Considering switching to Cat after owning SkiDoo and Polaris

Like the title says. I'm currently on a 2017 Gen-4 SkiDoo 850 165 3" and honestly... there is a lot I don't like about it. The power and traction is great if you're in mellow terrain, but it can't hold a predictable sidehill in steep terrain like my 2015 Pro Rmk 155" could. I locked out the T-motion and did the Durapro ski stoppers but it still constantly wants to wash out and turn uphill when you don't want it to. Just hit 3500 miles and my motor seized up so it's time for a new sled.

I've been missing my Polaris and I've been eyeing a used Axys, but they really seem to hold their value and most of them have high miles. Things I would want in an Axys is the 163 2.6" track with the belt drive, a 36" front end, the upgraded clicker shocks. I would chop the tunnel down and add Ice Age bomber rails. I bent the rails on my SkiDoo and don't want to do that again, probably from jumping but I'm not sure. Some sleds have some of these mods, some have none, but either way it seems like I'd need to spend at least $1000 on a $7000 sled with 1500 plus miles.

I keep coming across 2016-2017 M8000s for around $7000 with under 1000 miles. I'm intrigued by the 153 3" - seems like it would be nimble but still have traction. Research seems to show that Cat has the best 3" track, probably the most reliable motor/clutches, already the shortest tunnel, a 36" front end, and come with Fox floats. Is there something I am missing here? Are the Fox floats garbage? The running boards suck? Is there anything in these model years to be wary of?

Don't really have an opportunity to "try one". Anyone been in this boat recently?
 
Oct 4, 2015
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146
43
Montana
Like the title says. I'm currently on a 2017 Gen-4 SkiDoo 850 165 3" and honestly... there is a lot I don't like about it. The power and traction is great if you're in mellow terrain, but it can't hold a predictable sidehill in steep terrain like my 2015 Pro Rmk 155" could. I locked out the T-motion and did the Durapro ski stoppers but it still constantly wants to wash out and turn uphill when you don't want it to. Just hit 3500 miles and my motor seized up so it's time for a new sled.

I've been missing my Polaris and I've been eyeing a used Axys, but they really seem to hold their value and most of them have high miles. Things I would want in an Axys is the 163 2.6" track with the belt drive, a 36" front end, the upgraded clicker shocks. I would chop the tunnel down and add Ice Age bomber rails. I bent the rails on my SkiDoo and don't want to do that again, probably from jumping but I'm not sure. Some sleds have some of these mods, some have none, but either way it seems like I'd need to spend at least $1000 on a $7000 sled with 1500 plus miles.

I keep coming across 2016-2017 M8000s for around $7000 with under 1000 miles. I'm intrigued by the 153 3" - seems like it would be nimble but still have traction. Research seems to show that Cat has the best 3" track, probably the most reliable motor/clutches, already the shortest tunnel, a 36" front end, and come with Fox floats. Is there something I am missing here? Are the Fox floats garbage? The running boards suck? Is there anything in these model years to be wary of?

Don't really have an opportunity to "try one". Anyone been in this boat recently?
 
Oct 4, 2015
529
146
43
Montana
The '17 Mountain Cat is essentially a '18 Asender chassis but with the Suzuki HO 800 motor; the other '17s are on the older chassis; the Ascender chassis is an improvement over the '16 & earlier. Many riders praise the '18 & up C-Tech 800. But the newer motors, as good as they are, run about an 80:1 oil ratio to keep the EPA happy; Not IMO a good ratio for 2 stroke longevity. That along with the '18 & up body plastics where the air boxes are not sealed up well, allowing snow ingestion have led to seized motors. Good sleds when owners seal them up to to fix the factory f-ups. I added an IceAge suspension Elevate kit @ $1,800 to my '17 Mountain Cat 153 and love it. I would take a twin rail with the Elevate kit over the more specialized, deep snow only mono-rail Alpha any day of the week!
 
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Oct 4, 2015
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If I was going to buy a new sled I would look for a '17 Mountain Cat leftover/ slightly used or if I really wanted the new 800 C-Tech, an '18 or '19 twin rail , seal up the air intakes and put an IceAge elevate kit on it and call it a day. I would also invest in an aftermarket clutch cover. My 2cts worth. Best of luck.
 

kidwoo

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Axys is way more nimble stock. I put a 3" powerclaw on mine so that doesn't necessarily mean you have to get a cat to to get a PC track. Cutting the tunnel......meh. How much time you spend vertical?

