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Long-Term Test: 2015 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 RR

Race day is reborn everyday on this fun Cat sled
2015 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 RR snowmobile
Never a dull moment! Our test riders agreed that if you get bored on the 6000 RR, then you should probably check your pulse! It’s fast, tough and fun! The FOX shock package was engineered to Team Arctic race specs, so it’s capable of handling much more abuse than your average trail tour.
Kort Duce photo
We discussed in depth in our comparison articles last season the race feel one gets from Arctic Cat’s RR (Race Replica) line of sleds. That holds true on the track, and it turns out that our ZR 6000 RR demo was pretty dang fun for an aggressive-type trail ride, too!

Here’s the thing
You are getting a race sled when you buy the 2015 RR. There’s no windshield, no electric start, and shocks are valved to Team Arctic specifications. So if you’re looking for a super soft, warm ride that starts with the turn of a key, look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you’re looking for razor-sharp handling to take on the rough stuff with ease, this is the sled!

Let’s talk suspension first. The ProCross chassis, Slide-Action rear suspension and ARS front end all work very well together. Handling is great, steering effort is quite light (even with aftermarket 7.5-in. carbides), and the 129-inch rear skid is a great length for smoothing out the trail (or track). It’s been a proven winner on the race track, and we’d expect nothing less for the general consumer.

The FOX Float X EVOL shocks up front have the adjustable compression and rebound, so you’ve got a lot of possibilities there. The back-end shocks also offer a wide range of adjustment with FOX’s Zero Pro piggyback shocks in both center and rear locations. Just remember: these were built to Team Arctic specifications, and they’re meant to take the abuse of big cross country or snocross hits. Even after softening the setting on this shock package, everything is still fairly stiff. It’s probably too stiff for the trail rider who’s out for a weekend cruise. But for the rider who’s railing around corners and sending it over road approaches, this porridge is just right!

The 6000 C-TEC2 engine is another feature that fits the bill perfectly here. Its lightweight characteristics contribute to the overall low-effort feeling of the front end. The throttle pull is also very light, and the engine snaps right off the line. We continue to be impressed by the oil and fuel economy of this engine as well. It makes us all that much more anxious for a new Cat 800 C-TEC that we hope is in the not-so-distant future!

Reality check
Last time I looked in the mirror, I did not look anything like a Tucker Hibbert replica. Nor do the trails out my back door look anything like a snocross track. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have considered buying this sled given my usual riding style (aggressive, but not racer-aggressive) and typical riding terrain (trail). That is, until I rode it.

The amount of fun one can have on this sled, tossing it through trail corners and hopping off snowdrifts, far outweighs the small annoyances of the sled. I could tolerate the lack of wind protection from the race-height windshield. The pull cord start didn’t bother me much; the 600 is quite easy to start. Even in temps far below zero, I don’t think it took more than three pulls to fire it up. I’m not a fan of the rocker-style kill switch on the Cats (and Yamahas now), but that’s just a personal preference.

There are some more trail-friendly features here too, like the 1.25-inch lugged RipSaw track and 12V accessory outlet on the dash. More storage is always nice, but you don’t expect that from a race sled. I found the handlebars to be to my liking. They were a little higher than some, making the transition from sitting to standing very easy. But if you’re strictly a sit-down style rider, you will probably find the higher bar position a little uncomfortable on long days.

The more I rode the sled, the more I appreciated the capabilities of the shock package. However, I still think it’s overkill for the majority of consumers. Apparently Arctic Cat agrees with me, because, as we’ve reported, they’ve dialed down the shocks for their 2016 RR sleds. Our early-season demo rides on the 2016 models proved that to be true, and it’s a good move that will make the sled more appealing to the average consumer.

It’s safe to say that this sled is built to have its limits pushed more than most other sleds on the trail. But make no mistake – this sled will push you right back if you’re not on your game!
Take 2!
This RR is my perfect “Ricky Bobby” sled. I love to pound this sled through ditchlines and mogul fields, and we even built a few “kickers” for it on our makeshift farm-field suspension-testing course. It was loads of fun, but I would put a 1.5-inch lugged track on it ASAP if it were my own sled. Just a personal preference. – Mark Boncher, AmSnow Editor
SPECS
Engine: 599cc EFI 2-stroke Drive: Arctic 6 post (rpm sensing) primary, 10.75-in. dia. Arctic (roller cam) secondary Exhaust: APV w/ tuned pipe, pipe sensor and stainless steel muffler Brake: Race radial master cylinder hydraulic brake / lightweight brake disc Ski Stance: 42-43 in. adj. Front Susp.: ARS w/ FOX Float X EVOL shocks w/ comp. and rebound adj. and sway bar (10 in. travel) Rear Susp.: Slide-Action w/ Tri-hub rear axle, coupling blocks, torque-sensing link, adj. torsion springs w/ FOX Zero Pro piggyback shocks w/ adj. dampening (13.5 in. travel) Track: 15x129x1.25 RipSaw Fuel Tank: 11.7 gal. Rec. Fuel: 91 Octane Price: $12,749 US / $14,549 CA Real World Stats*: Top speed: 82.82mph 1/4-mile: 14.31 sec. 0-60mph: 4.48 sec.
*AmSnow tested
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