FIRST RIDE: 2012 ARCTIC CAT WILDCAT

Barstow California was the scene of the most anticipated first ride of our season aboard Arctic Cat’s long awaited Wildcat 1000 side-x-side.

At first glance, the Wildcat stirs up tingles in your nether regions and when you turn the key to fire up the 1000 H2 HO mill, the hairs on your arms will stand on end as the engine roars to life.

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Press your foot to the floorboard and as the desert brush on either side of you blurs, steal glances at the speedo needle as it creeps past the 60-mph mark.

Terrain in Barstow is a mix of sandy desert, sharp rocks and rutted out trails lined by brush. As the trail transitions from smooth even terrain to waist-deep stutter bumps the suspension kicks into action and is where the Wildcat is most comfortable.

At every approach of a huge kicker your reflexes force you to brace yourself for a spine tingler and as the Walker Evens clickers up front and out back combined with the 5-link rear suspension soak up the impact, you’ll feel your smile broaden as you reflect in disbelief at what this side-x-side just did.

This is no exaggeration either. At full jam stutters come up quick on the trail and never while riding solo – not once on this editor’s full day of riding did the Wildcat bottom out hard or leave me feeling like I was going to need physiotherapy at the end of the ride.

All elements combine to deliver a feeling of comfort and safety in the driver’s seat while you push this vehicle and yourself to the limits. Comfortable molded seats, contour to your back working hand in hand with the suspension to soften big hits so you can stay focused on the trail ahead and in control of the unit at hand.

Out-of-the-box Electronic Power Steering absorbed all vibration through the steering wheel and left us free of arm pump and always feeling in control as the Wildcat’s front tires passed over the expansive field of rock hits that in most cases should have torn the wheel from our hands.

Regardless of your brand affiliation, you have not experienced anything like the Arctic Cat Wildcat outside of full-on Baja racing in a trophy truck.

Read more about the Wildcat in the next issue of Dirt Trax Magazine available in November 2011 and stay tuned to Dirt Trax Television for our coverage of this intro.

Follow the Wildcat test ride tour and be the first of your buddies to ride it.

Click here for tour schedule

Mike Lester
Mike Lester
Mike Lester is Staff Photographer and Digital Content Manager for Dirt Trax TV. He is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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