From the Monts Valin to the Bas-St-Laurent region, and even in Gaspésie, it is fair to say that Mother Nature really put my patience to the test this season !
At mid-February, I rode the 1 000th km of our Arctic Cat XF 800 CrossTour. I ran trials in many regions and under climatic extremes. So, I have a pretty good idea about the performance of this machine.
To start the season, I went snowmobiling in Northern New Brunswick and Bas-St-Laurent region (one of the few areas where the trails were open in December, then closed in January…) and there was plenty of snow. However, the following milder weather had an important impact on my snowmobile season.
After the first kilometers, I quickly appreciated the versatility of the XF 800 CrossTour. Effectively, the newly open trails had a very soft surface but the traction of the 15 X 141 X 1,25 Cobra track impressed me with a constant transfer that provides great acceleration at all times.
However, I had to adjust the handlebar forward in order to rise it a little because I like to ride standing up. But when it was very cold, I came back to the seated position to enjoy the wind protection provided by the windshield. I also used the mirrors, which are a very interesting stantard feature on the CrossTour model. I also like the riding position and the seat is very comfortable and just high enough for my legs.
However, I miss the storage offered on the model previous generation ! And what about its looks … The ProCross chassis offers an aggressive design and is made for trail performance conditions, yet with sharpness and precision when riding off-trail. I have to say that the orange / black colors of this snowmobile attracted the attention at relays !
Right from the beginning of the season, I had no problem operating the controls because they are similar to those on other Arctic Cat models I had the chance to pilot in the past. What I really liked is the adjustable meter; you can see it whether your are standing or seated.
As you know, the Arctic Cat XF 800 CrossTour is in the crossover category, designed to perform on trails and in powder snow. My tests were ran with this snowmobile mostly on trails due to the lack of powder snow this season. But do not worry, I still have a crush for off-trail riding ! I have been able to ride a few times off-trail, on logging roads, and I have been very satisfied thanks to the lightweight and handling of the XF chassis.
The 800 H.O. engine has always been responsive ! And response is impressive with a high speed capacity. The engine calibration is adequate, even if it needs not less than a 91 octane level. Otherwise, the knock sensor lets us know it very fast. Of course, fuel quality may vary from one gas station to the other. Then an additive may be required to ensure the proper functionning of the knock sensor of the engine.
I must also talk about the very good performance of the Fox suspension group. Personally, when I ride on trails, I adjust the suspension spring pressure in front and between 130 and 150 psi at rear, due to my weight. This way, the suspension reactions are absorbed in sharp bends and skid is reduced a little. When I rode off-trail in very deep snow, I had to adjust the front suspension by reducing the spring pressure and at 140 psi at rear in order to have a good transfer to the track. I quickly saw that rigidity brings a better control in extreme conditions.
Due to the hybrid segment of the XF CrossTour, a wide range of accessories are available. However, I must say that the standard equipement of the machine is superior to what comes with the other XF models. Our machine is equipped with adjustable mirrors mounted on the windshield, with handlebar storage bag and rear storage bag and with a cargo rack. I really appreciated them during my longer rides. When I was riding off-trail, I also appreciated that the XF CrossTour was equipped with mountain 6" skis that improved the flotation, and with the mountain handlebar that helped me when I was negotiating sharp bends in deep snow at low speed.
The fuel and oil consumptions of the XF CrossTour are average for a 2-stroke 794 cc engine. The fuel consumption remained between 13 and 15 mpg while the oil consumption was stable at about 1 l per fuel tank.
In conclusion, I would say that once again, Arctic Cat fulfilled my expectations and these long-term trials should be very positive. Do not miss my mid-season report to be published soon.