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Thread: Going from an M to a Bearcat?

  1. #1
    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    Default Going from an M to a Bearcat?

    I'm out shopping to buy a new sled. My last two machines were Mountain sleds, an M6 and an M8 HCR, which were great machines but I'm getting a little older and comfort is moving up the list fast. My goal is a comfortable machine that will carry me through the deep stuff and have enough snort to blast across a lake or frozen swamp in fine fashion. The ability to pull a big sled to take out hunting or fishing is a plus.

    I really want a "big" motor still because I like some horsepower, and the Bearcat Z1 has peaked my interest. I've never owned a utility sled other than a Skandic 500 when I lived out in Bethel and it was a great sled. But certainly not a big dog like the Bearcat.

    The appeal of running a clean 4 stroke is nice too. I can ride right from my house so it'll sit in the garage most of the time, and I figure if I head out to the thules for an overnighter I can drag a little generator out if the temps are forecast to plummet.

    I'd appreciate input from you guys that are running these new four strokes, and also those who have made the switch from a mountain machine.

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    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    I should add the other machine I'm interested in is the 900 Expedition. If anybody would like to chime in on that I'd like to hear!

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    While you may get more "snap" out of a bearcat, I don;t think think there is any comparison between the bearcat and a skandic. I have a 600 Ace and love it for all around service.

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    I made the same switch a couple years back. I went from an RMK to a Bearcat. The Bearcat was nice... but she drank a LOT of gas. I sold the cat and bought a 600ace Expedition. Man, what a great decision! I immediately sold my wife's Crossfire and replaced it with a Renegade with the etec600. The suspension of the Skidoo is so much better than Arctic Cat - not even close. Then... the Ace motor... it's silly. So quiet, so fuel efficient, no smell, starts every time (saw 33 below once) no oil to buy, runs on regular gas. The motor is like buying a Honda generator, they just run so well! If you want the 900 for more pulling, that might be an option - just beware how much more they weigh, and you're still using the same chassis, so you cannot pull that much more. I pulled about #1000 with the 600 no problem. The wife's Etec is fun (very fast) but I always choose the Ace motor because it's so much quieter and I can creep through the woods at 3 mph when I'm hunting. I can hit about 70 mph down the lake at top end, whereas my wife's sled can do over 100mph. As far as needing a generator to start the 4-stroke, just invest in a good Li-Ion jump pack and you'll be a lot lighter and plenty safe. I bought one from Napa and I've used it 3 times to start my 6.0 Chevy when the temps plummeted. The irony is that my sled started right up in the same temps, but when I got back to the truck, she was dead. Those boosters are a great $100 investment! If you do choose a SkiDoo, give Bob a call in Soldotna (River Marine and Sea) - it's worth the drive to save thousands over what CC will quote you, just sayin'

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    I have a 13 pro rmk 600 and a 15 expedition sport 600 ace. Ive ridden the expedition 900 miles in the two years ive owned it. Its just a cush ride. Ive pulled gear and fuel into remote cabins and for overnite campouts without issue. Temps haven't been a problem starting it down to -30, I don't want to ride colder, its just miserable. My wife loves the lack of 2 stroke exhaust. Ill second the love of poking through the trees at 3mph hunting while my bro keeps digging in on his Pro 800. Ive always been pulling a load so ive never seen better than about 18-20 mpgs but that's leaps and bounds ahead of the 7-9 im used to seeing on my mountain sled.

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    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    Wow guys, you're selling me on the Ski-Doo. I doubt I will be doing much if any riding below -30 and I drive a Ford so I'm golden. LOL The quietness and no smoke thing has got me convinced.

    20mpg pulling a load is crazy good!

  7. #7

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    I ride a 2009 and 2011 M8, so I can't speak from experience. However, I know a couple of guys who put a lot of miles on their 600 and 900 ACE snogos. One loves his Expedition Sport 900 ACE and the other has a 600 ACE in a Tundra and he recently said he wishes he would rather have a Expedition with a 900 ACE. A few people mention that the 900 ACE starts easier than the 600 in cold temps - don't ask me why, but they have verified this. Also, quite a few people upgrade to the 900 ACE because they seek a little more power than what the 600 had to offer. I would pick the Ski-Doo over the Bearcat and I'm a A/C fan. I have 10,200 miles on my 2009 M8 and the engine has never been worked on.