For a cat, I'd buy a 2016 or 2017 ltd/mc and just put running boards and an elevate or similar kit on it. Dropped case isn't a deal breaker IMO and since the boards suck on all of them you can buy narrow BM fab boards and make any non mountain cat just as narrow at the panels. Just make sure whatever it is, you put 8t drivers on it.

The floats that come with the cats are good. Blow away anything that comes on a polaris of that era.
 

summ8rmk

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Do it, u will be happy.
Cat's steering takes more energy than Skidoo.
The fit and finish on the proclimb is in last place of the big 3 but it doesn't effect handling or durability.
There is nothing wrong with the factory boards. I can't believe people spend so much replacing them...???


Sent it
 

kidwoo

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Do it, u will be happy.
Cat's steering takes more energy than Skidoo.
The fit and finish on the proclimb is in last place of the big 3 but it doesn't effect handling or durability.
There is nothing wrong with the factory boards. I can't believe people spend so much replacing them...???


Sent it

Have you ever ridden a set of tube boards? They're a lot stiffer, which improves handling. Plus way more traction. The polaris ones are better but still improved by going with tubes.
 

summ8rmk

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Have you ever ridden a set of tube boards? They're a lot stiffer, which improves handling. Plus way more traction. The polaris ones are better but still improved by going with tubes.
Yes i have.
I agree that the tube boards are stiffer but i hate flat boards. The taller edge of factory boards roll the ankle to the tunnel and gives a natural lock in to the tunnel and much better control. I ride with my pinky toes up on the edge. Try it, that little lift on the outside is huge in comfort and handling.
Factory cat boards shed more snow than any other factory sled (yes it is because the tunnel isn't heated) so, i don't see a need in replacing them plus cat boards don't shred $300+ boots.

Sent it
 

kidwoo

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I do agree, I'm definitely down with a more pronounced, higher outer edge. The skinz boards have that somewhat, and so do some of the forged/welded ones. I also use allen screws on my B&M ones to save boots, bigger ones on the outside rail give the same effect.

Whenever I hop on my friends 2018 the boards drive me nuts. They feel like they want to catch my boot inside that outer edge and roll my ankle. And they do hold way more snow on them. They're still way better than doo boards though. Those feel like standing on sponges. The polaris ripoff cat machined boards look pretty neat.

Not a deal breaker. And everything is going to sidehill better than a skidoo regardless of boards.
 
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Not a deal breaker. And everything is going to sidehill better than a skidoo regardless of boards.

Agreed. I had a set of tube boards on an old mod Rev. They were great... probably one of my favorite mods on any sled and they all can benefit from them.


Axys is way more nimble stock. I put a 3" powerclaw on mine so that doesn't necessarily mean you have to get a cat to to get a PC track. Cutting the tunnel......meh. How much time you spend vertical?

For a cat, I'd buy a 2016 or 2017 ltd/mc and just put running boards and an elevate or similar kit on it. Dropped case isn't a deal breaker IMO and since the boards suck on all of them you can buy narrow BM fab boards and make any non mountain cat just as narrow at the panels. Just make sure whatever it is, you put 8t drivers on it.

The floats that come with the cats are good. Blow away anything that comes on a polaris of that era.

You're the second person here that has recommended the elevate kit. Looks like it's their bomber rails that sit just a hair taller and spindles to lift the front up 2". You noticed a big difference? This is reducing the drag in a sidehill? The stock drivers aren't good enough?

The '17 Mountain Cat is essentially a '18 Asender chassis but with the Suzuki HO 800 motor; the other '17s are on the older chassis; the Ascender chassis is an improvement over the '16 & earlier. Many riders praise the '18 & up C-Tech 800. But the newer motors, as good as they are, run about an 80:1 oil ratio to keep the EPA happy; Not IMO a good ratio for 2 stroke longevity. That along with the '18 & up body plastics where the air boxes are not sealed up well, allowing snow ingestion have led to seized motors. Good sleds when owners seal them up to to fix the factory f-ups. I added an IceAge suspension Elevate kit @ $1,800 to my '17 Mountain Cat 153 and love it. I would take a twin rail with the Elevate kit over the more specialized, deep snow only mono-rail Alpha any day of the week!

I didn't realize the 17 MC was on the newer chassis. From the sleds I have seen for sale, there are a lot of the Suzuki 800s with 4000 miles on them. A lot of the 18s that have 2000 plus miles on the chassis seems to have a new motor in them... I want reliability since I won't have a warranty so the Suzuki motor seems more appealing.

