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HomeFeatures211 Horsepower! The Thundercat Reigns Supreme

211 Horsepower! The Thundercat Reigns Supreme

Last month DynoTech Research out of Batavia, NY, got their hands on a 2017 Arctic Cat Thundercat with the new 9000 3-cylinder turbo Yamaha engine.

As an independent tester of all kinds of engines, DynoTech did their stuff. And with the mighty Thundercat belting out its best on the Super Flow dyno, the horsepower number displayed on the computer was an astounding 211!

It was the highest horsepower number ever recorded by a stock snowmobile engine – and 7 horsepower more than the Yamaha Sidewinder produced a few months earlier on the same dyno.

The monstrous number achieved on the DynoTech dyno comes as no surprise to the few dozen non-Cat-employed people (like Jim Dimmerman last April) who have ridden the various iterations of the new 9000 turbo machines, all of whom have had to come up with new superlatives to describe their insanely fast speeds.

The T-Cat that delivered the other-worldly goods was the same one ridden by snowmobile media last winter.

According to Troy Halvorson, Arctic Cat Product Manager. “It was one of several such machines produced last winter in what we call our “T3” build, which utilizes production parts. If DynoTech puts another Thundercat on their dyno later this year and tests it exactly the same way and in the same conditions, the number should be the same.”

While different companies can and do dyno-test using different methodologies, ultimately what’s important when comparing numbers is that you do so using the same methodology. That’s exactly what DynoTech does, so it’s truly meaningful and relevant to compare the 211 hp produced by the Cat to the 168 hp produced by the new Ski-Doo 850 Etec on the same dyno earlier this year.

I’ve been pretty clear when writing about the new 9000 Series sleds that their power is in fact truly remarkable, but that what impresses me the most is how quickly the power hits (nearly instantly) and how well each machine rides in all conditions. These weren’t built just to rip up and down drag strips: they’re completely integrated snowmobiles that impress for their full riding experience.

I can’t wait to see owners’ reactions when they get on snow this winter. It’s going to be a fun!

Thanks to Arctic Adventures for taking the Thundercat on a detour to DynoTech, and thanks to the folks at DynoTech for the decades they’ve been testing sleds.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Never would own one because I would kill myself, but pretty amazing. Does not sound like a farm implement anymore. Another benefit.

  2. Artic Cat’s legacy is high performance horse power machines , “Cats R Fast” if they give that core value up they will end up in the grave yard.

  3. That core value isn’t all that special anymore in a Thundercat when you can get the same thing in Yamaha skin….With once what was a stand at the top position, is now a shared platform in which they both stand shoulder to shoulder.

  4. Pretty impressive motor….And you know it will be bullet-proof…

    Mopars&cats….I think we all need to rejoice in the fact that Arctic has teamed up with Yamaha….Arctic…The Brand I have been loyal to my entire life needed help…And I mean a lot of help in the electrical and engineering depts. They have always built a relatively decent product, but in the snowmobile segment have been loosing share to Polaris and Ski Doo for years…

    I could go on and on why I personally think the “merger” is a good thing…With both brands having a lot to gain….Had the merger not taken place, I firmly believe the lack of quality on the Cat side and the lack of focus on Yamaha’s side, would have eliminated one of these company’s from the snowmobile segment in the next 1-3 years.

    The new Thundercat will be a great, reliable lake racer this coming season…A true ” Turpentined Cat” !!!

  5. I think the whole ragging on Yamaha thing has to go away. Cat bought engines from Kawasaki for years. Then Kawasaki wanted to make the entire sled in the mid 1970’s as the Cat engine deal came to it’s expiration date. But Kawasaki needed to finish their new factory before they could build the Invader chassis and really launch their own design. In the meantime they struck a deal with Cat to build the Sno-Jet designed chassis SS, with a Yamaha engine no less, and the Kawy powered Astro for 1976 and 1977, and some of the other smaller models right up till 1980. Cat built Rupp Nitros and that 484cc trail sled model, who’s name escapes me, when Rupp loss their factory capacity to money troubles, again in the 1970’s. This is just the economy and market share. At the end of the day its about making money. All of these old sleds are valued by collectors for various reasons today. Do you think the Die Hard Rupp Guy gave a fink about who made his sled in 1976? No. I can tell you they rode the thing hard and enjoyed it, as I had friends back then who bought them. They were happy for one more year. One more sled in their color.

    What’s old is new again. Same deal, different decade. Both brands keeping going and making new and interesting product. I hope it stays good for both of them.

  6. Arctic Cat makes modern snowmobiles, Yamaha does not. Yamaha is an engine supplier. Only a die hard Yamaha fool would think they are still in the game. Yamaha=Suzuki, only 30+ years later. That is how Yamaha got to 3% global market share. Yamaha has lost the ability to manufacture anything resembling a modern sled. When your last 2 efforts were the Phazer, and the Nitro….well it pretty much says it all.

  7. How is the Yamaha/ Cat joint venture is different than the Suzuki / Cat one? Remember the Suzuki Fury? It was a Cat chassis with Suzuki engine in Suzuki colors. hmmmmmm very familiar!

  8. Was a die hard yamaha. Guy. Until I jumped teams. In 08. Went to skid.oo. also. I bought my girl. A. f 800 Cat. Snow pro. I. Liked. The handling. Of the skid.oo better then the cat. Would. Really like to try the new cat. This year. They look awesome. Just sucks. That you have no way of. Testing these new sleds out before you go dump 16 grand first. Test and demo rides don’t cut it for me. Dealers. Should rent out these sleds for weekends so the buyer could decide on which team to choose. Before. Making the wrong choice. Would drop 500. Bucks to make. The right choice. Maybe. These company’s would increase there sales as well. But I guess the insurance company’s. Don’t make enough money as it is.


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