Snowmobile Review: 2012 Arctic Cat M1100 Sno Pro
The Arctic Cat M 1100 Sno Pro shares chassis with M Series sleds that have the more powerful 1100 Turbo and H.O. 800 engines. Designers developed the 2012 Arctic Cat M 1100’s frame to be a light, rigid platform for mountain riding, and it shares the front Arctic Race Suspension with the Arctic Cat trail sleds. The chassis was also designed to be easier to maneuver in tight spots, so a shorter turning radius than that of the original M Series was built into the steering system on the 2012 Arctic Cat M 1100 Sno Pro.
The front suspension is tall spindles with widely spaced A-arms. Fox FLOAT 2 shocks are on the front suspension and on the rear arm of the rear suspension. A Fox Zero Pro coil-over shock is bolted on the front arm. The rear suspension is wrapped in a 15- by 153- by 2.25-inch Powerclaw track. Power from the 1056cc, fuel-injected twin engine is fed through a traditional chaincase drivetrain.
Squeezing the throttle on the Suzuki four-stroke engine results in a quick throttle response, and it chugs along smoothly and consistently. The 2012 Arctic Cat M 1100 Sno Pro floats over snow surprisingly well, but don’t expect to make the highmark with this snowmobile: its engine will run out of power long before the 800cc two-strokes or boosted sleds will have to turn out. Lacking quick, muscular grunt hurts the M 1100 Sno Pro’s ability to power out of a precarious situation, like when nearly augering into the snow at the bottom of a ravine.
Weight from the four-stroke engine is noticeable when trying to drive the sled across or up an incline, and it becomes more apparent when trying to sidehill or to suddenly change direction. When weaving through the woods, the engine isn’t snappy enough to lift the skis over drifts or lighten the front end with the throttle to improve maneuverability.
Fortunately, the machine’s seat, handlebar and foot well layout plays well so ergonomics aren’t a hindrance and drivers can make the most of the power waiting on the other side of the throttle lever. The cab is curved and smooth in front of the legs without edges that knock into the knees, and the center bar is integrated into handlebar looks well finished and functional. Snow readily clears off the tunnel and foot wells when playing in powder.
The sled drives nicely on the trail. It feels more secure than first-generation M sleds and the seat, console and handle bar is set-up right so it’s comfortable while running steady at 50 to 60 mph. New deep-keel skis hold their lines so handling of the M 1100 Sno Pro inspires confidence on the trail.
Truth be told, the non-turbo 1100 is a nice engine, but being “nice” doesn’t usually get it done in the high-country. Casual mountain riders might like its calm demeanor, but those who are looking for adventure should consider bucking up for the turbo model.