Arctic Cat has been proving its commitment to the sno-mo-biz in MY 2021 with the intro of solid performing, all-new models and breaking into a new segment with the BLAST and its variants.
Frankly, we think Cat is as committed to the industry as it’s ever been and intends to stay in the business for a long, long time.
Here’s what we’re speculating on: What does the 2-stroke future look like at AC?
Although Cat leads the industry in the power department with the Thundercat, its meat and potatoes product line is its 2-strokes – specifically its biggest inch 2-stroke, the new SDI 800 twin. This engine finds a home in so many different types of Arctic Cats – Trail, Crossover, Mountain – even Utility – that it provides a significant allotment of the company’s sales.
It’s no secret, although the 800 CTEC2 is a very powerful and fast 160-ish-horsepower engine, Ski-Doo and Polaris are both offering 850s. That sizzle factor alone – more displacement – is something the engineers at Cat have to deal with, and so do their dealers in the showroom wars.
We have zero doubt Cat is working – right while I’m writing this – on a larger version of the 800. Could it be a new 850 to be introduced in MY 2022? Dunno – but here’s what I’m thinking and the more I mull it over, the more I could see it happening.
We would not be surprised if Cat completely hurdled over the 850 2-stroke fence and introduced a new 900 twin. Yes, Cat already offered a Suzuki-built 900 twin almost two decades ago – and it was very successful.
It’s a different day now, though, and 2-stroke engines are much more refined and way more technical. Using nice clean, lean Semi-Direct Injection tech and all the balance refinements of new big-inch engines, a Cat 900 could be a homerun.
It would immediately grab the attention of the market and put the company a giant leap ahead of the competition. Cat would instantly go to the front of the bus!
A 900cc SDI 2-stroke could make power in the 170-plus range, be EPA certifiable and blow the socks off the lake racing public.
My guess is, if this were to come true, Cat would take the same route Polaris did by offering both the new 900 and the current 800 in the same models. Even the high performance market has some limitations and, depending on pricing, those shoppers may feel the 800 is more than sufficient for them.
We like this theory – and it’s purely speculative at this time, but wouldn’t it be an exciting development?
We think it makes a lot more sense than coming with a me-too 850!