Sorry bud, the 858 is a dud!!!!

Catman10

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Well I don't know how to start this thread so I figure it should be from the start. I was very excited too go on the Cat 858 ride and I was in a group of 4 buddies, yes the famous Maxwell was with us, anyways we were up at the cabin early enough to check out the sleds very well and talked in length with the Cat reps.They had one all stripped down and when we got into it we found that this sled has some concerns, 1 it has the exact clutching as the Alpha with the exception of a slight change to the primary weights, same helix, same springs, same everything which seemed odd for a sled that is supposed to make so much more power. 2 the motor is so far over the one way that they have a gay rubber washer to stop the panel from rubbing and it looks like when we remove the big ol suitcase, its gonna be off kilter forsure, 3 the clips that hold everything together are the stupid steel clips, 4 the stock running boards are junk, if you order one of these do yourself a favour and upgrade the boards, the best thing on the sleds we rode was the one with the aluminum boards. 5 VIBRATION, man did these sleds shake, you felt it everywhere in the bars, on your feet, it felt like the cranks were outta phase, really gonna be a hit with the lady"s though ha ha, now for the rest, these sleds all had different calibration and out of all the 6 I rode only 2 ran well, the others were just garbage and I do not understand it, if you are letting people ride these, shouldn't they all run as good as possible? Another funny thing was the 1 good running sled had the electronic shocks and they were not functioning so it was like riding a 2X4, horrible, again why let us ride the lumber wagon, also the other sleds with regular suspension were ok but nothing special. Now the handling, I left the doo at home and rode my 19 Alpha which is stock with a y pipe can and clutching just so I could have really good feel for the new Cat to compare too and the one thing that surprised me most was the handling differences were very small, it was not much more agile than my Alpha but the one difference was the side hilling was better in reguards the the back end washing out forsure and the chassis is nice and rigid. Now to the power, many will argue with me but this is only A 850 boys, it is not a 9r, this is not a turbo killer, this is a competitive 850, I was let down by the power as my Alpha felt as strong or maybe even better with my setup, I will say that this 858 needs some serious clutching changes to put more power to the track, it has potential to be good I will say that, in all of our climbs the best track speed on the 154's was 44 mph, my Alpha yesterday was pulling 43 mph all day and it is a 165 track and it had much better ground speed. reading this thread back to myself this definitely sounds like a slam to the sled and I will sum up my thoughts on the new cat, it is not a 23k sled forsure, this should be at 18 k, it simply is not refined and shame on Cat for the poor job on this demo ride, I think we were riding the same sleds that Snow west complained about and I hope that these are not gonna be a close representation of the sled for 25, I am a cat guy down to the core but sure glad I did not snow check one and what was interesting in our group of 4 pretty seasoned riders we all felt the same way, take this as you will, maybe others had a better experience and all feedback is welcome, there is a lot of good on this sled, the smallness is cool, the seat is great, the track still hooks like crazy , there is an option to put laydown post on it, the big gauge is cool, the aluminum boards are awesome, no snow buildup anywhere etc, thanks for the read now banter on!!!!!
 

bendy

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My Son and I rode them in Revy. Disappointing if you ask me. I thought the chassis was alright... but the power, at least the 858 I rode was horrible. Especially on the bottom end. Apparently I didn't get to ride "the good one"?!
 

Bnorth

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Sounds like AC still has some work to do. Hopefully the production models are much better but I don't have much faith in Cat right now to execute on that.
 

dragonweld28

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The biggest surprise was the fact that they use the same clutching as the CTEC 800. If there was an honest 11% increase in power, the clutching would need to be altered to allow proper function of that new power. The weight has a slightly different profile, but springs and helix are the same. Some sleds were worse then others. the 2 154's felt the best were ok on the bottom end and top end. For me, riding a Shredder turbo, they felt small and light for sure. As Paul already stated, they vibrated so bad your hands and feet would almost go numb. The big Gauge is nice, but doesn't have GPS in Canada. The suspension is concern as well. You can see the front end travelling over bumps, but the impact is felt in the bars as if there was not absorption of that bump. The rear skid is the same, you know its compressing but the feedback is given right back to the rider. Makes for a horrible ride, especially compared to a shredder.
Overall there were so many factors that made a guy think, "which calibration" will I get with my snowcheck. Ill play a short video of the better running 154 2.6 and you'll see how rough it is even when the go pro has motion stability. Cat really needs to evaluate what they are offering compared to the competition. Skidoo introduced an 850 in 2017, Polaris in 2019. Cat is 8yrs behind... and is offering an unrefined sled for 24K.
 

