Catamount Cruiser

M1000 still the biggest stock sled on Earth

Published in the January 2010 Issue January 2010 Snow Tests Mark Bourbeau

M1000The 2010 Arctic Cat M1000 comes to the market as a warmed-over 2009-not that that is a bad thing by any stretch, as the `09 M1000 was bestowed with some major improvements over the previous year's model.

Included were all the updates that Arctic Cat offered for the M Series platform, along with a substantial 22-pound weight reduction for the M1000. The SnoWest SnowTest crew couldn't help but notice and appreciate all of those improvements as it conducted its annual evaluations and collected seat time. Especially noticeable was the reduced weight, although, granted, the M1000 is obviously heavier (mostly in the nose) than the M8.

The massaging of the 2010 M1000 once again includes the refinements tagged on the M Series sleds, such as the Telescopic Steering Column update (Sno Pro only) to eliminate usage slop or free play, a brand new seat that is taller and lighter and comes with a cavernous stowage compartment, new high temp secondary clutch rollers (800/1000 only) that are good to 450 degrees F (versus the old rollers that were a bit suspect after 200 degrees F) and modified running board outer edges for improved footing traction. Then there's the Fox Float Shocks (SP only) for the AWS-VI front suspension, replaceable Frogskinz hood vent material and the year-to-year visual enhancement of a new graphics package.

The most important feature on the 2010 M1000 does not meet the eye as a visual or creature comfort improvement . it lies deep within the heart of this beast as a performance booster which will be near and dear to the hearts of the high performance crowd looking at the M1000 for that 200cc/10 hp advantage over the popular 800 class of mountain muscle machines.

Catillac SP

Nimble chassisLet's have a little recap of what the M1000 is comprised of for those who are a virgin to the existence of this king of all cats. First, a bit of new news here is that Arctic Cat has cut the 1000cc models available down to one and options to zilch-nope-nadda.

Previous sales figures support the mentality that if you are purchasing a top of the line snowmobile with the biggest stock two-stroke powerplant available to mankind, you want nothing short of the best for your hard-earned $13,000 plus that you'll be spending. Ultimately, the result is the 2010 M1000 comes from the factory in the sporty Sno-Pro (SP) dress only. No base or L.E. models, no track options and no color options.

With all of its SP componentry, the M1000 is a shadow in the likeness of the new Cadillac CTS-V . one badass top-of-the-line ride. The M Series chassis has been around since the new millennium and has been refined to the point that the SnoWest test staff has come to the general consensus that this chassis is currently the best of the OEMs for a narrow and nimble feel in the backcountry.

Complementing the off-trail characteristics of the M Series chassis are the ACT M Series rear and AWS-VI front suspension packages. Our experience with this setup is that this package goes from one end of the spectrum to the other, with performance shortcomings in the moguls and trail chop, but redeems itself in the pow, offering great weight transfer along with predictable, yet very nimble mannerisms.

Our butts and backs tell us that Cat R&D continues to refine this mountain- specific suspension package to be more of an "all arounder" for those of us who feel the need to pound the trail like we do to the backcountry and do it comfortably.

Another primary component that ranks high within the test crew's evaluation scoring process and is very instrumental in the snow-goability of this Cat is the Power Claw track. We can understand why the Power Claw track is Cat's track of choice as it is very difficult to find the "sweet spot" for that traction/ flotation combo, especially in a multitude of snow and terrain conditions. Our opinion, due to our field testing, is that this 15x162x2.25 single-plyer currently comes closer than any other track available to being the ultimate for all-around performance.

Rounding out the premium control and comfort aspects of this Catillac SP are the creature comforts for the rider's hands, feet and seat - all that we are proponents of. For instance, the hands are taken care of by a set of bars that are well sculpted and heated, not to re-mention that there are multiple settings in height to accommodate from a 4-foot-7 rider up to a 7-foot-4 rider, offering the maximum in leverage for the jockey. Next are the feet that should (note that we said should) never slip or lose traction on these wide, yet short pans offering the ultimate in snow diffusion and traction. Last butt not least is the seat which doesn't get sat on very often if you are riding this animal like it is intended, butt it is still nice to have a comfortable place to park it occasionally and have an easy transition from sitting to standing and vice-versa.

Losing Touch

Specs chartFor the 2007 model year, we had the distinct pleasure of matching the Cat and Ski-Doo 1000s up for bragging rights of not only being the biggest high performance 2-strokes, but also the baddest stock mountain mashers on the planet. The M1000 was rated at a stout 165 hp for '07 and ran accordingly.

Then came 2008 and the demise of the Ski-Doo 1000, creating a situation where the inner class competition was now lost along with being able to compare fresh apples to fresh apples. With increasing pressure from the EPA for the manufacturers to tighten up their fleet emissions numbers, all of a sudden the M1000's projected horsepower rating was advertised at 162 with this scenario continuing into 2009. It has been proven by demanding fine tuners that the '07 version runs the best with like setups over the last two model years, hands down.

But now we are all blessed with the 2010 M1000 at an advertised 165 hp again. After two years of being declawed and running with their tails tucked between their legs, Cat engineering decided to put the HIGH back into its 800 and 1000 performance models.

The wick (read: Engine Controller Module or ECM) that lights the fire in the heart of this 2-cylinder/2-stroke Suzuki has been turned up, increasing the swat of an otherwise unchanged powerplant. With pistons nearly the size of one pound coffee cans, this thumper is a lower 7800 rpm mill with a non-peaky and smooth powerband, building horsepower and torque that is elusive or unassuming to the jockey since this motor is not a high rpm screamer.

Super Trooper

Huge CatWith the ongoing issues surrounding the manufacturers and government regulations, the future of the big-bore 2-strokes is a bit shaky to say the least. Hopefully, advancing technology will continue to play a role in the survival of these beastages.

In the meantime, the 2010 M1000 very well could be the score of the year for you power mongers who thrive on feeling like superman . or woman, twisting off the tops of the longest and steepest of hills and yet, still be able to take on the technical stuff. And yea fellas, you may have just had your manhood challenged but there are "Beelin' Bunnies" out there who ride the M1000. For a case in point, just ask Amber Holt ("Riding With Finesse Not Brawn," SnoWest, Vol.36, No.4, page 36).

Man or woman, if you choose the M1000, you just have to be on top of your game with physical and mental fitness, stand-up, ride hard and hang loose.

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