When Arctic Cat launched the 2022 Thundercat last Spring, I saw initial comments asking if electronic power steering was really needed? The short answer is, NO, it’s not needed. Arctic Cat does in fact have light steering on all their snowmobiles, but once you experience a ride or two with EPS, the thought of going back to anything without, is a handlebar hard to hang on to.
Last season I got to spend time riding the Thundercat with EPS, and I was reminded of my initial first impressions last week, after a first ride of the season in Grand Rapids, MN.
In our riding group, Willie Ewing brought his 2022 Thundercat with EPS to start the initial break-in for his 1day4kids world record attempt of riding nearly 2000 miles in 24hrs. This Grand Rapids ride was the first time for Willie to experience EPS, and I enjoyed watching his smile throughout the day.
Upon initial fire-up, Willie took one hand and moved the bars back and forth with ease…something he repeated throughout the day with a newfound amazement.
At our lunch stop roughly 30 miles into our ride, the topic turned to EPS and Willie expressed how pleased he was with it, then offered the group to try it on the ride back, and thoughts would be discussed during the truck ride home.
In short, here are those thoughts:
- After coming off various two-stroke models (2022 ZR 8000 and 2022 ZR6000) and executing the same amount of handlebar input to the Tcat, Willie, Paul and Tom all over-steered their first corner.
- There was 10-inches of snow on the ground, but most of our day was spent trail breaking. When reaching low land areas filled with swamp grass, it was highly noticeable any feedback carried through the bars from the skis after hitting uneven swamp stubble and small dirt mounds were nearly eliminated with EPS and saving on dreaded forearm pump.
- The 2022 Thundercat with EPS and ATAC may be one of the single-best solo-touring trail snowmobiles on the market. It’s ridiculously powerful with a reliable engine, has a tune-able suspension via your handlebar controls, and with EPS, rider fatigue is greatly reduced. All key attributes for spending more comfortable miles in the saddle.
- Is it possible to put EPS on a two-stroke Procross ZR? None of us knew the answer, so I asked Ben Langaas whom I interviewed HERE this past spring. Ben said the quick answer is NO – the biggest reasons surround the ZR’s current packaging (bodywork), intake and exhaust placement.