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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took the new F-500 out for a 115 mile spin yesterday. I was really interested how this chassis would compare to the REV and what my overall impressions would be on entering my 43rd year of riding, and having owned dozens and dozens of new sleds over the years. And I am extremely fussy. Few sleds make the grade.

First, let there be no doubters. This sled is heavy, really heavy. I found a dead end road and after checking there was no one on it, road out the five miles on the edge, and did this quite a few times. Snow was very hard but not icy, trail was full of small bumps. Remember, this sled has the Ryde FX shocks, not the ACT. Basically I could drive this sled fast, but the heavy weight really takes away confidence. Unlike a light sled, it is harder to correct mistakes on a heavy sled and this is no exception. Riding the REV on the edge is invigorating and I feel totally in control, riding the F on the edge is a little more nerve racking going the same speeds.

On the trail the F shined. Ride quality was far better than any Cat I have ridden in the past. It spit out the small chatter and had no problem over the big stuff most of the time. Occasionally the suspension didn't act just perfect over some big bumps, almost too much rebound or just seemed to throw the sled slightly off kilter, but only slightly and only once in awhile. The other suspension issue was the ski suspension would sometimes go over a bump instead of through it, or better put, would not fully absorb a rising bump and thus bob the sled over some bumps. This appeared to be a spring problem, could probably use a lighter spring on the front ski suspension.

I have heard of other people talking about the easy steering on the new F's. It is true, probably the easiest steering sled out there, in fact, it was a little disconcerting at first, then I got used to it and liked it fine.

The sled steered beautifully, even with its double runners. Past experience with these runners on my T660 turbo was little or no steering at all if the top layer of snow was chewed up from other sleds or an inch of snow fell overnight. These runners tend to push like crazy, and did so despite the weight of the four stroke turbo. Yamaha guys have tried dual runners on their sleds and they too have experienced way too much pushing in corners. These runners act like hydroplanes as soon as the top layer of snow isn't hard. The trouble is; single runners dart all over the place when put on skis with a lot of weight up front. So I am waiting to see what people come up with for a solution to normal snow conditions and steering.

Under the hard snow conditions experienced, with excellent ski bite, the sled turned beautiful and right now. Steering on this day was excellent and very flat corning. I had to really hang it out to get inside ski lift, and only then did the weight really scare me.

On the comfort side, the seating position is the most comfy out there. Plenty of leg room, no leg cramping. The moveable seat is the real deal, as is the adjustable bars. The adjustable windshield needs to be scrapped, we who buy the 500 LXR are either women or old men like myself. One tall windshield to go please.

With the seat in the low position, the sled feels slightly ZR like but with a taller seat. Put the seat in the higher position and it feels rider forward, but unlike the competition it has lots of leg room in either position.

Perhaps what surprised me most was the lack of vibration once under way. There was zero vibration. It was almost earie. It was also quieter than past Cats I've owned.


Clutching and EFI calibrations were spot on. After 115 miles I had used 6 of the 10 bars on the electric gas guage. Sorry, haven't filled the sled up yet for actual mpg.

Seat shape and foam density is pretty good, but just slightly prefer the REV in both these areas.

The next test will hopefully see if the sled can stand up to seven thousand miles of riding this winter.

Would I buy this sled again? Probably yes. I trail ride, and often do 350 mile days. Days at medium speeds will be fine on this sled. If I step it up and have to hurry for that many miles, I think my happiness may fade slightly. This chassis is set up like a race chassis but with a lot more weight. This chassis is the first to make me realize that weight does make a difference. Next year it will be a tough choice whether to stick with another Cat or choose another make such as the REV, if the REV stays light and is redesigned with more leg room. But considering the 2007 models available right now, I am quite pleased with my purchase and would do it again.
mike
 

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Nice review. I agree with most of it. I think that the Sno Pro suspension would solve any lacking areas you found in the standard. I put Simmions skis on my F1000 Sno Pro before riding her 1 foot. I have did that the past 3 sleds that I have owned and think itis some of the best money I have spent. Floats in the soft suff, carves the trails and handles great. Maybe concider adding them to your standard, they will make a huge improement.\\

Royster
 

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Good review, I agree with Royster on the snow pro package is a better package than the standard. I have a standard F7 and thought the rear suspension was lousy, bottom it out over the smallest bumps. I thought my F1000 felt very light for it's actual weight, it really surprised me. I rode a Yamaha Apex the other day on my ride and even though it is only a few pounds heavier than my F it felt like it wieghed 100 pounds more. I do need to get a few more miles on mine, I've only been on the trail once so far. I agree it is for sure the best ridding Cat ever.
 

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Good review. :thumbsup:

I wondering where the extra weight on the LXR's came from. I can't help but wonder what this sled would be like if Cat kept the track and chassis narrow like the SaberCats. I dunno

I hope you can give us an update after 1000 miles or so and then tell us what your impressions are.

What did you think of the performance of the 500 EFI motor? It will be interesting to see what the MPG is on it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really like this 500 (non exhaust valve) motor. No lack of power, had it to 80 a few times and let off, not sure if it has more. I feel it has enough oomph to keep up with the boys except out on the lakes and long stretches of wide open running. Like I said, running quality of the motor and calibrations are excelllent. I have had four of the Cat 550 sleds in recent years, a motor I really like from Cat for its dependability and gas mileage, but not its loudness. I like this new 500 motor even better. My favorite all time motor has always been the 500SS SkiDoo engine, and although the Cat engine is down on power, I think I like it just as much.

