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HomeFeaturesThe 11 Things to Know about the 2018 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Line

The 11 Things to Know about the 2018 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Line

Arctic Cat just took the wraps off of its 2018 line of snowmobiles, and there’s a WHOLE BUNCH of new stuff.

Here are the 11 key things to know about it:


One: ZR 200

2018 Arctic Cat ZR 200 Youth Snowmobile. Shown at

Youth riders rejoice: now there’s a “bridge” sled between 120s and full-sized snowmobiles! The all-new ZR 200 has a 9-hp 200cc Yamaha 4-stroke; a cool new Arctic Cat designed CVT system with the auto-adjusting/roller bearing design; lengthened chassis with coil-over shock equipped rear suspension; hydro disc brake; taller seat; longer 10 x 93 x 1.0-in. Cobra track; 2.2-gallon tank; and a 30.5-in. ski stance. This is a snowmobile that youth riders will have true fun riding on trails (it WILL be trail legal), in the trees and backyards/fields. Maybe just as important, adults can have a hoot on it as well! Plus there will be a bunch of cool accessories for it (and I suspect the aftermarket are going to have a field day building upgrades). Unless another brand introduces a similar model for 2018, I’m confident that the new ZR 200 is the single most important snowmobile for next (and future) year(s).


Two: M Series Progression

2018 Arctic Cat M Series. Ascender Platform.

2018 Arctic Cat M Series narrow bodywork.

It’s been three straight years of serious improvement on the M Series machines, with 2018 getting perhaps the biggest upgrades that result in a 10-15-lb. weight reduction depending upon model.

The improvements:

* Body panels are 3-in. narrower (and 1-lb. lighter) which lets you carve deeper in the snow without levering off the panels;

* Lightweight aluminum drive shaft (3-lb. weight savings);

* Hollow driven shaft (2.25 lbs. lighter);

* 5-lb. lighter gas tank (on Sno Pro/Mountain Cat non-electric start models);

* And a lightweight brake assembly that drops 1.3 lbs.

Plus all 2018 M sleds get the upgrades that came on the 2017 Mountain Cat (and which shed about 6 lbs.). These changes are referred as the Ascender Platform:

* A driveshaft that’s 1-in. lower and 0.75 in. rearward, which results in a flatter track-to-snow angle for improved floatability, quicker climbing on top of the snow while accelerating and improved handling. It makes possible the 3-in. lug track and 8-tooth drive sprockets;

* Revised running boards are 1-in. narrower for improved side-hill performance

* Revised bellypan shape allows the rider’s feet to move 2 in. further forward

* Thinner gauge aluminum on the rear tunnel, plus strategic cut-outs on the front tunnel section

Last year the Mountain Cat was the lightest M Series model, and now it sheds another 16 lbs. for 2018!

The year-over-year improvements to the M Series have made a HUGE impact. Read the media reports on the Early Release M 8000s, these machines are as good or better than anything else out there. They’re now the same weight as the Summits, and only 15-20 lbs. heavier than the RMKs, yet the M Series don’t shred to pieces if you smack a tree or incur a hard landing.


Three: C-TEC2 8000

Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

On the heals of the Early Release ZR and M Sno Pro models, it’s probably not a huge surprise that all 2018 8000-Series models will feature the new Arctic Cat C-TEC2 8000 engine with Dual-Stage Injection. As all the riders who have experienced this new engine are saying, it’s a sweet step up from the venerable Suzuki 800, with the big difference being a nice bump in low- and mid-range performance, as well as much lower oil consumption. Per Arctic Cat and compared to the Suzuki mill, the new Eight has a 36-percent increase in low-end torque (less than 5000 RPM), an 18-percent increase in mid-range torque (5000-6000 RPM) and 30 percent reduced oil consumption below 7000 RPM.

Put this in the “Hmmm…file”: I did several drag races last week (on the flat, perfect traction) with a 2018 M 8000 against a 2017 Ski-Doo Summit 850, both equivalent track lengths, and they were dead-even.


Four: TEAM Rapid Response II with ADAPT

Arctic Cat TEAM Rapid Response II snowmobile. At

This drive system debuted on the 2017 9000 models, and now it’s nearly across-the-board for 2018. The idea is beautifully simple: a roller bearing on the drive clutch (that allows much tighter belt deflection without wear) and a driven whose sheaves can continue squeeze inward, means that we never have to adjust for belt wear. Plus, it’s ratio offers a 12.5 percent lower speed at engagement compared to conventional systems, allowing a smoother take-off and even less wear. Arctic Cat is calling it ADAPT, for Automatic Deflection Adjustment Performance Technology. I call it smooth, smart and hands-off. It’s on all 2018 6000/7000/8000/9000 models except the Bearcat 7000 XTs.


