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HomeFeaturesMore Tech Pix and Descriptions of the 2012 Arctic Cats

More Tech Pix and Descriptions of the 2012 Arctic Cats

There’s so much more to explain about the 2012 model year Arctic Cat sleds, here’s a brief overview of just some of it.


2012 Arctic Cat

The tapered two-piece tunnel design adds greater rigidity to the rear of the chassis, while the tapering significantly improves the ergonomics and leg comfort. The top of tunnel is 15-in. wide (compared to 16 in. on the Twin Spar and 17 in. on the ZR), while wider at the footrests, which maintains the sled’s narrow feel without sacrificing track clearance. This is something I absolutely noticed, and 100-percent approved of. The rear tunnel section of the ProCross chassis is concave to allow snow to flow on top of the rear heat exchanger, offering increased cooling.


2012 Arctic Cat

Greatly influenced by the Sno Pro race sled, the one-piece forged ski spindles are taller to reduce forces/loads into the spindle, and to allow a longer distance between the upper and lower A-arms for added chassis strength.



Arctic Drive System (ADS): Diamond Drive is gone, replaced by a new chain and sprocket design, all of which is part of the new ADS. It includes a larger 10.75-in. diameter driven clutch, a longer center-to-center distance (12.2-in. on the 800s, 11.5-in. on the 1100s) than the previous 10.5-in. c-to-c, and is reverse-capable on the 4-stroke snowmobiles (a push-button system that actuates a a solenoid to shift the gears).. The brake rotor remains on the driveshaft.

Torque Control Link

The big news here is a new development called the Torque Control Link (TCL) that serves as a fixed C-to-C distance, coupled with a bearing design on the chaincase side that allows 5 degrees of movement. With the system, the engine and jackshaft (and thus both clutches) are connected to maintain a fixed distance and always parallel regardless of torque, improving performance and increasing belt life.

Like any snowmobile motor, when it’s revved, the torque load results in movement relative to the chassis. For the first time ever, the movement of the jackshaft mimics the movement of the engine. Making this possible without throwing chains is a self-aligning ball bearing assembly on both sides of the jackshaft.


Chaincase itself is made of magnesium for a 36% weight reduction compared to aluminum. The oil reservoir/tank is incorporated into the chaincase cover, reducing parts and weight. A new self-adjusting chain tension is cool and creative, eliminating over-tensioning.



Arctic Cat is calling the latest generation front suspension ARS (Arctic Race Suspension). It combines tall ski spindles and widely-spaced upper/lower A-arms for the greatest torsional rigidity and strength. The A-arms mount to the chassis in a 30-degree angle from the chassis centerline with optimal caster/camber spindle angles to improve comfort and cornering traction while reducing bump/steer. The one-piece spindle construction with ball-joints eliminates the added weight and stiction of spindle-in-housing designs.



2012 Arctic Cat

While Diamond Drive is gone, Arctic Cat wanted to keep the brake rotor/caliper on the drive shaft. Yet they also wanted more powerful braking force than the previous design, so with its brake partner (Hayes), they developed the Radial Hydraulic Master Cylinder Brake System: the master cylinder’s bore is perpendicular to the handlebar (instead of in-line with the handlebar like typical systems). The result is more positive stroke for a given distance of lever movement, improving braking power.

 2012 Arctic Cat

The dual-piston caliper is mounted on the front of the disc, rather than on-top, so that any chassis flex won’t push the brake pads/pistons back into the caliper (often called “knock-back”).

The rotor itself is 12% larger in diameter (yet also 6% lighter), which delivers better braking performance with less effort.

I’d characterize the braking feel somewhere between the Wilwood jackshaft version on the Sno Pro/ZR sleds and the Hayes/Wilwood system on the Twin Spar sleds. I heard a few editors complaining that the brake worked too good, to which I say there’s no such thing.



Mountain Ski

Lighter, with an increased keel depth for increased cornering traction. It also features molded-in “gripper” traction on the top side and a new ski loop design that is stiffer and provides better hand ergonomics.


Telescoping steering

Available on the M800 Sno Pro, XF High Country and HCR only, the quick-adjust Telescoping Steering system allows riders to quickly adjust handlebar height within a four-inch range (there are 12 positions with 3/8-in. increments), using a simple hand-operated locking collar. Tall enough to eliminate the need for a 10-plus-10-equals 20-in. handlebar riser? I’ll ask Dude.


2012 Arctic Cat

A stouter, triangulated front chassis enabled the use of a simplified, single bell-crank, replacing the previous twin-bell rack design to reduce the amount of “free play” that can develop during use. Turning radius is sharper than both the Twin Spar and M Series.


Hood-integrated air box

Hood-Integrated Air Box: The center portion of the “hood” is also the airbox/intake system. Multitasking… I like it.


Intake is at the rear of the hood.


XF Skidframe

The XF skid comes with either a coil-over Fox Zero Pro or Fox Float rear shock. Tri-hub rear wheel assembly is said to be lighter and mor durable than the standard four-separate-wheels design.


M Skidframe

Revised M skidframe also gets the Tri-Hub rear wheel assembly, and Swiss Cheese rails.

That’s it for now. More pix and info next week.



  1. Great work John!
    So the heat exchanger on the procross hangs down a bit under the domed portion? A pic of that from underneath would be interesting. If chain and gear life is not compromised this TCL should be the best thing ever for belt and clutch life! How is the engine mounted (aside from the PTO side) to the chassis? # of mounts? What about repair, if a guy smoked an A-arm or more are the components in front of the tunnel replacable individually? Pics of the intake system and how it is routed from the console to throttle bodies? Could we get some pix showing how the body panels fasten to the sled? A shot of the pipe fitment on the 800 would be cool too!
    Sorry for all the questions, but this thing has a story to tell!

  2. That’s some pretty impressive technology, It will take a while for my simple mind to fully understand it all. Call me crazy but the mechanical reverse on the 4 stroke is a little more appealing to me. I’m no fan of electronic engine reverse. Doe’s Arctic have to pay Skidoo to use that? To me that’s making deals with the enemy.

  3. Love the new Crossfires!! I have a few questions,why do they not have telescoping sterring on the xf snopros,why cant I get a retro 800 snopro and last but not least is there any storage in the seats of the snopros? These things are not deal brakers,but things that I like about my2011 snopro.

  4. Jerry the reverse on the 4 stroked is mechanical as you can not spin a 4 stroke back wards like they do with the 2 strokes. The electronic reverse on the 4 stroke is being able to push a button and a solenoid clicks it into reverse rather than pulling a lever with your hand

  5. Please correct me if I am wrong but the engine/jackshaft link was proven in the 2002 440 Firecat SnoPro racer. It worked very well but the brake inside the tunnel on the track driveshaft was a bit troublesome. The 2012 set-up should be the bee’s knees.

  6. Allen, you are correct -if you rememebr Tucker suffered a breakdown when using this brake in the race sled many years ago

  7. Use a GM disc drum, or disc disc, or use a Ford dual MC for drum/drum. Your car will be light so no need for power brakes. Actually, a nice old set up is twin 55 chevy MC’ers, chmored, up on the firewall with a balance bar so you can use one for the front and one for the rear and tweek each to set the brake grab.(this is for drum/drum only please)


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