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I have been following everyones write up on the new f-series. I now have approx 450miles on my sled. All riding has pretty much been trail and very little actual racing.

However, this weekend was a little different. My buddy just had a 04' ZR900 clutched, ported heads and case, bored slightly nothing major and we went riding upstate NY. First of all we had a great time the snow up there was amazing compared to 2 weeks ago when I was up. It is amazing what 120 inches of snow can do for riding!

I have loved the handling of this sled since day one and no body here disputes that. It soaks up the bumps better than anything else I have ridden. (wished I would have got the Sno Pro though).

I have 3 questions/comments

1. Top speed. I checked this a number of times this weekend and I could get up to 104 but that was it. this seems about right on with most everyone else. This was down a snow covered paved road. Like it was stated before climes really fast to 98 and then dies quick. I hope we can get a fix for this soon. My buddies worked sled went very good but mid range I ate him for lunch. Off the line the F8 seemed like it was loading up and I really needed to rev the throttle to keep it clear. I am not sure why but I guess I should change all 4 plugs and see how she is next time. So basically, my buddy launched quicker but I caught up and passed very quickly on the top end he would start gaining and if we had enough room he would take me. I am 210lbs, 155 studs he is 170 and not studded.

2. My clutch engages hard right at 4k and squeels when it does and the belt has now sunk below the outside of the secondary. I bought some shims I will be putting them in this week to try to fix that problem. Does anyone have a reason why it seems to be eating the belt?

3. Suspension squat - I went to load the sled from my garage to the trailer. I noticed the sled A** end was sitting low. I grabbed the bumper and lifted. The suspension was sitting down 3+ inches against the stops on the back of the skid. I thought it was cause it was cold so i left the sled in the garage and put a heater around it but again no better. When I took it upstate I found that it had gotten better bouncing around all the way to NY from PA. Is this normal? When I rode it there was NO problem at all and the suspension was perfect...any thoughts?

Ok guess that is it from here but just let me say...I burried this sled and it is not something you want to have to get out by yourself in 5 feet of powder!

Thanks everyone
 

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Rorischak: Off the line your F8 seemed to be loading up. I have the same problem with my F5. Running rich right around engagement. I was talking to my dealer about it this morning and he claims the ECU will run the fuel injection rich for at least the first 500 miles, after which it will lean out and run perfect. I am skeptical, because I have never read or been told anything about this before, in regard to Cat's. I know SkiDoo SDI's have a break-in mode, but I wasn't aware of it with Arctic Cat. Time will tell. I only have 300 miles on mine, so I have to get out there and ride.

My belt also sunk down on my Secondary in the first 100 miles. I shimmed it back to spec and it has not changed in the last 200 miles. I was surprised the 500 would stretch the belt that much, that soon. It must be a characteristic of the belts. Once you shim it up, the belt squeal should disappear.

As far as your suspension squat, all I can think of is that maybe you had dollies under the ski's and it was affecting the geometry of the suspension. Possibly your garage floor is not even. I have experienced a similar thing under the above conditions. Normally shouldn't squat that much under no load.

Has anyone else out there heard of this rich ECU setting in the first 500 miles? It certainly isn't published by Cat. Was the dealer blowing smoke up my backside?

Redd
 

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Kind of been waiting to get some miles to give my report on an F8 standard. It’s specific to how my group rides, so take it for what it’s worth.

Rider forward:
1. Your seating position on the sled makes for a nice ride. I’ve always sat up forward on my sleds and this sled is set up for that. Even with rider forward, Tug Hill is still Tug Hill.
2. Handlebar position is ideal for normal riding. Not too low like on stock old sleds (obviously) and high enough for standing. I’m 5’7”.
3. Handlebars and running boards are well-suited to stand up riding. However, the side bolsters on the seat push your legs out, if you stand back that far. (I do move around a lot on the sled.)
4. Rider forward has two drawbacks for aggressive sit-down riding: Your knees will hit the dash as you go over bumps. And if riding fast through a bumpy turn, you have to be careful not to have the turned handlebar hit you in the chin.
5. The other issue is the limited room for a full size windshield. Even with hand guards, you rely heavily on the handwarmers. Maybe I can live with the looks of the tall windshield but the concern with that is whether the windshield would be too close to your face.

Performance:
1. Acceleration to 85 mph feels similar to the F7. I haven’t drag raced an F7 yet.
2. Fuel economy is 12 mpg. (Again, our riding style.)
3. Haven’t been on a lake to check top speed, so I defer to others.
4. Braking is OK on this diamond drive sled and not as good as the chain case sleds. It takes too much effort to squeeze the lever. I don’t know why you wouldn’t duplicate the perfect function of the brake on the chain case ZRs and Firecats.
5. The reverse gear is fast to engage/disengage and is a great feature (obviously).

Suspension:
1. Shock damping is better than the Firecat. It’s still not stiff enough in the back for fast riding on the bumpy trails here in NY. I have the coil over Arctic Cat/Fox shocks and not the Fox Floats. I will probably have the shocks revalved, which worked well for the Firecat.
2. Handling and traction is good after adjustment and I expect it to get better with further adjustment, as did the Firecats.

Chassis:
1. The exposed bulkhead underneath is vulnerable to damage, but the belly pan protector fixes this. The susceptibility to damage of the rear heat exchanger is cause for concern. Hopefully Arctic Cat will come out with a way to replace the exchanger without replacing the tunnel. Their riveting process could also complicate repair of the chassis.
2. The plastic side panels are terrible. The material Arctic Cat chose was a poor decision. Obviously, it melts due to heat from the exhaust. And, after seeing it basically shatter after what I would call ‘light’ contact with my knee, shows me they should be able to do better. At least there’re multiple individual pieces, so you might luck out with what you break.
3. The sled does not feel heavy but it does not feel light like the Firecat. I think it’s possible to muscle and toss the Firecat around and the F8 isn’t like that.
4. The sled styling looks very cool, especially from the side.
5. There have been zero reliability problems but I’ve got only 800 miles on it.
6. The diamond drive has recently started an annoying high-pitched whine at about 25 mph. It didn’t do this initially and hopefully it will go away with more miles.

I plan to have this sled for a while and will be modifying it to make it work the best that it can.
 

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I have an F8 LXR and it is running VERY RICH! Loads the plugs in less than 100 miles. I adjusted the oil consumption from 28:1 to 55:1. Had to shim the belt .060 to get the proper deflection. Gas miage is 11-12 mpg. Top speed was pitiful - 88 mph. Took the sled back to the dealer and they called A/C. They stated they are aware of the problems and to hold tight..... HOLD TIGHT till when? Meanwhile the sled is on its third set of plugs and it only has 220 miles. I think A/C has a winner of a design - but their lack of quality control has let more than a few lemons out the door. For those of you with a good running F8 - count your belssings - for the restof us - they promised a fix is coming.........
 
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