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Big News at Cat, plus a new 800cc C-TEC2 twin
Arctic Cat fans across the snowbelt have been anticipating the 2018 Arctic Cat snowmobile lineup and waiting for the all-new 800cc C-TEC2, but now that it’s here, it’s not the biggest news for Arctic Cat. Arrival of the 800 paled compared to the news that Arctic Cat was being acquired by Textron, former owner of Polaris Industries from 1968 through 1981.
Regardless of the Textron situation, know that little should change in the short term and that Arctic Cat delivered on its new 800cc twin, loosely based on Cat’s popular 600cc C-TEC2. Cat aficionados recognize that engineering had a difficult assignment replacing the Suzuki 800cc two-stroke twin. That engine enjoyed a good reputation for strong power and durability. But, the Suzuki era closed at Cat along with the use of that powerplant, which needed updating for efficiency in oil consumption and emissions. Once Cat fans try this new 800 C-TEC2, they’ll relax as the all-new Cat-engineered big twin works exceptionally well with excellent midrange and strong torque characteristics across the rev range.
In a brief riding session with the new C-TEC2 twin this past January, we came away with a great appreciation for what Arctic Cat’s in-house engineering crew accomplished. It feels stronger than the Suzuki with what we felt was an earlier midrange “feel” that lasted longer as well. It just seems to have a broader torque input than the Suzuki did. It was very smooth at drive off. We were limited in achieving any top end impressions, but we doubt this engine will disappoint. It will fill the bill as Cat’s new 160-hp category power maker.
Along with the new engine comes a tuned TEAM Rapid Response II drive clutch with consistent, auto-adjusting performance with a 12.5% lower starting ratio for smooth drive away. This power team comes standard in Cat’s 2018 800cc mountain, crossover and trail sport categories.
In addition to the new 800 C-TEC2, Cat totally revised its mountain segment with new low-profile Next-Gen Mountain bodywork that’s three-inches narrower to improve deep snow and sidehill performance. It also accounts for up to a 15-pound weight reduction depending on model. Also new is an advanced Ascender platform that blends all of Cat’s most recent improvements into one chassis. The Ascender package also includes improved ergonomics and adds an exclusive to Cat FOX QSL rear shock designed to offer three settings. Like the QS3, there are two quick-set ranges but the QSL drops the third setting in favor of a lock-out to help aggressive mountain riders achieve new levels of control when climbing.