First Ride Reviews - Arctic Cat 2019

We review the M 800 Mountain Cat Alpha One

Published in the March 2018 Issue April 2018 Arctic Cat, Feature, Snow Tests


Specialized. I’ve said that at least a hundred times to riders who ask me how the new Alpha One is. I know “specialized” isn’t really a good answer, but it worked well in a copy and paste text response.
So here’s a little more explanation. Mountain sleds have evolved from long-track trail sleds to dedicated sidehillers. The last three years have been the pinnacle of that evolution. Shoot, maybe we’re not even at the pinnacle. But when you get a single rail suspension that is designed to do one thing and do it well, that’s pretty much a dedicated sidehill machine.
The Alpha One setup works and works amazingly well in any kind of untracked snow. The deeper and less-settled the snow, the better the Alpha One performs. That’s it’s playground. It maximizes traction and grabs snow by the shovel-full with each rotation of the new track. The agile feel the Alpha One creates is a huge difference compared to the standard Mountain Cat––and that is already a nimble sled. The sled leans into a carve extremely easily. That’s good when picking lines through techni-cal ravines. The sled has a lighter feel as well. Coupled with a strong engine and a wicked good track, that feel makes for a lively ride experience.
The Alpha One is easier to ride than the standard M 8000 and Mountain Cat––in fresh snow. The tradeoff for all that extra traction from the flexible track and single rail is a loose-feeling rear end on hard pack terrain, especially bumpy stuff. The track will twist to conform to the shape of whatever it’s riding over, and that can pull the rear end in different directions.
It’s a feeling anyone can get used to for sure, but it takes a little more experience and ability to power through terrain rather than roll through it. Like we said, it’s a bit of a tradeoff for hav-ing the most deep-snow traction you’ve ever experienced. The M 8000 SnoPro and Mountain Cat are there for you if you want the predictability of a dual-rail skid.


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