2017 Arctic Cat Reveal
MY2016 was a big year for changes to the Arctic Cat mountain lineup, with new Arctic Mountain Suspension, Float Action rear skidframe geometry, TEAM clutches and improved ProClimb 7 skis. That’s a tough model year to outdo, and probably only a new 800 powerplant in the mountain chassis could have done that. Not the case for MY2017. Arctic Cat is staying the course for the most part, with a couple of changes that are built into the new M Mountain Cat model.
WIth rumours circulating about the end of Arctic Cat’s engine supply agreement with Suzuki, there was a lot of speculation about either an in-house direct-injection 2-stroke Ctec2 800 engine, or some other new powerplant as a result of Arctic Cat’s partnership with Yamaha. It looks like Arctic Cat fans will have to wait until MY2018 for that, as the 2017 models will retain the tried-tested-and-true Suzuki 800. And while improvements like new engines cause a lot of excitement, riders in the market for a 2017 model have got to be happy with the knowledge that they will get a super-durable engine that can hang with the best of them in the mountain class.
Weight reduction without loss of strength and durability has been the primary focus of the brand for 2017. Each year Arctic Cat strives to lose weight especially in its mountain segment, but the company refuses to achieve it at the cost of durability. And that’s something that Cat riders can really appreciate. The 2017 lineup benefits from an overall weight reduction of anywhere between 4-6.5lbs, depending on model. Some of that comes from lighter rails in the Float-Action rear suspension, and much of the rest comes from minor improvements here-and-there.
There are a few other upgrades such as new grips and and improved headlight, but these are the types of small improvements that riders have fair reason to expect, and are not all that noteworthy. What is interesting though, is a new “auto-adjusting” TEAM Rapid Response II drive clutch that will see the light of day on the new 9000 trail models in MY2017. The mountain sleds won’t see it this year, but hopefully with a season of successful trail use in W2016/2017, it will find its way into the M series for MY2018.
In the meantime, let’s get back to what mountain riders want to know about: the 2017 Arctic Cat M lineup. There are a handful of different models—including the new Mountain Cat—that fall under that designation. Here they are.
M SE Package
The SE is the value package, and most dedicated mountain riders will look past it mostly because the three track lengths offered come with only a 2.25″ lug. That’s not enough to keep up in the mountain environment of today where 2.6″ and 3.0″ lugs are more commonplace. However, for less aggressive mountain riders it is a good option that comes standard with Arctic Cat’s 2016 ride handling improvements along with standard electric start on all units. It’s the best value of Arctic Cat’s options for getting into a mountain chassis.
M Sno Pro package
The Sno Pro is more-or-less the base model for serious mountain aficionados. It’s got the revered 2.6″ Powerclaw track in 141″, 153″ and 162″ lengths. Fox Float 3 shocks are found at three points: in the front and in the rear track location. Like other M models, the Mountain Seat, at 1.5″ lower and 5″ shorter, comes on non-electric start units. The Sno Pro comes in green or orange.
With the new Mountain Cat on the scene, the Limited isn’t so limited anymore and it will be available to order in-season as well. It does come in a pretty slick-looking black with green accents colour scheme, or the all new orange camouflage. Who doesn’t like camouflage?
For 2017, the Limited only comes with the 2.6″ Powerclaw track in either 153″ or 162″ length. If you want the 3.0″ lug, you’ll have to move up to the Mountain Cat model. However, the Limited does sport Fox Float Evol 3 front shocks and a Fox Float Evol R rear track shock that provides rebound adjustment for dialing in your ride. Optional is an electric start feature.
M Mountain Cat
New this year, the Arctic Cat M Mountain Cat sports the spring-check exclusive 3.0″ lug track is available in 153″ and 162″ configurations. Electric start is available as an accessory which precludes the smaller Mountain Seat option.
The so-called Mountain Drive System is an improvement only available on the Mountain Cat model. The system features a drive shaft that is lowered by 1.125″. This allows the use of 8 tooth drivers with the 3.0″ lug track, and most importantly offers a nearly 10% better angle of approach for track floatation and getting up on the snow.
Narrowed running boards by 1″ on both sides for less drag when sidehilling, and bellypan cutouts allow a rider to move their foot position up to 2″ farther forward. The tunnel is made from a thinner gauge aluminum for weight savings, although this is a questionable move considering that the current ProClimb tunnels are known to bend as is.
Same as Limited Edition, the Mountain Cat has Fox Float 3 Evol Shocks all-around, with the exception of a Fox Float Evol rear track shock for more customization of rear suspension.
The Mountain Cat comes with the lone option of a good-looking two-tone green colorway.
Also available on spring-check only is the M HCR. HCR (Hillclimb Racer) is a purpose-built specialized machine built for going up, and fast. The model is essentially the same as the Sno-Pro, but has upgraded Fox QS3 Shocks all-around, which offer the ability to tune ride calibration. It also comes with a tether, which all mountain riders should insist on having anyway. A shorter, specific heat-exchanger is nearly 4lbs lighter than the full-length version.
The HCR model is only available with a 2.6″ lug, 153″ long track, and in one colour: green.