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2009 Arctic Cat BearCat Z1 XT First Impressions


by Pascal Bastien ,

The completely-redesigned BearCat Z1 XT is one of the biggest surprises from Arctic Cat for 2009. This polar bear is now built on the award-winning Twin Spar chassis and powered by a buttery-smooth, 4-stroke, twin-cylinder engine designed by Suzuki. Boy, are we in for a treat!

The Bearcat came across to me as the most complete utility snowmobile ever produced by Arctic Cat. (Photo: Maxime Allaire/

New chassis
The decision by Arctic Cat to create a utility platform based on the Twin Spar chassis allows heavy-duty users to benefit from the many outstanding attributes of that excellent chassis, one of the most innovative ever on the market. The much-appreciated qualities of the F-series (sport) and T-series (touring) models, including mass centralization, ergonomic design, comfort, user-friendliness and precise steering can now be found on the new BearCat Z1 XT.

What's more, the Twin Spar places the rider higher and closer to the front of the machine, in a sport-type stance that does not strain sensitive part of the body, such as the back, neck ou shoulders. On the contrary, it makes for easier active riding thanks to low-mounted, forward-tilted footrests. A short ride in harsh spring conditions (with an icy crust that sometimes caved in under the weight of the machine) allowed me to see and feel the benefits of the upgrades to the new model.

The 2009 BearCat Z1 XT achieves unprecedented levels of comfort and handling for a utility Arctic Cat. The wide, softly-padded seat can accommodate up to three passengers (two according to the company), and the modular rear section can be removed to provide cargo capacity. Meanwhile, the large windshield protects the occupants efficiently, as the chassis and suspension provide ample personnal space as well as a  pleasant ride.

Thanks to the extended Twin Spar chassis, the articulated slide-rail suspension and the modern, powerful 4-stroke engine, the new BearCat truly offers the best of both worlds. On the trails, it provides the comfort and benefits of a touring sled, while offering the cargo room, ruggedness and, more importantly, excellent floatation on loose snow of a utility machine.

On the trails, it provides the comfort and a predictable ride at all times, as well as ell the benefits of a genuine touring sled. (Photo: Maxime Allaire/
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