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HomeFeaturesLight is Right: Est. Dry Weights of the 2012 Cats

Light is Right: Est. Dry Weights of the 2012 Cats

A handful of weeks back, Arctic Cat sent to their dealers a document listing the estimated dry weights of their pre-production 2012 snowmobiles. Here are the weights:

Estimated dry weights of 2012 Arctic Cat snowmobiles

They didn’t send it to the media (or to me). When I asked why, the answer was because the numbers might change – in either direction – before actual production, due to changes that could occur in material selection. I also suspect it has to do with the wacky history of snowmobile weight claims.

Yes, wacky history.

Manufacturers know the importance of sled weight when it comes to marketing snowmobiles. Lighter is better. Always. But what about when sleds aren’t really as light as you think?

Even though I’m younger than I look, I am actually an old codger who’s worked in the snowmobile industry for a bazillion years. And as long as I can remember, OEMs have lied about their sled weights. Not every manufacture, and not every year. But it happens. A LOT. And there have been some egregious examples.

So much so that I’m always suspect of such numbers.

But the manufactures are not solely responsible for this mess. Some blame can be leveled at a couple of the magazines. I remember a 2- 3 year period in the late 1990s when one magazine brought a scale to the Snow Shoot tests, then proceeded to weight every sled there.

Sounds good on the surface, for sure, but the way it actually played out was complete BS. Here’s why:

The sleds were weighed in the middle of the event, after days of use. There was snow/ice built up in the skidframes; there was no “standard” as to how full the fuel or oil tanks were; some sleds had spare belts and tool kits, while others had neither.

Worse, Ski-Doo had brought in a huge heated tent, in which they placed their sleds to melt all of the snow/ice. Smart move, but of course it skewed the results by upwards of 15 lbs.

The whole endeavor was a joke. Not exactly the fault of the magazine, because they didn’t realize the wool being pulled over their eyes.

In recent years, I believe that Ski-Doo has been guilty of playing very fast-and-loose with their published weights. After coming out with their original XP chassis, they ran into durability issues (a common affliction for sleds designed to be ultra-light, which the XPs were/are). They responded with more robust components, which in turn increased the sleds’ weights. But their marketing department never bothered to change the numbers, or they changed them a fraction of the actual gain.

When it came to designing the 2012 models, Arctic Cat made a strong effort to cut weight. They put a scalpel to all areas of the sleds, from the chassis to the plastic to individual items like the seat, skis and the like.

F800 Sno Pro

Compared with the 2011 F8 Sno Pro (511 lbs.), the pre-production 2012 F800 Sno Pro dropped 57 lbs. to come in at 454 lbs.

F1100 50th Edition

At 518lbs., the 2012 F1100 Sno Pro weights 51 lbs. less than the 2011 equivalent.

By comparison, here’s a few published numbers from the competition:

2012 Ski-Doo 800 XR S = 459 lbs.

2012 Polaris Rush 800-R = 472 lbs.

2012 Polaris Rush 800 LE = 499 lbs.

2012 Polaris Turbo IQ = 599 lbs.

2012 Polaris Rush 600-R = 472 lbs.

Yep, the 2012 Arctic Cats compare very favorably to these sleds (Yamaha doesn’t publish their weights, so we either have to use our imaginations or simply ignore).

For an Arctic Cat rider coming off of a Twin Spar, the 2012s are WAY lighter. If you’re one of these riders, I promise you’ll be smiling the first time you ride your new sled.

I went to Snow Shoot this year with somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 miles on my F8 LXR with Fox Float ski shocks. The ’12 F800 was absolutely flickable compared to the ’11, not just because of the weight, but also because of the ergo’s (I’m convinced the wide seat on the Twin Spar sleds added to their perceived weight) and the ultra-rigid chassis.

When you initiate a movement on these sleds, they respond instantly!

Simply put, they feel light.

The 2012 Arctic Cats will be among their lightest in their respective classes. And if they’re not the lightest, they’ll be so close that it won’t matter for anything other than bragging rights.

Lighter is better. Always. And I hope that Arctic Cat continues to explore designs and materials that will further lighten their sleds in the coming years (without adding cost).

In the meantime, they’re back to being in the thick, er, thin of it.

It feels great. It feels right.

2012 M



  1. Light is right. As long as the durability of the chassis isn’t compromised. My thought is this: Whatever the final weight numbers turn out to be, Cat did it right. Design, develope, prove it, sell it. I hope next season, I’ll get a chance to throw a leg over one of these 2012’s.

  2. So since Cat is marketing the 1100 non turbo to replace the 600 2 stroke class sleds, what is the weight comparison between say, an F1100 LXR to either a comparable 4 stroke or 2 stroke 600? Curious how close the 1100 is to a 600 2 stroke.

  3. I agree with you Steve, and I’ve been trying to track down accurate info. The best I can do right now is give the weight of a 2010 F5 LXR, which was 527 lbs. when weighed on the show floor of a local dealership. I don’t know how much oil it had in the reservoir. The 500 should be smidgen lighter than the 600.

  4. If want to look at this somewhat fairly, then I guess you’d have to look at the last time cat recorded weights in the brochure. That was 2007 and the F6 LXR weighed 522lbs. Same as the 2012 F1100. By 2011, the Twin Spar chassis lost some weight, but dont know where it ended up?

  5. John

    I see where you are coming from with the Twin Spar but what about coming off a Sp500 going to a F1100—-will I be happy with this move. I know it isn’t really an apple to apple comparison—-just looking for an opinion.

  6. I for one do not buy the “magazine argument” about not publishing a weight. AC didn’t publish the weight of the twin spar because it was HEAVY. As a consumer, I am paying A LOT of money for a new sled that I haven’t ridden. AC owes it to its loyal customers to at least publish the ir best weight estimate – whatever it is. We are all grown-ups here… I think consumers will understand a few pounds here or there. After several runs down the assembly line, AC has a pretty good idea what these are going to weigh.

