With great anticipation for model year 2024, Arctic Cat released the new Catalyst platform. I have been one of the lucky few to be able to test it. The new M600 that comes on the Catalyst chassis only shares a handful of parts with the Ascender platform. When you start riding it, you can immediately tell Arctic Cat has something special in their recent mountain platform. The Arctic Cat Catalyst M600 2024 offers three different length-and-track configurations. Our testing primarily involved two of these configurations, so this article will concentrate on the handling and performance with these:
- 15’’x146’’x2.6’’ PowerClaw;
- 15” x154”x3.0’’ PowerClaw.
If you’re looking for more details on the Catalyst M600’s all-new design features, and the engineering behind what makes it so special, check out this article:
Catalyst M600 146” with 2.6” PowerClaw Track
The Arctic Cat Catalyst M600 2024 in the 146” length and 2.6” track is the quickest and most maneuverable of the two. This combination feels small and compact, giving the rider the sensation of being on a racing sled. This package shines especially when riding in tight trees or creek bottoms that have a lot of obstacles to play on or pop off.
With the shorter 146” track length, and shorter 2.6” lugs, this package does give up a bit of performance in the steeper climbs and deeper snow days. Don’t get me wrong, it performs very well. But the 154” length with the 3.0” lug depth will outshine it in these conditions.
The Most Playful
The 146” length with the 2.6” lug track is designed to be the most playful of the M600 sled combinations. It’s extremely easy to throw around and feels as if you can wedge it through any hole in the trees, or nasty section you care to ride in. It’s at home and shines in the technical zones that the bigger horsepower and longer track sleds might not want to poke into.
Focus on Fun
If fun is the name of the game and having one of the most pleasant sleds on the mountain is important to you, then it’s going to be hard to beat the M600 in the 146” length with the 2.6” track. This length-and-track combo is the most playful and precise and is nearly effortless to flip around.
2.6” PowerClaw Track
The 2.6” PowerClaw track is the only option for the 146” length, and is also available in the 154” length. It’s a track that will manage better over a wider range of snow and conditions. Because of that, it will appeal to a broader spectrum of riders. It gives up some performance to the 3.0” on the deep snow days, as you would expect. However, it still got up on the snow nicely and came through for us well.
Catalyst M600 154” with 3.0” PowerClaw Track
The Arctic Cat Catalyst M600 2024 in the 154” length with the 3.0” PowerClaw track is a great all-around mountain sled with the most traction of the lineup and extra flotation due to its length. With the 3.0” track, it still feels playful because of the extra traction making the front of the sled feel lighter under power. In my opinion, it’s the best-performing M600 combination for steeper terrain and deeper days.
3.0” PowerClaw Track
The 3.0” PowerClaw track is the best deep-snow option for the Catalyst platform. It provides the most traction, float, and lift compared to the 2.6”. What makes this track rise to the top is that it’s 10 pounds lighter in the same length as the 2.6”. Yep, you read that correctly; ten pounds lighter than the 2.6” track in the 154” length. That is a substantial amount of weight in the mountain world, especially when you consider this weight is part of the track and has rotating mass.
Which Catalyst M600 is Right for You?
When it comes to choosing which Arctic Cat Catalyst M600 2024 is best for you, breathe easy. You can’t go wrong with either of these options. Determining which is best for you will boil down to your riding style and the terrain you like to ride in the most.
M600 146” with 2.6”
This sled is most suited for riders looking to tear up the tightest sections of the mountain, or those who want to push the limits in the tight technical terrain. It is the most playful option in the M600 lineup. It will do fairly better and will have the performance edge in most snow conditions other than the deepest days.
M600 154” with 3.0”
This M600 option is going to favour a rider who wishes for a more capable, big mountain sled. It will float and climb better on the deepest riding days. Because of its greater length and deeper lug track, it’s going to provide the most traction and flotation. I don’t want you to get the impression that the 154” with the 3.0” lug isn’t playful, because it is. The flotation from this combination is better and, with the extra traction, you also get slightly better front-end lift on the deep days.
Arctic Cat has hit a home run with the Catalyst M600 Chassis. Not only is this sled a performer, but it also appeals to the experienced mountain rider. The Motoneiges.ca and Sledmagazine.com crew also had some newer mountain riders in their testing group. The M600 was so well balanced and easy to ride that everyone, from the most seasoned mountain riders to the least, could easily drive this sled and enjoy it from the first few turns. That’s genuinely incredible for a mountain sled to immediately appeal to both ends of the spectrum of riders. Great job, Arctic Cat! Congratulations on such an expansive new platform that performs so well and appeals to a broad range of riding types and abilities.
For more information on the Catalyst M600 2024 go to https://arcticcat.txtsv.com/snowmobile.
Keep on reading
- RIOT 600 146 Catalyst : My Favourite from Arctic Cat 2024
- Arctic Cat’s Catalyst Chassis is unanimously approved by the SledMagazine.ca Team!
- New Arctic Cat 858 Engine: Everything You Need to Know