Snowmobiling is a fun activity and to enjoy it to the fullest, every gear associated with it should be chosen carefully.
The snowmobile track is usually made from reinforced rubber. It is wrapped around the rear suspension system of the snowmobile and is driven by the engine.
Types of snowmobile tracks
- Trail snowmobile tracks which are designed for trail and hard packed snow conditions.
- On – Off trail snowmobile tracks are designed for riders who spend time on and off trail
- Mountain snowmobile tracks as the name suggests are designed for deep powder and mountain conditions
- Utility snowmobile track are used in utility type snowmobiles
- Racing snowmobile tracks find their application specifically for racing
1 ply and 2 ply snowmobile tracks
1 ply tracks are lighter and have less rolling resistance. They also use less gas when compared to 2 ply snowmobile tracks.
On the other hand, 2 ply snowmobile tracks are good for high speed runs and studding.
Points to be kept in mind when selecting track for your sled
Length of the track
Snowmobile tracks come in a variety of sizes. Having the right snowmobile track is like having the best fitted tire for your automobile. Right snowmobile track will prevent crashes and make your riding experience smooth. There are both long track and short track.
If you are out for deep snow riding, then you should opt for long snowmobile tracks. The longer tracks will maintain the floatation and traction required. They are usually 136 inches long.
Long tracks are used in snowmobiles with more powerful motor. They have larger foot print and hence can handle more weight. They have maneuveability issues when compared to short tracks.
Short tracks provide good maneuverability. They are also suitable for high speed rides. Their length varies from 121 to 129 inches. They are most commonly seen on snowmobiles with weak motors.
They do not perform well on new snow. They have reduced footprint and can sustain less weight.
Width of the Track
Width is an important feature associated with snowmobile track. This is the measurement across the track. And if not properly set, it can cause snowmobile darting.Wider tracks offer good stability and floatation in light and deep snow conditions.
The pitch distance is measured from center to center between a series of drive lugs. The pitch distances usually measured are 2.52 inches, 2.86 inches, 3 inches or 3.5 inches.
The initial step is to make sure that the lug height is apt for the type of snow in which you are riding in. Higher the lug height there is more chance of it hitting your heat exchanger.
The tread on your snowmobile must clear the heat exchanger on the machine, and therefore the construction of the vehicle plays a significant role.
The dealer can always give you a clear view about what lug height is good for your snowmobile. Usually riders require 1-1/4 inch tall lug track. Older sleds are air cooled and if you put a bigger lug on them then this can stain the engine of the snowmobile.
The environment you ride in and the style of riding you are into can also influence the type of snowmobile you need to use in your sled.
A longer track sled will climb higher than a shorter track sled so longer tracks are good for those riders who are into climber style riding. Shorter track are easier to chunk around in the woods as they allow riders to maneuver more easily. Also, longer tracks are found to be good for steep climbs and deep snow riding. I also makes the riding smoother on tight terrains and sidehills.
For those riders who have less mountain experience, the longer tracks like 162 inch are a safe option. And when it comes to aggressive riders, they can do well with short tracks owing to their
Longer tracks are also better in powder type snow conditions. Even as the snow builds up, long sleds are easier to navigate.
Lower gear ratio can boost track speed at the expense of a low end grunt. Higher gear ratio reduces speed and increases the acceleration.
How to adjust snowmobile tracks and how tight they should be?
- Lift the snowmobile off the ground. Make sure that the track is securely hoisted.
- Now loosen the rear axle. There will be rear axle bolts on either side of the sled and you need to loosen them both.
- Now we need to check the current tension to find out if the track is too tight or too loose. You can also determine if there is any need for adjustments. And if needed you can go ahead with loosening the adjuster bolts.
- To tighten the track, you need to tighten the bolts on either side of the axle. As you are doing this keep an eye on the track. The track will start to rise up towards the slide.
- At this point determine how tight you want the track to be. Give it a few turns on both side and check with your hand.
- And once you feel you are close, take measurement to the front of the rear axle as per the manual of your model.
- Once you determine the spot as per the manual, push down with about 10 pounds of pressure. Look for 3/8 to ½ inch of distance between track and the rear side of the slide while applying the pressure.
- Make the adjustments. Do the same adjustments with the other side.
- Once you are sure that the track is within spec we need to make sure that the axle is square and the track is aligned.
Now after the tension is set, we need to align the track. Position the handlebars straight. The corner of the tunnel or rear suspension mount bolt is made to measure to a specific spot on the chassis. The handlebars have to get adjusted to the same position. Now, place a straight edge along the track’s end. The alignment adjustment should be between the straight edge and each skis toe heel.1/8 to 1/4 inch toe out is the common configuration specified by the sled makers.
The sled with proper track tension will respond to the rider in the best possible way. Also track alignment will make the ride safe.
Leave a Reply