If I wanted to reduce slide friction in all snow conditions, should I get Teflon or graphite sliders for my sled (1997 MX Z-440 LC)?
1. What’s the difference between Teflon or graphite?
2. Will one last longer than the other?
3. Are they really worth the money?
4. Is there a real noticeable difference?
1. There are basically two different types of “friction reducing slides” available – we’re going to call them “blended” and ” insert” slides. The “super slippery” and “graphite” slides are blended, where additional materials are blended into the UHMW plastic to reduce the friction characteristics of the slides. They truly do reduce the friction, but provide only slight increases in longevity compared to standard slides.
Insert slides are a standard slide that has a slot machined down the center where a piece of solid teflon material is inserted. This not only provides a reduction in friction, but also provides a huge increase in longevity – in the right conditions. Normal UHMW has a melting temperature of about 300-325 degrees, where Teflon begins to melt up around 700 degrees. The Teflon also has a tendency to “coat” the metal track clips, providing additional friction reduction.
2. Insert type slides last longer than blended types.
3. Blended types should be worth a bit more than a standard slide due to the friction reduction – the insert types should be worth even more due to friction reduction AND substantially longer life.
4. Depending on the conditions you ride in, and the suspension type, the difference can be major, or not even noticeable. If you always ride in conditions where lubrication is never an issue, then you may never realize any benefits. Most of us ride on ice and frozen snow (especially after warm afternoons) and this is when you’ll really notice the difference.