Re: [CR]Arctic bikes, a small mystery solved

(Example: Framebuilders:Alberto Masi)

Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2007 16:00:39 -0500
From: "John Betmanis" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Arctic bikes, a small mystery solved
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <026901c761d9$a662aa70$6401a8c0@steve>

At 12:34 PM 09/03/2007 -0800, Jerome & Elizabeth Moos wrote:
>I saw Arctic bikes at an Ohio shop in the eary/mid 70's. Definitely French made, but apparently a private label, of an importer perhaps. This shop was actually a lawn mower shop that sold bikes as a sideline. The shop didn't sell snowmobiles, but perhaps Arctic made lawn mowers also.

I was heavily into snowmobiling back in the 1970s and remember Bombardier, Polaris and Arctic Cat all claiming they invented the snowmobile. I don't recall Arctic Cat dealers selling bicycles in the summer; not in Canada at least. In summer those dealers were into boats and lawn care equipment and sometimes minibikes. Of course, now they sell "4-wheelers" (dirt bikes for people who can't stay up on 2 wheels).

According to Wikipedia:


David Johnson, Edgar Hetteen and Allan Hetteen were partners in Hetteen Hoist and Derrick Shop in Roseau, Minnesota. They designed and built a machine in 1954 to travel over snow. This company eventually became known as Polaris Industries. Edgar left the company in June 1960 and started Polar Manufacturing in Thief River Falls. The company name later changed to Arctic Enterprises.

Arctic Enterprises began producing Arctic Cat snowmobiles in 1960. Arctic Enterprises later expanded to purchase boat manufacturers such as Spirit Marine, Silver Line, Larson, and Lund. Spirit Marine produced the first Wetbike in 1978.

A snowless winter in 1980 and over-production forced Arctic Enterprises to scale back operations and close boat manufacting subsidiaries. Arctic Enterprises went bankrupt in 1981 and ceased production in 1982. In 1984, a new startup company was formed, called Arctco to continue production of the Arctic Cat snowmobile line. In 1996, the company officially changed its name to Arctic Cat.

In 2003, ATV sales surpassed those of snowmobiles due to years of lighter snowfall.

John Betmanis
Woodstock, Ontario