After the recent period of restructuring at Arctic Cat, we believe we can now tell you with great certainty the company and the brand will not only survive, but rise up yet again as it has done in the past. This has been a slow process, slower than what you or I would like, but it will happen. The indicators are becoming clearer. Big wheels sometimes turn slowly, but they are turning and heading in the right direction.
Case in point, the just announced supply agreement with BRP. Yes, you read that right. Arctic Cat will be building sleds for BRP, yellow ones and red ones for both Ski-Doo and Lynx. Granted, we’re talking 120s and 200s, but this is a positive indicator that Arctic Cat isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. They are bound by contract to build sleds for Yamaha, Ski-Doo and Lynx as well as dirt machines for Tracker. So, despite the attrition of their own dealer network the past few years, the manufacturing plant at Thief River Falls should be building product for many years to come. That is a very good thing.
As we all know, getting the 2022 sleds built and out the door has been agonizing, especially for Arctic Cat. Supply issues have been really tough here, as sleds were still being built right out into March. We’re told most of their build has now been delivered, the rest are almost all built but waiting for parts. Shortages have been experienced in shocks, gauges, flyweights and clutch parts. While sleds were being built short of parts, once installed they were then shipped to dealers. An in-house team performed the re-work, sometimes in the crate and sometimes the machines would actually go back onto the assembly line. It has been a mess for logistics, to say the least.
For this reason, Arctic Cat has decided to not take orders for any 2023 models until they can build (and deliver) all of the 2022s that were ordered. This is an unusual step to delay their spring order period, but they felt it was the right thing to do and we applaud them for it. From what we understand they will only be accepting orders for 2023 models during the period of April 19th through May 3rd.
Yes, that is very late as people are long since done riding their sleds in most areas except some high elevation spots in the west and far north, but the logic should be clear. Customer satisfaction is their number one concern at Arctic Cat as they continue to navigate supply chain shortages.
Arctic Cat stated, “The industry is facing incredible shortages and parts delays due to the global supply chain, and Arctic Cat continues to be significantly impacted. Despite the extra hours our production team has spent building product, the daily shift in production priority as parts arrive, and the constant delay mitigation efforts, there are still customers waiting to receive Model Year 2022 snowmobiles they pre-ordered last season. It would be irresponsible to focus our production capabilities on new pre-orders while these loyal customers are still waiting. We want to make them a priority.”
Seeing how getting all the parts and pieces to build the 2022s was so difficult, Arctic Cat is not making any major changes for their 2023 model year. Save your moans and groans, it is far more important to be late and get it right than to come out with something early and have issues, be it delivery, calibration or whatever. So, any new models or technology being readied for the future is simply on hold, for now. We believe it is a certainty to be coming at some point in time, just not right here, right now.
Some of you might look at the 2023 Arctic Cat line-up and wonder why there is nothing really new. Some of what they had planned to introduce for 2023 has been put on hold simply because they can’t get the parts to build them. This is the reality. They need to concentrate on what they can get parts for, and build.
For 2023 Arctic Cat initially planned on bringing back the Pantera 7000 and ZR 7000 models, but their introduction was dependent on the ability to obtain the components and get them built and delivered on time. This continues to be a challenge, so the late decision was made to remove the Pantera 7000 and ZR 7000 from their Model Year 2023 lineup to “mitigate customer disappoint if vital components unique to these vehicles didn’t come available in a timely manner”.
With the delay of re-introducing their popular 4-stroke ZR 7000 and Pantera trail models, most notable for 2023 is the new RIOT 9000 Turbo crossover and a new BLAST M Limited to spice up the emerging BLAST series. We also find the ZR Series has been simplified and now offers your choice of suspension packages instead of several different models, along with consumer availability of the ZR R-XC 6000 cross country race package machine. This is where we find their very best suspension package with the ZR RR models no longer being offered.
