After a couple of days rest I thought I should comment on the general performance of the new mountain sleds from Arctic Cat. The 800 cc two stroke is outstanding. Very dependable and apparently it likes to be pressure charged based on Tapios performance at the Jackson World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb. Tapios were running Boondocker turbochargers. The report I received is that they are considerably faster on the new chassis with less boost than on the old chassis, I'll try to follow up on this with some boost numbers.
My sleds had over 1000 miles on them when i picked them up and plenty of riders had previously shaken them out. I don't think that anyone ran them as hard as I did given that we were riding in a couple feet of new snow each day. I pushed both sleds extremely hard in the deep snow and extreme terrain. I have to say that they come out in reasonably good shape. Only lost the 800 once and the tree could have been a lot harder on it, a little bit of duct tape and i was on my way again.
As I reported earlier the suspension is second to none, absolutely remarkable. Might play around with some different settings on the shock pressures if I get enough time. I would like to see a little more firmness on the front end to improve the cornering on the trail.
With the help of the Power Claw track the sled seems to get up on the snow just fine. Being in fresh snow as we were this can be a big challenge, the sled was predictable in this sense and didn't trench out until I completely lost momentum. At this point it was easy to turn out and save a stuck for someone else.
I felt that i could build more track speed than the old M series, the sled definitely has more legs and can build more speed on a run in to the hill. This has got to come from the drive train being more efficient at higher speeds.
I enjoy the running board width. Plenty of room for even the biggest of feet, easier to clean than the M series and I like being able to get further forward on the sled. The stirrups allow the rider to get forward in line with the track drive shaft. The instrument mounting is great. I can actually see the thing from a stand up riding position. Arctic is using the same controls as the M series, OK but I am finding the hand and thumb warmers are continually being shut off when I lean forward. This is an easy fix however, Arctic offers an accessory switch guard to protect the warmer switches as well as the emergency shut off switch from being shut off inadvertently. Mountain handle on the handlebars functions well. I like how the master cylinder reservoir is located below the highest point on the handlebar. This offers some protection from damage when the sled is upside down. Skis are good, the addition of the traction nubs on top of the ribs are nice for the times when i find myself trying to stand on the ski to help right the chassis. Ski loops allow both hands to pull without pinching fingers, great idea.
I've been reminded that some riders prefer the horizontal steering post as it comes on the 1100t and the standard model 800. Tapios prefer the over the motor post for uphill racing and do very well by it. I agree that if your ride technique causes you to generally be straddle of the seat as opposed to both feet on the same running board then the horizontal post will work just fine. It's the extremely steep and technical terrain that when the rider finds himself on one running board or the other that the vertical post makes a huge difference. Over the last several years i have converted a number of Ski Doo riders to the vertical post concept, and I must say it did not come easy. However after giving it a chance those riders, you know who you are, can push harder in steeper terrain. I am not saying that the vertical post is for everyone, but I am saying that you have a choice. Arctic Cat is offering the vertical post kit as an accessory item for those models that don't come from the factory so equipped.
Got to run for now, still working on pictures.