Piggyback shocks with adjustable damping; up to 13.5 inches of travel||Arctic FasTrack parallel rail slide with Tri-Hub rear axle assembly; Arctic slide-action with coupling blocks, torque-sensing link; adjustable torsion springs; internal floating piston Fox Zero Pro piggyback shocks with adjustable damping; up to 13.5 inches of travel|
|Length||118.0 in||118.0 in||118.0 in|
|Width||48.0 in||49.25 Ė 50.25 in||48.0 in|
|Ski Stance||Adjustable 42 to 43 in||43.5 in||Adjustable 42 to 43 in|
|Track||15 x 129 x 1.25 Ripsaw||15 x 128 x 1.25 2-ply Cobra||15 x 129 x 1.25 Ripsaw|
|Brake||Radial master cylinder hydraulic with lightweight race disc on driveshaft||Radial master cylinder hydraulic with lightweight race disc on driveshaft||Radial master cylinder hydraulic with lightweight race disc on driveshaft|
|Features||Standard: digital/analog tach & speedometer; Electric gas gauge; clock; push button reverse; dual halogen headlight
Optional: key start; storage bags; rack; tank pads; optional windshields
|Standard: digital/analog tach & speedometer; adjustable timing-select module; V-Force reeds; C&A Pro ADX cross country skis; mid-height windshield||Standard: digital/analog tach & speedometer; Electric gas gauge; clock; push button reverse; dual halogen headlight|
Optional: key start; storage bags; rack; tank pads; optional windshields
|Fuel Capacity||12.0 US Gal (91 octane)||13.0 US Gal (92 octane non-oxygenated); Pre-mix at 32:1 ratio||12.0 US Gal (91 octane)|