2014 Arctic Cat Snowmobiles Unveiled
A new, two-stroke engine is, arguably, the biggest news for fans of 2014 Arctic Cat snowmobiles, but there are big changes elsewhere as well. The 2014 Arctic Cat M Series mountain snowmobiles lost weight; the XF crossover lineup is expanding; a Yamaha 1049cc four-stroke engine will be available in the ProCross and ProClimb chassis; and there are new names and engine options — including the return of the ZR brand.
2014 Arctic Cat C-TEC2 Engine
The new two-stroke, direct-injected engine will be available in one 2014 Arctic Cat snowmobile: the ZR 6000 El Tigre. In addition to the new engine, the snowmobile has a new seat and gauge — as do most other 2014 Arctic Cat snowmobiles.
Other than its dimensions and displacement, the new 6000 Series 600cc C-TEC2 engine shares nothing with the Suzuki 600 that powered Arctic Cat F6 models through 2010, or the engine found in the Arctic Cat 600 Sno Pro race sled. The new crankcase, crankshaft, cylinders, pistons, head and reed valves were all designed by Arctic Cat. The engine will be built at the company’s St. Cloud, Minnesota, engine facility where only low-revving, four-stroke ATV and UTV engines had previously been assembled.
The new 600cc Arctic Cat C-TEC2 engine weighs 10 pounds less than the Suzuki it replaces, said Arctic Cat engineer Don Eide. There is one fuel injector per cylinder, but fuel is injected in two stages. When under low engine loads, the system shoots fuel directly into the combustion chamber between the piston dome and cylinder head, but when the load increases fuel begins to spray sooner through a slot in the side of the piston. Injectors are positioned in the cylinder wall.
Another high-tech feature of the C-TEC2 engine is its electronic oil pump. Input from the engine management system determines how much oil the engine needs, based on conditions like throttle position, RPM and altitude. Oil for the crankshaft is injected into the air intake flanges. For the top end, it’s mixed with fuel in the fuel rail.
The 600cc Arctic Cat C-TEC2 engine is a laydown design with the air intake and exhaust positioned on the forward-facing side of the engine. The Exhaust Pipe Temperature Sensor (EPTS) returns, sending valuable information to the engine management system. Servomotor-controlled Arctic Power Valves dictate exhaust port openings.
2014 Arctic Cat 600 C-TEC2 Specifications
Bore/stroke: 73.8mm x 70mm
Peak RPM: 8150-8200
Cylinders: 3-port exhaust with NiCaSil lining
Claimed output: 123 hp
2014 Arctic Cat M Series Weight Loss
Two engines are available for 2014 Arctic Cat M sleds: the 9000 Series C-TEC4 Suzuki four-stroke twin with turbo and the 8000 Series Suzuki two-stroke. The naturally aspirated 1100 four-stroke will no longer be available in M Series trim.
In addition to shoring up the powerplant choices, 2014 Arctic Cat M Series machines lost weight, took on new ergonomics and repositioned the rear suspension to improve the lineup’s boondock and hillclimb abilities. All models with the 800cc engine will have a new driveshaft, driveshaft sprockets, aluminum lower gear and lightweight brake disc paired with the race-version hydraulic brake for better braking performance.
Other ProClimb weight savers include aluminum chassis spars instead of steel, and the shorter HCR heat exchanger, aluminum axles in the skidframe, lighter shock bushings, 8mm suspension hardware instead of 10mm and a shorter, lower seat. Tallied up, Arctic Cat claims 800cc M Series sleds lost about 20 pounds.
The rear suspension has been repositioned lower and farther back in the tunnel to improve maneuverability and help the sled get on top of the snow quicker. This affects all 2014 Arctic Cat 800cc M Series machines, except for HCR, which is designed more for racing and big powder drops than carving powder.
M9000 Turbo models — formerly called M1100 Turbo — lost about 5 pounds, Arctic Cat claims, with the new driveshaft, rear suspension hardware and axles. The rear suspension was also repositioned in all M Turbos, except for the HCR.
