Some people like the flashy looks of shiny objects that sometimes deliver more hype than substance. However, Arctic Cat has approached the 2022 snowmobile model year in a quiet, focused effort at improving its product line and setting the table for bigger things to come in the future. Although expectations are always big on a model year intro, we realized quickly that some of these seemingly subtle improvements will likely loom large in future developments at Cat.
Here are the eight takeaways we don’t think you should overlook that make a very solid snowmobile line even better.
1—In The Clutches. For 2022, Cat has figured out a way to more efficiently get power to that track by designing a new drive system—the Arctic Cat Adapt CVT. With a lighter-weight, narrower design, and an advanced idler system, Adapt maintains constant belt tension throughout the ride, resulting in minimized wear and longer belt life. You always have the proper adjustment, even when you change from a used belt to a new one.
“This new system is fully designed, engineered and tooled by Arctic Cat,” explained Brian Dick, who has been the director of Product Strategy for Arctic Cat during the development of this new clutch system. It is a lightweight clutch, quicker and more durable.
The system also features lower inertia giving it quicker throttle response for more-consistent performance. It will deliver better performance and serviceability. It will be on all full-sized sleds this year. This clutch promises to allow future Cat models to be more slender and streamline.
2—Time To ATAC. Last year, Arctic Cat offered the 165-inch Mountain Cat with the ATAC on-the-fly suspension system for the ultimate deep snow ride experience. This year, the technology is added to the 154-inch sled, as well as other select models throughout Cat’s product line. The system allows riders to adjust the suspension for any riding condition.
ATAC uses a thumb-operated button on the left handlebar to control the Fox Float iQS rear-track shock and the ski shocks. With the push of a button, the rider can instantly switch between three factory compression settings—soft, medium and firm—in under 0.5 seconds.
3—Alpha One. When Arctic Cat introduced the Alpha One single-beam rear suspension, it changed the dynamics of mountain riding. Not only did this new suspension simplify the rear skid, it allowed the track to mold with the terrain to provide the best hookup in any type of snow.
The more time Cat engineers have to tweak its handling characteristics, the more applications they find to expand the suspension design in other models and track lengths. The Alpha One single-beam rear suspension has found its way on all of the Mountain Cats and Hardcores, as well as on the Riot X and the Blast M 4000.
4—Power To The People. The next-generation 8000-Series C-Tec2 engine delivers a new level of clean Arctic Cat 2-stroke engine performance and technology. This 794cc C-Tec2 twin has been tweaked and tuned to perform consistent and dependable power on demand.
It has fuel calibration strategy and Arctic Power Valve system with 3-stage control of the auxiliary exhaust ports via side valves. It comes with ECM-controlled electronic oil pump, batteryless EFI, Engine Pipe Temperature Sensor, Knock Sensor and Engine Reverse Technology.
This advanced new technology designed by Arctic Cat delivers ultra-clean and more responsive performance. It has an exceedingly robust and lightweight design.
5—Making Tracks. If there’s one thing a Cat does well, it’s making tracks. Both the Mountain Cat Alpha One and Hardcore Alpha One feature the sure-footed Powder Claw track … just not the same design.
The M 8000 models feature a deep powder 3-inch lug Power Claw track that has a single row of track windows. It comes in 154-inch or 165-inch lengths. The Hardcores are available with either a 3-inch or 2.6-inch lug options. For 2022, a third track option, a 146-inch with 2.6-inch lug, is available on the Hardcore. The track’s 2.6-inch lug features additional side towers and a 2.86 pitch for more bite in varying snow conditions making it perfect for a wide range of backcountry terrain.
All Alpha One Power Claw track designs bend and conform to the snow, whether the sled is on a side hill, flat surface or going straight up the mountain. This means Cat always has the maximum track surface working to deliver the best bite and instant acceleration.
6—Taking Turns. For 2022, the Thundercat is the first electronic power steering (EPS) found on a turbocharged high-performance sled for added comfort and agility. Calibrated with variable assist to maintain light steering input, the EPS provides higher assistance at lower speeds for easier steering, and decreased assistance at higher speed so the rider can feel and react to the terrain.
The Thundercat also comes with ATAC on-the-fly suspension. This will allow you to switch between soft, medium and firm suspension at the push of a button, with handlebar-mounted controls that automatically and immediately adjust the suspension Fox Zero iQS gas shocks.
7—It’s A Riot. Featuring the Alpha One suspension, the Riot X is the perfect sled for the crossover rider who spends most of the time in the deep snow. Built on the Ascender mountain platform with an industry-leading approach angle and narrow bodywork, the sled uses the lightweight Arctic Mountain Suspension. It has the mountain spindles and geometry for easy carving in snow and on hardpack.
The Riot X has an adjustable 39.5- to 41.5-inch ski stance. Its vertical steering post delivers excellent side hilling capability and confident handling in a wide range of crossover conditions. A Power Claw 2.6-inch Alpha paddle track features an aggressive off-trail, all-snow condition design with a 2.86-inch pitch and unique internal track construction.
Last year, Arctic Cat revolutionized the crossover category by adding the Alpha One Single-Beam Rear Suspension to the Riot X for deep-snow riding. This model year, the Riot X features additional innovations including the ATAC on-the-fly suspension system. To complement that blend, riders can choose from the C-Tec2 lightweight 6000 or Next-Gen 8000 engines.
8—Having A Blast. To expand the Blast family, Arctic Cat is introducing a crossover/touring sled to complement the mid-size offering. The new Blast XR 4000 is a versatile, fun sled for the trail rider who occasionally likes to explore off-trail, while the Blast XR Touring 4000 provides an enjoyable ride for two.
At the heart of the Blast models is the industry’s first electronic fuel-injected, single-cylinder, 2-stroke engine. The 65-plus horsepower-class C-Tec2 4000, 397cc engine has both plenty of snap for the experienced rider and smooth power delivery for a new rider.
To complement the engine, the mid-size chassis is extremely lightweight, delivering effortless maneuverability at any skill level. The mid-size seat makes it simple for the rider to transfer weight when cornering. The Blast models feature an electric start so the rider can just turn the key and go.
Last season Arctic Cat revolutionized the snowmobile industry with the introduction of Blast, a family of true mid-size snowmobiles offering technology and performance at a value. For 2022, the Blast lineup is complete with the Blast M 4000, Blast ZR 4000 and Blast LT 4000, the Blast XR 4000 and the Blast XR Touring 4000.