We can't wait to get behind the wheel of this big cat
Editor’s Note: Since originally publishing this feature on the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000i, we’ve had a chance to spend a day riding it. You can check out our full review and video by clicking here.
Rolling halfway into the year 2011 there is yet another two-passenger off-road ride to choose from that seems to speak to an almost exact demographic – the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000. The designers at Arctic Cat obviously had an “all out desert racing” mindset for engineering a plan to get in the game of massive displacement and industry-leading suspension travel.
When looking at the Wildcat 1000 what stands out the most are the crazy trophy truck or desert racing type suspension components that hang from the seemingly thin and nimble looking passenger compartment. As well, the 951cc liquid cooled V-Twin will deliver power for the thrashing and with fuel injection this should be a responsive trail feline.
Even though the market has recently seen another company come head first into the same platform there has to be enough room for more, right? Polaris delivered what most would claim to have turned the off-road UTV/SxS world on its head with the introduction of the RZR XP 900 and now just a few months later Arctic Cat hopes to do the same. The Polaris RZR XP was most definitely the first of its kind and set a great standard for many to follow and you can bet your sweet tater tots there will be followers.
So why should you be excited about the Wildcat 1000? The way you experience your ride is constantly evolving and the comfort level of the UTV in the cockpit is where most find the enjoyment level increasing. With the seating and instrumentation evolving into the likeness of the cockpit in a jet fighter, the racer in me just grins from ear to ear. You feel as if you are sucked down into the very heart of the machine and when you are comfortable it’s easy to find confidence. If you are comfortable in a machine and feel safe while riding you will also tend to spend more time on the trail and want to share this experience with the family. The Wildcat’s massive and shock-absorbing suspension travel should afford the rider a more forgiving impact when those nasty G-outs come up too fast. With power response increasing every time a new machine like this is released the trail ragger in you will also be satisfied.
The way you approach trail obstacles and the confidence to get around or over them generated by machines like the Wildcat is yet one more reason to be happy about where the UTV offerings are headed.
The Arctic Cat Wildcat boasts thirteen inches of ground clearance and a staggering 17 inches up front in suspension travel with 18 in the rear. That’s around 3.5 more in the front and 4.0 more in the rear compared to the Polaris RZR XP. But with long travel comes the width that really pigeonholes the ride to wide open trails. Now most will argue that the wider, longer travel machines are harder to use on tighter mountainous trails and I have to agree. But with a little searching I have found several areas just a couple hours drive from my home that will accommodate the Wildcat as well as other wider machines. That was probably my biggest fear when I heard the news of the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 release and I thought to myself “great, another awesome machine I cannot own because of the lay of the land I live around”!
My final reasoning for being excited about the release of the Wildcat is that during this downturn in our country’s economy companies like Arctic Cat are still advancing to the next level of off-road excitement. Now claiming that this machine “has no equal” may be a step of faith out on the dead branch of the marketing tree, but only time will tell just how much of a competitor the Wildcat 1000 will be. We’re pretty excited to find out the answer, but may be even more excited to see what the manufacturers will come up with to top it.
If you’re excited about the new Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000, head over to the Wildcat Forum and discuss it with other off-road maniacs.
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