The new X2 Triple Threat Skis from USI are the industry’s first truly “tunable” skis, allowing their handing characteristics to be adjusted based on the needs and wants of the rider as well as snow and riding conditions; from “Mild to Wild” in a matter of minutes!
Ultimate Sports Incorporated (USI) introduced the first composite (plastic) skis to the snowmobile industry almost 20 years ago. UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) was the godsend plastic – without it, we would all still be on metal skis. This material has since revolutionized the snowmobile ski is industry. Today’s plastic snowmobile skis are all made of the same UHMWPE and there are a myriad of different design ideas in single, double and triple keel designs using equal numbers of wear bars in most cases. There are some really great ski designs and there are some equally poor ones too. It is up to the consumer to be aware and well educated about matching specific ski designs to their specific application.
USI has long sought the “Holy Grail” of snowmobile skis and the all new X2 Triple Threat Skis are very close. That is a very bold statement, but one that can be backed up by years of testing by USI as the X2 Triple Threat Skis have been in the design and test phase for almost five years.
About the only adjustability most skis provide is to use carbide runners of varying length and diameter. The X2 Triple Threat Skis can do all of this, yet so much more, making them the most adjustable and tunable skis on the market. The reason they are called “triple threat skis” is because they are fully adaptable to groomed trail, mountain powder and all out racing conditions with the selection of three different styles of “Shark Fin” keel plates. USI calls it Shark Fin Technology. In addition to the Shark Fins, they can be changed even further with USI Power Steering Plates that (simply) create a rocker profile, or add curvature, to the ski bottom for lighter steering characteristics. Additionally, “Shaper Keel Plates” can also be added to the bottom of the keel between the wear bar and the keel to create more bite in loose or powder snow conditions. So, with one set of X2 Triple Threat Skis you can go from mild to wild in matter of minutes, tuning your X2 skis for the way you ride where you ride, eliminating the need for different skis for different conditions.
When USI started the X2 Triple Threat Ski design process in 2000 the goal was to create a ski design that really could “do it all”. They took a close look at their own line of snowmobile skis (PX-301, VX-301, SPX-301 and SS Railer) and asked themselves, “How do we combine these attributes and more into one single ski design?”
During design and testing at USI, they had always modified the prototype skis by cutting and shaping and adding or removing pieces in different locations to gain the characteristics they were looking for. This all had to be done in the least amount of time, and on many different makes and models of snowmobiles, which are all different. Some snowmobiles are light in weight and others are heavy. Some have long tracks and others do not. Changes in overall power, suspension design, rider position, weight distribution, caster, camber, keel height, ski width and ski position on the spindle front to back will make one sled handle completely different from another. USI quickly learned they could make one rider extremely happy, yet another was seemingly never be satisfied. Design elements that worked for one application needed to be changed for another.
Shark Fin Technology
The X2 has what no other ski has: interchangeable keel fins, front and rear – “Shark Fin Technology.” These interchangeable Shark Fins allow the rider to change the handling characteristics of their sled in minutes. The balance of weight (front to rear) between one snowmobile and another can be quite different. Because of overall snowmobile drive train and chassis design differences one snowmobile may be a lot heavier in the front than the next. The X2 in its basic form was designed around the heaviest of these snowmobiles with notorious aggressive steering characteristics on hard pack and wet snow. Some snowmobiles are just so heavy that to turn them with a more aggressive keel design requires too much effort by the rider. If you’re Jack the Bear that is ok, but for most of us on a days ride we want the easiest steering possible: but with the best in corner control. The USI X2 Shark Fins give you this tuning capability.
The rider can also mix and match the Shark Fins of all three stages to suite themselves, all stages are interchangeable. Put the Stage 3 front fin with a Stage 2 rear fin or vise versa as an example. It is totally up to the rider and what kind of control he or she wants.
Power Steering Plates” were introduced by USI last year and were a great success. USI SPX, PX and VX-301 skis are long skis (at 42 inches) and fairly flat running to gain bite in the corners. With some heavy nosed snowmobiles this was a problem in wet heavy or compacted hard snow. To combat this problem USI developed a very simple flat plate called a Power Steering Plate that goes between the mount shoe and the bottom of the ski. With the Power Steering Plate in position, all you have to do is tighten up the wear bar bolts and instantly your USI ski gained a rocker shape.
For those who don’t know, putting a bow or rocker shape in a ski has long been a racers trick since the 1960s to gain lighter steering and faster maneuverability on their snowmobile without sacrificing a lot of grip in the corners. The beauty of a flexible plastic ski like the USI skis along with the aluminum mount systems is that you can easily change the rocker of the ski at will just by adding or removing the Power Steering Plates. No other skis on the market that can do this! The X2 Triple Threat Ski can use these plates as well.
Most of us know that riding in powder snow can be a pain if you don’t have enough grip in the turns. Shaper Plates have helped cure this problem on USI skis. Shaper Plates have been around for about 6 years now and they add 1/4 of an inch of depth to any of our USI skis. Plus, they extend laterally on both sides of the keel about 3/8 of an inch with a beveled edge. Bolting these on between the bottom of the USI ski keel and the wear bar using the wear bar studs secures the plate and creates a shape much similar to the Shaper Wear Bars manufactured and distributed exclusively by Stud Boy. Everyone is starting to realize that Shaper Wear Bars are the way to go for the best grip possible in the corners. This hour glass shape is perfect for catching and compacting snow against the keel in loose or powder snow conditions. The result is great cornering in the loose stuff. Imagine being able to add these to your X2 skis with the Stage 3 Shark Fins!
A Complete Ski System
The reason USI calls the X2 Triple Threat Ski a “Complete Ski System” is because of all the adjustments that can be made to them. This makes the all new X2 Triple Threat Ski system the only truly tunable ski on the market today. Mix and match 3 Stages of Shark Fins, add Power Steering Plates and/or Shaper Plates and you have the widest range of adjustability offered. USI won’t go as far as to say it’s perfect yet, but they believe they are real close.
In the coming years you will see variations in Shark Fin Technology encompassing single, double and possibly triple whale tales or spoilers similar to what cars use. Imagine creating down force or even lift on a ski! USI is doing it and is in the process of patenting many different attachments for this ski as well as some new ski systems already in testing. If you want to get in on one of the newest and most exciting trends in skis to come along since USI invented the plastic ski in 1988, now is the time.
If you want the best in tunable performance products you have to pay a little extra. USI and their dealers sell X2 Triple Threat Skis for $448 U.S., but watch for introductory offers through November and at all the snow shows.
For more information contact: Ultimate Sports Inc., 2119 N. 15th Street, Lafayette, IN 47904.
Telephone 765-423-2984. Fax 765-742-7258. Website www.usi-skis.com