NOTE: This is a brief rundown of the 2018 Arctic Cat model lineup. Subscribers can view the full report, including more photos and our early riding impressions, by logging in below. You can also find it all in the Spring Issue of
American Snowmobiler, on newsstands soon! Or SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
By now you’ve already seen the new 800 motor and the new Ascender platform
from Arctic Cat, but we are going to take that a step further here. This is the FULL release of the entire Arctic line for 2018. Ok, maybe we won’t talk about EVERY single model from head to toe, but this is a thorough breakdown of what’s new, fun, exciting, gnarly, out of the box, and just plain smart too!
If you want the full article, you have to be a subscriber
of American Snowmobiler
magazine. Below are a few highlights to get you started.
We were losing kids to video games, sports, hobbies and more because of a lack of sleds between youth- and full-size machines. We are not saying that the new ZR 200 is the golden gun that will keep our youth in the sport and ensure a healthy future for the industry, but it can’t hurt!
The ZR 200 is powered by a single-cylinder, 9-horsepower carbureted 192cc Yamaha 4-stroke engine. Top speed was estimated at 30-34 mph, depending on rider and conditions, but the sled does not have a governor on it. There is a relatively big 2.2-gallon tank, and a full Hayes hydraulic disc brake incorporates some of their bike technology. Handlebar warmers, hi/lo headlights and even a tiny, mountain bike-like mountable gauge are all standard. This sled gets similar new technology in its Arctic 200 CVT system as the big sleds get this year in the TEAM Rapid Response II. Pricing hopes to be under $4,000.
A high-output 800 twin-cylinder laydown dual-stage injection motor has been anxiously awaited by press, consumers, and dealers alike for at least two full seasons. It wasn’t ready last year, and instead of pushing out an inferior product, Cat held it up for more refinement. Now Cat has two of the four newest big power motors in their stable to be released in the last two years: this C-TEC2 800, and the massive Yamaha 4-stroke turbo in the Thundercat and 9000 models. The real improvement is in the mid-range power and feel, as the torque increased 18% under 6000 rpm and 36% under 5000 rpm.
A new APV exhaust valve with 3-stage control of all the ports provides better feel and quicker response, and there is a new 50mm bore to the throttle bodies. The air coming into the system travels through new W-shaped intake reeds that are said to be more durable, have increased trapping ability, and improve throttle response. We have spent some fairly significant time on this sled already thanks to Arctic Cat’s early limited release of this new engine.
The 2-Up/Sport Utility segment also got an all-new Cat: the Norseman! Gotta love that name, and all riders should be required to wear helmets with horns coming out the top! The Cat folks expanded the use of the 6000 motor across numerous product lines, including the Norseman, Pantera, and XF CrossTour sleds (the latter two 146-inch flat-top tunneled sleds were only available in the 3000 or 7000 4-stroke motors previously).
The Norseman is a sport utility sled that is made to be practical, but it’s still fun with a big 15x154x1.6-inch Cobra track and the utility consumer’s coveted articulating rear suspension. There are HUGE ProUte skis on this sucker that a pro snowboarder would be jealous of. Off-trail goodies include a mountain grab bar and a higher riser. On-trail additions include a comfortable seat, a wider ski stance, and a big windshield. There is also plenty of stock storage and a big rack for accessories, as well as a hitch that is standard issue. Oh, and there is a 13+-gallon tank that utilizes thinner materials and a new shape. That gives this sled incredible range!
Also, our least favorite design flaw has been rectified on all 600 and 800 Cats… you can now actually get to the oil reservoir without having to be Houdini with the oil can, or peeling back another plastic shroud panel. Ask any 2-stroke ProCross or ProClimb Cat owner, and they will tell you what we mean.
SVX Snow Bike
Arctic’s attempt at a fully trail-legal and functioning snow bike was still working its way to the dealers at press time. What we mean is that it was still not available, but Cat brass were planning to deliver more, newly refined units to several racers who have been using it or plan to use it in snow bike races across the country. This racing includes a lot of durability and performance testing for Cat. The SVX, as it’s called, utilizes the same rear skid that Camso recently started selling, as well as the same ski. More info: https://camso.co/
In the meantime, the SVX engineering team is working on meeting the stringent SSCC requirements for the machine to be considered trail legal and a snow vehicle. Sound and emissions regulations have been among the challenges they’ve faced. The hope is that Cat dealers will have the bike ready to demo by early this winter, and possibly units to sell soon thereafter. We were not given an exact time when this machine would be available for purchase by the general public though.