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Short-term trials: Arctic Cat M8 HCR 153

Right from the start we must admit it, we had our doubts.  To ride a mountain sled on a groomed trail is not always the best part of our tests.

Then, when we arrived at the dealer’s, our apprehensions were just confirmed.  The snowmobile has a rather long rear bridge, we will be seated almost on the skis, the seat is very tall and much forward all while being very short.  We are told that the rear travel is 19 in. and the front travel is 9,2.  It is a 2-stroke, twin-cylinder, 794 cc engine.  The track is rather aggressive.  It is going to be a noisy ride…

Of course, there is no mirror on the machine.  As we are concerned by safety and  respect of regulations , we ask for a mirror right away.  In no time, the snowmobile is brought to the shop and they begin to install the mirror.

We use that delay to talk with the employees.  They reassured us,that this M8 HCR would be easy to drive in a groomed trail.  Even comfortable, they said.  I am not convinced at all!

What sets apart this snowmobile HCR edition, besides being green instead of black, is the quality and the adjustable elements of the front and rear suspensions, and also the telescoping handlebar.  The ski stance can also be adjusted to 42 or 44 in., rather than 39 to 41 as on the other models.

Our machine is as manufactured, except for the mirror we just added and for the spare fuel tank fixed to the tunnel behind the seat.  Talking about the seat, let us mention that there is a big storage box under it.  There are some decals on the cab, but they are so well included to it that the ride was almost over when we noticed them.

The handling is much more enjoyable than expected.  The position is comfortable, the seat is tall but ergonomic and it allows an excellent sled control.  The handlebar height has a direct impact on the comfort in trail; the lower positions give an excellent control when seated and take the tension off shoulders and elbows.  The running boards allow a wide range of comfortable positions and the feet stay put.

The instrument panel includes an analog odometer and a part with digital display; the data that can be displayed are the altimeter, the speedometer, the tachometer, the dual stage trip odometer, plus hours of use.

The windshield does a good job, even at higher speeds.  The suspensions are rather comfortable.  The driving in trail is good, even amazingly good!  The engine is very performing, we could even say enthusiast.  The accelerations are fast and steady while pickups are vigorous no matter the engine speed.  Of course, this is a 2-stroke and we smell it sometimes.  The snowmobiler who follows the M8 must distance himself in order to avoid snow and ice projections.

Today, we rode 125 km and consumed 23,8 l of fuel (be careful, the M8 HCR requires supreme gas only), for an average consumption of 19,04 l / 100 km.  We think it is a little high and as we had not checked the real fuel level in the tank before we left, here we must take the consumption data cautiously.

  Jacques and  Alain
1 Handling and riding position 4 / 5  4 / 5
2 Comfort and suspension 3,5 / 5  3,5 / 5
3 Access to controls 4 / 5  4 / 5
4 Engine power 4 / 5  4 / 5
5 Engine noise and vibrations 3,5 / 5  3,5 / 5
6 Track rolling 4 / 5  4 / 5
7 Track pulling 5 / 5  5 / 5
8 Vehicle finishing 3,5 / 5  3,5 / 5
9 Odors and gas fumes 3 / 5  3 / 5
10 Fuel consumption  4 / 5 4 / 5
11 Passenger position N/A N/A
12 Passenger comfort  N/A  N/A
 Total  38,5 / 50 38,5 / 50

The snowmobiles we tested today have been gracefully made available to us by our excellent collaborator Centre de location d’outillage Carl Lambert.

CARL LAMBERT Centre de location d’outillage
200 A Route 138
Saint-Augustin, QC
G3A 1W7
Phone : 418-878-2153

We would also like to mention how much we appreciate the collaboration of Kimpex.  Indeed, our test pilots are equipped with Kimpex clothes and accessories.  We really wear them and we appreciate them !


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