Five: FOX QSL Shocks

2018 FOX QSL shock on Arctic Cat M Mountain Cat & King Cat

An all-new FLOAT QSL rear track shock on the Mountain Cat and King Cat models is mountain twist on the popular QS3. The new QSL features 1-2-L compression settings that correspond to light, medium and “locked” calibration. In deep snow and technical conditions, the L-position prevents too much rear-arm squat and exaggerated ski lift, for greater control and improved backcountry performance. In addition to the QSLs, FOX QS3 are now available in the FLOAT package on ski and front track shocks for Mountain Cat models.



Six: Next-Gen Bodywork

2018 Arctic Cat Next-Gen bodywork on snowmmobiles.

Yes, it’s cool because it’s a new twist on style and, I’ll admit it, new bodywork is nice simply because it’s a change. But the real beauty of the new stuff is the quick, easy access for opening the side panels and hood. Improved airflow under the hood is one of those features that we don’t really notice, but that makes a difference. Now standard on all 6000/8000/9000 models.


Seven: Norseman 6000

2018 Arctic Cat Norseman 6000 snowmobile. At

Arctic gives us another cool and interesting do-it-all machine in the form of the Norseman. It has a 15 x 154 x 1.6-in. Cobra track with Xtra-Action articulating rear suspension; a nice rear rack (with a large platform for adding gear) with built-in pivot hitch; mountain handlebar; the wide 10/8 ProUte skis; and a rear bag. As the name suggests, it’s powered by the C-TEC2 6000 engine and joins the 3000 series option on the Norseman 3000. Arctic Cat has a lot of options for riders who want a machine that can do double-duty, this one that bends towards utility, but that can be trail ridden and pick through the trees/deep snow while going off-trail. It probably won’t be a huge seller, but it’s going to deliver huge smiles to those who want such a machine.


Eight: New RR: Make that the REAL Racer

2018 Arctic Cat ZR 6000R XC REAL Racer. At

Want a real race sled instead of a replica? The 2018 ZR 6000R XC is available to us mere mortals. It’s the same sled used by Team Arctic’s Zach Herfindahl in his undefeated (so far) season in USXC cross-country, featuring a 43.5-in. wide c-to-c ski stance, FOX ZERO QS3 Kashima-coated shocks, 7-position coupling on the rear suspension, LED headlight, Cobra track, chassis reinforcements and tether switch.


Nine: Catillac 6000

2018 Arctic Cat Pantera 6000 shown at

Add a 6000 C-TEC2 engine to the power options in the touring Pantera family for 2018. Remember, this baby has a removable 2-up seat with adjustable backrest and heated passenger grips; a massive rear storage box; outlet for heated shield; LED headlight and a window (with mirrors) that keeps the wind moving around the rider and passenger. It joins the 3000 and 7000 Pantera.


Ten: Bearcat XT

2018 Arctic Cat Bearcat XT

Okay, so  only 1-in-500 people reading this care about the utility segment. For those of you who do, Arctic Cat brings the new Bearcat XT into its palette of choice for 2018 and featuring a 540cc fan-cooled twin with single carburetor; Hi/Lo tranny; TSS front suspension; 20 x 156 x 1.5-in. Cobra track; 37.8-in. ski stance; E-start and revers; ample under-seat storage; and a 400-watt output. Yes, it’s a rebadged Yamaha Viking.


Eleven: More CrossTour(ing)

2018 Arctic Cat XF 6000 CrossTour at

For 2018, the new CrossTour 6000 and CrossTour 9000 join the existing CrossTour 7000 in the solo-touring category. Seriously, if you’re into putting on big miles, the CrossTour package hits the sweet spot with 18.7 gallons of fuel capacity, a comfortably long 15 x 146 x 1.35-in. Cobra track wrapped around a SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension, mirrors, 14-in. mid-height window and heated visor plug-in. For those who like to log 300-mile days without the need for banging ditches, the CrossTour is an exceptional machine.

That’s it for now, more detailed ride reports coming soon.

Thanks for reading.



  1. As always, thanks for the report John.
    I agree, the biggest news for 2018 is the one of the smallest sleds…the 200 !

    I do have to say that #8 the “NEW RR” isn’t actually new as consumers were able to pre-season the R-XC for 2017. And we all know the 2015 and 2016 models did make it to dealers showrooms also. But it is interesting that Cat removed the 6000 RR 129 completely and only has the R-XC in that segment.

  2. 85 hp class is done, it’s been happening for awhile now. Very few to no racers are entering that class in USXC. Sad day, not more sweet 500 suzuki. The 200 is a real nice step…..

  3. Stop lying cause I’ve given a 30 ft head start to a 800 ctec and let it go first then drove by it before 300ft and it had 10 sled lengths by 600ft

  4. Are they ever going to release the snow bike? It’s been almost 2 years since they had it at hay days. Why show it to everyone if they have no intentions of making it.

