While there’s always the anticipation of some morsels of info on following year’s models in January, it’s rare to see a full-line, complete unveil of everything for the next season by any OEM this early in the year. This is uncharted waters for the industry and may have some long-term repercussions with the other OEMs.
Simply put, manufacturers like to be first out of the gate when it comes to unveiling next year’s sleds, but this comes with one major caveat. You can’t show your hand until your dealers’ showrooms are empty of current model year sleds. If you mess up this timing there’ll be a boatload of dealers screaming at their District Sales Managers that their current year product is now obsolete.
This is a complicated dance – most of the time. For Arctic Cat though, not so much. The company unveiled the all-new CATALYST platform over a year ago with one tell-tale feature missing. Everyone immediately knew the CATALYST would be carrying an 850-class engine in the very near future and here we are with the unveiling of the 858.
Let’s take a look at where this 165 horsepower, 2-stroke twin will show up in MY25 and explore some other interesting AC developments…
Some notable info on the 858 CATALYST comes in the form of an open admission that this engine met Arctic Cat’s engine design parameters of a full ten percent increase in peak horsepower!
Let’s do that math. I think it’s safe to say the former SDI 800 engine made between 150 and 160 ponies. If ten percent is spun off 150 horses then the new Stroker 858 is making 165 horsepower. If the ten percent is a result of starting with 160, then the 858 is making slightly more than 165. We’ll let you know what happens when we take a WOT run with the 858 down Kevlar Lake.
It’s Really All About CATALYST and the 858
The 858 was designed to be mounted in only the CATALYST. Yeah, we know, this year the CATALYST comes with the current 600 DSI engine. Truth is, the brain trust at Arctic Cat had to adapt the 600 to fit in this new platform. The 600 is actually mounted higher in the chassis than the 858. We look for a 600-class engine based on the 858’s architecture to arrive sometime in the future.
Based on our impressions after riding the 600, the new CATALYST feels light in the twisties and well balanced in the whoops. We already know the new 858 engine is within ounces of the 600’s weight so these handling impressions should hold true with the 858’s additional power.
Here’s the lineup…
The ZR for 2025 comes in three forms. The base line ZR is available with the 858 or the 600 DSI twin. Next is the ZR Sno Pro with the above two engine options, and finally the ZR with ATAC adjustable on-the-fly shocks. All three versions can be had with 129 or 137 X 1.25 lug RipSaw tracks. These models have many more unique and desirable features you can read about in the full AC release.
The CATALYST ZR R-XC also returns for MY25, now available with both the 600 DSI and 858 C-TEC2 engines featuring Fox QS3R shocks up front and the SLIDE-ACTION rear suspension features a Fox 1.5 QS3 on the front skid shock and a 2.0 QS3R on the rear. This sled’s only available as a 137 and boasts the 1.35 Cobra track.
It needs to be noted there’s also a ProCross-based ZR powered by a 1049cc, 135 horsepower class 4-stroke triple available with a 129 or 137 X 1.25 inch RipSaw. This is an important addition to the AC lineup for MY 2025. Arctic Cat needs 4-strokes and this is a good one.
The Thundercat returns for 2025 in the ProCross chassis powered by a 200-horsepower class turbocharged and intercooled 4-stroke engine offered standard with EPS and ATAC.
Back to CATALYST Models
The CATALYST based 2025 RIOT is available with either the 600 DSI or the Stroker 858 and is offered in three trim levels: Base, SnoPro or with ATAC. The RIOT utilizes an Arctic Cat X-Over “Cross Action” rear skid inside a 146-inch, 1.75-lug or a 146-inch 1.35 lug sneaker. It is worth mentioning all CATALYST models for 2025 use AC’s exclusive belt drive final drive system.
Cat also offers a RIOT built on the ProCross platform using the 998cc turbocharged and intercooled 200 HP class 4-stroke triple.
Steep and Deep CATALYST
The base M Alpha One and the M Alpha One SnoPro are available with either the 600 DSI or the 858 Stroker. Track choices for both the M models wrap around Arctic Cat’s proprietary single beam “Alpha One” skid in 146, 154 and 165 lengths using 2.6 or 3.0 lug options. There is also the M Mountain Cat in 2 iterations with only one engine choice – 858 power – the Mountain Cat and the Mountain Cat with ATAC. It appears at this writing both versions come with Arctic Cat’s G-8 Digital Display and both feature the Alpha One single-beam rear suspension.
That’s a quick run through the 2025 AC lineup paying specific attention to where the CATALYST with 858 power will be in play. We’ll bring you more info on AC’s 2025 lineup in the coming weeks. For now, take satisfaction in being among the very first people to see a full-on, next-year-introduction earlier than ever before!