2014 Arctic Cat Snowmobiles Engine Options & Name Changes
Arctic Cat has a new four-stroke engine option in select models for 2014, and it comes from Yamaha. Also, there’s a whole new naming structure to get used to when looking at the Arctic Cat lineup, and it includes some cues from the past.
The new-to-Arctic Cat engine is the 135 hp, 1049cc triple formerly only found in Yamaha’s FX Nytro models. Called a C-TEC4 engine in Arctic Cat language, its block and cylinders are unchanged from what Yamaha has been offering to its customers, but several changes to were made to its limbs to get it to fit into an Arctic Cat ProCross chassis.
A new exhaust system had to be created to make it drop out the traditional right side of the sled rather than routing it under the seat and out the back like in Yamaha FX Nytro models. Cat designers said the change better centralizes the mass and prevents rear ice buildup experienced on Nytros. Also, Cat will use its own fuel management system on the engine, and its own clutches. Arctic Cat will also build complete Yamaha models at its Thief River Falls factory — click to read about the 2014 Yamaha snowmobiles.
The new engine options come in combination with a new naming system for Cat. First, the letters ZR return to replace the F models in ProCross-based trail sleds, taking riders back to the era of 1993 through 2004, when sporty ZR models ruled many trails and racetracks.
Beyond that, Arctic Cat has a new way to refer to most of its engines in 2014. Models with the 1100cc four-stroke, normally aspirated twin will now be called the 5000 Series; the new Arctic Cat-built 600 two-stroke will power the 6000 Series; the Yamaha-sourced 1049cc triple will be in the 7000 Series snowmobiles; sleds featuring the Suzuki 794cc two-stroke twin are the 8000 Series; and the 9000 Series sleds utilize the turbo-charged 1100cc four-stroke twin.
2014 Arctic Cat Crossover Models Expand
Arctic Cat XF models will be available with two track length options in 2014: 137 and 141 inches. The 137-inch track will provide better on-trail handling performance, so it will be standard on the performance-based Arctic Cat crossovers and they will be built on the ProCross chassis.
More adventurous riders might find XF models with a 141-inch track more appealing. All Cross Tour, Cross Country and High Country models have the longer track — lug height and lug patterns vary — and a center handlebar grab strap. These machines will be based on the ProClimb frame.
The short XF models ride on a RipSaw II track with 1.25-inch lugs, but what’s more interesting here is the new FasTrack Slide Action skidframe that replaces the Fox FLOAT-equipped FasTrack rail. The FasTrack Slide Action suspension is a conventional torsion spring design with Fox gas shocks, and it has a non-rigid front mount so the front arm won’t collapse when the rear arm compresses due to rear weight transfer.
Other than moving to the ProClimb chassis to synchronize with all other 141-inch Arctic Cat crossovers, XF Cross Tour models are unchanged. They’re calibrated for comfort on long-distance rides with mirrors, mid-height windshield, rear storage bag and rack, and the Camoplast Cobra track with 1.352-inch lugs. All ProClimb XF models are controlled with a set of Mountain Skis that have deeper keel and traction bumps on top so riders won’t slip when trying to dig out the sled when it gets stuck.
XF Sno Pro Cross Country models are new for 2014 and have more off-trail emphasis with a 1.6-inch Cobra track and mountain skis for easier backcountry exploration, but it has a wide ski stance that’s adjustable from 42 to 43 inches for on-trail stability. Suspensions are calibrated for aggressive riding.
Stepping up to what is essentially a shorter M Series sled, the XF Sno Pro High Country machines are designed for high-performance boondocking and cross-country travel with deep track lugs and mountain skis. Arctic Cat Snowmobile Product Manager Joey Hallstrom said High Country models are especially popular in parts of Alaska and northern Quebec.
Traction comes from a 2.25-inch PowerClaw track, and telescoping handlebars atop a vertical steering post provide a set-up for carving powder and weaving in the trees, but the adjustable 42- to 43-inch ski stance helps maintain stability on the trail.