Arctic Cat is far less represented than Skidoo and Polaris, discussion

Clark42

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Yesterday I rode out of a fairly busy access site, through out the day I saw numerous sleds and only 1 other Arctic Cat. In the areas I ride, Skidoo and Polaris snowmobiles far outnumber Arctic Cat, probably 10:1. I started thinking about why it's almost a rarity to see cat sleds in the mountains. I think Arctic Cat's production team and R&D department is just severely out of touch with the mountain segment of riding, especially when compared to Polaris and Skidoo.

When you buy a new Arctic Cat..

Have to replace/change:
-remove or mess with snowflap
-mtnfit defender intake screen / misc intake modifications to seal it up

not a need, but you'll want to replace/change:
-cfr bars
-handlebar cleanup
-tube boards

Why should all these things be done to a sled right out of the box? I realize not all these modifications are necessary, but it's little stupid things that make cat products inferior to other brands. Nearly every cat I see on the hill or online has aftermarket tube boards and handlebars. It's 2020, why does arctic cat use the same running boards that my 2009 m8 had?? Why use the same bulky, annoying controls mounted on the bars. Why still offer a stiff, bulky and annoying snowflap. And seriously, why is it impossible for cat to design an efficient and reliable intake system?

People want better running boards for the factory.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, nothing
People want cleaned up and comfortable handlebars.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, nothing
People want more power.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, nothing
People want more color combinations and graphics from the factory.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered, Arctic Cat, nothing
People want convenient tunnel storage solutions.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered, Arctic Cat nothing (Skidoo linq, Polaris tracks)
People want better fit and finish.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, almost there, not nearly as good. (referring to gaps in plastics, gaps in intake track, wobble in steering post since the dawn of time)
Lastly, people want dealer support..... We all know how that is going.

Polaris has mastered the marketing segment of snowmobiling, most newer riders I know gravitate to Polaris because of their social media reach, and because they have great looking sleds that are fairly customizable from the factory. Both Skidoo and Polaris are far more in touch with what their riders want, and it shows in the way their sleds have evolved.

I think cat would be better off if they just payed attention to what their riders want and activity in the aftermarket. Polaris isn't reinventing the wheel with their sleds (reference to alpha single rail), yet they outsell Arctic Cat by a wide margin. They market themselves well and give their customers what they want.

Thoughts?
 

Suzzy-Q

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There’s some truth in what your saying, as a cat lover it hurts to admit it. Recent years cat has made some good changes but there are obvious things like running boards etc that the other guys have delivered on. There’s lots of politics and reasons that can be discussed but however the short of it is there’s some reality there. Look at the list of high end sponsored riders that have left cat. Gotta ask why and yeah there’s money involved there of course but that’s also marketing.
 

Clark42

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Have you ridden a sled newer than your 09? Fit and finish might not be exactly perfect but id say just about everything you listed arctic cat has...

I had a 14 and now have a 17 with the ascender plastics. Friend has an 18. I've been around them for a while, spent a year on an axys before coming back to cat
 

sno*jet

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controls on the bars look pretty good on 19+ check them out, 18 still had the bulky. '21 MC now has a push button adjustable shock, pretty trick- Id say they were listening on that one. boards has been beat to death - many dont have any issues and prefer the lighter weight. Their 800 isnt old by any means, out performs polaris' 800. They play around with clutches quite a bit, trying to make a sled you dont have to constantly adjust belt deflection and chaincase tension... they are very pull n go imo. They kinda think outside the box which i love. Doo does too. I still think the mono rail was a great idea. I remember commenting on why they wouldnt put it on the riot X and the next year they did. I see what youre saying but really the airbox detail is the olnly must imo. I dont like their skis either but many do. They listened to the need of an entry level mountain sled also, whereas we saw guys like chris Burandt having to build his own for his kid.
This is their biggest downfall currently imo - The other guys sit higher now. Many would list the Elevate kit as a must on the cat now. Its the only reason i would be looking at the other brands if i were buying a new one. Thats not a cheap add-on.
still i think youde change your post a little if you been around a 21 with the new 2.6, or the MC. or new riotX.
 

