AmSnow.com is now SnoWest.com Arctic Cat & John Denver
Both know how to get that Rocky Mountain High! The new XF 8000 High Country Limited from Arctic Cat will allow you to rail any trail to the top or blaze your own way to get there. Truthfully, this is a mountain sled in trail sled clothing.
First, the High Country has the new AMS (Arctic Mountain Suspension) up front, which this year has new single post spindles angled (27 degree caster) into the sled for better sidehilling, with much less material used (2.4 lbs. saved). Pounds were saved on the new A-arms and skis as well, plus this has a 38.5-42.5-inch adjustable ski stance, so it offers the narrowest stance of any of the off-trail crossovers we tested. Like the Backcountry, this is basically a shorter mountain sled, but with a sway bar in the front end for more trail stability.
Like most Cat sleds for 2016, this comes with the new Arctic Drive System (ADS) with TEAM BOSS secondary and TEAM drive clutch. Cat likes to say that the best reasons for going to these clutches are to prevent belt slippage and increase ease of tuning, but the average consumer will like them mostly because changing belts is easy.
Inevitably, you will have to change a belt even on the best aligned clutches with near perfect belt deflection. Belts wear, and when you have to change one, the TEAM setup has a little tool that screws in and allows you to separate the sheaves quickly and easily on the secondary clutch in order to pull the old belt off and put the new one on. Plus you still get the more durable rollers, steel spider and more with the TEAM clutches.
Where this sled slightly separates itself from others in this group is the suspension. The Float-Action rear suspension has a FOX EVOL front shock and a FOX EVOL R rear shock. These are top-of-the-line air shocks with infinite adjustments.
Two things we really like on this sled that add to the “trail” marketing side are the handlebars and the telescoping adjustable handlebar riser. Being able to quickly move the bars up and down makes for a quick change from a mostly stand-up riding machine to a more sit-down riding machine. This helps make this sled more trail-friendly for long rides out to your off-trail area. The telescoping is also one inch lower than last year. There was little reason for these to go as high as in previous years.
This sled also comes standard with a tunnel bag that’s bigger than Cat’s normal tiny belt holder bag found on the back of several models. It can hold waters, hats, a belt, a tool case and more. It is just the right size to not be an eyesore, and it is easy to maneuver around when changing riding positions off trail.
This sled will quite literally take you anywhere you want to go off-trail with big 2.25-inch lugs on the 141-inch-long Power Claw track. The big Suzuki 800 fuel-injected twin has the ponies and a big foot to lay down tracks to the top of any boondocking destination. It is the most capable off-trail sled of this group, which is not surprising considering it also has the most lug on the track. A new ProClimb 7-inch tapered mountain ski and four inches of ski stance adjustability make this a versatile sled!