We hadn’t thought about it much before but it’s interesting to note that Arctic Cat has had two strong entries in the ultra-performance category for several years and so has Polaris.
With Cat, it’s the ProCross 8000 2-stroke and the 9000 4-stroke Turbo. Polaris has offered the 800 RUSH, now the AXYS-based version, and the Indy 800, the company’s more conventional hypersled with a shock-in-skid suspension.
Meanwhile, Ski-Doo has been dominating sales with a plethora of XS-based models based on 800 E-TEC power. We’re wondering if the competition’s taller menu has gone unnoticed by Ski-Doo’s product planners. Frankly, we doubt it, but it may give indication of some new thinking in Valcourt.
It looks like the price of entry into the hypersled segment is somewhere north of 160-hp. Certainly, the 800 E-TEC fits that description but it is showing signs of no longer being the performance dominator it was three or four years ago.
Yes, we’ve discussed a newer version of E-TEC (E-TEC II) may be coming and we strongly believe there’s merit in this guess, however, it would also make sense for Ski-Doo to shore up its potential by throwing a curveball at the hyper class.
We think the company is due to offer either a very hot 160-plus version of the 4-TEC triple or change up the game completely with a 900cc E-TEC twin. There are good reasons for considering either option.
With a 900 E-TEC, Ski-Doo would change all the rules and definitely get all the press and spotlight for the next couple of years. We think Arctic Cat may be coming with a new C-TEC2 hyper engine soon and may be thinking the same thing: “Go bigger and knock everyone else out at once!”
You can bet Ski-Doo would hate to see Cat jump over them and capture even more market share. On the other hand, a jacked 160-hp 4-TEC may be enough to capture the uber 4-stroke-market and keep the company front-of-mind for the immediate future.
It should be an interesting year or two in this enthusiast-focused category.