Royster, I agree about the Simmons Skis, they are great and I have a set with tens of thousands of miles on them. They have been on several machines and worked perfect, until I put them on the 660 turbo. Although it cured the turning problem and I used them much of the winter on the turbo, each night my shoulders would ache from the much harder steering caused by the combination of the turbo's weight and Simmons. Yamaha Apex rider's have found the same problem putting Simmons on theirs. I am waiting for a report from a few people before I try them, as I really need to replace mine they are so worn.

mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Jeff, maybe now that I'm back on a Cat I'll be around these forums more. Good to hear from you.
mike
 

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nice to hear about the smaller sleds. Was thinking of the 500lxr next yr for my wife to replace her 05 sabercat600lx. Couple things to the people replying: the 500's are not available in the snopro package, so you get "stuck" with the ryde-fx shocks and no other choice...not even Cat's ACT's. So the options would be to change the shocks or get some custom valving. Changing the stock skis is a must...Cat's skis are good, but not that good...

Mike..you liked the doo 500ss...and feel the 500 cat is "down on power"? Well of course it is...the doo 500ss is a 600cc engine badged as a 500....
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (taperk600 @ Jan 7 2007, 06:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Mike..you liked the doo 500ss...and feel the 500 cat is "down on power"? Well of course it is...the doo 500ss is a 600cc engine badged as a 500....[/b]

Well, actually he said although the 500 Cat is down on power compared to the 600 Doo (yes, Mike knows it's a 600 :D )...that he likes the Cat motor just as much :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I like the Ryde FX shocks and the fact they are maintenence free, no dropping the sled off at the dealers and having it tied up there for a week for shock rebuilding. Same with the non valve engine, should be maintenence free, just start and go. I really like this engine, seems like they really did a good job calibrating it.
mike
 

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Mike: Enjoyed your review. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I went out and bought one yesterday. I was sitting on the fence until I read your comments. I will be picking up my F5 LXR on Friday. I will let you know how I like it. Thanks again.

Redd
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (mikerider @ Jan 7 2007, 03:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Thanks Jeff, maybe now that I'm back on a Cat I'll be around these forums more. Good to hear from you.
mike[/b]
Will certainly be good to have you back here. Hope we are going to hear some ride reports on those 7000 miles that are coming up!!
 

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any "real world "information (not arctic cat hype) on fuel consumption of 500 vs 600. i know there has been limited riding-especially in the north east.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got about 400 miles on her now, and the conditions have changed to packed powder. Also where I ride the north end of the lake is frozen so found the top end speed.

I'm still enjoying this sled, Cat did a very nice job overall in most aspects. After getting good mpg on the hard snow, it dropped to about 13 mpg on the packed powder.

I carry the sled in the back of my pick up truck. Thursday I drove three hours and then rode all day on the sled. At the end of the day I noticed a vent cover missing from the hood, one one just below the right side of the windshield. Don't know if it blew off while the sled was in the truck or while out on the trail.

Again, the sled rides very nice, ski and rear springs could be a hair softer but overall a very nice riding sled. Better than any Cat I've owned or ridden.

Handling has changed with the addition of packed powder. The steering doesn't feel as planted as I would like. Occasionally there is a little push in the corners or a split second delay before the skis grab. Kind of an annoying thing, still waiting for reports from users of aftermarket skis to see which is best.

The sled gets to 70 fairly quickly, then tops out at 80. Guess you have to keep in mind the speedo is much more accurate than a few years ago.

Track traction so far has been excellent.

I have changed the seat position several times and always go back to having it in the up and forward position. I wish the seat was shorter, at 6 feet tall, I am still a few inches away from the back lip of the seat.

Mirrors are still back ordered! Have yet to find any big saddlebags that will fit.

And last, I rode the sled in single degree F temps the other day. Will need to do so again to be sure, but my impression that day was that this is just possibly the coldest riding sled I've ever been on. Another F rider I talked to that day had the same opinion.

Possibly headed for Quebec later in the week where I am in hopes of piling on some miles.

mike
 

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[

And last, I rode the sled in single degree F temps the other day. Will need to do so again to be sure, but my impression that day was that this is just possibly the coldest riding sled I've ever been on. Another F rider I talked to that day had the same opinion.


mike
[/quote]

I put 250 miles on my f8 the other day when it was in the teens and I noticed that too! I will be getting handguards and a taller windshield soon!
 

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I'm still waiting for mirrors for my Z1's. I called the dealer this past Friday. He said that he called cat about them and was told that they still don't have them.
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (mikerider @ Jan 15 2007, 12:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
And last, I rode the sled in single degree F temps the other day. Will need to do so again to be sure, but my impression that day was that this is just possibly the coldest riding sled I've ever been on. Another F rider I talked to that day had the same opinion.[/b]
does that have the IRP adjustable windshield like my Z1? What about wind from the sides?
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (mikerider @ Jan 15 2007, 12:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
Got about 400 miles on her now, and the conditions have changed to packed powder....

I'm still enjoying this sled, Cat did a very nice job overall in most aspects. After getting good mpg on the hard snow, it dropped to about 13 mpg on the packed powder...[/b]

With all the hype... I am surprised at the low mileage your getting...

Will you please post a few updates as your sled gets broken in. I was told that these sleds should get 18+ mpg all day long.

Nice posts BTW :thumbsup:
 

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Mike great review as usual. I really am getting to lik the lower cc sleds as well. They are way more affordable and kind of brings you back to the 70's sledding and what it really is about. Just the experience and not the "see who can make it to the next corner the fastest" Maybe I am just getting old.
Glad you liked the new F. Goin to camp this weekend so maybe if we can make it to Eustis I will run into you this weekend. Its snodeo in Rangeley but if we get the 12" we are promised we will ride out to Eustis or Stratton or wherever the trail leads us.
Ride on...
Mainecat
 
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