Welcome back friends.
I have a vested interest in Arctic Cat. A few years ago when I picked up my used and abused 2012 model, I knew they were onto something. At that point, I had put maybe 3 minutes of driving on Doug’s Can-Am Maverick as my only SXS driving experience.
Sure, the Mav was a monster; power for days. At the time, it was THE fastest SXS on the market. But, the Wildcat just felt special. For each having 4 wheels, 4wd, v-twin engines, and good suspension, the Wildcat and the Maverick couldn’t be any more different. Every one of our friends who’ve ridden in both agree completely, and they either loved or hated the Wildcat. And I think that’s exactly what AC was going for.
For me, it was pure love for the machine. It reminded me of sand rails that I’ve seen in person at Silver Lake sand dunes and the one time back in 2004 I was lucky enough to spend 2 days out at Glamis. It looks like a mid-sized sand rail, and it handles bumps and jumps better than you’d ever expect it to. The engine sounds great, but it has always been low on power. Even when it came out, many were quick to say that it needed more power. Lots more.
I agree with that assessment. My new-to-me 2013.5 model with the Team clutch is great, but it still could use some extra oomph.
So for 2017, we’re calling it. Arctic Cat WILL BRING THE FIRE to the Wildcat 1000.
FIRST OFF, huge thanks to HamBillyMudDiggers on YouTube for taking the prototype Wildcat video from the 2016 Arctic Cat dealers meeting. Without that video, speculation on the new Cat would be pretty much impossible.
You’ve surely read our previous article that does a full breakdown on the machine featured in the video. If not, go over that first. Check it out here.
Now that you’ve read all that, we’re going to go deeper.
I’ve watched the video frame by frame, I’ve read many rumors on the forums, and all of that has brought me to one conclusion:
The 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 will come with a snowmobile-sourced 1050cc-ish inline twin/triple available naturally aspirated and turbo/supercharged.
How did we come to that conclusion?
–THE SOUND. Watching the video, even once, you know the engine sounds like a 2 cylinder. The YXZ has an incredibly unique exhaust note, and this is nothing like that. More on the triple theory below.
-Frame by frame analysis of the video. Check out the picture below:
First, the top left frame shows what is clearly an inline engine. You can see the background through the frame where normally the rear cylinder would lie if the engine was a v-twin. So, we can conclude its an inline.
Next, the bottom left photo shows what you can BARELY make out to be a rear leaning inline engine. The engine sits at the same approximate angle as the “1100” engine in the AC F1100 and AC Bearcat. You can see the valve cover and half moon shapes that are built into the valve cover gasket. You can also clearly see a stator cover, which indicates that the clutch is mounted on the drivers side (stators are on one end of the crank and the clutch is on the other).
The upper right photo confirms the drivers side mounted clutch. You can clearly see CVT cover nested nicely behind the rear shock.
Lastly, the bottom right photo again shows what appears to be a shrouded CVT cover, possibly to conceal an obvious CVT cover (but they showed it unshrouded in the upper right photo any ways).
So what else? The snowmobile gauge cluster used in the Wildcat prototype:
Above is a screen shot from the prototype hype video from our previous article. I’ve overlayed the gauge cluster from the Arctic Cat ZR7000 / Yamaha Viper snowmobiles to match the approximate size of the gauge cluster used in the prototype Cat. What you can very obviously see (and thanks to Brad, a commenter on our previous article, for pointing this out) is that the prototype Wildcat is using the snowmobile sourced gauge cluster. This really only makes sense (especially in an r&d situation) if AC is using a snowmobile engine and wiring harness.
Now for all you sledheads out there, yes the ZR7000 and Viper both share an inline triple engine and we just said above that the engine in the prototype was a 2 cylinder, but could they be using a 3 cylinder also? It stands to reason that adapting that particular gauge cluster to a 2 or 3 cylinder sled engine would be easier than adapting the old Wildcat cluster to work with a completely different engine.
Which leads to the next rumor: Arctic Cat has changed engine programs in a “last minute” move.
Which makes sense considering the nixing of the 2016.5 Robby Gordon Edition 1000, a move that could have put 100% of their r&d efforts into the new engine program. But, that’s all speculation at this point. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. A 2 or 3 cylinder doesn’t matter to us one bit. We just want the power and reliability!
So here’s our final bet, our official best shot at what we’ve concluded using the evidence above and all the rumors on the internet:
The 2017 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 will come with a snowmobile sourced engine, 2 or 3 cylinder, turbo/supercharged and n/a options, with the n/a model at ~120hp and the turbo model at ~165hp, divorced CVT transmission (transaxle), redesigned Robby Gordon rear suspension, highly improved chassis, and similar dimensions to the current 1000. Quite literally a machine that, on paper and in the real world, should set the bar way above any current RZR or Maverick.
No, the 2017 Wildcat 1000 will not have the 5 speed and triple out of the Yamaha YXZ. We are 99.9% certain of that.
That’s our call, and we’re sticking to it. The ambiguity of engine choice is a fairly new theory, and we’re not exactly sure on it. But really, it’s all about the horsepower. Whether the engine be Arctic Cat or Yamaha or Suzuki, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s mated to a high-tech CVT with a turbo/supercharged option.
Be prepared everyone, Arctic Cat is dropping a bomb for 2017.
We’re pleading with you Arctic Cat, make this machine a MONSTER. We can’t wait to see and hopefully get our butts into one. Feel free to drop us a line Arctic Cat!