Fun Trail-Cruising 4-Strokes

The 2017 Arctic Cat ZR 7000 LXR and Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline 1200 are two sleds that remind us why we ride in the first place
2017 Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline 1200 ES snowmobile
SKI-DOO RENEGADE ADRENALINE 1200 – One of the most complete 4-stroke trail offerings of the season, the Renegade offers plenty of tech, handling and power for the family that loves the trails.
Kort Duce photo
Some of my earliest snowmobile memories are of the daily chores I used to accomplish on a sled with my grandpa. Come winter, we could make the trek across the frozen lake and hop on the trail that covered all of the three miles into town. Whether it was the daily paper, buttermilk for grandma’s pancakes or something else we “needed,” we used any excuse we could to go for a ride – because it was FUN!
Sleds have a way of making mundane tasks enjoyable. Take the following examples: Hauling firewood is not fun. Hauling firewood with a sled is fun. Riding the bus to school is not fun. Riding your snowmobile to school is fun. Driving through a blizzard is not fun. Riding a snowmobile through a blizzard is fun. You get the idea.

Here are two sleds Gramps and I would have thoroughly enjoyed. Now that I’ve got two young sledders of my own – one who already won’t even let me load a sled without a spin around the yard – these types of sleds are awfully appealing.
2017 Arctic Cat ZR 7000 LXR ES snowmobile
ARCTIC CAT ZR 7000 LXR – Snappy, durable and comfy – all describe Cat’s ZR 7000 LXR. Features like a heated seat, a tall shield and revised bars make it a fun cruiser on the trails.
Kort Duce photo
Look, there’s a lot of acronyms in the sport of snowmobiling (many of which mean absolutely nothing), but let’s all remember that the three most important letters in our sport are F-U-N. The Arctic Cat ZR 7000 LXR and the Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline 1200 deliver plenty of that!

They have 4-strokes?

I witnessed my grandpa’s excitement firsthand when he purchased a shiny, new-to-him 4-stroke boat motor. I can only imagine how he would react if his late 1980s Indys would have come in a 4-stroke. Make no mistake: he loved his 2-stroke performance, but he wasn’t so naive to ignore the benefits of a 4-stroke for the right application. And this trail cruising class is perfectly suited to a 4-stroke motor.

Arctic Cat has its C-TEC4 engine, which as most know is a 1049cc Yamaha-built triple 4-stroke. Gramps would have loved the low-end grunt this motor has off the line, and how it pulls from corner to corner in the trail. Explained in his own words, Gramps would have said, “This baby’s got the guts!”

Ski-Doo’s Adrenaline is powered by the 1200 4-TEC – a 130-ish HP 4-stroke triple. It has a smooth clutch engagement, and it’s very quiet when running. You’ll think about driving a little less and enjoy the ride a little more. It also features Ski-Doo’s iTC engine modes (eco, standard and sport) which you can select by pressing a rocker switch on the left hand controls. There’s also a learning key on the 1200 4-TEC – a separate tether key which limits the speed of the machine to 25-30 mph.

That gives you a pretty good idea of how these machines are marketed. The Arctic Cat 7000 LXR is shown by Cat as more of a mid-level performance sled, while the 1200 Adrenaline is aimed more at the rider who likes to take a family cruise now and again.

That said, the power curves of these two sleds are mighty similar when the Ski-Doo is in its “Sport” mode (based on dyno testing and our riding experiences).

What Gramps would have liked most about both sleds are the simple ownership benefits of a 4-stroke. Their reputation for reliability would have been tops on the list, but following closely behind would be the fact that he didn’t have to add oil every other ride, and that he could start these machines with an effortless turn of a key (or button push for the Ski-Doo).
2017 Arctic Cat ZR 7000 LXR ES snowmobile
ARCTIC CAT ZR 7000 LXR PLUSES – Heated seat, drinks 87 octane, gutsy engine.
Kort Duce photo
Just relax
With engines built for worry-free operation, you’d expect the ride quality to match. After spending a few sessions aboard these two snow buggies, we know their targeted consumers won’t be disappointed, so long as that consumer understands what this sled is designed to do: get you out on the trail whenever you want to ride. Both have enough zip to pump your blood, and suspensions well suited for covering miles of groomed trail.

