2005 Arctic Cat 650 V twin

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2005 Arctic Cat
650 V-Twin

Ride Review:

undefined    From time to time, we talk about new ATV units that make an impression on our test staff in one way or another. This is one of those cases. The 2005 Arctic Cat 650 is a powerful, great looking, stylish new machine with industry leading ground clearance and suspension travel. We must ask, is pushing the envelope on suspension travel and ground clearance worth the decrease in effective trail riding and high speed control? From a marketing stand point it must be. From a performance stance we have to wonder.
Models and Manufacturers:

    Arctic Cat has done something no one else has ever done before. They now offer riders an engine choice when it comes to their flagship models. Their big-bore engines now come in two different base engine designs. The first is the all-new 650 H1 Hemi or the (new last year) 650 V-Twin. The H1 is a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 641cc four-stroke engine designed for massive low-end and midrange torque. The V2 is a V-twin, liquid-cooled, 633cc four-stroke engine known for its smooth power delivery and performance. Both engines have automatic transmissions and perform quite well.

Although, this ride review is not about the H1, we would like to give you just a bit of information on Arctic Cats first in house ATV engine. The new 650 H1 engine is assembled near the company’s corporate headquarters in Thief River Falls, MN, a new state-of-the-art, 24,000-sq.-ft. facility. The technical scoop isundefined as follows. The engine is a liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 641cc four-stroke power-plant that is fed by a 40mm Keihin carburetor with electric choke. The H1 engine delivers consistent operation in hot or cold conditions with liquid cooling and a thermostatically controlled auxiliary fan.
The name “H1” comes from its hemispherical-shaped cylinder head and single-cylinder design. Again, the liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 641cc four-stroke features the Duramatic automatic transmission (with Hi-Lo range), electronic push-button 2WD/4WD and engine braking. The new engine was designed by a specialized team of professionals in Arctic Cat’s new ATV Engine Division. Which is staffed by well-known German engine design firms and existing Arctic Cat employees experienced in the disciplines of clutching, quality control and field testing. Thanks to its single-cylinder design, the new 650 H1 has a broad power-band with an emphasis on low-end and midrange torque, providing optimal power for pulling under heavy load or accelerating on trail rides.

Test Model Technical Info:

The new Arctic Cat is equipped with a V-twin 650 power-plant. The engine is a good fit, as it is directly from Kawasaki’s main line of ATVs. Kawasaki and Suzuki have long been suppliers of engines for Arctic Cat and this 633cc, V-twin SOHC four stroke, four undefinedvalve engine is a proven power-plant. We were quite excited to see this engine incorporated into an Arctic Cat ATV. There is nothing like the growl of V-twin power. Durability is also high as the 650 engine has been used in several of the Kawasaki models and has even been expanded upon as Kawasaki bored the block to a 700 and now, a 750 for their Brute Force. The liquid-cooled engine implements a 90-degree V between the twin cylinders, producing responsive acceleration. Starting system includes an electric starter with recoil back-up starter. Our tests concluded that the Arctic Cat V-2 650 implemented a powerful, responsive engine that has the guts to work hard or play hard. Our only draw back was a test we recently started to use. This test was developed after talking with some of our readers who aren’t able to keep their machines in a garage or out of the weather. First off, its winter and that is when this test is most effective. What we do, is park the ATV outside with no cover for several nights. Each day, we would start the ATV and implement a short ride. Most cases it would be snowing or raining. After a few days we noticed the 650 became hard to start. Snow and rain had frozen somewhere in the cable operated carburetor choke. By the second day, we were having a problem when starting and with warming up the engine. This is not a major problem but we feel it’s our job to test all aspects of daily use. Once the machine was warmed up and ridden for a bit, the chock cable would become unfrozen and could operate normally.


    Each ATV has a frame. This is a structure in which all mechanical components are built into. In the case of the Arctic Cat V-2 650, the engine transmission is one complete component. We have talked about the engine; now let’s talk some about the automatic transmission. This unit uses a completely automaticundefinedCVT transmission with engine braking. We like the ability power transfer of the transmission. This unit always accelerates quickly and effectively with excellent engine/braking or speed reduction. Moving on to the 4-wheeldrive system, we have an electronic shift button located on the handlebar control placement. Going from 2WD to 4WD is just a push button away and it’s quite easy to complete the 4WD system with a full front differential lock by flipping an additional handlebar-mounted lever. True locking 4WD is recommended only for extremely soft areas where optimum traction is needed. We found the 650’s 4WD system to work well and quite easy to use. The 650 only gets better, traction is also enhanced by the suspension. All Arctic Cat ATVs are equipped with fully independent suspensions. By allowing each wheel to move up and down with uneven ground, the traction to each wheel becomes better due to each wheels ability to hold traction individually. We found the machines suspension includes undefineda double A-arm, fully independent rear suspension (FIS) and double A-arm front, both with preload adjustable shocks and ten inches of cushy travel. Ground clearance is a best-in-class 13 inches (on the 650 V-Twin), which coupled with a full-length plastic skid plate gives the rider the ability to clear large obstacles. Please try to imagine, this ground clearance and suspension travel produces a high center of gravity. Thus, it affects the controllability of the ATV in corners and on side hills. Other new features for 2005 include a hydraulic foot brake system with a remote reservoir and new master cylinder, which complements the single-lever-activated front/rear hydraulic brakes. Sound and ride quality has also been improved by moving air intake further forward. Additional features on these two machines include, all new contoured MRP Speedracks, which offer dozens of accessory attachment options.


    I would have to say Arctic Cat has done a great job of proper styling when it comes to the new Arctic Cat ATVs. The machines actually have a front body style and headlights that resemble the facial features and eyes of a cat, producing an interesting product. When you first look at the machine, you will notice thatundefined the machine sits quite high and gives the impression of a rather large ATV. All controls are with in easy reach and operate easily. The seat is large and comfortable. Rider position is good and the large floorboards offer plenty of room and protection from debris. A new seat latch has been designed for more convenient seat removal. A two-inch “automotive-style” receiver hitch, long-range 6.5-gallon fuel tank, digital instrument pod (mph, odometer, dual trip meters, hour meter, clock and fuel level) and Start-In-Gear capability complete the ATV.

Bottom Line:

    In conclusion, we have to say the Arctic Cat V-2 650 is a nice package. It’s comfortable, powerful, stylish and has all the undefinedfeatures riders are looking for. The 4WD system is more than adequate. Couple that with the independent suspension and you have some of the best slow woods traction on the market but when a manufacturer implements long travel suspension and large ground clearance, there are sure to be downfalls. Such problems are handling issues. Most likely, top heavy units that tend to drive straight in corners. Yes, the suspension is soft and the machine will crawl over large obstacles but when a rider is traveling at a relatively quicker pace they will have to become acquainted with slowing down in order to produce smooth cornering. Personally, I feel the Arctic Cat 650 is a “good” machine that could be a “great” machine by reducing the over-all height and adding a rear sway-arm. The unit’s large racks can handle 45.4 kg front (100lbs) and 200lbs rear. Imagine adding that kind of weight to the already high center of gravity; turning can become quite a chore. Don’t get me wrong, the Arctic Cat V-2 650 is an impressive ATV that I enjoy riding. I also know, it’s our responsibility to report on these machines to the best of our ability and the above statements are only my opinions.

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