Expectations were high following the announcement of Arctic Cat’s new Catalyst platform. Indeed, it had been a dozen years since the ProCross and ProClimb (or Ascender) chassis was introduced. In 2012, Arctic Cat celebrated its 50th anniversary by migrating almost its entire fleet to these platforms.
For 2024, the Thief River Falls-based manufacturer has limited the use of the Catalyst chassis to a few models .
My colleague and mountain rider, Jim Norlander, was able to participate in a full day of testing at the end of January. He was very impressed by the characteristics and especially by the behavior of the new M600 2024. I invite you to read his article about his first contact with the Catalyst Mountain version.
Our tests during the Snowshoot
The SledMagazine.ca team was present at the Snowshoot where we had the opportunity to test the Catalyst platform in several flavors of the ZR600 (Trail), Riot/RiotX600 (Hybrid) and M600 (Mountain) models.
Regardless of the model, all of our team members are unanimous in saying that Arctic Cat has done a great job. In fact, the Catalyst chassis compares very well to the recent chassis offered by other manufacturers. “They have done their homework,” said several members of the SledMagazine.ca team.
My First Comments
For my part, I found the centralization and weight distribution to be impressive. It’s a giant leap from the snowmobiles built on the ProCross chassis. It’s nothing like it!
The riding position is comfortable and natural. You immediately feel confident because the machine responds very well to changes in direction. Indeed, these changes require a minimum of effort even in tight turns. The ride is light and precise.
Some of my colleagues found that we were sitting relatively high, but for my part, I prefer that since we have an excellent view of the trail. In addition, my knees remain at a right angle to maximize the effectiveness of the pressure I exert on the foot pegs when cornering.
I only noticed one drawback during my tests on the Catalyst snowmobiles. Indeed, the brake guard and the sprocket drive belt guard (replacing the chaincase) can become slightly uncomfortable for the feet over time.
During the Snowshoot, we rode at altitudes ranging from 6,000 to 9,000 feet. The 600cc C-TEC2 engine offered good performance for its class given the altitude. Of course, at sea level, I would expect about 20% more performance. This engine has undergone some improvements to the crankshaft, fuel injection system and also to exhaust. During my tests, I must admit that this engine offered outstanding performance for a 600cc machine. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to riding the Catalyst 600 in Quebec!
Arctic Cat’s Catalyst Chassis: In Summary
Following our Snowshoot tests, I can say that Arctic Cat is making a serious comeback with the Catalyst chassis. This platform is entirely in line with the latest trends observed in the industry. Bravo Arctic Cat!
More about the Catalyst platform
Stay tuned as our team is currently working on several articles about the 2024 models from Arctic Cat and other manufacturers!
Have a great end of the season!