Best Track?

"Dear Ralph" January 2, 2009 0
Dear Ralph: We’re going to put you on the spot here. Since you guys ride all of the new sleds every year, and have...

Dear Ralph:
We’re going to put you on the spot here. Since you guys ride all of the new sleds every year, and have a fleet of current stuff that you get thousands and thousands of miles on, you get to see and try more stuff in one season that most of us get to try in several years. Your magazine is clearly being written by people who spend the entire winter on a sled. Of course, that’s why we like your magazine, because you tell us what your guys think about everything. To the point – what do you believe is the best overall track for a trail sled? What do you use, and why?  Thanks Ralph, and keep up the good work!

Mike L.
Pinehurst, MN

Best trail track. Hmmm. We would have to qualify that some, like studded or not studded, and packed snow, loose snow, or simply one track fro the widest range of conditions. Forced to choose, I would say the Camoplast RipSaw is deserving of the reputation it has because of how well it works across a wide set of conditions. Now we can add to that the single-ply version, as this should now be available after the one-year exclusive that Ski-Doo had on the technology.
If the snow conditions on the trail are more loose snow or fresh snow, then the new Camoplast Cobra track is really a better option. Straight line performance is great, and it hooks up better in the fresh snow, so for the U.P. (or any of the Great Lake snow belts) that would be the better track on more days with all of the lake effect snow on the trails.
But later in the season when the trails get hard and fast, the lower lug Camoplast Hacksaw (1” lug height) is really the faster track and better suited for hard snow and hyfax lubrication. I also prefer the lower lugs for studding, as shorter studs weigh less and don’t pull on the track so hard (think of the stud length and leverage applied). I won’t even consider anything under 1” lug height unless we’re talking lice racing or a low powered sled. Any of the current machines should have at least a 1” track, like all of those Yamahas with the hard tracks from the late 90’s, get rid of them and install a new Hacksaw or RipSaw and hang on!
All of these tracks have been in the short track mindset. If we go to a 136” or 144” sled that is used both on trail and off trail, then the Cobra would be the better option for the variety of conditions. If that sled is used as a trail cruiser, then I’d say the RipSaw would be the better all around choice. Nobody complains about the RipSaw in terms of top speed, it is usually not tall enough for the fresh snow. We’ve used the RipSaw 1.5”, and that works good in fresh snow and deeper off trail use, but is really a handful on hard packed trails. You have to have the right sled, right rider and right conditions to make that the best choice.
If we’re talking trails out west, then a 1.5” lug height or a 1.75” is a better option than any of the taller lugs that are designed to perform off trail. We really like the Camoplast 1.5” Cross County track, as this has found its way into quite a few 144” sleds that are built for the areas that are not quite all-out mountain areas, but have enough deep snow on a frequent basis that we want a track that can survive trail use, but really works good if you get a foot of fresh. That track would be my choice for the ultimate crossover sled, but that’s me. You asked!

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