Arctic Cat debuts purpose-built 'snow bike' in 2017 model line

  • 03-Mar-2016 11:53 EST
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Arctic Cat launches its SVX 450 snow bike, the industry's first OEM purpose-built, single-ski snow vehicle.

Arctic Cat’s recently unveiled snowmobile lineup for the 2017 model year includes an OEM industry first: the all-new SVX 450 purpose-built, single-ski snow bike. Other 2017 highlights include what the company claims is the industry’s most powerful turbo engine, boasting 180 hp (134 kW), and 19 all-new snowmobile models featuring new body styling and weight reductions for improved power-to-weight performance.

“We have entered an all-new category with the lightweight and agile SVX 450 snow bike, which will be purpose built to meet all snowmobile certification standards,” said Arctic Cat President and CEO Christopher Metz, in a statement. “We also released the industry’s most powerful turbo engine in several new 9000 Series models, including our new Arctic Cat ZR Thundercat.”

Arctic Cat engineered the patented SVX 450 to meet the growing popularity of snow biking across western North America. The bike is powered by a 450cc, 4-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection.

Development of the SVX 450’s unique single-beam skid frame was a collaborative effort between Arctic Cat and Camso—a leader in track designs—to be lightweight and agile, and provide traction on steep hills and backcountry terrain. The front ski complements the rear suspension to provide “the maximum amount of flotation” in deep snow and accurate handling and control on the trail, the company claims.

The SVX 450 will be available in winter 2017.

The all-new 9000 Series C-TEC4 is a turbocharged, three-cylinder engine producing 180 hp. The 998cc 4-stroke engine features an intercooled turbo and DOHC design that is matched with new 4-hole fuel injectors; engine braking control via an idle speed circuit and engine mapping; aluminum cylinders; and a press forged crankshaft.

Arctic Cat says the new engine is 10 lb (4.5 kg) lighter than the 1100 turbo Suzuki twin that powered its previous 9000 Series snowmobiles. The new 998cc turbo engine is designed and built by Arctic Cat’s OEM partner Yamaha.

Redesigned body styling delivers improved airflow for better engine cooling. Engineers focused on quick, easy access with removable side panels and a new on/off hood assembly.

New 2017 snowmobiles available with the 9000 Series Turbo engine are all ZR models, including the new ZR Thundercat; and the XF Cross Trek, XF Cross Country, and XF High Country.

For the company’s 2017 line of M Series mountain snowmobiles, five unique packages are available, including the all-new Mountain Cat version, which has a lowered driveshaft, narrower running boards, and increased forward foot placement for enhanced backcountry performance.

Weight reduction was a major focus for all M Series snowmobiles, to improve power-to-weight performance. The effort cuts up to 6 lb (2.7 kg), depending upon the model and track length.

For 2017, Arctic Cat developed a trio of new, versatile crossovers for backcountry sledding. The XF Cross Country Limited is available in 6000, 8000, and 9000 versions, and features the ProCross chassis, which incorporates aluminum extrusions, stampings, forgings, and castings. A forged steering housing ties together many of the load-bearing chassis components.

The new “race-tested” 137-in Backcountry X track with 1.75-in cupped lugs is a key element of the new Cross Country models. It is wrapped around the Slide-Action Rear Suspension with the Torque Sensing Link and coupling blocks. The company describes the suspension setup: “Our U-shaped slot fits over a fixed shaft to allow a crucial half-inch of sliding movement. As the rear transfer blocks are engaged, the free-acting front arm follows the terrain, keeping the skis firmly planted over bumps, and during aggressive cornering and acceleration. This significant detail controls ski lift during acceleration.”

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