Clark42

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controls on the bars look pretty good on 19+ check them out, 18 still had the bulky. '21 MC now has a push button adjustable shock, pretty trick- Id say they were listening on that one. boards has been beat to death - many dont have any issues and prefer the lighter weight. Their 800 isnt old by any means, out performs polaris' 800. They play around with clutches quite a bit, trying to make a sled you dont have to constantly adjust belt deflection and chaincase tension... they are very pull n go imo. They kinda think outside the box which i love. Doo does too. I still think the mono rail was a great idea. I remember commenting on why they wouldnt put it on the riot X and the next year they did. I see what youre saying but really the airbox detail is the olnly must imo. I dont like their skis either but many do. They listened to the need of an entry level mountain sled also, whereas we saw guys like chris Burandt having to build his own for his kid.
This is their biggest downfall currently imo - The other guys sit higher now. Many would list the Elevate kit as a must on the cat now. Its the only reason i would be looking at the other brands if i were buying a new one. Thats not a cheap add-on.
still i think youde change your post a little if you been around a 21 with the new 2.6, or the MC. or new riotX.

I've looked at their 21's and don't see much different, boards are slightly different but largely the same. Here in Washington we get a lot of wet clumpy snow and they just don't work. I've seen the new bottons and still don't care for them as I wish they'd just put them on the dash or below the steering post like Polaris does. Only 3 color schemes available compared to complete customization ability with Polaris. I will say, adjusting the shock is pretty slick, and I think they've gotten their skis almost identical to grippers which I like.

I agree. Looking at an ascender next to an axys and it's noticeably lower and fatter, I feel like the bellypan hangs in the snow and causes alot of drag on the cat. Hopefully something like an elevate kit comes from the factory next year.

Not as relevant but Polaris also came out with an entry level sled too called the EVO, but cat did answer that call
 

Octanee

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Well if I was to buy a new sled, I'd be looking at poo/doo's 5 year warranty, I could be wrong but I believe it's of no extra charge? Cat is a standard 1 year and you can buy an extra 2 as a 3rd party warranty company who seems to now cover many typical items, it was also about $1200/year Canadian.


Also maybe it's dealers?

Also cats cut back its support for its team riders and all that greatly too, doo/poo seem to be taking care of their people better.
 

hansenmac

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I think the Cat lost a lot riders in a few years 11 12 13 and then when the they sled was pretty good it was too late. I have had a 10 11 12 14 15 and an 18, and i'll say that the 12 was a flop. the marketing dept should have showed people how much different a 14 was than a twelve, but most people saw it as the same sled because it looked the same. It costs money for marketing and to pay riders but if people dont see your product they wont buy it. I ride with 2 850 doos and a bunch of pros and axys and ive ridden all of them. Im still on a 18 cat and i have no thoughts of changing brands. every brand has little things that could be changed but look at the 800 pros 1200 miles and ready for new pistons but didnt you hear that its light!!!!! they sold tons of them because of marketing. A arms fall apart every day but dont you know its Flickable!!!!!!! they know how to make you want it. Cat may be on the right track now, heard they hired some more riders and i believe they have the best sled (they are all good) but they cant afford many screw ups.
 

Duff

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Polaris knows how to market their product, and they have a good sled stock. I switched from an RMK to a 17 MC because I planned to modify it and had a solid motor and chassis to start from. At least that's how I justify it to myself ;)
 

goridedoo

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Yesterday I rode out of a fairly busy access site, through out the day I saw numerous sleds and only 1 other Arctic Cat. In the areas I ride, Skidoo and Polaris snowmobiles far outnumber Arctic Cat, probably 10:1. I started thinking about why it's almost a rarity to see cat sleds in the mountains. I think Arctic Cat's production team and R&D department is just severely out of touch with the mountain segment of riding, especially when compared to Polaris and Skidoo.

When you buy a new Arctic Cat..

Have to replace/change:
-remove or mess with snowflap
-mtnfit defender intake screen / misc intake modifications to seal it up

not a need, but you'll want to replace/change:
-cfr bars
-handlebar cleanup
-tube boards

Why should all these things be done to a sled right out of the box? I realize not all these modifications are necessary, but it's little stupid things that make cat products inferior to other brands. Nearly every cat I see on the hill or online has aftermarket tube boards and handlebars. It's 2020, why does arctic cat use the same running boards that my 2009 m8 had?? Why use the same bulky, annoying controls mounted on the bars. Why still offer a stiff, bulky and annoying snowflap. And seriously, why is it impossible for cat to design an efficient and reliable intake system?