    Quite frankly, if they wouldn’t have put the weight on paper I would not have considered buying a sled.

    AC, thank you for finally hearing us!

  7. John, I’m still trying to convince my wife that I made the right decision for “her” in ordering the 1100na instead of the 800 or turbo. She’s coming off an 08′ F8 SP and a F7 before that. Do you have any idea what the 08′ 800’s weighed ? Also about the magazines. I feel they are all extremely biased and now they seem to throw all the brands a bone with their “best” picks. I don’t know if SnoGoer will ever get over being stiffed by Arctic Cat for there big comparo a few years ago !!

  8. I’m hoping my 2012 f1100 turbo weighs the same or less then my 08 f10sp and that it is faster, better handling, more comfortable to operate,longer lasting and saves me some in gas and oil…if all this comes true then I will be happy and satisfied with my purchase.

  9. RE: the “magazine argument”: I probably didn’t make the point clear enough that sleds used at Snow Shoot are truly pre-production units that might be upwards of 10-15 lbs. “different’ than actual production units. That’s a fact.

    In addition, a sled with snow/ice in the skidframe can easily weigh an extra 15 lbs.

    The point about the magazine-weighing-sleds-story was that they (magazine) had a solid idea that they should weigh sleds as their are ridden, full of gas/oil, with a took kit and spare belt.

    The reason the ACTUAL test was BS was because not all of the sleds were full of gas or oil; not all had tool kits or spare belts; and three of the brands’ had the extra weight of snow and ice.

    I completely agree that Arctic Cat should publish weights of sleds, even if the weights are higher than what they (or we) want.

  10. Messed-up: As for how does the F1100 feel compared to the SP500…In terms of weight, it feels heavier. It’s slightly slower to slow down, which is a function of the weight and an ever-so-slightly less powerful brake. That said, I doubt anyone will complain about the braking power of the new sleds.

    As for ergo’s (seat, seat width, handlebar position), they both “feel” equally light/maneuverable (I’m not sure the best words to describe the ergonomics of sleds like these, other than “maneuverable” and “comfortably-narrow).

    As for power, the 1100 feels lighter, by virtue of the fact it IS more powerful.

  11. Paul, I wish I had the perfect answer for you about whether you made the right choice. I believe that most people who are buying the F1100 are going to be happy with it, just as long as their expectation is 600-class performance.

    I also think there are some virtues of 4-stroke that I (and others) will appreciate, namely not having to buy $35/gallon oil, significantly improved fuel economy compared to the 600, not having to buy non-oxy 91 octane like I did for the 800 H.O., and reduced sound level. Oh…and electric start (I seriously like elec. start).

    The show floor weight of a 2010 F8 Sno Pro was 528 lbs. Not sure the amount of oil.

    The show floor weight of a 2010 F8 LXR was 554 lbs.

  12. Flintstone: I believe you will be happy with all except the “more comfortable” part.

    From a pure comfort standpoint, cruising trails and easy-to-medium pace, the Twin Spar is the best sled I’ve ever ridden. From their wind protection, ease of steering, adjustable seat/handlebars and couch-of-a-seat…the Twin Spars are super comfortable.

  13. Thanks for the reply John!! I’m keeping the twin spar in the stable for those days I need to feel the raw power of a 1000 2 stroke and the comfort of the twin spar..I’m thinking on those -20 days the twin spar will be the one I take!!

  14. Paul,

    I am in the same boat with the wife. She currently rides a CF8 HO. A CF7 before that. I am not sure that a XF1100 will have the power she is accustomed to. I thought about a turbo but that seems like overkill.

  15. Still can’t decide between the XF800 and the F800… Have an 08 F8 SP and love it on trail, but not so much off trail. Would like to try an XF800SP (i have a 06 CF6 too) but I’m concerned the float skid will be too harsh on trail and not ride very good in the trail chatter.
    Sure would be nice to ride before you buy.

  16. More about the wife. It’s her turn for a new sled but I’ve already sold my 08′ F8 to help pay for it and kept her 08′ F8 because she has saddle bags and less miles. I’m thinking if she hates the new ride she’ll still have her old sled that she really likes. Oh darn I’ll have to ride the new one !! I would have liked to bought 2 but one will be a stretch. Maybe next spring I can find another black 50th.

  17. The F1100 Turbo 50th will be my third foray into the 4 stroke world (04 T660 Turbo, 09 Z1 Turbo) hopefully this will be the one that keeps me in the four stroke world as I’m really tired of burning 2S oil like it’s free.

  18. All I can say for the non-turbo 4-stroke buyers expecting 2-stroke like performance is,,, Yes, from mid-range on up it’ll do the job,, but!!, UNLESS Cat made one heck of an improvement in very low speed performance (ie; ski lifting performance upon throttle pinning at these low speeds) vs the 2011 F1100 SP’s,, some will be feeling betrayed due to the addt’l front ends weight effect on “clearing” things normally cleared by 2-stroke performance,, I know this as a friend has pick of the litter each yr and went with the SP1100,, his words were: “it just ‘plows’ through stuff the 600 would lift the skis through”

  19. John. How bout the guy who only puts on about a 1000 miles a year. The 4 stroke not only being heavier would cost me more in the oil change than the amount of oil (fowler 2 cycle extreme at $24.99 a gallon) I would go through. I am not a big fan of electric start and battery maintanence as our sleds are parked outside during the winter season and about 150 feet from the nearest outlet. Sometimes the sleds sit for weeks without being touched so I can see battery replacement being expensive as well. I like pull starts. Never had one of them fail on me unlike batteries in my car, pickup and wheeler.


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