First Impressions: 2013 Arctic Cat F 800 Sno Pro RR production sled
Yesterday was a gorgeous winter day in Minnesota, and it was the perfect opportunity to finally put the first miles on our 2013 Arctic Cat ProCross F 800 Sno Pro RR demo snowmobile. It’s been a few weeks since the state has received measurable snow, but what fell in mid-December is still on the ground in some parts of the state and trails are open. Trails through woods sections we rode in central Minnesota were fairly tight and hilly with off-camber turns, and most corners and curves were icy so we had to keep speeds down. Farm fields, swamps and ditches were in surprisingly good shape with loose snow for snowmobiles to grab.
Both the front and rear suspensions of the 2013 F 800 Sno Pro RR were impressively, surprisingly compliant over small chatter bumps and rough farm fields, but it was able to handle big bumps and road approaches that are so common on central Minnesota snowmobile trails. Initially, front track shock compression damping was too firm, but after experimenting with clicker settings and spring preloads, ride quality improved. The snowmobile felt tight and precise, and with many external adjustment capabilities on the stock shock package, we’re looking forward to further experimentation this winter with spring and shock settings to make the F 800 Sno Pro RR’s comfort level and capability even better.
In areas where there was soft snow for the skis and stock 4-inch carbides to dig in, the front end stuck well for good handling. Weight transfer control seems to be dialed in from the factory because there’s good rear end traction for fast acceleration while the skis maintain contact with the trail when on the gas through sweeping turns. Steering effort is light and cornering is flat. The seat is shaped correctly near the fuel tank to allow the driver to get forward and low through tight turns.
Switching from ride and handling to speed, there’s no doubt that the 2013 Arctic Cat ProCross F 800 Sno Pro RR hauls the mail. It is an impressively fast snowmobile. The H.O. 800 Suzuki rips, it runs crisp and clean and it’s clutched and geared well for quick throttle response and great torque so riders can easily lift the skis over bumps or leap off of road approaches.
Whether accelerating from a rolling start or near the the top end, the engine is responsive and causes the snowmobile to quickly pick up speed. A softer drive clutch spring for 2013 Arctic Cat 800s makes the engine in our 2013 machine feel less harsh than our 2012 F 800 Sno Pro demo, especially at clutch engagement. When it comes time to harness all of that speed, the race brake pads feel more “grabby” than the standard brake package and the drilled rotor makes a high-performance buzzing noise when you squeeze the lever. Cool!
We plan to install a better windshield — one that actually shields the driver from wind — and there are a few other accessories we’ll install over the next few weeks for stories that will run in the magazine and on SnowGoer.com. Look for further updates this winter about our 2013 Arctic Cat ProCross F 800 Sno Pro RR demo snowmobile here on SnowGoer.com.