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HomeFeatures100+ MILE THOUGHTS: ZR 129 and RIOT 146

100+ MILE THOUGHTS: ZR 129 and RIOT 146

Recently took a quick (hunerd mile) lunch rip on two CATALYST units – A RIOT 600 146, 1.6 Cobra track with ATAC Suspension and a ZR 600 129, 1.25 Cobra track and ATAC Suspension. Here’s a few random thoughts and some rehash of model info – Kale


It’s been a while since I’ve had a new model Arctic Cat where onlookers trip over themselves for a chance to see it, ask questions and even take their picture with it. It makes me happy for Arctic Cat to stir this kind of excitement for the brand…and the snowmobile industry. 

Arctic Cat ads like this from the mid-80s truly captured one of the greatest parts of snowmobiling for many of us…and that’s owning the latest greatest model and showing it off. CLICK HERE to read a fun story on this How To Empty a Watering Hole ad. CATALYST is the first Arctic Cat I can remember (recent history) that has this watering hole effect. Ive had people looking them over in a parking lot and walking into the bar/restaurant asking, “Who’s riding the CATALYST out there?” 🙂


The 600 C-TEC2 (two-stroke) engine has evolved since its inception on 2014 models and has been nearly bullet-proof. For 2024, the C-TEC2 gets a new performance crankshaft, optimized fuel management system and exhaust servo. Engineers paid attention to little weight-saving details like simplifying and routing the wire harness closer to the new stator in an effort to reduce rubbing and eliminate weight from unneeded wire lengths. (The wiring harness now has 30% less overall length. That’s around 100ft of wire removed! The height of a 10 story building)

Power delivery is incredibly smooth, no weird vibrations and ramps up really quick. The drive system, consisting of ADAPT clutches, Torque Control Link and all-new belt drive (no more chaincase), all contribute to the seamless power delivery. I enjoy a sweet spot between 60-75mph where this 600 pulls really hard. It makes me smile every time. (Belt drive gearing on the ZR models is 30/58, RIOT 27/60 and M 24/63)


I’ve been receiving, and seeing, this question a lot. For those who missed it, the 129 SLIDE-ACTION suspension in the ZR is all-new this year. (CLICK HERE FOR OVERVIEW STORY ON ALL 2024 CATALYST SUSPENSIONS) This new design eliminates the Torque Sensing Link, utilizes the long front arm from ZR race models AND, is uncoupled. When reading that, one’s mind instantly thinks “wheelie monster”. The ZR 129 has that playful capability by shifting your weight back, but it still corners really positive and really flat when you shift your weight forward. This snowmobile is a smile-maker and feels small (ALMOST Blast ZR-like).


Ive owned a couple RIOT models now, one of which was the 2020 twin rail when it was introduced, the other, a 2022 Riot X. I really enjoyed the playfulness of that 2020 both on- and off-trail with its uncoupled Cross-Action skid frame. By comparison, the 2024 Riot in Catalyst platform takes that uncoupled playfulness, and adds a whole new level of positive, predictable trail handling mannerisms (flat confident cornering with light steering). Every time I swing a leg over the Riot now, I fall a little bit more in love, and think this might be thee best 50/50 Arctic Cat crossover produced that doesn’t make you give up anything on- or off-trail. Riding it, I don’t feel like its longer than a 137.

I do have an ability to make a snowmobile look small, as evidenced here. (A reminder to mix in a salad every now and then) With my feet in footwells, I like to ride up on the tank. You can see I have a few inches of seat behind me yet.


SEAT – I get questions and see comments about the seat and ergonomics. Im 6’4 and feel these are Arctic Cat’s best ergos yet. (Narrow between legs, allows you to ride up towards the front of tank for cornering and allows you to easily shift weight side-to-side). The narrow bodywork functions well to deflect air around your lower body, and although I like the look of a low windshield, the tallest version Arctic Cat offers works really well to deflect air up and over you. Back to the seat – I personally don’t feel its too small, and in the name of weight savings would question why you’d want more if it doesn’t get used?

STORAGE – Arctic Cat designed a nice naturally heated storage compartment in front of the handlebars to house goggles, cell phone, gloves etc and there is also a conveniently located 12V outlet in there. Belt storage is also convenient – Instead of storing one in a tunnel bag, a detent near the headlight under hood houses a spare belt. If you want more storage (tunnel bags), you’ll have to pay for it, but its worth the money. Arctic Cat came up with a plug-and-play accessory system called ATACH. There are four mounting points on ALL the rear Catalyst tunnels allowing you to attach/detach lockable accessories like several storage bag sizes, fuel containers etc.

This is the new Sport Gauge with nice digital readout clarity and easy-to-scroll functions that appears on all Catalyst base models.

GAUGE – Catalyst models have two gauges – The Deluxe Gauge can be found on ALL ATAC models and the RXC. There’s also a new Sport gauge found on all base model units like the ZR 137 I have. For a base model, the new Sport gauge is really nice. Its easy to toggle and read.



  1. Any idea when the accessory catalog will be released? They’ve talked about an ATACH fuel caddy and I recently heard there might be some accessory for the footwells. Now that the sled has been ordered, it’s time to order all the accessories!

  2. Not to get off subject wasn’t Bud Grant a Arctic Cat spokesman back in the day another reason why Cats are special to Minnesotans

  3. I love the 80’s ad. I just drove rode past the “Wheel Inn” last weekend where that ad picture was taken. Not much has changed, except the sleds parked out front. Great update. Thanks.

  4. Had a “empty the bar” experience up at the Pub & Grub in northern Wi. about two weeks ago. Jeff Fisher pulled up in the red Catalysts Riot. Somebody yelled hey look there’s one of them new Arctic Cats and out we all went! Pretty cool and it reminded me of the Wheel Inn ad (framed and hangs in my shop).

  5. Kale, I had a 1996 440ZR 500 limited built . It had the same effect. My girlfriend at the time . New to snowmobiling. So I made her ride the 440. She would pull in and the place would clear out . And I’d just walk away. Leaving her to answer questions. That she had no clue about ! Lol…She could never figure out. What the big fuss was with that sled ! Lol !

  6. Thanks for the update Kale. Love’em, keep them coming. A quick question. I have a ZR137 ordered, and since I ride my sleds in the cold winter air, I ordered the tall touring windshield. I noticed that mirrors were not offered as an add on option (As they are for other models) I like mirrors for two reasons. 1: they block the wind from hitting my hands. 2: they help me to keep track of the competition. Will I be able to mount mirrors to my new sled? Thanks.

  7. I like the sled. It would have been nice to have it in flat black on black (like the Mad Max Interceptor) with ghost reflective decals (like some cop cars). I also think the base gauge display could have had better resolution and a changeable color background. I will get one, but in a few years. I still have a nice ’19 ZR 6000 LTD iACT 129 to ride.

  8. I am looking forward to my 146″ M as a great replacement to my 19 high country as a northern MN offtrail machine. So excited. The other sleds sound cool too, I’d like to try that 129 out!


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