Is the 17 MC in the green colorway only? The white/orange is a limited and that's the older chassis? And a black one is just a plain M8000?
 

Frostbite

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Shawnpistol, I would say give Cat a go! I was in the same boat a few years back and after decades of hating Cat because I grew up riding Skidoo. After exhaustive research I kept coming back to the fact that Cat had the most reliable 800cc engines and clutches at the time. Another thing that struck me was the power increase you could get from basic mods and the mods didn't seem to effect the long term reliability. A simple single pipe, reeds and other mods made the sleds easily achieve 160+ hp.
I have had 2 800 153" Cats now and they are an absolute riot. The Z bros KISS bracket keep them from coming over backward on you when climbing. I keep thinking I should upgrade my 2015 but, since I added the 2016 front end and the extended chain case with a belt drive, it's basically an Ascender chassis anyway.
Probably the best Pre 2018 option is the 2017 Mountain Cat because of the dropped chain case but, as said above, it can be added to any sled. The Suzuki engine has anvil like reliability and the 16 and above have the Team clutches. I have had the 2.25", 2.6" and now the 3" Powerclaw track and they are a game changer. I understand the new Alpha one track is the amazingly even better.
I'd say find a low mile 2016 or 2017 with the mods you like and give it a try. You will love it.
 

kidwoo

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There is no newer chassis. the 'ascender' chassis is a proclimb with smoother and narrower plastics, newer motor, different clutches. They've changed so much since 2012 they're definitely different sleds but they're all built around the same bulkhead and that this point you can mix and match a bunch of stuff from every year and frankensled till you're heart's content.

The elevate kit is just bomber rails with a longer, more curved rail tip, and taller spindles. It's mostly the spindles and relocating the skid, the rails just keep it running smooth. But yes, it makes a lower more planted arctic cat much more maneuverable by rasing the center of gravity as well as getting it out of the snow. There are other ways to do it, but that's probably the most plug and play.

Without doing that, the cats are really good at jumping, plowing through nasty ruts on a sidehill and generally just being more stable than an axys, but can feel like pigs in slow tight, punchy tree riding compared to an axys or a doo. Raising them up makes a little of the 'best of both worlds'. I'm pretty blown away so far after two days out.

I mentioned the drivers only because the ones with the 3" track that don't have the dropped case used 7t drivers. They work better with 8t. A 2016 or 2017 non-mountain cat is the same sled everyone's recommending just not with the dropped case.
 
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sno*jet

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17 mountaincat was the sled to get in 17 imo and glad i did. it doesnt have the low end grunt/cripsness of your doo, you might miss that, but will run deep snow and put marks on hills easily as good. The top end power is great, pulls like a freight train on big climbs where the 800 axys feels like a 600 to me. you will need to get used to heavier steering too as mentioned, espicially when going down hill. the chassis downhills on its side very well/predictive and transitions into a sidehill or hillclimb like butter. Its takes most a solid season to figure out but when you do then its effortless to ride. could frustrate you at first, depends on how quickly you adapt. probably similar weight to the doo which as you know is more than polaris. I wouldnt step back to a 16 seeing how you coming off a 17, get the best 17 cat so you will have an honest comparison. you can upgrade a 16 but the 17MC you wont feel as much need to with its narrower boards and factory 8 tooth drivers.
 
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And add Polaris Gripper Skis too!!! (Or maybe the GenII ProClimb7 skis) I have not done it yet on my '17 MC, but AC used to reflash the Suzuki 800 HO ECM on their sponsored hill climb racers, Adding timing to the low & mid range. I have used DynoJet piggyback timing boxes on my '10 & '11 Suzuki 800 HO's with great results. They really pull hard in that range and still retain that explosive Suzuki pull on top. With that mod & a can you will have to add clutch weight & may want to play with primary and secondary springs and helix angles.
 

kiliki

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17 mt cat over the 16 just for the 8t driver and drop and roll. 16 and back with a 3" had a 7t driver and it was a bad approach angle and trenched bad. IMO I would go to the 18 up just for the plastics and bar controls.
On the zuki the best bang for the buck is a 2* timing key and a can. (diamond s quite) it will be neck and neck with the full slp set.
grippers on the cat are a must for any year.
I have run a 14, 16, and have a 19 mt cat and a 20 alpha currently. one of my main ridding partners has a 17 mt cat and i has held up well up to 4000 miles.
 
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