Arctic Cat promised the best crossover in the industry – Here is the RIOT 2020
When we look at the trends in the snowmobile industry, we can see that the off-trail and trail segment are 50/50 in everyone’s preferences! Arctic Cat has once again responded to the needs of its customers by introducing the all-new 2020 Arctic Cat Riot 146-inch.
I was asked to try it and share with you my impressions of this new addition to the Arctic Cat family. You should have seen my face when I got the call. It was Christmas; a big thank you to the Motoplex group.
Since this model is only in pre-order and we have until April 15 to get it, it is important to have input other than the written specifications. So, here’s a little preview of what’s waiting for you if you buy this snowmobile.
The 2020 RIOT is equipped with the 8000 C-Tec2 engine, the FOX ZERO QS3 shock absorber, and the 146×1.6×15 Cobra track. It is also available in X version, which is more off-trail-oriented due to its front suspension from the M series and its 146×2.00×15 Challenger track!
To be completely honest, I never thought I’d see a crossover snowmobile so pleasant to drive, on or off the trail. The softness and comfort of the CROSS-ACTION suspension do a remarkable job. It’s a 146" that can be controlled like a 129 or 137", it’s incredible how precise and efficient this new suspension is.
It does a great job on the trail as much as it does off-trail, I felt like I had the effective FLOAT-ACTION suspension that was on the 2019 M8000 HardCore, which I tried in January (read). The snowmobile has a breathtaking ride and weight transfer that offers incredible acceleration; it is equipped to go everywhere. All this with incomparable comfort and enjoyment!
One thing to be improved for future versions would be the addition of FOX ZERO QS3 Kashima shock absorbers, as for the RR model in 2019. I think this addition could be appreciated.
But now, let’s have a look at what’s under the hood! Everyone knows the 8000 C-Tec2 engine, since 2018 it has been offering nothing but pleasure and reliability. Well, for 2020, Arctic Cat made sure the competition to work harder because we’re talking about an 800cc engine that rivals or even exceeds the 850cc of the competitors. After having tested each engine in the other three brands, the C-Tec2 is the most enjoyable, intuitive and, above all, the one that offers a wider response range.
Yes, compared to the 8000 2019 engine, the 2020 generation offers more torque, more response at low revs and higher top speed than in 2019!
The weak point I noticed is the vibration that is quite impressive when you are not moving. The 2020 engine vibrates much more than the 2019 engine, which I don't like a little.
Arctic Cat keeps don’t stop there; a new rear suspension needs to come with a new front suspension. The new Arctic Race Suspension II (ARS II) is a breakthrough.
The 1.5" increase height between the skis and the lower arm combined with the new reinforced triangular upper arm, provides higher ground clearance and gives additional confidence when riding on trails or in deep snow.
For the RIOT, there is 42 to 43" between the skis, which gives us the same stability as the ZR range, as promised by Arctic Cat. I assure you that no matter the curve, the snowmobile remains on the trail. For the RIOT X, the spacing is between 38.5" and 41", which reminds more of a mountain snowmobile.
If you want to live the ultimate 50/50 experience, the RIOT is the right snowmobile for you. With all the improvements Arctic Cat has made, we have a snowmobile that makes zero compromises, which gives you endless opportunities!
For those who have read my articles, I am very picky about driving quality, comfort and power at low, medium and high revs and the RIOT meets all my expectations.