2009 Arctic Cat M8 HCR Preview

Lighter and more tricked out than the already lightened Arctic Cat M8 Sno Pro.

Story by Paul Johnson, Photography by Paul Johnson, Nov 19, 2008
 
 

Arctic Cat unveiled three sleds to throngs of anxious fans at Hay Days in Lino Lakes, Minn. In addition to a new Cat Green Sno Pro version of the Z1 Turbo and the Sno Pro 600 snocross race sled, Arctic Cat took the wraps off its most extreme mountain sled to date Ė the M8 HCR, which stands for Hill Climb Racer. While it is similar to the M8 Sno Pro (spring order only sled), it does carry a more extreme equipment package than the Sno Pro.

Consider this: The M8 Sno Pro is 22 pounds lighter than the standard M8, and the M8 HCR is lighter than the M8 Sno Pro. The Cat crew has integrated a number of advanced technologies and high-end components to make the already stout M8 a more competitive stock hillclimber and even more potent highland machine. The sledís upgraded equipment package includes a lightweight rear suspension, hard durometer PowerClaw track, titanium clutch springs, lightweight Boss seat, adjustable ski stance and titanium front suspension springs.

Just to cover the bases, the M8 is powered by a 794cc high-performance lightweight twin. A batteryless EFI system feeds a 46mm throttle body, and APV exhaust power valve system manages exhaust gasses for maximum performance. In back, the HCR features a lightweight version of the M-series rear suspension.

Arctic Cat Product Manager Joel Hallstrom (right), introduced the all-new M8 HCR at Hay Days.

By using a Fox FLOAT air shock on the rear suspension arm, Cat eliminated the torsion spring setup and shaved off 5.1 pounds of unsprung weight for improved performance. The design also provides more consistent track tensioning and 18 inches of travel. The front arm of the rear skid carries a Fox Zero Pro gas charged shock to cope with extreme moguls and race conditions. To improve sidehilling and handling, the two rear axle wheels are positioned inside the slide rails. To top it off, a new harder 90-durometer 153- by 15-inch Power Claw track with 2.25-inch paddles wraps around the suspension, providing aggressive traction for competition and the most extreme riding. 

Up front, the AWS VI double wishbone A-arm suspension utilizes Fox Zero Pro take-apart gas shocks and 9.2 inches suspension travel to smooth out the most challenging terrain. However, the shock's coil over springs are titanium rather than steel to reduce unsprung weight for improved handling and control. In addition, titanium springs provide more consistent and precise rate compared to steel rings. Over time, steel springs tend to loose their rate while titanium springs retain the rate or pound rating of the spring. Like other mountain sleds, the ski stance is adjustable from 42 to 44 inches to accommodate a variety of conditions and mountain challenges.

The Arctic Cat rpm sensing drive clutch also receives the titanium spring treatment. Titanium springs not only save weight but also retain their integrity or weight rating far longer than steel springs. Therefore, engagement and shifting remain much more consistent over time.

To increase comfort and control, a high-rise Boss seat was installed. It puts the rider in a more aggressive position and saves 9.1 pounds over the standard seat. Like the base sled, the HCR also contains the telescoping handlebar so the rider can adjust the height and angle of the bars to the precise position for optimal control. The sled also receives the deluxe gauge package, which is an integrated digital and analog speedometer and tachometer with odometer and trip meter.

The sled carries a variety with high-tech equipment and some exotic materials often found on hand-built aftermarket mountain sleds.  With the use of titanium springs in the drive clutch, rear skid, and front suspension as well as air shocks, this sled, perhaps is the most aggressive mountain sled on the market.

Cat claims the backcountry 800 HCR tips the scales at 457 pounds dry, which would make it one of the lightest sleds in its class. This Cat is only available in Pearl Cat Green and carries an MSRP of $ 11,999 US.

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