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Thread: Stupid Question.....what does track length mean?

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    Default Stupid Question.....what does track length mean?

    OK I've looked online and I've even talked to people I know who claim to be big time snow machine riders.

    What does track length really mean?

    I know from personal experience that a short track 121" gets stuck a lot more especially with a heavy sled

    I know 136" USED to be a long track and gets stuck less (although I've managed it fairly easily)

    I now read/hear about 144". 153" and even 162" tracks.......

    what does that extra 8" between a 136" and 144" really get you?

    Looks to me like only a fraction of the entire track is on the snow so if the track is say 136" vs !44" in total length that would only result in a relative few square inches more of track on the snow????

    I'f I'm MAINLY going to trail ride and play in the powder once in a while and want a 2 up machine, is a 136" ok or is it way way outdated now???

    OK I guess the title should really be stupid questionS!!!!

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    Member J2theD's Avatar
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    Paddle length is also a big deal. A 136" with 1" paddles and one with 2" is quite different.

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    Member J2theD's Avatar
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    To answer your question, a 136" is great for trails and can still have some fun in the powder. I'd have 1.5" paddles or bigger on it though.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I also look at a longer track in the same way I do an extended swing arm on a quad or dirtbike for hill climbing. It helps to keep the sled skis lower and more aligned with the slope of the hill when climbing. Shorter tracks have less flotation and tend to want to climb out from underneath you

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    Member AKsummit's Avatar
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    Off trail riding requires a track with deep lugs ( paddles) to get you started, the paddles compact the snow for traction, the length only matters when you have to climb.

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    I got 2011 renagade 16 in wide 137 long 1.5 luge new sly dog power ski. Nice in the deep snow

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    Snowmachine designs nowadays are extremely terrain-specific. A 2-up usually means a touring trail sled, and probably a heavy one at that. It will probably come with short track lugs, and be configured for seated riding. In the deep stuff with one rider (forget riding 2-up in bottomless powder on any kind of sled), it will probably be the first one in your group to get stuck.

    To be decent in the powder, you want a sled that's light, has a long, deep-lugged track, and designed to be ridden in the standing position. If you want to hill climb, or play in deep powder, you also need plenty of horsepower.

    There are crossover sleds--which basically are longer-tracked trail sleds, designed to allow you to do both trails and moderate powder. However, I can't think of any crossovers which are designed for 2 people.

    Given your needs you might want to consider a utility sled, such as an Arctic Cat Bearcat, or a Skidoo Skandic. They have a very wide track, can easily carry 2 people, are good on the trails (but not sporty), and with their huge footprint, pretty unstoppable when it comes to the powder.

    The footprint of the sled (ski area, and area of the track in contact with the snow) determines how much of the loaded sled's weight the snow will support.

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    I used a skandic superwide up in galena and in 6 years of them having it they hve never got stuck. I figured it would get stuck once as I leaned to far over hte one ski sunk and I was pretty much vertical (I was no longer on the sled but gave it gas to get out of hte hole and it was dragging me along) but it just climbed right back up and never had a problem.
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    If you haven't gotten a sled stuck you aren't riding it aggressively enough. There's nothing wrong with that, but nothing is stuck proof. Superwides are fantastic, but they certainly can get stuck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    If you haven't gotten a sled stuck you aren't riding it aggressively enough. There's nothing wrong with that, but nothing is stuck proof. Superwides are fantastic, but they certainly can get stuck.
    and I'm happy not being agressive! That would be an absalute pain to get un stuck by your self. I ride real agressivly, and I got just about every other machine there stuck, as did everybody else just cause we have never been exposed to nice big sleds!! they are the shizzle! I was just surprised how good they float
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Sometimes you get stuck by not riding agressively enough. Go too slow through slushy overflow, and for certain you will get stuck. You're also likely to get wet and very yold feet.
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    There are few situations where more speed and HP aren't going to be the best answer when it comes to getting through stuff. This past weekend my worst stuck was from going to slow. Flat light and some foggy goggles next thing i know i buried the nose in a drift in a creek bed. Open lead to one side and drift on the other two meant a lot of digging and pulling to get her out. Had I seen the drift I could have dropped the hammer, brought of the skis and climbed right out. Talk about dirty looks from my riding buddies! No one busted my stones but the look in their face was " really? You got stuck here!?".

    About the only time when power and speed isn't the answer is when a tree is involved!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    About the only time when power and speed isn't the answer is when a tree is involved!
    Unless the tree is smaller than 3" dia. and spruce

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    We have three utility sleds that are all strong runners. On a recent back country ice fishing trip, we had to bust trough 5-6ft. snow drifts on the way back. Not really any extended hill climbing involved. With the Widetrak LX(156"x20" studded track), I only had to run about 25 mph to get on top of the fresh drifts pulling a freight sled. For the rest of the trip, 20 mph. With the other two utility machines, there are some distinct differences. Our bearcat 340 that has a studded 1.5"x136" track and is the easiest sled to run off trail through the woods. The latest one, a bearcat 440ll that I bought from the prior Iditarod Race Manager, has a studded 156"x16" track with 1 in. lugs. This model does surprisingly well climbing fairly steep hills and staying afloat. None are mountain machines, but I don't use them to play in the steep stuff. they're all used for Ice fishing, pulling loads, and springtime hunting. I did play in mountains a bit with my widetrak lx, and that 620 lb. sled actually does very well climbing the steep stuff. You have to have a grab strap to turn that pig on it's side though. I wouldn't want a utility sled much heavier than 600 lbs. though for deep n steep stuff.

    When we move out to our property and have to build/maintain a small 7-10 mile switch trail to my uninhabited lake, I find attributes to most track lengths. I'd rather take the little 340 for trail breaking/tight turning/aggressive riding, and then the longer tracked machines to pull a home-made trail groomer. For long distance trail comfort, the 156 in x 16 in. utility track can't be beat. This is probably why my 440ll was used to ride all the way from Willow to Nome, and then back. Icy tops of hills/ and bumby half-frozen overflow/and slushy creek crossings are usually my biggest adversaries. ATV studs screwed into the track are essential.

    Speed and power isn't always the solution to stupid decisions in my experience.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKsummit View Post
    Unless the tree is smaller than 3" dia. and spruce
    Wish I had video of me spring boarding off just such a tree during the Colder than H3!! Winter ride at alpine creek.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Sometimes you get stuck by not riding agressively enough. Go too slow through slushy overflow, and for certain you will get stuck. You're also likely to get wet and very yold feet.
    Yeah. And then you have to wait around for a day for Doug to come out and rescue you.......

    All else being equal a sled with a longer track floats better. Outside of the utility class, a machine with a track in the 150 range is perfect for all around Alaska riding.
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    I have very seriously considered buying a 174" x 16" track, cutting down the lugs from 3" to 1.75" and slapping it under my '07 Bearcat. I get stuck often, but then, I am doing stuff as we don't have "trails" like other places. The longer the track the better the floatation/traction. Oh, every sled I've ever owned I have studded the track too. Ice is unforgiving if you get sideways.

    What has been said about paddle/lug length is true. I had a Polaris Ultra SPX SE with a 144" x 2" Yokahama track on it that was unreal in powder. It'd give you whiplash if you weren't careful.
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    The only difference track length makes is how far up the hill you get stuck and how deep your hole is

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcticmayhem View Post
    The only difference track length makes is how far up the hill you get stuck and how deep your hole is
    That about sums it up ! LMAO

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    Member FrankieJames7's Avatar
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    144 definitely makes a difference...a 136 will be WAY better on trail...but can still be good in the powder...144's are good in powder...just not as great on the trails...i would get a 144 just because i like 144

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