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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby Abercrombie&Cat » February 14th, 2002, 1:24 pm

I am not very impressed with this so called Firecat model...I'm I wrong or in powder or loose snow isn't a narrow track going to effect flotation? 13.5" may work great on the hard packed race track...but in real world situations...it is not always hard pack. The other thing that I think is more of a race track idea is the external brake caliper mounted near the track. While racing the brake is used a lot...but in real world...you may ride for quite awhile before you use the brake and over loose snow conditions...who is to say this thing is not going to freeze up? How about the 1 piece fuel tank that includes all the componets...oh great...break the neck of the oil injection res. and you are buying the entire gas tank and dash.

I got the brochure in the mail today. I don't know about the crazy decals and the american flags and the canadian flags all over them. The regular decals look okay, but the pre-orders take it too far. Also why a 500 carb and a 700 EFI? Seems a 600 EFI and 800 EFI would make more sense.

I am going to stay with my 2002 ZL 550 for trail riding. It has all the power I need and for less then $4,800 with a preorder rebate you can't beat it. I noticed the rest of the 2003 line pretty much stayed. The 500 ZL, ZR is gone. The smaller Panthers are gone...only a 570 is left. The last "veteran liquid cooled" 550 continues on in several models and the ZL SS line is expanded to include almost every liquid cooled engine size and even a remote starting option. No T-Cat...and looks like the standard 440Z has been axed...In the fan cooled area...Cat is focusing on the 570. The ZR 900 is new...I did not notice if there is a ZL 900 counterpart but it is possible. Last the 4 strokes are unchanged...even as Yamaha has for sure stealed the show for 03 with the RX-1.

I love my cats...but am afraid they are beginning to take the cross country racing too far and by next year you will find a freaking Panther on that Firecat chassis. And really for the riding most people do....what is better? The current ZL/ZR chassis or that funny looking hybrid? If cat makes every sled in the next year or two with a skinny track...funny little seats...and corny graphics and styling...and chassis that focus only on weight and size and not on practicality...then maybe a company that does focus on real world riders will get my business......
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby Michiganstopcat » February 14th, 2002, 1:35 pm

The brake on the f-5 and f-7 will be mounted under the hood and not in the tunnel as the sno pros have them.And the reason cat didnt make a f-6 instead of an f-5 is because cats 600 motors suck.Plain and simple cats 600 class motor are not even competitive.
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby ZRT800 » February 14th, 2002, 1:57 pm

As far as floatation goes I don't think it'll be that big of a problem. Skinnier track, but longer. Won't know for sure till next Winter, but I think you'll get pretty much the same floatation.

I also wouldn't worry about the 600 engine not being powerful enough. Yeah, the current one has the smallest horsepower rating out of the 3, but it still delivers the goods! Also consider the HP these laid down motors are pumping out. When they build a laid down 600 I think you'll see some pretty imprerssive numbers!
Who said Cats can't swim?!?
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby M10rules » February 14th, 2002, 2:00 pm

First this should have been put on the trashing board.
Now from the beginning:
1. The track is narrower but it is also longer. You shouldn't notice any problems with it. A race track is lose snow or was at are local SnoX this year and they were doing just fine.
2. The brake won't freeze up as long as you don't get water in the lines (changing brake fluid yourself during a snow storm). As for getting snow and etc. on the caliper I get that now with the brake in its normal spot, I never have any problems.
3. If you break the Oil tank neck be more careful. Its holding up to Snox, if you break it your doing something wrong.
4. Decals are just personal prefernce, I like the Sabre-Cat or the Canadian. Don't care for the blue nose on the American or for the Race decal version either.
5. The 700 efi is because they wanted to build the 700 to compete with other brands. No 600 or 800 is because they can only do major changes to just a couple of engine at a time$$$$. The 500 is for racers who can't get a SnoPro.
6. Cat is trying to lean out the models. That is why they are droping unnessecary models, lower cc 2ups and the 500 ZL&ZR. For a trail sled the 500 carb isn't that good, The F5 replaces the Zr 500. Anyone who wants a lower HP 2up will order the 4stroke.
7. The reason for getting away from your "Veteran LC" engine is because the newer ones are more effiecent and built better. The 550 started out as a 530 and kept getting bored out, not very efficent compared to the newer designed engines.
8. The SS line is actually decreased from last year. For 2002 it was on T-Cat, 800 EFI, 600 EFI, 600 EFI ESR, and Z570. This year it is on the 800 EFI, 600 EFI, and 600 EFI ESR ZLs only.
9.The standard Z440 was axed in 96 or 97 as far as I'm concerend. Since then it has just been the Jag, single carb, softer susp., and mech. brake. The real Z440 will be fall sled as it has been the last couple of years.
10. The 900 is ZR only.
11. The 4 strokes got a small increase in power.
12. The SnoPro chassis is where Cat is heading because of better riding design. Most of the CC designed features are on the current ZRZL models and make riding more comfortable. Don't put this sled down till you ride it. The chassis will get changed before it become a 2up though, ZRs and Firecats in the 13.5" and ZL and 2ups in a 15".

