2019 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Lineup
“Why didn’t anyone think of this before?” Arctic Cat has—once again—forged ahead to pioneer new suspension technology ahead of the competition. Brand new in the 2019 Arctic Cat snowmobile lineup is a revolutionary achievement in rear suspension called ALPHA ONE, a single-beam slide rail that replaces the traditional two-rail system.
Wait, whaaaat?!? This concept is a little mind-blowing, first because it makes so much sense in theory. And second, it makes us wonder in retrospect why this concept hadn’t been found in a modern production sled before now!
Arctic Cat will also produce the first electronically-adjustable shocks system (front and rear) that can be controlled from the bars on the fly. Unfortunately that tech will only be featured in their trail-oriented ZR sleds for now. But it gives us an idea of how Arctic Cat engineering is looking to the future rather than simply building sleds for today.
But, since we’re mountain riders, we’ll focus here on the products and technology—such as ALPHA ONE—found in the new 2019 Arctic Cat snowmobiles as they apply to mountain snowmobiling. Let’s go!
2019 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Mountain Lineup
2019 M 8000 ALPHA ONE
The ALPHA ONE falls under the M 8000 mountain sled designation and we’re talking about it first, so does that make it the flagship of the fleet for 2019? Not really. It’s different from every single other M 8000 available in 2019 because of its revolutionary new rear suspension design. Hang on, this is exciting.
ALPHA ONE does away with a traditional two-rail skid, and replaces it with a single, reinforced beam in the middle of the track. Cool! Paired with a new track, the suspension is 11lbs lighter than a comparable two-rail suspension—4.5lbs lighter in the skid, with a new, 6.5lb lighter track.
Without two rails—which force the track to maintain a rigid form—the track is free to flex significantly to conform to the shape and slope of the snow. This will reportedly allow for better manoeuvrability with less input from the rider, significantly easier sidehilling and tighter turning. Also, a track that can mold itself to the surface of the snow will surely provide better traction and performance in deep snow.
Speaking of snow, the single-beam ALPHA ONE is also less likely to trap snow in the skid-frame, making the real-world weight benefit even greater.
The single-beam slide rail works in conjunction with a newly developed Power Claw track. The track features a single row of track windows, right up the middle. It comes in 154” and 165” lengths, with a standard 3” lug and 3.5” pitch.
Otherwise, ALPHA ONE is a Mountain Cat spec beast, with the best shock package available in Arctic Cat sleds (FOX FLOAT QS3/3 QSL). Plus everything else you’d find on the premium Mountain Cat, which we’ll discuss in a bit.
ALPHA ONE is a spring-order only model.
New Improvements and Technology from Arctic Cat
Before we get too far into the new models and what they have to offer, here are some blanket improvements for 2019 that apply to all of Arctic Cat’s mountain sleds.
It’s funny to talk about revolutionary technological advances in one breath, then about how gawd awful the Arctic Cat handlebar controls are in the next. Well, we don’t have to do that anymore! Celebration!
For 2019, Arctic Cat snowmobiles have ditched their bulky, ugly handlebar controls for completely new, sleek and sexy controls that actually befit the look and performance of the rest of its mountain sled lineup.
The brake lever and master cylinder have been redesigned to offer better ergonomics, enhanced braking performance and a more protected profile. Show that old, big-ass brake lever the door!
Magnetic Tether Switch
For MY2019, all Arctic Cat mountain sleds will come with a magnetic tether switch. Good on you Arctic Cat for recognizing that the tether as a crucial safety component on mountain sleds! And for making it come standard. The tether uses magnetic connectivity rather than a finicky plunger-style design.
New G2 ProClimb-7 Skis
We know that small changes in the design of a ski can reap big handling rewards. For that, Arctic Cat has designed a second-generation ProClimb-7 ski, featuring new geometry. The skis are claimed to provide better balance and performance in varying snow conditions thanks in part to a less aggressive keel. Improved floatation and easier steering are some other reported characteristics. The upper surface of the ski now features traction molded into the plastic, for those situations in which you might need to stand on a ski.
And last but not least, the engine control module has been recalibrated to offer “enhanced performance”. It’s not surprising that an engine just one-year-old could stand to benefit from a fine-tuning, despite the well-acknowledged prowess of the 8000-Series C-TEC2.
The Rest of 2019 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Mountain Sleds
2019 Mountain Cat
Mountain Cat has been at the very top of our Arctic Cat sleds wishlist ever since it made its comeback in 2017. The Mountain Cat has been established as baddest mountain slayer in the linuep, but suddenly with the release of ALPHA ONE we’re not so sure about that anymore. Which will prove to be the ultimate mountain machine? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, Mountain Cat will have a fancy new paintjob for MY2019. Purple! But that’s not all. The model is fine-tuned with all the niceties we mentioned earlier, making it improved—if not vastly—over its 2018 self.
