Speaking of the CVT, the clutching of the MudPro also needed some attention in order to get the max power to the ground and maintain the integrity of the 700 H1's history. As adding huge tires and heavier-than-stock wheels tends to drain the power from the machine in stock gearing, the stock 3.1 gearing in the transfer cases had to go to 4.0 to share the load. While getting familiar with MudPro for the next day's race, we found that the new gearing and throttle response had been set spot-on. The power transferred into the wheels at such a rate that we found the power delivery to be very controllable. This gave us high hopes for our debut in the mud racing world.
Most mud enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that the new MudPro sits atop 12-inch custom rims while sporting 28-inch Maxxis Zilla tires, which are designed to perform in severe wet and muddy conditions. Originally, the information released about the MudPro said the machine would be on High Lifter MST tires, but the quads we tested were mounted up with Maxxis Zilla combination mud and trail tires. Getting into the saddle of the MudPro makes you feel as if you're on top of the world. The wheel, tire and suspension upgrades now give the MudPro a whopping 14 inches of ground clearance. While sitting on the MudPro, I seriously wondered if I'd even be getting my feet wet. OK, maybe that's a stretch for these Texas-sized mudholes. But just in case you do happen to get stuck, Arctic Cat has a factory-mounted winch system to help get you out of the muck.
Housing the airbox and CVT...
Housing the airbox and CVT intakes, the new snorkel on the 2009 MudPro resembles the claw on Arctic Cat's catlike mascot and it seems ready to tear the competition apart.
But before hitting the trails or mud, Arctic Cat's engineers knew the 695cc EFI engine would need some performance tweaks. So the engine's ECU was calibrated to compensate for the large tires and for the clutch work and gearing needed to make the new "MudCat" crawl through the bogs. This 695cc, four-valve, four-stroke single-cylinder is liquid-cooled and boasts the hemispherical-shaped head that gives it the potent power edge. Being fuel-injected as we all know means virtually no starting problems at any altitude and a quicker-running, more responsive engine. Although the MudPro isn't the fastest quad off the line, it more than makes up for that in the deep stuff as its massive torque crushes any doubts.
There are a few more features on the Arctic Cat MudPro 700 H1 EFI that make this machine a dirty little devil. The fan shroud on the radiator was modified to make cleaning the radiator as easy as possible. The circuit for the fan on the radiator was boosted up to 10 amps to compensate for the heavy load it might incur during extreme conditions. Also, the paint job can be polished just like automotive paint, so scratches can be buffed away to a certain extent. We are not completely sold on this paint job deal just yet; a little extra time spent with the MudPro will reveal its longevity. Finally, the rear gears have Arctic Cat's patented PTL, or peak torque limiting, incorporated into the system to prevent damage from overloading the rear gears.
With the super-high ground...
With the super-high ground clearance of 14 inches on this machine, the awesome factory-installed winch may never get an opportunity to be used.
Saturday morning had finally arrived, which meant our first ride and race aboard the MudPro was soon to take place. As I stood in staging, I was staring at eight other media guys wondering who would cross the finish line first. Having covered the CMR series for several rounds, I had a decent idea of what to expect. Any unseen obstacles in the bog would rear their ugly little heads as the racers who took the challenge before me would expose them. Luckily for me, experienced mud racer Adam Ladner and his dad dropped in and offered some inside scoop on how to win. Adam shared with me what he had learned over the last few years in the school of hard knocks, and I must say, his advice was extremely helpful.