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2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre Preview


by Guillaume Rivard ,

In typical Arctic Cat fashion, the brand's sportiest snowmobiles have once again changed monikers and now go by the “ZR” designation (as was the case from 1993-2004). For 2014, the ZR 6000 El Tigre arrives as a new entry-level member of Arctic Cat's performance sled family aimed at aggressive trail riding enthusiasts.

It revives a classic name that first appeared in 1978 and later helped the manufacturer get back on track following the bankruptcy of Arctic Enterprises, which led to the creation of Arctic Cat as we know it today. In fact, one could say the El Tigre is to Arctic Cat what the SRX is to Yamaha or the Blizzard to Ski-Doo.

Brand new heart for the 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre
Powering the beast is an all-new, Arctic Cat-built C-TEC2 engine. This 599-cc, 2-stroke, twin-cylinder unit shares nothing with the 10-lb heavier Suzuki 600 that powered Arctic Cat F6 models through 2010, or the engine found in the Arctic Cat 600 Sno Pro race sled. The new crankcase, crankshaft, cylinders, pistons, head, and reed valves were all designed by Arctic Cat.

The C-TEC2 engine uses liquid cooling, a new dual-stage, direct injection system, as well as an electronic oil pump for precise calibration at any RPM, temperature, or altitude. With 125 hp (10 hp less than Yamaha-powered ZR 7000 models), this is one of the least potent engines in the performance class, but the 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre's ProCross chassis, which utilizes a triangulated upper-spar assembly that provides increased strength and reduced weight, should make for a favourable power-to-weight ratio.

Attacking trails with the 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre
This cat has new, lighter ski spindles and widely spaced A-arms for superior torsion rigidity and strength. The Arctic Race front suspension with Fox FLOAT 3 shocks provides 10” of travel (11% more than average in the 2014 performance segment). The Slide-Action rear suspension supplies 13.5” of travel (in line with typical competitors), and is relatively simple when compared to the latest Polaris and Ski-Doo multi-adjustment designs. Engineers claim it delivers better all-around ride and handling while offering a suspension that is easy to keep in tune.

The 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre's 15”x129” Ripsaw II track (slightly longer than average in the performance category) is said to create a neutral balance between manoeuvrability and stability. Meanwhile, the 1.25” lugs represent a nice compromise between grip and drag-free acceleration.

As most of its siblings do, the 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre has a new seat and digital gauge cluster. It also includes custom graphics, an adjustable handlebar, high/low hand & thumb warmers, and a mid-height windshield. Electric start is optional.

Available in black only, the 2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre starts at $12,799.

2014 Arctic Cat ZR 6000 El Tigre
Photo: Arctic Cat