Mountain Cat will continue to feature premium FOX FLOAT 3 QS3 shocks up front and a FOX FLOAT 3 QSL shock in the rear for ultimate adjustability. It comes in 153” and 162” track lengths with a standard 3” lug.
2019 M 8000 Hardcore
In the past, Arctic Cat has produced a dizzying variety of mountain models to choose from, and they’ve since trimmed that down. Gone are M 8000 designations such as SE, Limited, HCR and the base model M. However, for 2019, the manufacturer has brought back its “competition” spec sled, and it’s now called the M 8000 Hardcore.
The Hardcore model is aimed at competition hillclimb racers and the “big-hit” crowd. For those riders who are exceptionally hard on their equipment, the Arctic Cat Hardcore model has reinforced suspension rail braces. It also comes equipped with coil-over FOX ZERO QS3 shocks up front and in the front track shock, and a FOX FLOAT 3 QSL rear track shock. This model is factory-prepped and race ready.
The M 8000 Hardcore comes in 153” and 162” track lengths with a 3” lug.
2019 M 8000 Sno Pro
Arctic Cat’s M 8000 Sno Pro also benefits from the aforementioned upgrades. Otherwise it remains the same. However with the base model M retired, Sno Pro takes its place as the value offering. And that’s pretty cool because it benefits from much of the same tech as the more expensive Mountain Cat: features such as the Ascender platform, Arctic Mountain Suspension, 8000-Series C-TEC2 dual-injection engine, TEAM clutches and more.
The Sno Pro is offered in 153” track length with a 2.6” or 3” lug, and a 162” length with a 3” lug only.
2019 King Cat
The King Cat is powered by the 9000-Series C-TEC4 turbocharged triple four-stroke. Arctic Cat places it in the “200-hp” class, and we believe it; this is the Yamaha 998 Genesis engine with a different name after all.
Basically, this thing is a heavier, more powerful Mountain Cat with different shocks. The King Cat is built with FOX FLOAT 3 EVOL front and front track shocks. It’s got a FOX FLOAT 3 QSL in the rear. It comes with the biggest and baddest track available on Arctic Cat sleds (with the exception of the new ALPHA ONE!) at 162” length with a 3” lug.
2019 M 6000 SE
Although we prefer to stick with the higher-output models in the mountain lineup, there is a certainly a place for 600cc mountain sleds in our opinion. They are lightweight, responsive and super fun to ride. And the 125-hp class can be less intimidating for new, young or less aggressive riders. Anything that encourages inexperienced riders to feel more comfortable participating in our sport is a good thing.
That said, the M 6000 SE is suitably quite basic. It’s powered by the 6000-Series 599c C-TEC2. Interestingly enough, the 6000 C-TEC2 actually pioneered the dual-injection technology used later in the larger 8000 C-TEC2. And it’s equally well regarded for its—albeit less powerful—engine characteristics.
M 6000 SE comes with base-performance Arctic Cat IFP 1.5 shocks all-round, which make for good value. It can be purchased with either a 141” or 153” track length, with a still burly 2.6” lug.
2019 XF 8000 High Country
The XF 8000 High Country is not technically a mountain sled. Yet we deem it worthy of mention here as 50-50 option for sledders who ride a mix of trail and hilly terrain. The High Country is built on the ProClimb Chassis, so don’t expect performance on the same level off-trail as the latest Ascender Chassis. But this is a crossover sled, and you can’t have everything.
However, the High Country does offer a telescoping steering post to help ease the transition from on- to off-trail. It also features a sway bar linkage for better on-trail performance. The track comes in 141” and 153” variations of the 2.25” lugged Power Claw.
Another compromise can be found in the front suspension. Like the M Series, the High Country uses the Arctic Mountain Suspension for great handling. However, the ski stance is listed as an adjustable 39.5” to 41.5”—four full inches wider than the M mountain sleds.
It’s the 8000 C-TEC2 engine that powers the XF 8000 High Country. There are 6000 and 9000 XF High Country options as well. But we’ll stick to discussion of the XF 8000 for now. Team drive and driven clutches put all that power to snow. The shocks package that comes with the base XF 8000 High Country is the Arctic Cat IFP 1.5 all-round. This is upgraded on the XF 8000 High Country Ltd. The Ltd offers quality FOX 1.5 ZERO QS3 shocks up front and in the front track.
2019 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Summary
There’s a lot to be excited about for 2019 Arctic Cat snowmobiles. More than anything, we’re looking forward to testing out the new ALPHA ONE! It’s a revolutionary design with the potential to turn the community of mountain riders on its head.
Otherwise, the 2019 Arctic Cat snowmobile lineup has had real improvements across the entire fleet. They’ve tidied up and improved the cockpit area. A magnetic tether is now standard, which will be a big plus for riders. And numerous other carefully considered refinements will go a long way to improving what is already a great lineup of mountain sleds.