People want better running boards for the factory.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, nothing
People want cleaned up and comfortable handlebars.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, nothing
People want more power.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, nothing
People want more color combinations and graphics from the factory.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered, Arctic Cat, nothing
People want convenient tunnel storage solutions.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered, Arctic Cat nothing (Skidoo linq, Polaris tracks)
People want better fit and finish.
-Skidoo and Polaris delivered. Arctic Cat, almost there, not nearly as good. (referring to gaps in plastics, gaps in intake track, wobble in steering post since the dawn of time)
Lastly, people want dealer support..... We all know how that is going.

Polaris has mastered the marketing segment of snowmobiling, most newer riders I know gravitate to Polaris because of their social media reach, and because they have great looking sleds that are fairly customizable from the factory. Both Skidoo and Polaris are far more in touch with what their riders want, and it shows in the way their sleds have evolved.

I think cat would be better off if they just payed attention to what their riders want and activity in the aftermarket. Polaris isn't reinventing the wheel with their sleds (reference to alpha single rail), yet they outsell Arctic Cat by a wide margin. They market themselves well and give their customers what they want.

Thoughts?
Thoughts?

They need a new motor. Polaris is on its 3rd year of the 850, Doo on year 5... and Doo now has a turbo as well. Polaris will have turbo in 2022. Gonna be a bad look for Cat if they still only offer the 800 next season.

They need a new Chassis. Polaris got a new one in 2016, Doo in 2017. Cat is STILL using their chassis from 2012. I don't care if its been changed a lot and works fine. It could be, and needs to be upgraded.

Cat needs new people all the way around, they really aren't innovative, they are slow AF when it comes to making changes, and their marketing team SUCKS. "Well they need something to come out with next year" is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. They need to get their chit together and start selling sleds NOW, not next year.

You said you see 10:1 other sleds to Cats... I ride all over the western states and wouldn't be surprised if its 20:1 or worse.
 

hansenmac

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people like new things there exciting and all but some things stick around because they work. the only sled i havent ridden with is an 850 polaris, but none of the other non turbo sleds can climb like a cat. right now 95% of the problem i believe is marketing, there not out there pushing product putting out videos all over signing big name riders and then putting them everywhere. If they did better people wouldnt say it has the same chassis, im not sure if a single part number switches between a 18 19 20 back to 12. I love my cat sled so it makes me pissed that they are not doing more to sell more and make more money then have money to build even better stuff.
 
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Thoughts?

They need a new motor. Polaris is on its 3rd year of the 850, Doo on year 5... and Doo now has a turbo as well. Polaris will have turbo in 2022. Gonna be a bad look for Cat if they still only offer the 800 next season.

They need a new Chassis. Polaris got a new one in 2016, Doo in 2017. Cat is STILL using their chassis from 2012. I don't care if its been changed a lot and works fine. It could be, and needs to be upgraded.

Cat needs new people all the way around, they really aren't innovative, they are slow AF when it comes to making changes, and their marketing team SUCKS. "Well they need something to come out with next year" is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. They need to get their chit together and start selling sleds NOW, not next year.

You said you see 10:1 other sleds to Cats... I ride all over the western states and wouldn't be surprised if its 20:1 or worse.
I was at Minnesota haydays sep 2019 talking to some of the Arctic Cat boys and they were convinced the new Alpha was going to be the cats meow. Certain to take over the snowmobile world, in that everyone would start copying the single rail. I thought they were rather arrogant. I have seen several Alpha's last year but agree they are few and far between.
 