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    Member xcrnr's Avatar
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    It's true, the 900 starts easier in the cold. It has to do with the fact that it's 3 cyl. and not 2. Thus the turn is shorter until the alternate cylinder fires. I also forgot to mention that I can get 20 mpg when pulling, no problem. I ran all the way to Skwentna pulling 6 railroad ties and got about 22 mpg w/ the 600ACE.

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    I went from play sleds to Bearcats also. I HIGHLY recommend the Z1 bearcat. I had one and it was a work horse and you could go play on it after! Plenty of power to throw it around in the deep stuff and it rode like a Cadillac on the rivers.


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    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akriverunner View Post
    I went from play sleds to Bearcats also. I HIGHLY recommend the Z1 bearcat. I had one and it was a work horse and you could go play on it after! Plenty of power to throw it around in the deep stuff and it rode like a Cadillac on the rivers.


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    How was it on belts and fuel?

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    Never had a belt issue at all, honest fuel mileage was probably 10-15 mpg and it has a big tank. I only sold mine to go with a SxS on tracks for the family to get in and out of our Cabin. I’m sure there are some left overs you could get a deal on.


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    I've got a 2011 M8 and my wife has a 2016 Expedition Sport with the 900 ACE. They couldn't be more different. They have their strengths and weaknesses but I like both. The Expy is nice. Starts easy, quiet, no smoke, and real pleasant on the trails. It has a lot less power than the M8 and is heavy, but with a 154"x16" track it will go through the snow.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I have a Z1 Bearcat... it's fast and smooth on the trails. Does o.k. in deep snow if you are aggressive, but will punish you if you get it stuck. NRick, above, can attest to the places I took it. That said, it will NOT hold a candle to a true mountain sled. I bought the Bearcat for the same reasons as you, but came right back to mountain sleds. Unless you are hauling big loads, an M8 has zero issues towing 50 gallons of fuel and gear for a long weekend to the lodge or cabin and you will have a lot more fun off the trail when you get there.

    If I have to choose between my '13 Summit X 163 or my Bearcat to run the Denali Highway or up the Yentna, I am jumping on the Bearcat every time. With it's big 17 gallon tank I never have to worry about packing fuel on a day ride either.. My Bearcat has started at -30F with a 12 hour cold soak as well. If there is big powder to be had at the other end of a long ride, I'm riding the Summit.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    ... an M8 has zero issues towing 50 gallons of fuel and gear for a long weekend to the lodge or cabin and you will have a lot more fun off the trail when you get there.
    Unless the hitch pin to the sled comes off at 50mph. Then you will be there a while putting everything back in the sled.


    I'm not sure there are very many people that can ride a Bearcat where I've seen AKDoug take his.

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    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRick View Post
    Unless the hitch pin to the sled comes off at 50mph. Then you will be there a while putting everything back in the sled.


    I'm not sure there are very many people that can ride a Bearcat where I've seen AKDoug take his.
    Sounds like a backstory there.

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    I've been a mountain sled rider forever and just recently sold my Pro since the Skandic is getting all of the use going to the cabin and hauling stuff. Already miss the Pro but the Skandic SWT with the 900 ACE is actually really fun. Quiet, gobs of torque and great economy. It's definitely not as comfortable as the wife's 570 Bearcat but that 4 stroke gets better fuel mileage towing 1000 lbs than her sled empty. We will eventually replace hers with a 600 ACE powered machine in the near future.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by akaviator View Post
    Sounds like a backstory there.
    Yeah, Rick and his wife have an issue with losing Otter sleds His wife went over 10 miles without hers before she go to the lodge and realized it was gone. I've seen BRWNBR haul some incredible loads with his M8.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    An M8 has surprised me more than once. Hauled in three drums of fuel down the Denali hwy and a pile of Jerry jugs. Close to 200 gallons of fuel. I think I hauled three whole caribou once too if I recall right?
    But akdoug pioneering the “reverse rooster tail” puts a bearcat in the front running for a mountain sled!! Lol
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