2010 Arctic Cat SNOPRO 500 Amazing!
by Scott A. Sumner
This season I was fortunate enough to ride the 2010 Arctic Cat SNOPRO 500 and was very impressed with the sled. The chassis is almost exactly the same as ISOC snocross star Tucker Hibbert races on the snocross circuit. The only major difference is the FOX shock package with the SNOPRO 500 using zero 100’s and the SNOPRO 600 using EVOL, a two stage air shock. In fact if you want to add that shock system to your sled it is available in the Arctic Cat catalogue but fairly expensive at $1500 to $2000 depending on where you live.
The first thing you will notice about the SNOPRO 500 is the exceptional handling ability. I almost compare it to driving a sports car like the new 2010 Camaro. The turning is easy and precise with this sled. It just goes where you point it and yet feels so stable on the snow. It is a very light sled at 450 pounds, but feels solid on the snow unlike some other light sleds that feel more tippy. The 1.25 inch lug on the 2010 version sled seems good for performance in all kinds of snow conditions. It seemed to help with quick starts with good traction.
The second thing I noticed about the SNOPRO 500 was the sound and performance of the engine. It has been widely reported that the 500 engine has had a bog condition at start up. My sled started almost always in two pulls and then after idling to warm up for a while would create a large oil smoke bomb when you engages the clutch at about 5000 rpm. That being said once you got moving the SNOPRO 500 seemed to clear nicely and operated beautifully for the rest of the day. In fact the sound of the exhaust and the quickness of the sled made me forget this was a 85 HP engine. It just seemed to be much higher in HP and feel and sound like a race sled. In my case being a 6 ft 3 in rider, over 200 pounds I was able to still get the sled over 80 MPH easily and get off the line quickly. Last year I rode a 800 cc sled and didn’t really miss the power difference. The quickness of the SNOPRO 500 makes up for top end speed.The sound of the engine exhaust gives it a race feel as well. Maybe Arctic Cat had this in mind for the weekend racer wanna be. Also the super handling makes this sled fun to ride.
Overall I am very impressed with the SNOPRO 500. It really is the future for Arctic Cat in my opinion. I can see them focused on this chassis in their performance sleds in 2012, their 50th anniversary in the snowmobile business. The sled could use some kind of storage area to stow your spare belt, plugs etc. It needs a ECU remap to solve the start up bog condition. Some riders might prefer a 600 engine in the chassis, although I think the 500 works well for at least some of the market. Overall though this is an amazing sled! When you see on one on the trail you just have to try it!