“Mystery snowmobile”? “Mountain Sled”? Not sure about that wording from Supertrax, but I understand what they are getting at, and I do know Arctic Cat has made crossover choices clearer for 2021. And if you are in the market for a Riot, like Supertrax, I strongly suggest you evaluate how and where you primarily ride.
When you get right down to the 2021 purchase decision – If you ride mostly trail – buy a Riot. You’ll enjoy the laydown steering, track options and still have a capable deeper snow play sled consistently making you smile.
If you ride mostly deeper snow (whether in the mountains or legal off-trail riding like Michigan’s U.P.), buy the Riot X. It was built to ride the trail that leads to deep snow. And once you get to deep snow, the Riot X with vertical steering post and Alpha single-beam rear suspension will put a smile on your face like no other in those conditions.
It’s important to remember you can ride any deep-lug (2-inches and higher) track on the trail, but there are compromises to maintain track life. You’ll need to slow your trail speeds (do you have the self-control?) and liberally use your scratchers to decrease track heat, which are two causes for throwing lugs and/or track delamination.
Those things in mind, here’s a reprint of the 2021 Riot X review from Supertrax:
MYSTERY SLED: 2021 ARCTIC CAT RIOT X – By Supertrax
“We’re calling the new RIOT X “crossover” this year’s winner of the “Mysterious Sled” award! Why?
Last year’s RIOT X, targeted at the buyer who was about 60-40 into powder riding versus trail riding, was an efficient crossover that could perform decently on the trails but really excelled in the deep stuff.
This year’s RIOT X has targeted the 90-10 ratio of riders who ride 90-percent in the powder and only use their “crossover” to get from their staging area to the hills. To call this sled a crossover is like looking at an emu with its head stuck in the sand.
After riding it, you just can’t deny this is a mountain sled with a short track and softer calibrated, more adjustable suspension.
It uses Cat’s very powder-specific Alpha single rail skid and that feature alone sets it apart from the competition’s crossover sleds.
Although our test team in West Yellowstone, Montana loved the RIOT X Alpha in the powder and the trees – and claimed it was absolutely incredible for handling due to its relatively short 146-inch track length and 2.6 paddles, they much preferred the true crossover RIOT with its dual rail suspension and shallower paddle, for trail use. It was pretty much agreed the dual rail, plain vanilla RIOT was the Polaris Assault’s best competitor.
If you’re comparing, the RIOT X falls more in line with the Polaris SKS – which also leans very heavily toward powder and vert use – no excuses made by Polaris.
Our best explanation to describe the function of the RIOT X Alpha is that it is extremely competent in fluff and can actually climb with some of the most aggressive pure mountain sleds – a lot due to its excellent 800 CTEC2 twin.
This engine offers lightning-quick throttle response and makes the kind of power that deep snow use demands. The RIOT X will still, however, be a compromise on trails despite its excellent QS3 shocks and lighter spring setup.
There’s really no problem here – except for the language used to describe a sled like the RIOT X. This sled in no way “crosses over” between trail and powder.
It’s as boldly about deep snow riding as any all-out mountain sled and is designed to get you to that stuff where you can play all day, not to take for a 200 mile trail ride.
As long as you realize that fact, you will fall in love with this very competent short tracked mountain sled!”