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YES believe it or not i also got to throw a leg over the new machines. I tried to keep the photos from leaking but the damage is done :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: You all know i am skidoo through and through but i did go into this with an open mind. One thing i want to mention about these demo rides is that while we did get some good seat time on them we were understandably limited by CAT on where we could go, it cant be a free for all, i get that but it does limit the testing. I am happy they made the effort to get all the way out to valemount so thankyou Arctic Cat, Jeremy and Jamie for touring everyone around in a safe controlled manner. Many were left disappointed in the machine however i went into this with very minimal expectations. With the hype and talk around the internet of this machine being 180hp and competing with the turbos it would be easy for one to instantly be disappointed. Me on the other hand, i knew right out of the gate when Cat released this sled that they hadn't done anything different with the engine platform/design that would push this machine past the 850 class of engine power. I still to this day don't know why anyone thought otherwise. Its not direct injected, its not a square bore engine, its an 858 slightly stroked compared to their 800. So for me, i was expecting 850 power and that's EXACTLY what this machine is. No more, no less which left me not disappointed but rather confirmed by initial expectations. this is not a Turbo R or Boost class machine and if you think you will be hanging with those sleds in 3 feet of pow you are sadly mistaken. Having ridden all of the 850NA machines i feel this one fits right in with the Matrix 850. The doo 850 has a slight power edge on the Matrix 850 and is closer to a 9R but without the same bottom end response. This 858 pulls pretty good on the top end but like others have mentioned the bottom end leaves a lot to be desired. The cat rep had mentioned to us that there was a variety of clutching and tuning calibrations in different machines and apparently some of them had the latest and greatest configuration, but none of them had an impressive bottom end. some of them performed better mid and top end but they all had similar bottom ends. We will see what comes in the fall but as it stands end of 2024 season that is where the calibration stands. in summary, if your expecting 850 power (165hp) you wont be disappointed in the engine. I'm sure some clutching changes could improve the bottom end but you will never get this 858 bottom end as good as a 9R bottom end.

aside from the engine i was looking at other aspects of this machine aswell, while the engine was the most critical i knew after the first full throttle pull what i was dealing with so i tried to focus in on some other aspects like the chassis and suspension. I actually enjoyed the new chassis, i feel like they did a good job of narrowing up the panels and making the front end of the machine feel small similar to the G5 Chassis. When i get on a Polaris i am still shocked at how much of a behemoth the front of a Polaris is. its long, its wide, its tall, its annoying. Cat did a good job of shrinking the front of the snowmobile around the engine package. I know CAT really pushed on the low center of gravity angle but i didn't feel that it made a difference whatsoever compared to an alpha or a G5 as far as initiating off camber positions. Like Paul mentioned, the engine is also way off to one side, i felt like the sled was balanced with the factory muffler however you would 100% be off balance in a big way when switching to a light can. Other than that i felt pretty at home on this machine compared to my G5. I have a hard time with the steering setup but they actually had a crossover version there with the skidoo style steering setup and i felt right at home on that one. If a guy puts that post in the mountain version i would have no trouble riding that machine. My body position on the catalyst is very similar to the G5. i always felt like i was in the panels with my legs/knees on both the matryx and the previous cat chassis. This one they have opened up the standing area considerably. Similar to the Matryx chassis this sled seems to sidehill better through the rough chop/crap snow than the G5 does so i did like that aspect aswell. What i cant figure out for the life of me is the suspension. All of these sleds rode like absolute lumber wagons compared to my G5. and they all had very good fox shock setups. I didn't look into it much but all i can think is that they don't have the same stroke on the front shocks compared to the doo or perhaps the A arm geometry isn't right. My doo was like a Cadillac after getting back on it even with the crappy KYB shocks they come with. The rear was better, but similar, guys make fun of the torsion springs but my god i will take those all day long compared to the catalyst rear suspension. is it better on harder hits/jumping? unclear, didn't send it. Overall i think they did well on the chassis, i was quite comfortable on it and didn't have to many gripes, even the plastic running boards seem good. Not that it matters in Canada, but they have the garmin radio antenna sticking out of the hood which is goofy, it should be under the panels like the polaris. That will break first roll over. I didnt focus too much on the guages, the small one is small and the fancy one looks nice. However compared to the 7S and the new doo guage it is significantly smaller. Being that its Garmin that will have many advantages though. One thing i was concerned with was the engine vibration. Some of them were so bad i could almost feel it up to my knees. I dont know if this is an engine/mounting issue or if these sleds are just clapped out from being on demo tours all winter. I guess we will find out in the fall but that was something i noticed right away after firing it up. Most of these machines had electric start but another beef i have is with the pull cord position which i think is the same as the previous models. But what a goofy spot in the middle. Awkward to pull and interferes with the tether when pulling. They have so much room i don't know why it has to be there. One other thing with the chassis/drivetrain i noticed was a lot of ice buildup under the belt drive, i don't know if the Polaris does this but its concerning to me.
 
