Arctic Cat is charging hard. And we’re not just using that as a cliche about jungle cats. The 2012 M800 ProClimb was not high on our list. However, the 2013 really changed our impression of Cat’s mountain 800 sled. Just read our 2013 Deep Powder Challenge shootout in March SnoWest. The 2013 M800 was a close contender, and most test riders felt that if it was a little lighter it would close the gap.
Well, not only did Arctic Cat’s engineering team respond with a lighter 2014 model, they continued to refine and improve this backcountry monster.
Here’s everything that changed from last year’s 2013 M800 to this year’s 2014 M 8000 ... including the extra zero in its name.
The 2014 ProClimb M-Series sleds got lighter. A lot lighter. A 2014 M 8000 SnoPro is 17 lbs. lighter than a 2013 M800 SnoPro. Here’s how they shaved the weight:
The spindles are machined to cut one pound and maintain strength.
Shock hardware dropped from 10mm to 8mm fasteners.
Rear suspension cross axles are machined down in diameter.
On models with telescopic steering, the top bar clamp is die cast aluminum rather than steel.
New downspars on the chassis are aluminum rather than steel.
The shorter HCR-style heat exchanger is now standard. Ice scratchers are included.
A new race sled-inspired mountain seat slips over the back of the fuel tank (also new). The seat is 1.5 inches lower and 5 inches shorter and 4.5 lbs. lighter.
The drive sprockets are lighter.
A machined brake disc (from the race sled) is 1.5 lbs. lighter.
SnoPro and Limited models have an aluminum bottom gearcase sprocket.
Performance-wise, Arctic Cat made the following updates to the 2014 M-series:
Gearing has been changed from 21:49 on 2012-2013 models to 19:50 on the 2014.
The clutches have a softer driven spring with lighter cam arms for better engagement and reduced belt temperatures. The driven clutch has a new Vespal bearing in the moveable sheave. The clutch sheaves are also redesigned with taller fins for more airflow and better cooling.
The brake system’s master cylinder has a 9/16-inch piston for more response.
The running boards feature a cutout in the rear gusset piece for reduced snow buildup, and the rear bumper has been cut out to prevent the rider’s boot from contacting it.
The rear suspension mounting location is 3/4-inch back from the 2013 location with a new rear hanger.
The new fuel tank increases capacity by 1.5 gallons.
Additional updates and improvements for 2014 include:
New plastic steering block with tighter tolerance for less slop.
The clear plastic vent hose on the gear case has been replaced with a plastic fitting and check valve.
A taller rail cap prevents track stabbing.
A new brake disc cover is stronger, more square and less likely to dent when kicked.
Last year’s black tube coolant reservoir is replaced with a new coolant bottle with incorporated spare spark plug holders. The new unit is lighter than the black hose design.
New Float 3 ski shocks for the front end, with easier access to air filler nozzle.
A new one-piece clutch guard replaces the old two-piece unit. The new fuel tank opens up more room for the new clutch guard.
Side panel venting has been improved for reduced clutch temperatures.