You knew it was coming. You knew it would happen. But did you actually expect, two, not one, bigger badder 2-strokes from Arctic Cat for 2007?
The over-achiever F7 engine had been in production for only four years but had shown what a 700 in the M-chassis was capable of. The iron-clad 900 twin was fitted to the “old” ZR platform, so it was logically a matter of time until a big cc mill was fitted into the M-Series mountain chassis.
OK, let’s muddy things up. EPA. Oh ya, those guys. Fun wreckers. Cost increasers. Planet savers. Whatever. An OEM changes product for many reasons, and our industry has slowly been making our engines cleaner and quieter, as we should.
So, logically, we all half-expected to see some SDI or CFI type cylinder or transfer port injection, but then along comes Ski-Doo with a carbed engine that pulled it off. Gee whiz, add electronic power valves (F7 had ‘em) and a knock sensor and tighten up the belt (fuel), keep ‘er cool, we’re onto something!
Any way, Cat has unleashed two new 2-strokes for 2007, the 800 twin (super-sized 700, basically) and an all-new ass-kicking chop-lickin’ 1000cc twin. We’re talking bad-ass hard-core nasty. Power should be 162-165 HP or so, easily tweaked to about 180 we’re told. They have servo-controlled power valves, knock sensor, and throttle body EFI. Yes. Throttle body. Hmmm. Interesting.
I know what you’re thinking. The 800 sounds cool, a nice thick and meaty bottom end and midrange would be nice to pick through the trees and launch up out of a bowl, but the 1000 is so damn tempting, you could really get around; but how heavy is it? More than an 800, less than a 4-stroke…..less than a Rotax 1000…..less than a Polaris 900? Really? It’s in between the 800 twins and the “other” 1000s, but closer to this new 800. Really.
The 800 is no slouch either, it’s not like 145 HP is not enough to get into some serious trouble. This may not sound like a huge power increase from the 700 twin (high 130s) but the curve bandwidth is far wider. The 800 pulls, well, like an 800 (or 900) should where the 700 was a quick-revver and peaky in comparison. And freakin’ light! Holy crap Batman, the 800 specs out at 500 pounds! But wait. The 1000 – 515 pounds. SnoPro 153 that is. This is pretty light for a 1000. Five pounds more than the 800 non-SnoPro 162”. Gulp. 515/165=3.12 pounds per HP. Not bad for bone-stock, eh?
If you listen close, you might be able to hear the Arctic Cat mountain riders cheering. The motors kick tail, and now Arctic Cat has an electronic reverse. Push-button electronically-activated mechanical ACT Drive reverse. It works quickly and flawlessly, and has some advantages over the Ski-Doo and Polaris electronic reverse. The engine does not have to stop to engage reverse, so you never have the engine stall. Ski-Doos are more prone to this, and Polaris models are better but will stall more when the engine is cold. The drawback would be any additional weight and more moving parts to potentially fail. With that said, if Arctic Cats are among the lightest sleds in the industry…..is this extra weight really a factor?
Here’s another reason to cheer – it looks like the rear suspension has been “fixed” (or greatly improved). This was perhaps the single biggest negative of the old M-Chassis. Where the old suspension was terrible on the trail and in the bumps, the new one handles both of these conditions quite well. Track tension should be more consistent and we shouldn’t have to run loose to keep it from binding. We shall see. It finally put this chassis back on par of where it should be through the rough, more like the Ski-Doo and the Polaris mountain sleds.
The “standard” track on the new M-sleds is a Camoplast Challenger 2 1/4”. We’ve had this track as an option previously, but this year it is standard. We like it in harder snow conditions, but it tends to trench some in deep, fluffy snow. Overall, most will probably like it more across a wider range of conditions than the reverse-angle Attack 20, but it still does not seem to be on par with the current Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha mountain sled tracks in most snow conditions.
Aluminum-body Fox Zero Pro shocks are found all around, except on the new SnoPro models that replace the “LE” versions of past. Only available in orange, the M8 SnoPro and M1000 SnoPro models are fitted with Fox FLOAT Airshox up front, titanium springs in the rear and a more aggressive suspension calibration all around.
You’ll also find a new set of handlebars for 2007 with redesigned controls and the returning features like a removable seat, hood and side panels, a high-mount air intake, and the low-cg ACT Drive with the laydown engine positioning for mass centralization.
If you have a deep snow year or live in an area where you always ride deep snow, you most definitely want the M1000. This engine is a low revving engine (like down around 7400 rpm) and much like the 900 Cat. It has gobs of torque down low, but doesn’t feel like it’s as fast as it really is on top. This is because of the sensation of speed from rpm. It is not a zinger, but instead a torque monster. It will stomp the 800 about everywhere and only feels slightly heavier. It is not at all like the Ski-Doo 1000 (the Cat feels much lighter). We would compare it more to a really strong Cat 900 in a new lightweight deep snow chassis. It even has a similar vibration on the bottom end that, like the 900 of old, goes away from about engagement on up. It appears to be built well and durability should not be an issue. It does incorporate an odd-looking 2 spark plug per cylinder design, said to increase combustion efficiency. Arctic Cat also increased the diameter of the recoil for a lighter pull-over effort. The benefits of this larger recoil were very noticeable. It is a great engine in stock form (162-165 HP), just imagine what a few engine and pipe mods can do!
What a sweetheart! This would be our overall engine of choice, as it is a better value (over $1500 less than the 1000) and the M8 is quicker to rev than the M1000. Most can get to where they need to (and further) with 145 HP. It’s so light and powerful. It has much more bottom end and midrange power than the old 700 (F7) with a little more on top. It’s sings at a higher rpm (around 8000) and just feels and sounds right. It was fast, responsive and fun to ride. However, we believe the new Ski-Doo 800R is going to a handful in the 800 class, both power-wise and fuel economy. Like the 1000, the 800 got a larger recoil and two spark plugs per cylinder. And the rear suspension works so much better. The agility and flickability is enviable, and with this new engine, wow!
This is a very capable engine, and should remain very competitive in the 600 class. 118 HP tuned this well spins the 141” with authority, the 153” gets to be a bit much as the elevation gets higher and the snow gets deeper or the rider is heavier. This is the key; sometimes 118 HP isn’t enough. Depends on snow conditions, rider weight, elevation (power loss), how steep, you know. And how fast you want to go. The M6 is responsive and fun to ride for a 600 class engine, and you can throw it around like a rag doll in the powder (495 pound spec!). Most mountain riders would be pleased with this package.
The 2007 Arctic Cat M-6 EFI comes in 144” ($8,599) and 153” ($8,899) track lengths. The M-8 is offered with a 141” ($9,499) track or 153” ($9,799), and the SnoPro 153” ($10,999 – orange only) or 162” (no SnoPro, $10,099). The M-1000 comes in two lengths and two suspension packages; 153” ($11,399) and SnoPro 153” ($12,599), and the 162”($11,699) and SnoPro 162”($12,899).