AmSnow.com is now SnoWest.com
I’ve hit that Buick stage of life, and a silky touring sled like Arctic Cat’s Pantera is sort of like finding a double-pack of Cialis in the back seat of your car. The Pantera has it all and then some!
¦ Why a big touring sled is fun
First, there’s enough power with the 6000 engine. This is a stout 599cc 2-stroke liquid cooled twin cylinder dual stage injection engine that gives the big sled a peppy feeling and a bit of growl to show anyone who’s looking that you’re still master of your domain. The engine starts quickly and yes, there’s electric start and push-button reverse.
With Cat’s new clutching, the engine’s power engages smoothly and you’ll hear a pleasant growl from under the hood up until about 40 mph. The Pantera cruises quietly in the 40-60 mph range, and beyond, but this is a touring sled so most folks won’t be at sustained speeds much faster than 50mph. Your reflection in the morning mirror may tell you that’s not fast enough, but don’t listen too hard. Even with a person on the comfy rear seat the Pantera will easily cruise past 70 mph down a frozen lake, like a Buick cruising down a smooth interstate.
The long track underneath helps provide Pantera with a boulevard-ride too. I ripped over corduroy trails that on a short-track performance sled set my teeth to chattering. But on the Pantera trail ripples were barely noticed as I skimmed along. Personally, the Pantera gave me the best ride experience of any sled I tested this season.
Handling is fine too. The sled is large, but the steering feel is moderate and turn-in into corners was precise and still authoritative. The ProTour 6 skis carve accordingly to most any trail sled. There’s no better feeling than being in total control when the significant other is riding shotgun.
Lucky for them too, Pantera offers soft and comfortable seats front and rear, plus the rear seatback is adjustable and well-padded. These seats are a little slick, not as grippy as the performance sleds, or even some other 2-ups, but in theory you won’t be pushing this as hard as a snocross wanna-be racer.