2012 Arctic Cat F800 Sno ProMarch 8, 2010

The face of Arctic Cat snowmobiles is changing forever, as the Thief River Falls, Minnesota-based brand launches two new, lightweight and innovative chassis platforms for the 2012 snowmobile season.

The new 2012 Arctic Cat ProCross chassis is found on 11 short-track (F) and nine crossover (XF) snowmobiles, promising the benefits of greatly reduced weight, new ergonomics, better suspensions, new driveline components, brakes and more.

The ProClimb chassis renews Arctic Cat’s M Series of mountain snowmobiles, Overall, Cat officials say the new chassis platforms and the components that tie to it trim up to 85 pounds off each machine they grace, while improving handling and agility.

Gone are Arctic Cat’s 600-class and 1000-class two-stroke twins. Buyers of 2012 Arctic Cat snowmobiles must choose between two 1100-class four-stroke (naturally aspirated at about 125 hp or turbo-charged to 177); Cat’s recently refurbished and super-stout 800-class twin (rated at about 160 hp); the playful 85 hp 500 twin; and the fan-cooled 570. In fact, 30 of the 43 models Cat has announced feature four-stroke engines.

A handful of sleds return in the Twin Spar chassis, but they are limited to the touring and utility sleds, plus the entry-level F570 and F5 LXR. But the future of Arctic Cat snowmobiles is clearly the ProCross and ProClimb platforms.

2012 Arctic Cat F1100 Sno Pro with Retro graphics
2012 Arctic Cat ProCross Chassis

At the core of the 2012 Arctic Cat snowmobiles, the ProCross features a pyramidal backbone that attaches to a new, two-piece tunnel. Cat officials say the design incorporates aluminum extrusions, stampings, forgings and castings.

The features that grab attention are the extra tall spindles and wide gap between the A-arms on the new Arctic Race Suspension (ARS) up front. Like on the Sno Pro race sled built since model year 2008, the A-arms are far from parallel, with the lower arm reaching deeper into the chassis while the upper is in a more traditional position. Cat engineers say the design improves comfort and cornering while reducing bump steer and providing optimal caster and camber.

Pushing that front suspension is a revised driveline. Gone is the ACT Diamond Drive system — replaced by the new Arctic Drive System (ADS) that brings back the chaincase on the opposite side of the powerplant, but includes many unique twists.

First, the system includes a Torque Control Link (TCL) that anchors the clutches to the engine, eliminating slop and any concerns about clutch alignment and center distance. Arctic Cat says the TCL, along with a new driven clutch, will provide quicker acceleration, consistent performance, longer belt life and fewer problems in the chaincase. Engineers kept the brake on the drive shaft, but it’s a new braking system. The new chassis features a Radial Master Cylinder (RMC) brake system, similar to those found on high-end sport bikes. It has a large brake disc, a dual-piston caliper and more mechanical advantage at the brake lever.

The 2012 Arctic Cat ProCross chassis is found on all large-displacement liquid-cooled F-sleds — meaning F1100 Turbo, F1100 and F800 models. Each of those is available in various versions.

LXR models come with a 15-by 128-by 1-inch HackSaw track on the 800 and naturally-aspirated 1100, with a 1.25-inch RipSaw on the Turbo, plus Fox shocks, a mid-height windshield and a storage bag. The four-strokes also get a heated seat. Sno Pro versions benefit from more aggressive settings and Fox FLOAT 2 shocks up front, a 1.25-inch RipSaw and a low windshield. Sno Pro Limited models also get the heated seat and hand guards, and both models plus Sno Pro 50th Anniversary models get special colors and graphics.

2012 Arctic Cat M1100 Turbo Sno Pro Limited
That pattern is duplicated with the crossover sleds. The Crossfire moniker was 86ed — the new name is XF, as in XF1100 Turbo, XF1100 and XF800, with various versions of each, adorned with a 141-inch track, an adjustable ski stance and mountain handlebars with a center strap.

LXR versions of each 2012 Arctic Cat XF offer Fox shocks, a rear storage bag, electric start, 1.25-inch track lugs and a mid-height windshield, plus a heated seat on the four strokes. Sno Pro XF models have Fox FLOAT shocks up front, 1.5-inch track lugs and a low windshield.

2012 Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500
Four-stroke Sno Pro Limited and Sno Pro 50th Anniversary models get most of these features, plus special colors and graphics. Look for a love-it-or-hate-it white-with-orange design on Limited models, and a nostalgic 50th Anniversary look that many longtime riders are bound to love.

2012 Arctic Cat ProClimb for the mountains

Dubbed the ProClimb chassis, the base of the 2012 Arctic Cat mountain machines is a minimalist design, with a pyramidal base and every attention possible paid to trimming weight while keeping or improving strength. The driveline improvements found on the ProCross (clutches, Torque Control Link, brakes, etc.) are found here, too, as is a narrower version of the wide-spread ARS front suspension.

2012 Arctic Cat XF800 Sno Pro
There are unique mountain updates, too. A new mountain ski features a deeper keel, traction on top and a new ski lip design. Telescoping steering with a 4-inch range returns to the M800 Sno Pro and HCR models for 2012. Those models also benefit from a spring-free rear suspension utilizing a Fox FLOAT rear shock.

Cat did away with most of its two-stroke offerings for the mountains — as M1000 and M6 models disappear — while introducing nine four-stroke mountain sleds. With the new chassis, Cat says its naturally aspirated 125 hp M1100 models (a base model, plus a Sno Pro, Sno Pro Limited and Sno Pro 50th Anniversary model) will be able to hang with competitive 600 two-strokes on the market. Time will tell.

With that same 1056cc powerplant turbocharged to create 177 hp, Cat has five models (a base M1100 Turbo, plus a Turbo HCR, Turbo Sno Pro, Turbo Sno Pro Limited and Turbo Sno Pro 50th Anniversary). The two-strokes available for 2012 are the base M800, along with Sno Pro and HCR options.

Base models come with a 15- by 153- by 2.25-inch Powderclaw track in the rear and coil-over Fox shocks in the front. Sno Pro versions come with a 15- by 162- by 2.25- inch track and front Fox FLOATs. And all of these models have adjustable-width front ends between 40 and 41 inches.

The HCR (which stands for Hill Climb Racer) is set up wider (with a ski stance adjustable between 42 and 43 inches), features ice scratchers, a harder durometer 15- by 153- by 2.25-inch track and Fox FLOAT Evols on the front and a Fox FLOAT on the rear arm of the skid.

For more information and pictures about the 2012 Arctic Cat snowmobiles, pick up the Spring 2011 issue of Snow Goer magazine on newsstands.

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