Escmanaze

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Here is the story as I see it. As late as 2010 or 2011 Cat still made the best sled out there, and it wasn't really even that close, but probably, based on the timing, higher ups in the company had already put the wheels in motion to maximize the valuation of the company they were on the verge of selling. #1 factor typically in company valuations is EBITDA, and skimping on R&D and marketing are two very common "shortcut" ways of showing a better EBITDA than it really should have otherwise been. That is what CAT did, and somehow disguised that fact from Textron, drove up the company valuation, got a big old check, and left Textron having purchased now an overpriced company with lacking R&D. It seems as though it probably took Textron a year or two to even realize what had happened and what they might be able to do about it and then another year or two to actually do anything about it. By this time, the earnings were so far in the tank that investing heavily back into R&D & marketing would only add salt to the wound of having just paid too much for the company and then realizing how much needed to be invested in order to get it back up to par, so they started "getting creative" and "thinking outside the box" in some good ways and some bad ways.

Certainly their out of the box creative thinking in relation to the ZR200 has to be viewed as a tremendous success and I believe that the blast is about to follow that same blueprint. However, the out of the box thinking on the alpha rail might not be as universally beloved and easily could still end up going down in history as a miss more than a hit.

Overall, I think Textron has spent the last 5 years doing some pretty good things, but I think that there was probably a 5 or 10 year gap in R&D that they are left playing catch up on and that is a very difficult thing to do, that could easily take 10 years or more to pull off, if they can actually even pull it off. I really hope for the best for them, especially because they are unquestionably making the best kids sleds in the business, and I hope they can keep that great momentum going.
 

Clark42

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Here is the story as I see it. As late as 2010 or 2011 Cat still made the best sled out there, and it wasn't really even that close, but probably, based on the timing, higher ups in the company had already put the wheels in motion to maximize the valuation of the company they were on the verge of selling. #1 factor typically in company valuations is EBITDA, and skimping on R&D and marketing are two very common "shortcut" ways of showing a better EBITDA than it really should have otherwise been. That is what CAT did, and somehow disguised that fact from Textron, drove up the company valuation, got a big old check, and left Textron having purchased now an overpriced company with lacking R&D. It seems as though it probably took Textron a year or two to even realize what had happened and what they might be able to do about it and then another year or two to actually do anything about it. By this time, the earnings were so far in the tank that investing heavily back into R&D & marketing would only add salt to the wound of having just paid too much for the company and then realizing how much needed to be invested in order to get it back up to par, so they started "getting creative" and "thinking outside the box" in some good ways and some bad ways.

Certainly their out of the box creative thinking in relation to the ZR200 has to be viewed as a tremendous success and I believe that the blast is about to follow that same blueprint. However, the out of the box thinking on the alpha rail might not be as universally beloved and easily could still end up going down in history as a miss more than a hit.

Overall, I think Textron has spent the last 5 years doing some pretty good things, but I think that there was probably a 5 or 10 year gap in R&D that they are left playing catch up on and that is a very difficult thing to do, that could easily take 10 years or more to pull off, if they can actually even pull it off. I really hope for the best for them, especially because they are unquestionably making the best kids sleds in the business, and I hope they can keep that great momentum going.

Really interesting take! I hadn't thought of that. Hoping to get some more opinions and perspectives like these
So who is stopping you from buying a Polaris and living your dreams.

Way to make 0 useful contribution to this thread buddy
 

M8onEdge

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You're spot on. I've owned more Cats in the last 10 years primarily because I like a reliable engine and the Suzuki was reliable (09 m8, 10 m8, 14, 15 proclimb, 17 and 18 mountain cat along with a 13 XM and 16 and 20 Axys). It was the intake fiasco that pushed me back to Polaris. That is just inexcusable quality control. It is fixable but good grief. I don't need that. It isn't clear to me how reliable the ctec is due to all the failures from water ingestion confusing the data. I think it's good but is it as reliable as the suzuki? I doubt it. The single rail would be a great option for those that like it but to go that way exclusively was a mistake imo. I'll ride the Poo until Cat or Doo comes up with a better all around sled. The narrow Axys is hard to beat.
 

ultrasks700

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I've been a Cat rider for years(on my 12th) but I respect other brands. I will 100% agree with the fact that Skidoo/Polaris have more refined sled out of the box. The fact that Cat is still using parts from the 2012 Proclimb in the 2021's kinda blows my mind. I think if Polaris makes the Matryx a mountain sled for next year Textron is really going to have to come up with something good,
 
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