Arctic Cat Catalyst Platform – Here’s What We Know
The long story, short on this new platform is that it has been designed from the ground up based on a fundamental, rider-centric approach.
Here’s what we know now about the Arctic Cat Catalyst platform.
Arctic Cat Catalyst Platform
The ultimate goal of the new Arctic Cat Catalyst platform is to deliver a snowmobile that requires less effort to ride and provides more control.
This objective is pursued through a mass centralized design, which is achieved in part with a laydown engine mounting, with drivetrain and exhaust placed low and close to the rider.
The Catalyst platform is also set to be lightweight, with Arctic Cat calling it “one of the lightest platforms available.” This statement is somewhat vague, but we take it to mean that it will be highly competitive with the comparable weight of other sleds in each segment.
In its broad efforts to keep weight to a minimum, Arctic Cat is looking to composite materials to replace what traditionally might have been heavier materials. It will be interesting to see if Arctic Cat eventually reveals what materials are used where, and to get one of these sleds on a scale to see how the benefits cumulate in the final product.
Overall, Arctic Cat engineers have placed an emphasis on reducing the number of parts in total, to further contribute to weight reduction and simplicity.
Obviously, weight plays a big role in the riding experience and how much control a rider feels they can exert over a sled, particularly in the mountains. But solid ergonomics are also an important factor that can help support a rider’s ability to maintain control without too much effort. Additionally, the Catalyst platform promises a narrow design to complement the mass centralization for reduced riding effort.
Arctic Cat says that the new platform will feature suspension and steering that will be specific and optimized for each segment (mountain, trail and crossover), as needed. We assume this means that ski stances, shocks packages and the use of the ALPHA ONE single beam rear suspension will vary across the segments as warranted, but otherwise Arctic Cat says the platform will remain largely consistent across all segments. Additionally, Arctic Cat states that geometry changes (from the previous platform) and suspension tweaks will provide a more confidence inspiring ride than before.
Here are some of the more solid details provided by Arctic Cat about its new Catalyst platform at this time:
- It will feature a 600 class engine. Arctic Cat hasn’t yet publicly revealed whether this will be the existing 6000 CTech2 engine or something different. Or, if and when a powerplant with a larger displacement might be made available. We have to assume that this will happen at some point, but for now we’ll have to wait and see. However, keen observers of Arctic Cat’s social media and marketing releases are likely to read between the lines and form their own assumptions about what might be coming later this year and beyond.
- Catalyst will use a belt drive, which is lightweight, reduces inertia and uses fewer parts. Arctic Cat has incorporated a proprietary adjustment system to make alternate drive ratios possible and make the system easy to service.
- The plastic panels will use sliding lap joints for a better fit and finish. They will also feature a toolless design for easy removal and better access to key maintenance items such as the belt, oil reservoir and coolant.
- A quarter turn will provide access to the battery (for electric start models), located under the seat.
That’s not a whole lot of information, but it’s enough to pique our interest, especially with the visuals of the sled that are coming out of the Hay Days reveal.
Here are some of our thoughts on the appearance of the sled, based on the images and video content Arctic Cat has made available of its new platform, and specifically the mountain model. Bear in mind that these comments are completely speculative in nature based on visuals only, owing to the fact that Arctic Cat still has not revealed everything about the new platform. So take these musings with a grain of salt.
- Tunnel: The rear tunnel section looks very short and minimal and appears to be one piece. It looks like snow will clear really well and with not much material there, it should help achieve the lightweight goal. Tunnel strength is a consideration, but it looks like the bumper extensions could provide additional reinforement. One thing that Arctic Cat does say is that their lightweight goal will not come at the cost of durability, which has been a strength of the brand.
- Running boards: Yes! We love the look of them. It’s a little hard to see from these particular images, but other media posted by Arctic Cat suggests good grip and snow evacuation, hopefully without razor blade edges. AC claims these are lighter, stronger and easy to swap out.
- Snow flap: Who needs ‘em? It’s been well-proven by now that big ugly snow flaps are completely unnecessary for the vast majority of riding conditions, and the snow clearing benefits of a minimal snow flap are well established.
- ALPHA ONE: The single-beam rear suspension carries over, and that should come as no surprise.
- Seat: Short and small. Looks like it will be easy to swing a leg past for active riding.
- Skis: Look at the cut-outs on those ski tips. These guys are serious about getting weight down! Love it.
- Headlight: It’s hard to tell from these images, but the promo videos that Arctic Cat has been pumping out show the asymmetrical headlight well. We’re all for it! Really, a headlight has a pretty simple function, so why not make it stand out a bit if it doesn’t come at an added weight and expense?
- Bumpers: The front bumper is pretty minimal, but Arctic Cat riders should be used to that by now. The rear bumper looks simple and easy to grab and an improvement over the previous platform, which would be sometimes difficult to grab hold of when the sled was buried in a hole with the snow flap up. We like the way it ties into the rear of the running boards.
- Handlebars: If we’ve got one beef with the look of this new platform, it’s the boxy control housing on the left side that is carried over from the current platform. We’d have preferred to see that minimized.
Let’s not forget to mention the styling! When it comes to the look of new snowmobile styling, everyone’s a critic it seems. Our take is that Arctic Cat’s new Catalyst platform looks lean and mean, just the way we like it. The only things that should be big in our estimation are the displacement and the the size of the lugs.
Arctic Cat New Catalyst Platform
That’s all we know about the next generation Arctic Cat Catalyst platform for now, but it’s enough to get us excited about the potential of the sled in a mountain configuration when all is finally revealed.