With enough snow hitting the surrounding Minneapolis area just in time for a white Christmas, our family got to spend some quality time breaking in our new 2021 Blast. Here are a few observations on this right-sized ripper:
Our 1993 Yamaha Ovation is about as clean as they come, and has been an excellent snowmobile for both my son and daughter. Its size and ease of use are fantastic for new riders. Same can be said for the Blast. Thing is, the Blast has far lighter steering, ride quality and handling is far superior, and the Blast’s snappy 400cc CTEC2 single-cylinder engine is a true smile-maker for ANYONE who throws a leg over it.
Last spring I shared a few spec comparos between these two units if you are curious:
2021 ARCTIC CAT Blast ZR 4000
Engine: Arctic Cat 397cc CTEC2, single-cylinder, EFI, Electric Start and Engine Reverse
Front Suspension: Dual A-arm with AMS spindles, 7.2” Travel
Ski Stance: 37-39” Adjustable
Rear Suspension: Slide-Rail, Dual Shock and Adjustable Torsion Springs, 10.7” Travel
Track: 14” wide x 121” length
Overall Chassis Length: 115”
Overall Chassis Width: 44”
Overall Chassis Height: 38”
Fuel Capacity: 11.7 gallons (US)
Crated Weight: 415lbs.
1993 YAMAHA Ovation
Engine: Yamaha, 337cc, piston-ported, radial fan-cooled twin, electric start
Front Suspension: Telescopic Strut Suspension front; 5.5 inches of travel
Ski Stance: 34.3”
Rear Suspension: Yamaha modified Pro-Action, trailing arm and link arm, two shocks; 5.5 in. travel
Track: 15” Wide x 98” Length
Overall Chassis Length: 100.4”
Overall Chassis Width: 40”
Overall Chassis Height: 43.8”
Fuel Capacity: 8.1 gallons (US)
Dry Weight: 368lbs.
When I got the Blast home for set-up, as you can see in first photo, I stripped off the hood and side panels. The first thing I noticed was the “rubber” vibration dampeners in/around the exhaust springs. I believe these to be unique to the Blast, but if you have them on your 2021 full-size, put a note in the comments.
Out of habit, I went a step further and added high-temp RTV gasket maker to all the springs. Why? Its an old cross-country race trick to minimize the chances of those springs breaking. Its probably overkill, but it can’t hurt.
I added a ROX Speed FX seat cover, which really helped improve a “richer” look, but also improved durability. The ROX cover comes standard with a gripper top and carbon fiber side panels. The fit and finish is top-notch, a trademark of their products. Price is $199.95.
When it comes to seat foam density preferences, the topic will range in rider opinions like asking, “What type of oil should I run?” My initial impression of the early build Blast ZR seat last spring was the foam being too firm. The production version feels slightly softer but Ill have to ask engineering if indeed it is. Regardless, I do like the narrowness of this seat, and the height is about perfect for young-to-adult riders.
The Blast comes standard with a single-runner ski carbide. And although single-runners typically add a few mph on the top end of any snowmobile, the drawback can be trail darting. We put roughly 100 miles on the single-runners before swapping out with these dual offset runners with 4-inch carbide from Arctic Cat. Trail darting was minimized, precise cornering was better, and rider confidence improved. All wins in my book.
It’s important to note if you buy these, there are Left- and Right-hand sides. (PART# 2703-598 Right, PART# 2703-599 Left)
One of the things I learned from Engineering during my time at AC, was the proper way to get the most life out of a new drive belt. The first 25 miles should be at speeds of 3/4 throttle or less with occasional revving the engine up and down (but not exceeding 60mph). I can’t tell you how many belts, and countless miles Ive traversed breaking them in for marketing events. It works, and at $130(+) per belt, its worth the little bit of time.
For my preference, the headlight was aimed lower (towards the ground) than I like. One of the greatest things about the Blast is how simple it is to access the engine. The side panels are the same narrow GEN 2 versions found on full-size M-Series models, and remove via the same two quarter turn fasteners. One 30mm torx head bolt and two quarter turn fasteners remove the very lightweight hood. Access to the headlight adjustment is simple.
The headlight can be adjusted for vertical aim. When you adjust the aim, its important to have an average rider weight on the snowmobile. Use the LOW beam to adjust aim. Adjustment can be made via the screw on the bottom of the headlight until correct aim is obtained. Its so simple (as it should be) it reminds me of working on my 78 El Tigre.
Ill keep sharing our family experience with the right-sized Blast over the winter. So far, its been nothing but smiles for anyone who gets on it!