The rMotion rear of the Adrenaline is going to be everything you want in a trail sled. What might not be as obvious yet is that the RAS 2 front suspension on the Renegade is one of the best front ends in the industry for this type of pure trail application. The sled stays extremely flat through the tightest of corners, even at pace, leaving no sense of riding on the edge of control. That, again, lends itself to the relaxing experience of this sled.

Cat’s 7000 LXR brings plenty of trail capability and comfort. Its Slide-Action rear suspension is the stuff of legends, and we mean that quite literally. It was Team Green racing royalty, Kirk Hibbert and Russ Ebert, who came up with the idea of the Slide-Action in the early 2000s. Since then, it’s become a mainstay in Cat’s trail-performance lineup. Its coupled characteristics allow the front arm to “float,” keeping the skis planted and the track engaged with the snow.

That’s all our “fancy-talk” way of saying it handles great on the trail. With the Cat IFP 1.5-inch shocks all the way around, this sled is specifically calibrated to handle those chatter bumps that work themselves into a trail over a weekend. It’s another example of how these sleds let you think less and enjoy the ride more. Less thinking, more riding? Gramps would be all about that! Aren’t we all?

Both the LXR and Renegade Adrenaline come in a 137-inch track length. Gramps definitely wouldn’t consider that to be a practical trail sled, but it wouldn’t take many miles to convince him it’s really an ideal length for the trail, and it’s a benefit on both these sleds. 
2017 Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenaline 1200 ES snowmobile
SKI-DOO RENEGADE ADRENALINE 1200 PLUSES – Quiet engine, drinks 87 octane, loads of tech features.
Kort Duce photo
What else ya got?
If we were talking cars, Arctic Cat’s LXR models would be considered your “base model.” That may not be what excites a buyer, but you’ll find features far beyond what you’d expect from standard models.

A tunnel bag with room for gloves, goggles, etc., and a heated seat (Gramps’ mind was just reduced to rubble!) are present on the LXR. The dash hosts a 12V outlet for your phone or GPS.

The Ski-Doo features a decent amount of storage under the rear of the seat. And don’t forget those previously mentioned driving modes, which can be great if you’ve got multiple drivers for this sled. There’s a rotating throttle lever, which transforms into a finger throttle if you’d like. For a few extra dollars, you’ll also get two pre-cut placement options for Ski-Doo’s LinQ accessories on the tunnel.

As well-built as both sleds are for the majority of everyday snowmobilers, they won’t please everyone. They aren’t made for consistent abuse through hard-hitting moguls, backwoods boondocking or ditchbanging alongside country roads. You’ll get away with it once in a while, but it might not be your favorite day on a sled.

In the end, our test riding crew agreed both are exactly what many snowmobilers are looking for when it comes to getting the most fun out of your money (ultra-reliable engines, good fuel economy and decent power paired with suspensions ideally suited for the trails). Plus, you’ve got relatively easy 4-stroke maintenance and a few conveniences, all at a relatively lower price point than more specialized or higher-powered models.

If that last paragraph was your sales pitch to Gramps, you definitely would have his full attention. His money would have gone towards the Cat 7000 LXR. That heated seat would have been too good to pass up.
2017 snowmobile 4-stroke specs Arctic Cat Ski-Doo
If You're Brand Loyal
The sibling sled to Arctic Cat’s ZR 7000 LXR is Yamaha’s SR Viper L-TX DX. It comes with nearly identical features, including a heated seat, tall windshield and standard tunnel storage. It’s also built on the same Cat ProCross chassis (Yamaha calls it the SRV) with the same 1049cc Yamaha Genesis engine. The two major differences are clutching – Yamaha uses its own YVXC clutching vs. the TEAM clutches used by Cat – and skis. Arctic Cat’s ProCross-6 is a deep single-keel ski that uses a dual runner, while Yamaha employs its Tuner III ski, a dual-keel ski with dual runners.
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