Arctic Cat launches Catalyst, we ride it

Earlier this week, Snow Goer magazine editor John Prusak was among the first to test ride the latest Arctic Cat snowmobiles built on the company’s new Catalyst chassis platform, and he walked away very impressed.

Arctic Cat unveiled this new-for-model-year-2024 chassis platform at the Hay Days Grass Drag event in September, with promises of significant weight reduction, revised ergonomics, a quicker-reacting driveline and a lot more.

Snow Goer was able to throw a leg over a handful of the company’s machines using the new chassis during a ride with a group of Arctic Cat engineers out of the brand’s Thief River Falls, Minnesota, factory. Prusak spun up more than 130 miles and came to this conclusion: The new platform exceeded his lofty expectations. We’ll let Prusak take it from here.

Arctic Cat’s new Catalyst chassis platform inside the ZR600 trail sled. Action photo by Tristan Ironi

Our first and most lasting impression is that the new chassis seems very “free,” like all possible friction has been removed. We don’t know if that’s the result of the significant weight reduction, the new steering system, the belt final drive, the revised suspension…. It’s undoubtedly a result of all of them combined and more.

If Arctic Cat truly ends up trimming 10 percent of the machine’s weight when it gets to final production, that’s a monstrous cut. We’re talking close to a 50-pound Slimfast diet, and better yet the attention to mass centralization makes it feel even lighter. This is a monstrous step in the right direction for Team Green.

Now Cat engineers have stripped a bunch of weight, but their ZRs are still glued to the trail in turns, with no inside ski lift. The ZRs in this new chassis also steer very lightly. Using a unique steering geometry that was first designed for the brand’s race sled, Cat likes to refer to their system as a “poor man’s power steering.” Well, it works. The steering effort is very light, and the turning radius is impressively tight. We felt like we could have easily squared up corners and cut under the drivers in front of us.

Bottom line: The steering is light, but the skis stay planted. That’s a great combo.

You can read Prusak’s complete review on Snow Goer magazine.