  5. The ZR 200 was expected, but don’t stop there. How about a ZR 340 or 370 or a 400cc four stroke big enough to be about the size of a vintage sled? Like a Puma or a Cheetah? 40hp. Keep the price at 4000. Where I see a hole is the step up from kids sleds to those 120hp screamers or the trail 570’s. Keep the sled stupidly simple and reliable and air cooled for low snow conditions. Surf the web guys, people are scrambling to find Z 370’s and Z 440 single carbs in nice shape all over, as that step up sled before Junior gets a 6000. Keep going Cat.

  6. Got to hand it to cat. Not all I hoped but right direction. I do agree with earlier guy on the 850. I have an 850 and am the guy who switched back a few years ago. I actually wasn’t as impressed with it as others have been but have ran against the new 800 and have to say I was a little surprised how well the new 800 did. It didn’t out duel the 850 by anymeans but was more than respectable. The M series had most of those updates in 2017 some claiming new chassis in 18 isn’t real. Paneling yes. But most other changes were available on a 17. But step in the right direction and I am impressed. And yes agree the 200 is the big news. Pretty cool and I will have one coming for my kids. Attic cat does not get any ire from me this year. And am excited what new ownership can do.

  7. $3,749. On Cats website. Love the new body panels. Glad they did not use the narrow panels on the trails as that only makes them colder to ride and really does nothing for them. Nice job Cat. I may have to upgrade my 015 6000 now to the new. If I do it will be the Limited or just buy the headlight upgrade they show in the new catalog for under $400.00.

  8. It appears they are backing off on the wide availability of the SVX. At one point, I thought it was supposed to be trail legal, but perhaps they hit a few roadblocks to that claim. So now it appears they are focusing on more development since it may be strictly used for closed course competition – and Team Arctic doesn’t like to loose. I would think it could still be appealing to the western market for off-trail riding. I bet it will only be available through the race program at first, if this is indeed the direction they are now heading.

    My reaction to the 2018 line-up – Where is the innovation since 2012 in ALL areas of engineering. Seems more like natural progression. But they keep saying – we can’t wait to show you what we have coming. I’m waiting!

  9. I see that LED headlamp in the accessories catalog. It’s part number: 0709-096. But it only says it’s for 2018 models, which doesn’t make sense because don’t all the 18’s have the LED light? I am wondering if this will fit my 13.

  10. The lower cost 2018’s dont have the LED like the 6000 ES etc. Also the early release do not have the LED either. That is not a terrible price for the update though for those that dont.

  11. The Good: New tweener sled; MSRPs seemed to hold their own; much improved crossover lineup over even a couple years ago
    The Bad: Still no build to order for early buyers creating a one size fits all — ie. everyone must take electric start; no track options, etc…; Graphics are just OK; Still feels like we are chasing Ski Doo and Polaris – not sure the AC 2018 line closes that gap
    The Ugly: The lack of a reasonably priced sled that has 500+ performance. Ski Doo has an MXZ, Renegade, and Summit all below $8300. Polaris has this covered too. AC now has the ZR200 and the next step for a 500+ performance sled is the $11,249 ZR6.

  12. Arctic Cat and all of us faithful followers have a lot of cool new stuff to be excited about in 18′!
    With that said, I think Kevin nailed it.
    If I’m gonna pre order a sled, can I please have a few options? Does every Cat rider in the world want a Ripsaw 1.25? How about a Cobra or an Ice ripper? Also, in the ZR line, it seems there is very little difference from a standard, SP, LTD, to RR. They are all the same sled with different shocks.
    Despite my gripes………..I want a Tiger 8000!

  13. Build to order is not profitable. I know for a fact that Polaris looses money on a few models simply because they have as few as 1 sled ordered in that particular configuration. When that occurs they have to build an extra just for the rigorous certification process.

    Did you know that Arctic Cat has over 150 U.S. specific models ??

  14. Kevin I absolutely agree with all you said but this is the first time in quite a while I feel things are headed in the right direction. Until this purchase is finished cat never had the resources to compete with Doo or Polaris. For what they have, they are doing well. This purchase I hope changes some things. But I would agree Cat is still chasing. But they maybe about to narrow the gap. Remember R&D takes a min of 4-5 years to really make it to the consumer. So it will take some time I will stay on Doo for now but am watching closely and hope to switch back sooner than later.

  15. Plus the Zr 200 Has full line up of accessories. tunnel bags, high windshield, foot grips, full decal wrap package etc.
    If your in Atlantic Canada come in and see us at The M.A.R.S Store

  16. The last Suzook remaining is the ole 570 fan in the Lynx and Bearcat 2000.
    It will be a little sad when all the OEM’s stop making fan cooled engines. I would guess that will be by 2020. I think a liquid cooled 340 – 440 2 stroke sure would be nice as a low $ sled. But I guess that slot is being filled by the Kymco 700 4 stroke.

  17. didn’t arctic cat buy out the plant that made the Suzuki motors and now just call them C-tec2 and C-tec4 motors.


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