Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000i H.O Ride Review

wildcat_act_111_1

Walker Evans shocks grace all four corners and do an amazing job right out of the box.

Ride Review
Suspension – the most apparent trait of the Wildcat is the suspension. Words can’t explain how good this vehicle is through the whoops and large g-outs. It literally took me three or four laps around our mock race course to get it up to speed. I constantly had to adjust my expectations after each lap. It took me about 5 laps (est. 30 minutes) behind the wheel to feel like I was really pushing the machine. The terrain at Barstow is world renowned for being very tough on man and machine, so this was definitely a true test of the Wildcat’s suspension capability. I give the suspension a 9 out of 10. The only reason it didn’t get a 10 was due to the shock valving, but keep in mind that the machines we were on were pre-production units and the shock valving has to be fairly generic due to the wide amount of terrain on which these vehicles will be driven. A quick twist of the compression adjusters make a good shock even better. Walker Evans makes a great product and I don’t see many racers or riders needing to change the from the stock shocks. At the very most, some hard core racers might want to revalve them, but the average driver will find more than enough adjustability in the stock shocks to tailor the ride to their specific needs. The only thing I have against the suspension is actually a hit against the rear shock mounting design. I would like to see the bottom shock mount (on the lower trailing arm) mounted in a double shear style. Hopefully this won’t be an issue, but in its current location, it could be susceptible to impact with a trail obstacle, causing all sorts of problems. Mounting it in double shear would prevent this issue.

Engine – to be honest, I expected a little more from the engine. Don’t get me wrong, this vehicle will run 65+ down the dessert roads at ease, but I feel the suspension is head and shoulders above the engine. The engine and clutch combination deliver a VERY predictable engagement and make for smooth and affective acceleration. For the East Coast trail riders out there, this engine and clutch combination perform at slow speeds much better than that of the powertrain found on the RZR-XP. I attribute that to precise clutch setup and smooth power delivery of the Wildcat’s engine. It’s hard to give the engine a proper score because the only issues it had were meeting my expectations and keeping up with the amazing suspension. I give the powertrain (engine/clutch) a 7 out of 10.

Rider Comfort – as I suspected, the seats in the Wildcat are great. The material used feels thick and durable. The form fitting design keeps you planted in the seat through even the roughest terrain. The racers out there will notice harness cutouts in the stock seats. To make this vehicle race legal, all you’ll need to do is modify the plastic radiator shroud (behind the seat back) to reveal a chassis bar to which you can connect your harnesses. I don’t see any reason for most racers out there to change the seats. They should be sufficient and comfortable for most, but do not provide access to a submarine belt. If your race series requires a 5-point harness, you will either need to modify the seat bottom or replace the seats. I give the seats a 10 out of 10 as they are the best stock seats I have seen.

At only 64" wide, this is still a trail capable machine.

At only 64″ wide, this is still a trail capable machine.

Very beefy seat base should keep you firmly planted in the vehicle.

Very beefy seat base should keep you firmly planted in the vehicle.

Leg room was not as plentiful as I was hoping for such a large machine, but it should be more than sufficient for most drivers.

Shifter – I was disappointed in the gear selector. The indents for the specific transmission drive locations were not as distinguishable as I would like, and for this reason I noticed that I bumped the gear selector into other locations a couple of times. My other complaint with the shifter is that the foremost (toward the front of the vehicle) selector position was low range. Just before low range was high range. That means to get the vehicle into high range, you would first need to move the shifter into low range (to reach the end of the movement) and pull back one position to high range. Personally, I would like to have seen high range at either end of the shift pattern. I don’t see much use for low range in most situations. I give the shifter a 4 out of 10.

The inclusion of solid doors on the Wildcat is a great move toward a safer vehicle. I would like to see all sport SXS's have solid doors like these.

The inclusion of solid doors on the Wildcat is a great move toward a safer vehicle. I would like to see all sport SXS’s have solid doors like these.

The one-piece chassis belly skid is absolutely necessary in any terrain. The perfectly smooth undercarriage will help the Wildcat slide over most obstacles.

The one-piece chassis belly skid is absolutely necessary in any terrain. The perfectly smooth undercarriage will help the Wildcat slide over most obstacles.

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