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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the market for my first sxs seeing as WI no longer allows two up riding on regular atv's (I have a 16 sportsman 570). I am a big guy, 6'5" 330lbs so size of the vehicle matters and so far the wildcat xx is the only one I am truly comfortable in. I have driven a 2020 Rzr XP, 16 Maverick x4, and a 2020 rzr pro xp for atleast 20 miles each and find all of them to be small. Sitting in a wildcat xx at the dealer I found I have significantly more room, dont have to contort my legs at a weird angle to fit in the cab and my foot is at a normal angle for the gas and brake.


So with that being said I am curious what the differences are over the years and if there are any years to stay away from. I am not against going brand new but wouldnt mind saving some coin on a used machine as I plan on voiding the warranty almost immediately after getting it (exhaust, re-map, etc.).

I have read that the:
18 seats are different than the newer models for the worse.
18's, 19's, 20/21's all have different rear axles that sound like they are interchangeable?
18's have the weakest trans axle

I plan to trail ride the machine in northern WI which consists of groomed sand trails, gravel forest roads, some fairly abusive low speed mud and rock trails, and then possibly ice race the machine. So far I have found an 18 with 300 miles that I could pick up for $15,000 (I would thoroughly inspect the machine as the miles seem low for the year) a 19 with 2,000 miles for $16,000. Then the largest cat dealer in WI has a couple new 2021's for $20,849 + tax and reg.

What would you do?
 

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About the only thing missing from your list is stronger connecting rods and pistons, introduced mid-2019. I think I recall that the early '18s were tuned to 125hp, but the ECU can be flashed by a dealer to get the 130 hp tune, so that should not be a reason to pass on an '18.

The axles are all interchangeable. I personally like the 2nd gen. The splines added to the middle of the axle in the third gen add un-sprung weight and look like another wear point, and I suspect the added plunge is only necessary for machines with mis-aligned rear suspension. Probably a good move by AC to make the machine survive over a wider range of adjustment.

You should be able to find a couple of threads here with the cutover serial number for the stronger engine internals, and I would favor any of those machines over an '18 / early '19.

The "weak" transaxle has a narrower gear set. None of us want to suffer a failure, but the wide gears can be retrofit into any of the XX transaxles if you have a problem. The wide gears made it into the last of the '19s.

The XX is a nice machine, and built strong. If you ride hard and/or at your weight, you may find that the rear bottoms out with the shocks on soft. Medium takes care of most of that, but the ride quality degrades. Shock Therapy springs are a little stiffer, which takes care of the bottoming and allows you to run the shocks on soft. Though I was initially very "meh", I now think they absolutely nailed the performance vs. ride quality balance.
 
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I don’t wanna do a detailed response but I have a 2019 and a 2021 and both are bone stock, and I am asking myself why did I buy a new car my old one with 3800 miles on it feels within 90% of being a new car and I am being honest about it I justified it to myself no problem but if you take care of these cars and treat them like the race machine they are they will reward you with durability and the best of the showroom floor suspension in the business.
Cant say enough about these cars the stock suspension is close and with a little setting up of the suspension is badass coming from someone who has thrown a lot of money over the years at the latest greatest suspension gadget.
A little story I had decided to finally take the hit and pull my shocks off after almost 4000 miles and ended up taking the shocks back home with the new car.
you’ll lov them
 

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I’m 6’5” and little skinnier then you, 275 on my better days. The stock 18 seats I feel suck. I put some Simpson seats in both of mine and love em. As far as ride, love em also. I’ve only had one axle break between both of my rigs. 3500 miles on one and 1400 on the other. Been great rigs. I’ll see how the 21 s compare in a couple months.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Out of curiosity, everything I read makes these things sound like they are prone to failure and are a loss cause... hell even utvblog wont even talk about them after they had two lemons. Is this a pretty common occurrence or is it a classic case of the internet where you only hear about the negatives?
 

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Out of curiosity, everything I read makes these things sound like they are prone to failure and are a loss cause... hell even utvblog wont even talk about them after they had two lemons. Is this a pretty common occurrence or is it a classic case of the internet where you only hear about the negatives?
Not a common problem as you put it, sure these cars have a few teething problems similar to any new model. My Polaris and CanAm machines had a lot of issues. I ride with a lot of Polaris guys and compared to the wildcat they are the second rate machines. The Polaris people I ride with are almost neurotic over their drive belts, my Wildcat xx is still on the stock drive belt after 4000 miles and I haven’t heard of one Wildcatxx erupt into a fireball no if you perform normal maintenance on these cars you’re going to have a lot of good times with the Wildcat xx they are the toughest and best built SxS out there.
Quick little story about the difference between my new car and the 2019 I purchased a 2021 couple weeks ago after taking a trip to the dealership to get my shocks refreshed. I walked into the dealership and saw that they had scored three xx cars, well needless to say I brought the shocks home along with a new car. Another thing I noticed is after purchasing the new car I took a prospective buyer for a ride in the old car I realized after 4000 miles that the old car feels just as good as the new one. Try that with those other manufacturers cars.
 

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I think Arctic Cat did not understand how setup-sensitive the rear axle design is, and didn't train the factory staff properly. This led to the initial axle failures when XXs got out into owner's hands, and first impressions being what they are... a lot of people just wrote the XX off.

We have 2200 miles on our XX. No regrets whatsoever. Another of our forum members suggested that AC/Textron is missing the boat by not doing a re-launch. I think he is right.
 

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I am in the market for my first sxs seeing as WI no longer allows two up riding on regular atv's (I have a 16 sportsman 570). I am a big guy, 6'5" 330lbs so size of the vehicle matters and so far the wildcat xx is the only one I am truly comfortable in. I have driven a 2020 Rzr XP, 16 Maverick x4, and a 2020 rzr pro xp for atleast 20 miles each and find all of them to be small. Sitting in a wildcat xx at the dealer I found I have significantly more room, dont have to contort my legs at a weird angle to fit in the cab and my foot is at a normal angle for the gas and brake.


So with that being said I am curious what the differences are over the years and if there are any years to stay away from. I am not against going brand new but wouldnt mind saving some coin on a used machine as I plan on voiding the warranty almost immediately after getting it (exhaust, re-map, etc.).

I have read that the:
18 seats are different than the newer models for the worse.
18's, 19's, 20/21's all have different rear axles that sound like they are interchangeable?
18's have the weakest trans axle

I plan to trail ride the machine in northern WI which consists of groomed sand trails, gravel forest roads, some fairly abusive low speed mud and rock trails, and then possibly ice race the machine. So far I have found an 18 with 300 miles that I could pick up for $15,000 (I would thoroughly inspect the machine as the miles seem low for the year) a 19 with 2,000 miles for $16,000. Then the largest cat dealer in WI has a couple new 2021's for $20,849 + tax and reg.

What would you do?
Skip the second gen axles and buy the Robby Gordon axles. They are top notch! Totally rebuildable and double plunge/self centering. No issues with locking ring failure.
 
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