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Ramping Up The Competition

Cat, Doo release hillclimb-specific sleds

Published in the December 2008 Issue Published online: Dec 10, 2008 Industry News, Snow Tests
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Arctic CatThe hills just got hotter.

And it doesn't matter if those hills are the ones competitive hillclimbers try to race to the top of or they're hills freeriders love to bang on as they jump, huck and thrash, the options just expanded.

Polaris rolled out the Assault RMK late last season and will go into full production on the unit for this winter but now you can add a Cat and Doo to the mix. For a report on the Polaris Assault grab an October issue of SnoWest Magazine ("Assaulting The Backcountry," page 52).

Arctic CatArctic Cat's entry into the hillclimb/freeride segment (kind of an odd combination if you think about it) is the new M8 HCR, unveiled last September at Haydays. The '09 M8 HCR is aimed at stock hillclimb competition and backcountry freeriding but will be available in limited quantities this season. The HCR is being touted as having several key competition changes compared to a standard M8.

To best handle the massive holes, gnarly terrain and aggressive cornering requirements that racers face in hillclimb competition and freeriders tackle in the backcountry, the HCR comes with new Arctic Cat skis that have a taller, more aggressive keel and a 42-44-inch wide (compared to 39-41 inches on the standard M8) adjustable ski stance for precision cornering. Fox Float and Zero Pro shocks dampen the rear suspension, while coil-over IFP gas shocks take care of terrain punishment up front.

Arctic CatA harder-durometer (90), 153-inch Power Claw track with single-ply technology provides aggressive bite in the hard pack conditions that can be found on hillclimb courses or on the way to the backcountry. This track offers the perfect combination of deep powder climbing Cat's Attack 20 track was known for, along with the mild-mannered trail characteristics of the Challenger. With superb sidehilling grip, the track doesn't wash out, keeping traction longer over the life of the track. The SnoWest SnowTest staff thinks the new Power Claw is the best track on the snow for '09, having tried and tested the track on several rides last winter in all sorts of conditions. We should point out that we tested the softer udometer track, not the 90 durometer. All things considered, Cat's best feature on the snow for 2009 is the Power Claw.

The addition of a featherweight Boss seat (available as a spring-only option on M8s), titanium springs in the drive clutch as well as the ski shocks shave 9 lbs. off compared to the standard M8. The HCR is the lightest M8 in the mountain lineup, with a dry weight of only 457 lbs. Compare that to the standard M8 with a 153, which has a dry weight of 466 lbs. The new telescoping steering post also comes standard on the HCR for quick adjustability, as do the deluxe instrument gauge and low windshield. The telescoping steering is the next best feature on Cat's mountain sleds.

The HCR has the same powerplant as other M8 models, with the features of BEFI, Exhaust Pipe Temperature Sensor, knock-sensor, multi-stage APV and dual sparkplugs for maximum power with minimum emissions.

Production of the HCR is limited to 500 and was available in early December. With an anticipated 100 of these claimed by racers, about 400 hardcore freeriders will be lucky enough to get their hands on the HCR.

Ski-DooMoving on, the Ski-Doo's newest western creation, the 2009 Summit Hillclimb Edition, offers many of the same features and benefits the Summit X model does, with the addition of a few "extras." Those extras include Pilot 5.7 racing skis (rather than the standard Pilot 6.9 on the Summits), along with the same A-arms as what you'd find on the MX Z. The front suspension offers high end Kayaba HPG aluminum take apart clicker shocks, the same shock as is on the front arm of the rear suspension. The rear shock, however, is a Kayaba HPG aluminum take apart clicker racing model to help soak up those really big moguls that form on hillclimb courses. You'll also find a fourth Ski-Doowheel in the rear suspension (all four are at the rear of the rails versus the three you'll find on the other Summits), along with a rail stiffener to help withstand the punishing terrain hillclimb sleds are subject to.

The ski stance on the Hillclimb Edition is set at 47.1 inches, compared to the adjustable 40-42.5 inches on the Summit X.

The Hillclimb Edition has the same 800R Power Tek powerplant as the X.