I would like to replace the original track on my XLT Touring with the 1.25″ deeper lug track such as the one on the Indy 500 RMK. Most of my riding is on the Wisconsin and Minnesota trail systems, but I do make several trips out West and into Canada each year where there is lots of deep snow. Will installing this deeper lug track result in more noise and vibration on a groomed trail?
James J. Olson
This is a very hot subject these days – the effect that installing a higher lug track will have on those machines that still plan on running groomed trails, yet want better performance off the trail. Even the manufacturers are struggling with this issue. In my experience, the Polaris 1.25″ track is one of the best “all-around” tracks there is. It is high enough to give you improved performance for those trips to the deep and plentiful, but not so high that it causes hyfax problems, excessive noise or vibration. All you are doing is shifting the performance envelope of your sled from ideal groomed trail operation to deep snow usage, and going to the 1.25″ track will work well for you.
However, I am concerned with the number of riders in the Midwest that are buying “Mountain sleds” or are installing 1.5″ to 2.0″ tracks onto their sleds and using them on groomed trails. In plentiful snow years they seem to get away with it, but in a low snow year like last season, they burn up hyfax, tear off track lugs, howl on hard pack, increase the vibration, and worse of all tear the hell out of the trail base. Talk to your dealer or the manufacturer and they’ll tell you these tracks are intended for off-trail usage or for adequate snow conditions, not the couple of inches of hard pack typical of most Midwestern trails. Our experience has been that the maximum effective height for a track that will be used on a typical groomed trail is 1.25″. Anything higher than that and you reach the point that all of the above mentioned woes begin to appear. Taller tracks are wonderful when you have enough snow, but they have the ability to absolutely destroy groomed trails if the person in charge of the throttle decides to do so. Ask any groomer operator and they will get all excited about those “rebels”. With stud usage coming under fire in the Midwest, we will likely see even more sleds with higher profile tracks in an attempt to maintain a level of traction, which will lead to trail bases that are destroyed even faster. All of the money “supposedly” saved from not allowing studs to damage road crossings, bridge decks and the like will be lost many times over in the extra grooming that will be needed due to the damage from all of the aggressive tracks. One sled with a 2″ track can do far more damage to a fresh groomed trail than 10 sleds with studs! This is a case of “a-little-is-good, a-lot-is-not”. I know of many riders who run the stock track on groomed trails, then install a deep lug track when they head West. Ideal would be the ability to change tracks quicker. Anyone have a quick-drop drive axle kit?