Believe it or not, there are folks out there who absolutely adore cold and snow. They're called snowmobilers, and they love to rattle off adages like, "Summer stinks, think snow," in the middle of August. They tend to hang out in their garages and tweak their "sleds" throughout the summer in anticipation of the cold weather to come. They emit the same vibe as dedicated snowskiers, only they prefer to race across the snow pulled by an engine instead of gravity. Now this whole snowmobiling thing may seem foreign to you folks living down in the snow-free south, but take note, the new crop of sleds these folks ride are technologically amazing and very powerful. How fast and powerful? Take for instance the new Arctic Cat F7 Firecat EFI, which has as much horsepower-an estimated 140-as an '03 Chevy Cavalier, but tips the scales at only 16 percent of the Cavalier's weight.
The '03 F7 Firecat EFI weighs 50 pounds less than last year's model and sports an aluminum front and rear chassis. To this lightweight frame Arctic Cat's engineers fitted a liquid-cooled, oil- and fuel-injected 698cc two-cylinder engine that mounts low in the box-construction front frame to centralize the mass of the sled for better handling and ride. The front suspension consists of an AWS VI double-wishbone system with Arctic Cat gas shocks, adjustable-preload springs and an antiroll bar that create an impressive 9.2 inches of travel. The rear suspension sports what Arctic Cat calls its FasTrack Long Travel System slide-rail, adjustable torsion springs and Arctic Cat gas shocks to create a healthy 13.5 inches of travel. At an overall length of more than 9 feet, this sled is long, but the truly dedicated can still fit it into a pickup bed. Other F7 highlights include improved sound reduction, integrated heat exchangers that keep the running boards free of ice, dual halogen headlights, full gauges, handwarmers and thumbwarmers.
All this means one thing: The F7 Firecat EFI is one very fast and well handling snowmobile, and that translates to fun in the snow. Almost makes you wish for snow, huh?
|Vehicle model ||Arctic Cat F7 Firecat EFI |
|Base price ||$7,799 |
|Colors ||Green, black or red |
|Type ||Two-cylinder two-stroke |
|Displacement (c.c.) ||698 |
|Horsepower ||140 (estimated) |
|Aspiration ||46mm throttle-body EFI |
|Starter ||Electric |
|Cooling ||Liquid |
|Drivetrain ||Arctic drive clutch (rpm sensing), Arctic driven clutch (roller cam) |
|Front ||AWS VI double-wishbone A-arms w/Arctic Cat gas shocks, adjustable preload springs, antiroll bar, 9.2 inches of trave |
|Rear ||FasTrack Long Travel System slide-rail, adjustable torsion springs, Arctic Cat gas shocks, 13.5 inches of travel |
|Brake ||Hydraulic disc |
|Track ||Standard |
|Ski material ||Plastic |
|Ski Carbides ||Equation 28h, sealed bearing |
|Weight (lbs.) ||435 |
|Fuel Capacity (gal.) ||13 |
|Length (in.) ||118 |
|Width (in.) ||48 |
|Height (in.) ||45 |