As for my questions on the sled they are getting answered Sunday at the Cat show!!!!
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby Abercrombie&Cat » February 14th, 2002, 2:59 pm

First off I am sorry I put this on the wrong board. If you know how I can move it I will. I am new here and just trying my best to give some info on the new AC's for 2003.

I don't know. Maybe you are right that a 13.5" track width is better then a 15" for trail riding. I still would prefer width over lengh for stability and soft snow conditions...but that is just my preference.

Second I don't think the 550 L/C deserves to be slammed. I have ridden 550 cats for years. They are very smooth, quiet, and display excellent torque and are tough as nails. Just what I and many like me like in a trail sled. High reving noisy engines are not what I like...but I see the industry slowly going that way. They don't care what we want...they only care to be the fastest and only build things for people who think the trail is a race track. Last year my be-loved Coug got hit on a corner by someone who was going 80 around a blind corner and lost control. I know they thought they were a racer by all the stickers on the hood and the type of sled they were riding...but racing is for the track not for the trail.

I like the line up for 2003 it offers a lot of choices for people like myself. I think there is a reason they still offer ZL 550's, 600's and the great SS models. They also offer a good Mtn. Cat and I kinda am thinking about a Mt. Cat 570 for next year to go with my 2002 ZL550 for when I go out to Wyoming.

What concerns me is in the future. Two or three years away as they begin to move away from sleds like this and go to the so called "hyper sleds" like the Firecat. What will be left for people like myself? Racing has influenced design for years and to a point it has been a good thing, but I just think a design like this takes it just a step too far. How will these racing features employed on this sled make my life better? How will this be more comfortable then my ZL? How will this be quieter and smoother? You can go off on me...but honestly I am afraid that someday snowmobiling will become a sport of have and have not. I want a new sled, but will not pay half the price of a new car for one just because it has all the latest racing features. Features that do nothing for me when I am riding with my family at 40-50 MPH.


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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby M10rules » February 14th, 2002, 3:17 pm

I'll explain some of the CC features that make your riding better. Wider straight handlebars came from CC and also the riser handlebars which makes them more adjustable and comfortable. Wider running boards for more foot room. Exhaust Valves came from the race sleds and makes the sled have better gas mileage and a little quieter. As for the 550 I had a 580 which is the same and I did like the power but the proto 500s had even better power band and smoother power. Try a new 500 or 600 for a day and see what you think of your 550. I got my 600 at the beginning of last year and had it at the same time as my ZL580 and like the 600 alot better. Better gas mileage and alot smoother and quieter. Plus for those who have insurance the 500 is cheaper. My 96 Z440 will keep up just fine with anything else on the trail so these hi rev motors aren't whats dangerous. If you get a chance try out an F5 before you think they are no good for family riding compared to your ZL 550. These should be a real good trail sled and be light enough that the smaller track won't hurt flotation.
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby Abercrombie&Cat » February 14th, 2002, 3:26 pm

Last...how will the price of the F5 compare to the price of the ZL550? I am a college student and only can budget around $5,000 for a new sled and I don't like buying snowmobiles used.
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby Abercrombie&Cat » February 14th, 2002, 3:39 pm

Sorry I posted before I was done saying everything I wanted to say...

How will the price of the F5 compare to the price of the ZL550? I am a college student and only can budget around $5,000 for a new sled and I don't like buying snowmobiles used. If it is that much better then the ZL as you say for trail riding...I would be willing to give it a chance as long as it is not priced much more.

You have made good arguments. I still like the looks of the thing about as much as I like the looks of that new Dodge truck that came out this year...hehe (and that says...yuck) but as everything else...things grow on me over time and I could bare one with the standard decal package.

As far as MPG on my 550, I run with my uncles new 600EFI on economy. Our old 580 EXT is a gas hog! but the 550's are pretty good. Except for that new gas gauge off to the side. When it says "E" there is almost 5 gallons left. I was freaking out my first ride this winter because I thought I was getting horrible MPG compared to my Cougar with the same engine set-up.

Wow was I relieved when it was only a "VERY CONSERVATIVE" gas gauge! My dad has a 98 ZR 500...overhauled at 3,500...it was shot. My Dads old 580 EXT is nearing 6,000 and runs great. My Cougar has 4,800 and doing awesome as well. This last ride we took...both tuned well for the elevation in a 100 mile ride I came in using about a gallon and a half less fuel then the 500.
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby fast_and_the_furious » February 14th, 2002, 4:52 pm

there was a custom mountain sled in the video "Sled Extreme" from a couple years back and i think it had around a 13.5 or 14 inch track on it, and it was going in deep stuff pretty easy. they said they did it to increase the manueverability.
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13.5" track on the Firecat...are they nuts?

Postby Mainecat » February 14th, 2002, 10:37 pm

The new 13.5" track has the same amount of square inches on the snow than the 15 incher because it is longer.
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