2024 Arctic Cats: Ground Breaking Catalyst, And More

2024 Arctic Cat ZR 600 R-XC
2024 Arctic Cat ZR 600 R-XC

Arctic Cat released its full 2024 snowmobile lineup today, and it included an interesting mix of totally new machines in the new Catalyst chassis plus time-tested machines that can be ordered starting March 6 to be ridden next winter.

The biggest news is all about the cutting-edge Catalyst chassis, which will be the basis of new 600-class snowmobiles for the trail, crossover and deep snow markets. However, Arctic Cat has been openly talking about this long-awaited new platform since September and has let many people ride preproduction versions of the snowmobiles this winter, including us.

Details on the rest of the 2024 Arctic Cat lineup is what was held until now. Non-Catalyst models internally referred to as Cat’s “legacy” product in the ProCross/ProClimb chassis, these models include a rather deep assortment of ZR, Riot, M, Blast and Norseman sleds that are lightly updated from last season, plus the return of some old favorites from 2020-2022 that weren’t in the 2023 lineup last season.

Specifically, the ZR 7000, Pantera 7000, ZR 8000 RR and ZR 9000 RR all return after a short hiatus. 

Catalyst Is For Real

Snowmobiling super-enthusiasts have been reading about, seeing and in some cases even riding sleds in the new Catalyst chassis for months now, so some of the mystery is missing on this official 2024 unveiling day. But because this exciting new platform cuts across the full-sized trail, crossover and mountain segments, we’ll start with it right up front.

When designing the Catalysts, Arctic Cat designers focused on centralizing masses, stripping weight, lightening steering, optimizing ergonomics  and maintaining durability. The first four of those were all evident on our initial rides on Catalyst machines – the durability part of the equation will only be proven through time.

Taking them one at a time, masses were centralized by moving the engine lower and deeper into the chassis while moving the rider and the fuel tank more forward. Weight was stripped pretty much everywhere by optimizing parts and operating systems and paying attention to every possible detail. That included big things – like having a final belt drive in place of a chain case and integrating composite running boards. It also includes minutia, such as taking out every potential inch excess wiring.

Catalyst Chassis belt drive
The belt drive system is one of many elements that stripped weight from the Catalyst chassis.

Weight was also taken out of the completely redesigned steering system, which has many fewer nuts, bolts, bracket and shafts, but the sleds also turns more effortlessly and in a tighter radius. The shift of the rider more forward and on a higher perch improved the ergos. Cat officials say the goal was to strip away 10 percent of the sleds’ weight – that’s a mighty bullish goal for sleds that weight close to 500 pounds.

The results were self evident on our rides on Catalyst ZR, Riot and M sleds this winter. In particular, ZR and Riot models we tested in the Catalyst chassis felt notably more agile and effortless, and thus more fun. Meanwhile, we had to teach ourselves not to over-lean on the M 600 in the Catalyst chassis, as it was much more reactive to driver feedback than the previous ProClimb design.

All new Catalyst chassis machines for 2024 will come with an updated 599cc C-TEC2 two-stroke engine with semi-direct injection and three-stage variable exhaust. Compared to previous years, the 600 gets a new fuel management system, a more durable crankshaft, an updated exhaust servo, a new stator and more.

ZRs For The Trail

There will be two Catalyst chassis ZRs – a base ZR 6000 and a race-ready ZR 600 R-XC.

Drivers get choices on the base model – it can be ordered with either a 129- or a 137-inch RipSaw II track with either IFP shocks all around or Fox Zero iQS shocks with the ATAC system that allows a rider to toggle between soft, medium and firm settings using handlebar mounted switches and the gauge.

The ZR 600 R-XC, meanwhile, features rear suspension geometry specifically designed for cross-country racing plus some reinforcements in key areas. Both ZRs are agile, fun and incredibly light feeling – and big steps up from previous ProCross-based ZR6 models.

As for the rest of the full-sized ZR lineup, there are now two ZR 9000 models, two ZR 8000s and one ZR 7000.

The super-powerful ZR 9000s are powered by the benchmark 998cc Yamaha four-stroke turbocharged triple that has been putting smiles on speed freaks’ faces for years. The Thundercat version comes with electric power steering and push-button control over IQS shocks.

2024 Arctic Cat ZR 8000
Throwback graphics on the 2024 Arctic Cat ZR 8000

The newish-for-24 (due to the 2023 hiatus) ZR 9000 RR eschews those features but it does get the Kashima coating on its shocks, plus rail and tunnel reinforcements and a short window.

A somewhat similar pattern is followed in the 800-class, where the base ZR 8000 is re-joined by a ZR 8000 RR models. Better shocks and reinforced running boards are the key upgrades one gets when ordering an RR.

The ZR 7000 returns for 2024 after a multi-year departure. It’s powered by the “common man’s four-stroke,” a 1049cc naturally aspirated triple from Yamaha that the brands rather generously rate at about 135 horsepower.


The more diminutive ZR 120 gets an upgrade to its recoil rope bushing, while the slightly upsized ZR 200 youth sled gets a new red taillight lens. 