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maxwell

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The last thing i want to talk about is the fit and finish, that's part of the reason i am a fan of the BRP products as generally the fit, finish and engineering is the best in the industry, they have certainly tried to cut some things out in the last few years but compared to this cat the g5 doo looks like it was engineered by the F35 fighter jet engineering team and the cat looks like a couple guys drank a few too many beers in the back yard and assembled this thing with spare parts. No disrespect to the team working on this sled i am sure they are all very nice people working very hard within the parameters and budget they are given But it has A LOOOONG ways to go in this department. There is nothing new here, if your a cat guy this is just how its always been since they went away from the M series. Wiring harness is a rats nest, the way everything is mounted and routed leaves alot to be desired. zip ties etc. It sure would be alot nicer to work on than the G5 but holy smokes i would probably be taking this thing home and cleaning up the engine bay myself. There is pulleys for the pull cord rope? The way the hood goes on is similar to the polaris quality standard with those silly metal clips. The biggest red flag for me was the clutch bushing. They couldn't figure out how to get enough strength in the clutch side panel so there is actually a replaceable bushing that rubs on the primary clutch when there is pressure on the side panel....WHAT!?!?! This quality department is my biggest beef with this machine. If you can get past that, its fine i suppose. If your riding cat already i think these are things that you are already used too. But take it upon yourself, open the hood of a G5 and the new Cat next year and have a few beers in the garage with your buddies and just look really close. You'll see what i mean.

In summary, there were some things i liked about this machine and some things i didn't. My takeaway was confirmation of what exactly this machine was. Its a cat 850. Time will tell once the deep stuff flys again and the final calibrations are in as to how they compare to the other NA machines, but one thing is certain, it is not a contender with the boosted machines that's a fact jack. I already knew that, some had higher hopes for unknown reasons. I think if your coming off an older M series or the 2011-pre alpha machine your going to be stoked, if your coming off an Alpha i think you will be happy with the chassis changes and welcome the Llittle extra power but you wont be blown out of your seat by any means, just a nice upgrade. I am happy that cat came out and that they are finally making some upgrades but they still have a long road ahead of them to get back into the game with Polaris and Doo. for the price point of this machine i just cant make the math work in my head as far as value goes, and leaving Doo out of the picture dollar for dollar on an NA sled i would be going with the 9R. There were a lot of comments about how miled out these machines were etc. I know many were hoping for peak performing machines with low miles but unfortunately that's just how these demo tours work when there aren't parts in production yet. They run them until they don't. Skidoo demo tours and even down at CKMP was the same thing, generally all the machines are very tired especially when they are prototypes so i dont fault cat on that one. I guess a positive takeaway from that is some had 5000+km, unknown if original motors but that's potentially a good sign. My last concern would be with the clutching and ECU calibrations. I feel that its fairly late in the season to still be playing with that. I never did get a full answer but based on what we rode and how different all of the machine calibrations were i feel like they don't have that 100% nailed down yet. I could be wrong. I just hope whatever comes in the fall works consistently so guys don't have to dump a bunch of money into them right off the hop.

i dont think its a DUD, paul was just expecting alot more out of it than i was lol. He owns an alpha so he was hoping it would be night and day better than that, it isnt.
 