We spent the last week of February riding the pre-production models of the 2023s and can tell you these machines are all working very well. The ARS II front suspension remains at the top of its class and works as good as anything else out there. The ATAC electronic adjustable shock system gives us the ability to set the suspension, on the fly, to match the trail conditions so you can choose ultimate comfort or mogul-crushing capability with the press of a button. New Garmin GPS systems are available as an accessory and spice up the electronics package. Arctic cat offers a complete line-up with sleds for everyone in the family, from the 120s and 200s to the 400s, 600s, 800s and mighty 200 HP turbos.
Trail – ZR & Thundercat
Trail riders can now configure their sled the way they want, choosing between three engine packages and two shock options.
Power options include:
* The C-TEC2 599cc, 2-stroke 6000 Series (ZR) 125-class horsepower;
* The C-TEC2 794cc, 2-stroke 8000 Series (ZR) with 165-class horsepower;
* The C-TEC4 998cc, 4-stroke 9000 Series (Thundercat) DOHC Turbo Triple, with 200-class horsepower
All engine packages are paired with Arctic Cat’s ADAPT CVT System for improved performance and serviceability. With a lighter-weight, narrower design and an advanced idler system, ADAPT maintains constant belt tension throughout the season, resulting in minimized wear and longer belt life. The system also features lower inertia, giving it quicker throttle response for more-consistent performance.
Suspension package options for the ZR trail sleds include:
* FOX ZERO QS3 (ZR 6000 and 8000)
* Arctic Cat’s ATAC adjustable on-the-fly suspension with FOX ZERO iQS rear-track shock and ski shocks. (ZR 8000, Thundercat)
The full-size trail sleds feature the benchmark, race-proven ProCross chassis that delivers an ultra-rigid platform and optimal riding position. Up front, the next generation of the Arctic Race Suspension (ARS II) offers confidence-inspiring steering characteristics that were achieved by increasing the sled’s ski pressure. The suspension also has 10 inches of bump-eating travel and is coupled with a SLIDE-ACTION Rear Suspension boasting 13.5 inches of travel. The models feature a 137-inch Ripsaw II track with 1.25-inch lug for excellent performance in a wide-variety of trail conditions. The ZR 6000 and 8000 models are available in Black/Green with the 8000 also coming in Black/Orange. The Thundercat is available in Metallic Black.
Cross Country – ZR 6000 R-XC
The ZR 6000 R-XC will be available as part of Arctic Cat’s pre-order program only with a C-TEC2 599cc, 2-stroke 6000 Series engine with 125-class horsepower. The lightweight sled has race-proven features such as SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension with seven position rear coupling for a wide range of transfer control; premium brake caliper and pads for improved wear and increased stopping power; fully clipped Ripsaw track for better all-around performance; and cut down race seat foam with high-grip seat cover.
All ZR models have an available accessory kit that includes front bumper, handlebar bag and rear storage.
Here’s a rundown on the rest of the 2023 model year line-up from Arctic Cat –
* Industry-leading turbo power comes to the crossover segment with the introduction of the new RIOT 9000. The RIOT 9000 combines a C-TEC 4 998cc, 4-stroke 9000 Series DOHC Turbo Triple churning 200 horsepower with the ARS II front suspension and CROSS-ACTION Rear Suspension for an adrenaline-inducing groomed trail or ungroomed ride. Standard EPS makes the sled more nimble and creates less rider fatigue for a more enjoyable experience.
* The Mountain Cat ALPHA ONE will have three available track lengths, electric or manual start, and will feature an ATAC suspension to cater to a wider variety of terrain and riding styles. The Hardcore will have the same track lengths and start options with FOX QS3 shocks making it the perfect option for slaloming through trees and catching big air.
* BLAST models will have new graphics, shocks that offer improved ride compliance in the stutter bumps and bottom-out resistance in the bigger bumps, and high/low setting on handlebar heaters for rider comfort.
* The new BLAST M Limited model offers a 36-inch ski stance, FOX FLOAT 3 ski and rear shocks, and IFP front rear shock, lightweight mountain seat, and special color and graphics.
* Youth sleds have new graphics with black hoods.