Riot Crossovers

Much like the ZR trail lineup, the big news among Riots is the creation of the new Riot 600 in the Catalyst chassis, with its weight loss, centralized masses, lighter steering and more.

The Riot 600 can be ordered with a 15- by 146-inch track that can either be a Cobra with 1.6-inch lugs or a Hurricane design spinning 1.75-inch lugs. Buyers can also choose between base level IFP shocks or Fox iQS shocks as a part of Cat’s ATAC system. It comes with a 39-inch ski stance. 

2024 Arctic Cat Riot 600
The two colors of the 2024 Arctic Cat Riot 600.

Only colors and graphics change on the returning Riot models in Cat’s lineup.

The Riot X 8000 once again leans toward off-trail in the crossover world, with the single-beam Alpha skid frame that’s wrapped by a 15- by 146-inch Power Claw track with beefy 2.6-inch lugs. Up front is the narrow, 39.5-41.5 adjustable Arctic Mountain Suspension with streamlined spindles and wide G2 Pro Climb-7 skis for floatation and backcountry agility. The handlebar position is dictated by a vertical steering post to make stand-up riding more comfortable.

The Riot 8000 without the X is back with a twin-rail Cross-Action rear suspension wrapped by a 15- by 146- by 1.6-inch Cobra track. Those pieces plus the wider ski stance on the Arctic Race Suspension II front suspension and more laid back steering post cue the fact that this machine is more trial focused.

Those models use Cat’s 794cc liquid-cooled, two-stroke twin with semi-direct injection.

Back for its sophomore season is the four-stroke Riot 9000. Frankly, this 200 horsepower big dog isn’t ideal for picking a path on a tree-lined slope. But its 146-inch track harnesses the engine’s big power, and the uncoupled CrossAction lets it joyously wheelie when so desired.

Have A Blast

Technically, the Arctic Cat Blast lineup on the roughly 7/8th size chassis shrinks by one snowmobile for model year 2024, but that’s only because narrower 35.5- to 37.5-inch ski stance, lightweight seat and 10.4 gallon fuel tank that debuted on last year’s Blast M 4000 Limited are now standard on the regular Blast M 4000.

Otherwise, expect more of the same, mechanically, from the popular Blast sleds, which are all powered by a surprisingly stout 397cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine with variable exhaust. The graphics package on the models, though, all seem to get a bit wilder.

The trail-focused Blast 4000 ZR works in a sort of high-viz color integrated with multiple streaks of white on a black background. The utilitarian Blast 4000 LT with a taller seat and rear rack has splashes of orange in the graphics. The crossover focused Blast 4000 XR crossover and Blast XR Touring touring machine are unchanged.

2024 Arctic Cat M 600 Mountain Cat
2024 Arctic Cat M 600 Mountain Cat

Mountain Rockers

Go ahead, call us a broken record if you must, but the M mountain sleds follow the pattern of much of the rest of this story – with exciting, all-new 600 class models in the Catalyst chassis and a bunch of higher-output models returning mostly unchanged.

The M 600 Mountain Cat impressed our test crew on our initial test rides with its incredibly light feeling, impressive agility and the surprising ability of its little 600-class motor to climb with the big dogs.

Power Claw track options are a 146-incher with 2.6-inch lugs or a 154-incher with either 2.6-inch or 3-inch lugs. The ski stance is set at 36 inches, and this model is only available with baseline IFP shocks.

Among the returning sleds, Cat interestingly moved the Mountain Cat and Hardcore models closer to one another. The stronger tunnel design that included an extra edge roll that was previously exclusive to the Hardcore is now shared with the Mountain Cat. So, the primary differentiator between the two models now are the shocks.

The Hardcore buyer gets coil-over Fox QS3 shocks that are set up for bashing, while the Mountain Cat buyers gets Fox FLOAT 3 QS3 air shocks.

Otherwise, each sled can be ordered at track lengths of 146-, 154- or 165-inch around the Alpha One single beam skid frame, with lug heights varying between 2.6- and 3 inches depending on their choice.

2024 Arctic Cat Pantera
2024 Arctic Cat Pantera

Touring And Utility

The Pantera 7000 is making a triumphant return! Cat’s two-up touring buggy with the 1049cc Yamaha four-stroke triple reminds fans of Cat’s long dedication to luxury two-passenger touring.

The Norseman X 8000, meanwhile, returns as Cat’s lone utility offering.

Editor’s Note: Every Snow Goer issue includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive print and/or digital issues.

3 thoughts on “2024 Arctic Cats: Ground Breaking Catalyst, And More

  • Avatar for Bob+Klapperich

    Well done, Mr. Prusak and Snow Goer (as usual)! I enjoyed seeing your take on the lineup.

  • Avatar for David Bon

    I am tired of BRP dealers arrogance, and am considering a Cat for my next sled, but won’t buy one without knowing the dry weights. Instead of publishing articles filled with riders impressions and rhetoric please tell us what the sleds weigh.

  • Avatar for Jon

    I snow checked a catalyst mountain sled but I would have liked to test ride.

    Did they do any testing in CO and why did they have so few opportunities for the public to ride?


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