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snopro

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Thanks for the rundowns guys. I think where the biggest problem with this machine is all the hype about the product then they fail miserably in the demo tours. Sadly this happens more often than naught. I have been to great farm and sled demo events and been to bad. What is the reasoning letting guys ride something that bogs and doesn’t run right and have ones there with different calibration in them that are better? Put the good parts in the bad sled and make them the same? It’s like this is how bad it can be and we made it less bad. That is plain poor marketing. At a demo event people should be pumped when they leave and want to snowcheck. All I’m hearing is disappointment. This rests solely on Cat for allowing this to happen. They are late to the game and even their own faithful are disappointed with the effort. I know the G4-5 sleds take a lot of ribbing about the pregnant panel but maybe that would be a better choice than putting a replaceable rubber on the panel to rub on the clutch? Do you carry extras like the Poos do with plugs and clutch bolts? It’s like they have admitted we ran out of time so we will put this rubber thingy here so you don’t get a hole in your panel? It’s to bad. I have friends that bleed green, left to another brand and would go back in a second if there was something to go to. It’s sad for them. Hopefully Cat has a glacier in Chile booked for the summer and can get the ship righted.
 

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Good reviews, thanks. I was definitely hoping for a better ride report. Disappointed that Cat couldn’t get a better product out for people to try. Not overly surprised, cat just doesn’t have the polish that BRP brings to the table. That being said I’m going to keep my snowcheck order and hopefully turn this turd into something better. Had significant gains with my Aplha and will see how the catalyst turns out. Not going for a turbo killer but hopefully a 9r killer.
 

rknight111

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Good reviews, thanks. I was definitely hoping for a better ride report. Disappointed that Cat couldn’t get a better product out for people to try. Not overly surprised, cat just doesn’t have the polish that BRP brings to the table. That being said I’m going to keep my snowcheck order and hopefully turn this turd into something better. Had significant gains with my Aplha and will see how the catalyst turns out. Not going for a turbo killer but hopefully a 9r killer.
A lot of cash to put out for a test sled, think there over priced and value will tank, especially once the bugs are worked our for the 2026's.
 

Rjjtcross8

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kinda disappointing that it took this long to be 850 class and the calibration is not at least sorted. Still want to see someone turbo one just to see how it does.
 

maxwell

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kinda disappointing that it took this long to be 850 class and the calibration is not at least sorted. Still want to see someone turbo one just to see how it does.

i think they do have it sorted, we were told some of the machines had the latest and greatest. I think we were just expecting way more out of the ones that had the current calibrations.
 

niner

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IMG_5584.jpeg
 

06 Dragon

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It is sad for Arctic Cat to promote the new 858 in this manner.
You would think after the first review they received from snowwest they would have their engineers etc all over this machine to promote it in the best way that they can.

I see the second review from snowwest was better, but when the sleds came to Revy for the demo days open to the general public to ride the reviews were still not that good.
You would think they would have a team with them that could clutch and adjust the mapping for the areas where they are promoting the sleds. Prior to letting the public demo them.
They have a week or so in between demo rides. I think that they would have time to ride the sled and make some refinements and repairs to them as required for the area they are presenting the demo ride. That way the public/ future owners get to ride the best product they are trying to promote.
Maybe the sled is not quite ready for the market yet and they pushed it out. But I believe these demo rides in Revy and Valemount might have done more damage than good. I have heard of a few folks backing out of their snowchecks. I just think they would have had their best equipment available for the future customers.
Just my 2cents.
 

Rhodesie

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pretty sad. i wanted to hear positive results. not a cat guy but still kinda thought it was kool. hardest part has to be the mapping. epa crap. lots of testing to be done. polaris has these demo rides with the prototypes and then the production models aren't the same. bean counters and epa regs. sucks!!
 
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