Being a kid at heart I was automatically drawn to the Arctic Cat Blast. Arctic Cat knocked it out of the park balancing the size, weight, and power of these machines as well as features for the desired style of riding with three different models of machines. They have options for riders of almost any age and style of riding.
The engineers hit the proverbial nail on the head with the size of the chassis. To me it fits in just right between the 200cc kids sleds and full size 600cc machines. I think this will fit early teens and adults that don’t need a big powerhouse just right. With the target audience in mind, Arctic Cat did a really good job getting this chassis light and nimble enough for young kids to still be able to get up on edge or muscle around when they get stuck. Getting on edge was very predictable. When on the trail I didn’t notice any drastic issues like darting or pushing through the corners.
The single cylinder 400cc two stroke is a very nice meld with this machine. There is plenty of power to have a good time but there is not too much to handle. Clutch engagement is nice and smooth. When on the machine minimal vibration was noticed from having a single cylinder. The EFI was good as well, cold starting the machine fires right up and I definitely do not miss having to deal with an old manual choke or having to clear the motor after rolling with a carbureted engine.
The controls to me seemed very basic, which compared to top end full size machines left some amenities to be desired. However, they are adequate for young riders who are in the process of learning how to navigate their newly found toys. Electric start is an excellent feature that I was happy to see put on. I did appreciate the simplicity of the control setups. It seems like some have enough buttons and switches everywhere that you can get lost in them but basic and simple was appreciated.
In their design, they adapted the blast well. The ZR is set up for faster paced racing like riding. The 121” track gripped nicely on the groomed trails. The 10.7” of rear suspension travel handles the moguls great while the AMS front suspension holds great when cornering. The M series with the ALPHA rail and 146 track handles the off trail and powder riding is amazing. I found it effortless to initiate powder turns. The LT model is a versatile design that is setup for on trail and off trail riding as well as utility with the xtra-action suspension. The XR is a great crossover style with its 146 track and slide rail suspension handles both trail and off trail riding excellent.