It’s fair to say that Arctic Cat snowmobile enthusiasts have been very patient over the past few years. In fact, they haven’t had much of a chance to celebrate during the annual unveilings.
It should be mentioned that the ProCross platform was introduced for the 2012 models. With the upcoming arrival of three models built on the Catalyst platform in 2024, it will have been a dozen years. This is very unusual since we are used to a life cycle of about 5 or 6 years for a snowmobile chassis.
Although many people blame the manufacturer for this long wait, we must remember the rather exceptional context in which Arctic Cat navigated over the past few years. First, there was the acquisition by Textron in early 2017 (read… ). Second, the manufacturer had to reduce the large inventory of non-current models it supported. We saw the number of models offered drop from 70 in 2019 to about 30 in 2020 (read… ). Finally, the Coronavirus crisis and the supply problems it caused further complicated matters.
The good news is that the people of Arctic Cat did not wait for this storm to end to prepare for the future. It’s that future that the folks at Arctic Cat presented to the media at Hay Days. Naturally, Motoneiges.ca was there!
The Catalyst chassis follows new trends
Over the past decade, mass centralization and driver position optimization have become recurring themes in the industry. Physics being what they are, they don’t change from manufacturer to manufacturer. So it’s not surprising that Arctic Cat engineers had the same goals in mind since the very first day. For example, the Catalyst chassis platform was designed from the ground up based on a fundamental driver-centric approach.
The goal was to maximize control while minimizing driver effort. To achieve this, the chassis was designed to centralize weight and lower the center of mass. The engine and mechanical components are therefore lower than on the previous platform.
Another objective was at the core of the design of this chassis: its lightness. The people at Arctic Cat addressed this requirement in order to have a fully competitive platform within the industry. Of course, the choice of materials and the design of the chassis must not compromise its rigidity and reliability.
Also with the goal of reducing weight, Arctic Cat engineers reduced the number of parts by about 30%. Although Arctic Cat is very confident that the Catalyst platform will be one of the lightest, if not the lightest, on the market, they did not want to give any figures for the moment, except that it will be about 10% lighter than the previous one.
Moreover, the characteristics of the chassis mean that in case of an incident, the impact of repairs could be greatly minimized. For example, a damaged footboard will not require changing the whole chassis. In fact, the latter can be changed easily.
Less weight in the garage and also in the snow
One aspect that the garage weighing does not take into consideration is the amount of snow or ice that can accumulate inside the tunnel, in the suspension and also in the footboards. The manufacturer assures us that every effort has been made to minimize snow and ice build-up while operating the snowmobile.
The look of the Catalyst chassis
Although the new look is more modern, you’ll quickly recognize the little touch that sets Arctic Cat apart from the competition. In order to quickly recognize the Catalyst family of models that you will come across on the trails, Arctic Cat has designed a very unique signature light on the front.
A quick-release system for accessories
I was very pleased to see that the manufacturer took advantage of a new chassis design to introduce a quick-release system for accessories.
Three models and one engine for 2024
For the first year of production, only three models will be introduced with the Catalyst chassis platform. There will be one model in the trail segment, a second in the hybrid segment and finally one in the mountain segment. All these models will be 2024s! So don’t expect to see these snowmobiles on the trails or in the off-trail during the next season.
However, interested people will be able to place their orders in the next few months. As for the engine, only a 600cc engine will be available.
Other information to come
The manufacturer promises that we will be able to release more information in the coming months. So you can expect to learn a little more soon. In the meantime, you can view the information here on the manufacturer’s website.