Monday, October 15, 2007

Thundercat makes the magazines go hmmmmm

The Thundercat 1000 ATV from Arctic Cat recieved its first round of tests from several magazines recently. The following quotes sum up the general sentiment...

"What the hell am I doing here? 950cc? Where does it end? Much like disposable razors with five blades, tailgate party blenders powered by weed whacker engines and Hummer stretch limos with 10 TV's, a quad this big could be considered by many to be overkill" - ATV Rider

"We just don't know having that much power in a 700+ pound machine is a good thing or not" - Quad Magazine

Obviously, the motor is what has people talking about this quad. And the 950cc V-Twin EFI 4-stroke engine is exclusive to Arctic Cat, not borrowed from Suzuki are Kawasaki like on some of their other 4x4 and sport models. Manufactured at the company's new state of the art engine plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Arctic Cat is claiming a massive 188lb torque at the output shaft! In drag tests, it hits an electronically limited 75mph with ease.

There are, however, a whole slew of additional innovations and nice features that come with the Thundercat. A "Ride-In Calibration" system - which squats the quad based on a riders weight while still maintaining the same suspension travel and ground clearance - together with lowered seat height and better handlebar bend give a sense of riding "in" and not "on" the machine. The Thundercat also comes with a 2-inch automotive-style receiver hitch, so you can easily put that power to some use other than killing yourself! And it should be noted that a lot of what Arctic Cat learned from their 4x4 race team riders Daryl Rath and Jesse West went into the production of the new machine, right down to the sleek silver paint preferred by Daryl Rath on his race ready H1 650.

Okay, for the full reports in their November 2007 issues...ATV Rider headed to Jig Rock Ranch in Grand Rapids, Minnesota for the introduction test, you can get the whole story on page 50 which includes thankfully, a funny story (probably not so at the time) of Brian Purtymun throwing it away on the big cat.

"...and then it began-that stomach-wrenching off-camber tilt that sets off an alarm in your brain and tells your butt cheeks to clinch so tight that they practically rip off the seat cover"

Meanwhile the Quad Magazine crew had a chance to test a pre-production machine at the next to last round of WPSA competition in Englishtown, New Jersey as covered on page 78 of their mag and Dirt Wheels did some extensive testing which too many details to mention on page 60 of their November 2007 issue.