Dear Ralph: I moved to Ontario from Alberta this summer. Everyone here says that trail riding is the main type of riding and that...

Dear Ralph:
I moved to Ontario from Alberta this summer. Everyone here says that trail riding is the main type of riding and that studs are highly recommended. I have the stock 1.5″ lug height (121”) track that came with my 98 Yamaha 700 XTC-P. I am thinking that I should probably replace my track with a shorter lug track (for hyfax issues) and then stud it. I read the article in the current issue about tracks and it mentions the new Ice Ripper from Camoplast. Do you think that this track would be good for my machine? If I replace my existing track with the 1.25″ Ice Ripper will I need to install tunnel and heat exchanger protectors? And if I get the ice ripper what type and length of carbides should I run, I currently just run round stock.
Mike Atkin

It really depends on the snow depth and general trail conditions if the 1.5” is too tall, so we should yield to the recommendation of those who live and ride where you are now. That track design is almost ten years old, and isn’t going to be as tolerant as a newer 1.5” track.
For trail use, the Ice Ripper would work well for you. There is a 1” conical lug “Ice Claw” track, or a 1.25” Ripsaw “Ice Ripper” which is going to give you far better all-around performance, especially if you’re used to a 1.5 now.
Yes, you still need tunnel protection, as the smaller studs are still going to be the tallest point on the track, so we need to keep them from contacting anything metal. Installing protection with the track out is a cinch, not to worry.
You’re going to want to run some more aggressive runners with the Ice Ripper to keep the front in balance with the rear. I’d try a set of 6” carbide runners, I don’t think 4” of carbide will be quite enough. Better yet, bolt on a new set of plastic skis with some 6” carbides and, between the track and ski upgrade, it’ll make quite a combination!

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