The 98 is without a doubt a better machine. Stay away from the 600 tripple in the 97. It's basically the same engine as in the 95-96 XCR 600 which i used to own and the engine has some unique design problems. The USA twin in the 98 is better at everything in stock form. More torque, power, and the crank is built alot tougher. Plus the twin should be slightly lighter. There are a few other differences between the two sleds, but this is the biggest one. IMHO.
doesn't the 97 XC have the XLT engine? I saw an XC with an XLT engine. He was riding with us and it blew a cylinder :| Think some water got in there and that was all she wrote. Sucked cause he was riding with an older guy the whole weekend who had a 2002 XC 700 but was puttering and he finally got to rip with us and he blew up within 5 minutes.
I am pretty sure the 600 is a 597cc. Wait I think the 96 XCR was anyway. PMan's site says 579 but I think it is 597. And the SP as well. The SP was just the XCR with triple pipes. but PMans site says it was a 600.
Ok, everybody is right. It says XLT on the engine because it is indeed an XLT engine, but the XCR's all had lighter weight pistons and (i think) maybe a slightly higher compression ratio. That's why they have a bit more power than a regular XLT model. That is the 597cc fuji tripple piston port with single pipe. Polaris has a completely different 600 tripple with reeds and tripple exhaust on the XCR 600 SE which was in the Aggresive chassis. 95-96 XCR 600 and the 97 XC 600 all used the basic 597cc (or whatever cc) which says on the engine "XLT" with a purple cover. The 98 XC 600 of course is the U.S.-built twin.
I'm pretty sure this is correct, but i'm not 100% possitive.
I was talking about the 1996 XCR 600 SP though. I am not sure if the engine is different between the 97 SE and the 96 SP. The SP is the triple piped Agressive chassis XCR that I had myself. Was ok but weighed so much it just killed me.
Hmmm, i see now. I am not sure what the difference is between the 96 SP and 97 SE. Is it just the bottom end, or is it all together different? Does your 96 SP have reeds? It has gotten a little tricky now. Good question,..lol.
Back to the original Question:
I have a '98 XC600 and my buddy used to have the '97XC6. The '98 handles much better with the CRC front end and the tipped in trailing arms. The US twin will destroy the XLT triple everywhere, low end, mid and top. However, if you put a set of triple pipes on the '97, it will be faster on the top end, but still get whooped out of the hole.
I think that the '98 is an awesome all around machine. The suspension is better and that big block twin will really run. On the ice, I beat my buddies 2002 XC800 up until 50 mph, then he pulled away some. However, I believe that the '97 with pipes would beat both of those on top end. I have seen over 115 mph on the speedo at 8900 Rpms with a triple piped '97 XC600.
Now, about the debate:
I am almost positive that the '96 XCR600 SP was the new case reed 600 triple-triple based on the Ultra motor, housed in the aggresive chassis. I am positive that the '97XC600 used the XLT motor, b/c it says XLT on the head. However, it has 38mm carbs and possibly better heads, housed in the wedge chassis. I believe that the '97 XCR600SE/SP are basically the same as the '96 XCR 600sp.
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