Better than stock? In some cases, this can be true. When it comes to drive belts, the sled makers are trying to provide a drive belt with good life and consistent performance, but they are also very conscious of the component cost. That leaves room for the aftermarket to make an even better product.
Which brings us to the latest drive belts from rubber giant Gates Corporation. The new Gates G-Force drive belts have been engineered for precise fit with drop-in performance and durability. They are every bit as tough and dependable as the OE belts, and now it seems, even better.
We have been using the Gates G-Force drive belts on our snowmobiles for the past two seasons and they are awesome. They drop right into our sleds and do not require any calibration changes. The only thing needed is to set the ride height in the secondary, as with ANY new drive belt, to compensate for the full width of the new drive belt in comparison to the narrower width of the worn drive belt you are replacing. They wear well, are very slow to lose their width, and the sleds run as they should at the right shift RPM with no slippage and less heat. They are our first choice for replacement drive belts on our fleet of test sleds.
This past winter Tim Lessard (Grip ‘n Rip Racing) and Chad Dow ran the G-Force belts on their Iron Dog race sleds up in Alaska. They found the Gates belts were much more consistent than the stock belts. The Gates belts would hold the same peak RPM in all conditions, from the tight trails to holding the sled at wide open throttle for long distances across a lake. The stock belt would get hot and change peak RPMs where the Gates belt would not. They also found the Gates belt was slightly faster than the stock belt and wouldn’t lose speed like the stock one would once it got hot.
The team started the race with two spares per sled. As the race progressed they got more and more confident in the durability of the Gates belt. The first layover in the race is just over 300 miles so they were thinking about changing their drive belts there as a precaution. The sleds were working really well with very consistent RPMs, so they decided to keep running the belts they started with. They raced all the way to Nome (just over 1000 miles) on the same belts they started the race with. During their 15 minute inspection in Nome the belts on both sleds looked almost like new showing only slight wear.
To be safe they decided to put new belts on the sleds for the final 1000 miles to the finish. They pushed the sleds even harder in the second half of the race with many miles at wide open throttle, which is very hard on a belt. The sleds made it to the finish with zero belt problems and nice consistent RPMs. They were very impressed.
In addition to the standard G-Force belts, there are now many sizes offered in the even tougher “Carbon Fiber Cord” CF series, providing even greater durability and longevity, perfect for the highest power applications. Now getting the Gates belts is even easier, as they are all available through Thunder Products (320-597-2700 or www.ThunderProducts.com) with great pricing and fast shipping. Thunder Products is a warehouse distributor for the Gates G-Force line of snowmobile drive belts, they are in-stock right now, ready for immediate delivery. Most of the G-Force belts will cost about $75 each and some of them run about $100 each, with the Carbon Fiber Cord CF versions going for just over $130 each. Visit their website for application charts to find the part numbers and pricing for your exact sled application.
From the September 2014 Issue of SnowTech Magazine (Aug 2014)
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