Two Identical Twins?

Hardcore vs. Mountain Cat

February 2020 Feature Rhett Clark

Arctic Cat garnered a great deal of attention with the release of its Alpha One 800 last year. For 2020, you have a few more options in the Alpha One for the mountains.

The Hardcore Alpha One, the Mountain Cat Alpha One and the base M Alpha One are the three primary options. There are obviously some similarities as well as some differences that set them apart.

Why pick one over the other? Sometimes it’s as simple as which color you like. You have to ask yourself what type of riding you prefer and where you want your Alpha One to take you.


Looking at the Hardcore and Mountain Cat specifically, the likeness between the two is like admiring two identical twins with a different color of hair. You can’t really like one without liking the other. They are both powered by the C-Tec 2 800. It’s a smooth and extremely powerful 800 that is very capable of putting some highmarks on the mountain. Both Alpha Ones utilize the Ascender platform. The Ascender chassis was designed to reduce drag in the snow. The body is narrow as well and the lightweight front suspension components and ski stance are the same. Both models were available during Cat’s pre-season snow program in 154x3- and 165x3-inch Power Claw track configurations. This track in either length will exceed your expectations. It’s a performer; whether it’s sidehilling or hillclimbing—the deeper the better.

Its lightweight construction flexes and hunts for traction at different angles to keep you moving forward. Not to overlook one key component that makes the Alpha One what it is, the unique single-beam rear suspension is an innovative approach to maneuverability and handling on a mountain-specific snowmobile. It allows the rider to pivot side-to-side with less effort than previous models. Snow buildup inside the rear skid is all but gone, maintaining a more consistent feel from the suspension and handling throughout your ride. If you’ve ridden a dirt bike or ATV in muddy conditions, you know what I’m referring to.

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