Bearcat Z1 XT reviews and comments
This is Arctic Cat's big 4-stroke work sled. 20" x 156 track. I figured that anyone who is thinking of picking one up might like to hear some early impressions I have had of mine. I demo'd this sled last year and bought it this fall. I rode it about 200 miles last year over the course of several weekends but never really kept track of fuel mileage, nor did I have it for any really cold weather.
Now that I own it I've had the chance to put it through it's paces a bit this season.
The cold weather we experienced a couple weeks ago allowed me to test it's cold weather abilities. I started it and ran it for 5 days in a row that had -20F and colder morning temps at my house. The coldest morning was -27F. It started and ran fine every one of those morning. I would start it in the AM, warm it up, and run it a couple miles, then park it. That left it with a little under a 24hr cold soak before each attempt. The -27F morning was definitely getting to the bottom level it would start with the stock battery. I didn't think it would go, but it did. Something to note on these machines is that it will not tolerate any throttle application on start up at all or it will flood. Also, every time you turn the key it shoots another shot of fuel. That means repeated attempts to start will likely result in a flooded condition. Turn the key and hold it until it starts or the battery runs out. That's the unfortunate truth. If I lived in a colder climate than mine I would purchase the autostart which has a monitoring system that automatically starts and warms up the sled once it cools off to a certain preset temperature.
I've been using the machine a bit on the local bumped out trails. This machine is unbelievably comfortable to ride. I can't imagine a machine with a more perfect seating position. For a big huge work machine it can pound through the bumps without an issue. It's a far cry better than older Bearcats and Skandics I have used.
Using the removable two-up seat my son and I have ridden quite a bit. Even with our combined weight of 500lbs you can hardly tell he's back there. Handling is still good and the suspension only bottoms on the most major bumps. That means the machine will have no issues carrying 200lbs of gear in the rack system easily when the two-up seat is removed.
Today we made a quick trip up to Cantwell to do a little more testing by running into Alpine Creek Lodge. I brought along my new 8' UHMW sled. Along with us were my son and his two friends on their new 800 Pro RMK's. My 12 y.o. (120#) daughter rode on back in the two-up seat on the Bearcat. Since we had three sport sleds with us we determined that it would be prudent to bring a bunch of extra fuel. In the UHMW sled I had 25 gallons of fuel, 60# of mail for Jennifer at Alpine, 4 gallons of Coke products; plus all our food, clothes, water, ropes and junk. Estimated load in the sled was right at 300#.
There was about 6 to 8" of fresh snow on the road for most of the trip. I led the way and let the kids play behind me. I averaged 40 mph for the time I was moving. Even with all the stops for the kids, I managed to make it in to the lodge in 2 hrs.
We had a great lunch at the lodge and a nice visit. The kids played Halo with Bob and we spent a couple hours there. The run out was about 150# lighter. I once again led the way and there was a few more inches of snow on the trail on most of the run.
The Pro 800 RMK's did very well, only burning 5 gallons each for the 64 mile run. 12mpg Of course, this with light kids riding them with no gear. Still pretty impressive. We didn't get to measure their ending mileage, but I know it should have been the same. The kids road really mellow and didn't play much after finding a couple rocks with no damage.
The Bearcat, towing the sled, with a 265lb driver and 120# passenger, and working through the new snow got 10.5MPG. I'm not overly happy, but I will retest here in a couple weeks with a rider and no other stuff. I will also test with bigger loads to see how low the mileage gets drug down.
However, it was the most comfortable trail ride I have ever been on. The sled is absolutely magical when it comes to running trails like this. Super smooth and comfortable. I've never ridden a machine 130 miles, driven 100 miles home, and made it to the computer to type something like this. I'm not sore one bit. My daughter also gave the two-up seat rave reviews. She said she'd ride anywhere on the back of this machine.
I can't wait for more snow so I can share more info on deep snow performance. Right now it's the Cadillac of towing for long trail rides. We'll see how this thing does in the woods and mountains once we get deeper snow.
Overall I am extremely happy with this machine. I'd better be for the cost
I prefer the Z-1 over the XT
I have a 2011 Z-1 Bearcat along with a 2009 XT 570. Both have the 20X156” track with studs. I installed the 12” wide ski skins on the Z-1 & have another pair for the 570. Both have the extra tall windshield, battery trickle chargers, grill inserts/with frog skins, nose Bra along with spare 12 VDC plugs on the dash. The Z-1 has heated seat, block heater and the Arctic Cat’s command start system (junk) with key fob command module. Both also have the widest possible dually wear rods I could find. The giant storage rack is worth the cost. Lock-tight or weld all hardware/joints together after assembly. Total combined mileage on the machine is around 7000. I have done a lot of trail work with the Quest on these, freighting and ran the 570 to Galena, Ruby, Poorman from Fairbanks. The 570 is a steady 10 MPG and the Z-1 is 12. As for the Z-1 starting procedure, I have to hold the throttle open a bit at -20 or colder temps to get it to start and never let off the key . A larger battery is in order. The under seat radiator is a must before I run it out to Nome and Kotz. PM if you have any questions.