Tell us this has never happened to you: You’re 12 years old
in a field behind the neighbor’s house with three of your friends. You’re
holding a matchbook; the kid next to you is holding an M-80 that his older
brother got from his friend. The other two kids watch as you light a match,
hold it to the fuse and throw the M-80 on the ground. Your ears ring as you
watch a plastic bucket fall back to the ground. Two of the other kids are still
running. Your friend’s mom is standing on the back step yelling at him. But he
can’t hear her either. Instead, he looks at your and mouths the word “awesome!”
That’s the general idea of what we expect when we light the
throttle on this year’s SnoWest project sled—a 2008 Arctic Cat M8 162—which
we’ll ignite with a few aftermarket power parts.
We picked up the new sled at Mountain Magic Sports (208-852-0400) and we’ll come back to
Mountain Magic for Kevin Hubbard’s help with final setup tuning.
M-80’s explosion of power will come from a turbo charger
system from Boondockers (208-542-4411).
This low-boost setup should give us all the power we need without compromising
the sled’s rideability and reliability. A Boondocker EFI control box will
adjust the sled’s fuel curve to tune the turbo to its maximum potential.
We’ll pull out the factory rear suspension and replace it
with a complete skidframe from Fabcraft
(406-777-1200). The lightweight mountain skid will feature tipped up rails
for easy handling of the 162-inch track and Walker Evans shocks. Fabcraft
switched to Walker
shocks this year for what it claims is an improved ride.
Front suspension work will be left to Zbroz Racing (435-753-7774) and its line of ARS-FX parts. The A-arms feature a unique bend for increased ground
clearance and the ARS-FX shocks offer top-notch handling for what the turbo is
going to throw at it.
A float plate from Skinz
Protective Gear (320-243-8771) will give us a little insurance and help
keep the front end up on the snow … not that it will be an issue with the
To protect the innards of the M8 engine, we’ll run
high-performance oil from Torco Advanced
We’ll run SLT skis from Starting
Line Products (208-529-0244) and a couple Flow-Rite kits. The SLT skis are
a perfect match for the M8’s chassis and will give us just the right amount of
control with the turbo’s speed.
To give it a custom look, LB Designs’ Shane Landon (208-390-9331) will paint the hood with an
explosive M-80 scene.
While we expect an explosion of sorts with Project M-80, we
don’t want things to get too hot. We’ll use R&M Lightning Products (801-467-2442) side panel vent kits to
flow cool air into the engine compartment.
The stock M8 seat is decent, but we’re looking for less
weight and more height for our style of riding. Mountain Mod (250-866-5278) will hook us up with a lightweight tall
Some of the finishing touches will come by way of a Cobra windshield from Powermadd (952-400-0101), along with a
set of hand guards and a 3-inch handlebar riser.
With the M8 being in its second year of production, there
will be plenty of goods to make it burst onto the scene this winter. You might
even see it on a mountain near you. Just look for the little bits of red