There’s big buzz circulating about Arctic Cat’s new-for-MY2024 CATALYST platform.
Although it won’t be seen in showrooms this year, a real flesh-and-blood prototype was exhibited boldly at Hay Days in September. If you log onto Cat’s website, you’ll see a complete array of photos of the new sled and, wow, is it ever a beauty!
So, Cat has let the CATALYST out of the bag early (something that almost never happens in this biz) and created a ton of hype for a sled that is going to take a long time to actually park in your garage. Apparently, the plan is to release the sled with the current CTEC2 600 DSI 2-stroke twin under the hood – and who knows what other engine iterations will follow in the future.
This big news is certainly accomplishing what Arctic Cat intended – it’s putting the spotlight squarely on Arctic Cat and creating curiosity and expectations from not only Cat hardcores but other snowmobilers riding other brands.
We’re wondering what prospective Yamaha buyers are thinking about all this. For instance, does the current CATALYST platform accommodate any of Yamaha’s bread-and-butter 4-strokes? Is there room in this chassis to jam a 4-stroke triple, turbocharger and all the turbo-associated plumbing? Was the CATALYST designed to fit the steadfast 1049cc Viper engine or the 998cc SideWinder engine without a turbo? If not, will most future Yamaha’s be 2-strokes?
Although that last one seems unlikely, we can certainly envision all future Yamaha mountain sleds using the much lighter, belt-drive Catalyst chassis equipped with whatever 2-stroke engines that become available. Maybe a couple of completely rethought freestyle and crossover Yamahas will be coming down the pipe, too. Makes sense.
Here’s a thought: What if the CATALYST chassis was originally designed to accommodate a second, wider front bulkhead and bodywork that would fit 4-stroke triple variations more comfortably.
We’re absolutely certain Arctic Cat doesn’t want to give up on the Thundercat and all of its fans! Yeah, it would be expensive, but in this marketplace you’ve gotta do what you gotta do!
All this guessing gets our pulses pounding but we need to temper our enthusiasm with the fact Yamaha likely won’t be making this kind of product transition until at least MY2025.
In snowmobile years that seems like an eon but the wind is rising and the leaves are rustling, so who knows where this will all go?!!