I’ve always maintained “Snowmobilers” and the Snowmobile Industry are a unique bunch. I truly can’t name one other powersport category displaying as much raw emotion for their brand(s) every year. This was displayed yesterday on the 2022 Arctic Cat model overview post. That emotion came out in the form of good, disappointed and indifferent comments. I respect all your opinions, and most I can understand.
By sharing new model information and insight here, I hope you can read it and make your own informed buying decisions. Some of you may buy Arctic Cat, and others will explore a new brand…that’s ok. I’m just happy you’re snowmobiling. It’s really quite fun.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to swing a leg over most all new 2022 OEM models. I truly appreciate and respect all of the manufacturers for allowing me to do so. At the end of the day, I typically conclude all snowmobiles are nearly equal. (A track, two skis and an engine) There isn’t a bad choice whatever, and however you ride. Find a snowmobile checking off all YOUR needs and make it yours. Hopefully the information on this site makes you want to buy an Arctic Cat.
So, let’s look at the 2022 Thundercat…
The ZR 9000 Thundercat is the World’s Fastest Production Snowmobile. For 2022, the King of turbocharged 4-strokes leads the high-performance speed and handling category with addition of the all-new ADAPT CVT System and Electronic Power Steering.
The 2022 Arctic Cat ZR 9000 Thundercat is one potent snowmobile, and it’s available in three handling levels — choose between FOX QS3 shocks with a dial mounted on the remote shock reservoir for easy hand adjustment, or two models with new Electronic Power Steering (EPS) – FOX QS3 or ATAC. The result is three technologically advanced snowmobiles in the High Performance category.
The ZR 9000 Thundercat with ATAC and EPS achieves the ultimate level of premium ride performance. The innovative ATAC suspension system utilizes a thumb-operated button on the left handlebar controls to operate the FOX ZERO iQS3 ski and the rear track shocks, allowing the rider to instantly switch between three factory compression settings (Soft, Medium and Firm), with two additional settings (Driver 1 and Driver 2) allowing you to customize your own calibrations between front and rear shocks.
Arctic Cat’s new variable assist Electronic Power Steering provides assist based on the input load and the Thundercat’s speed. The varying levels of assist translate into a light steering effort in all snow conditions for fatigue-free riding corner after corner.
The C-TEC4 9000-Series DOHC Turbo triple-cylinder sets the highest standard for power, smoothness and reliability, with an intercooled turbo delivering 200-plus maximum horsepower at any altitude.
Backed by the new Arctic Cat ADAPT CVT System, New Drive and Driven clutches are lighter-weight and employ a compact design with advanced idler system. ADAPT maintains constant belt tension throughout the RPM range resulting in minimized wear and maximum throttle response throughout your drive belts longer life without fade.
Like all ZRs, the Thundercat is built on the race-proven ProCross chassis matched by the Arctic Race Suspension(ARS II) front suspension, offering 9- in. of bump-eating travel.
The coupled SLIDE-ACTION Rear Suspension has 13.5-in. of travel, 137-in Ripsaw II track with 1.25-in. lugs adding a masterful blend of speed and traction.
As premium models, all feature handguards, a comfortable heated seat, the enhanced nighttime performance LED headlight, rear tunnel flares, 11-in. medium-height windshield and a goggle holder.
The performance-inspired bodywork comes in Dynamic Charcoal and includes a commemorative 60th anniversary badge.
Snowmageddon Ordering and Accessory Kit
During the Snowmageddon Order period you’ll get your best deal of the season. All Thundercat 9000 models are available in Dynamic Charcoal with an Accessory Trail Blazer Kit option including Pro front bumper, handlebar bag, large rear storage trail pack and taller 15-in. mid performance windshield.
I had the opportunity to throw a leg over the new 2022 Ski-Doo Mach Z for a day. I know this is a unit competing in the same category as the Thundercat and Yamaha Sidewinder, and some of you are interested in it. Ill say this – Ski Doo did a nice job. Ride quality is great, fit/finish is great, but if speed is your master, the Thundercat still retains the World’s Fastest Title. Here’s something else to think about…
2022 ZR 9000 Thundercat with FOX QS3 shocks $15,695
2022 ZR 9000 Thundercat with FOX QS3 shocks and EPS $16,595
2022 ZR 9000 Thundercat with ATAC and EPS $17,195
2022 Ski-Doo Mach Z starts at $19,699
INTERVIEW WITH BEN LANGAAS – TEAM ARCTIC CROSS-COUNTRY RACER AND ENGINEER
AI: Hey Ben, I understand you’ve done all the design, FEA, and calibration work on the EPS system for the Thundercat.
Ben: I can’t take all the credit. I’ve had plenty of help. Jeff Olson has been instrumental in ride calibration and supporting the EPS calibration itself. Jeff has been a longstanding employee at AC. His knowledge and feel for suspension tuning is incredible.
AI: Why Would I need/want EPS on my Thundercat? It handles just fine.
Ben: (Smiles) You’re right, the Thundercat without EPS does handle “just fine”, but we’re not settling for fine – with EPS, it’s great! At the end of the day the Thundercat is a lot of machine, with a lot of power, which makes it one of the most exhilarating in the industry to trail ride or lake race. When equipped with electronic power steering (EPS) a rider experiences no fatigue, which means longer rides and more miles in a day.
We also developed the calibration using a more aggressive 4-bolt dual runner which allows the front end to bite more to aid in cornering performance. When the trails get the rolling 6-12-in. bumps from heavy trail traffic, EPS does a great job at settling down the feedback to rider from the handlebars. The reasoning is simple as the turning output is not influenced by the terrain, but only the speed of the vehicle and the input torque from the rider.
AI: Who designed this EPS system? Arctic Cat or just a unit off the shelf?
Ben: The EPS motor itself is the same motor used in all of Arctic Cat’s dirt product. (ATVs and UTVs) The system was designed by AC engineering. When you look under the hood of a Thundercat, you think nothing else could possibly fit underneath. But in all honesty, the EPS unit ended up packaging quite nicely, and we were able to adjust our assembly processes slightly to accommodate. The calibration was also developed by AC engineering to deliver enough assist to create ease, but subtle enough where the rider can still feel the front end on the snow and be confident in cornering.
AI: How does this EPS work? What can riders expect when they demo it?
Ben: The EPS system works just like most other EPS systems in the vehicle industry today, the assist output from the motor is dependent on two variables, vehicle track speed and rider input torque through the handlebars. At lower speeds the rider will feel the most assist, and as track speeds increase, the assist level will fall off and actually go to 0% assist. The faster the vehicle goes, the less assist is desired, not only for rider safety but more rider comfort and stability. Think of it as driving your car around town turning quite often at low speeds, this is where you want the majority of the assist. Cruising down the interstate at 70+ MPH, you don’t want a lot of assist where you might get an uneasy feeling from wind pushing you around or the slight movement of your hands on the wheel causing the vehicle to swerve. In tight twisty trails, when your speed is 20-50 mph, the rider will feel the Thundercat’s EPS work its magic.
AI: Thanks for taking the time to give me and others a little insight into EPS. And good luck with the rest of the Cross Country race season!
Ben: Thanks Kale. Im happy ArcticInsider exists to share this info with everyone.