At the last Snowshoot, which took place at the end of February, I had the opportunity to test many snowmobile models. As for Arctic Cat, of course, I was very eager to ride snowmobiles built on the new Catalyst chassis.
Indeed, since the announcement of this new chassis last September, I have wanted to get on it and ride it on the trails. It’s not every day you get the chance to discover a brand-new chassis. This is especially true for Arctic Cat since we had to wait a good dozen years to do so.
A wait that was worth it
In fact, all the members of the SledMagazine.ca team who had the chance to try it out were delighted and impressed by the performance of the snowmobiles built on the Catalyst chassis .
Well, yes, I liked the Catalyst chassis, but now, I have to make a heartbreaking choice to determine my Arctic Cat favorite for 2024!
Being a trail snowmobiler, there were two finalists on my list, the ZR 600 137 and the Riot 600 146. My choice finally came down to the ZR.
Driving the Arctic Cat ZR 600 137 2024
During my test ride, the ZR 600 137 impressed me with its behavior on the trails. First of all, I love the riding position, which reminds me strangely of the Matryx chassis at Polaris. I immediately felt confident. Everything was in its place and I thought that this snowmobile fit me like a glove!
The riding position is one thing, but it was when I took it out on the trails that I could appreciate the precision of the ride and the flexibility offered by the Catalyst platform. In turns and on bumpy sections, the sled’s behavior is predictable. The front end of the sled is well hung and the skis stay in contact with the trail. The ski lift is almost non-existent and is only noticeable in very sharp turns.
You can also feel that the ride is very light. Indeed, the handlebars are very easy to turn. I believe that riding the ZR 600 137 will not cause any fatigue in the arms or shoulders after long days exploring the trails.
I personally like to put pressure on the running boards when cornering. The Catalyst chassis allows me to do this efficiently. So, with a minimum of input from the running boards and the handlebars, the snowmobile obeys very well on winding roads. It’s a real charm to ride!
About the 600cc Engine
Since the announcement of the Catalyst models last fall, the vast majority of people have criticized Arctic Cat for not offering an engine in the 800 to 900cc class. I myself questioned the manufacturer’s motives.
If the Catalyst chassis surprised us all at the Snowshoot, we can also say that the 600 engines, in its upgraded version, also impressed us with its performance. OK… We agree that we’re still in the 120 to 130hp class, but the behavior of this engine is still very decent.
Acceleration is very good, as is acceleration. When you press the gas pedal, the engine responds quickly. All this makes the C-TEC2 600 very pleasant to drive. Even with a power loss of about 20% due to the altitude, I had a lot of fun!
In my opinion, this engine could please more than half of the people who, when buying a snowmobile, opt for 800cc engines or more.
To Sum Up
In short, I enjoyed every millisecond I spent on the ZR 600 137. Beyond the behavior of the Catalyst chassis, which greatly impressed me, the whole machine really won me over. I hope to have the chance to ride it again on the trails of Quebec. The engine will then be able to deliver all its power since it will be at sea level. It promises to be great!
Until then, I can tell you that the ZR 600 137 is my favorite Arctic Cat for 2024.