Frequently Asked Questions
- What is "durometer" as related to the thickness and stiffness of a snowmobile track paddle?
- What about 3" pitch tracks?
- What about a "3rd-window-closed" snowmobile track?
- Which offers better performance, full-block snowmobile tracks or staggered paddle design?
- How much better is a 1.25” lug track?
Durometer is the "hardness" of the rubber. The higher the number, the harder the rubber. Snowmobile tracks vary from 40 (asphalt) to 80 (racing and mountain) durometer. In short track trail sleds, a hard track is generally faster. Paddle thickness also affects paddle stiffness. A thicker paddle of lower durometer can seem stiffer than a thinner paddle of higher durometer.
Many users prefer thin, flexible paddles for soft, dry, fluffy snow. The harder, thicker paddles function better in wet, harder or "set up" snow conditions. A variety of either is available. Please call TRACKS USA at 320-382-6128 so we can help you with your selection.
3" pitch tracks were introduced to the market in 2004 by Arctic Cat. Historically, tracks have been made in 2.00", 2.52", and 3.29" pitch. (Pitch is defined as distance from the center of one lug to the center of the next lug going around the track.) Most track engineers will agree that when all other factors are constant, the shorter the pitch, the faster the track will run. Shorter pitch track equals higher speed.
Track weight seems to have little to do with top speed in tracks of 1.25" and lesser lug height. Many a snowmobiler has related how their Polaris 144" Switchback sleds are no slower than 121" units with the same motor. I can remember the same comparison 15 to 20 years ago with Polaris Indy 650s with 121" and SKS 141" tracks. Often the 141" was faster at top speed! Maybe a little bit slower accelerating sometimes, but the increased traction often overcomes this factor. Remember these two factors when comparing competitor 3.00" pitch short tracks with the industry-leading Camoplast Ripsaw!
The current 3.00" pitch mountain tracks are the result of demand for lighter weight and taller lug design tracks. A 162" mountain track with 2.52" pitch and 2.5" paddles would be too heavy to offer any performance characteristics or marketability, thus we have the current rage of 3.00" pitch tracks. Are they the best performing?
In an "off the record" conversation with a track engineer this summer, he related comparisons last winter in the mountains between 2.52" pitch tracks with 2.00" paddles and 3.00" pitch tracks with 2.5" paddles. He stated that many times the 2.52" pitch track was able to achieve so much greater track speed that its performance was equal to the 3.00" pitch track. I am sure different snow conditions would affect this comparison.
The 3rd-window-closed design was initially introduced about 1997 in a 1.250 track for snowcross racing as a method to reduce weight and retain snow in the skid frame for lubrication. A 121" track of the 3rd-window-closed design weighs about 2 pounds less than a fully clipped track. I have never seen a 3rd-window-closed snowmobile track show any signs of wear in the unclipped rubber area.
Observing the OEMs, all four manufacturers are now using 3rd-window-closed designs as original equipment on a variety of models. A few fully clipped snowmobile tracks can be found on performance snowmobile models able to achieve relatively high top speeds. I am sure their testing has shown that in most conditions, the 3rd-window-closed design performs equally as well, is lighter in weight and costs less to produce.
A lot of snowmobile track users and buyers equate the "full block" or "straight across" paddle design with maximum performance in deeper snow. Testing and experience have shown that the staggered design found in the 1.0" #9009 Hacksaw, the 1.25" #9833 Predator and the #9921 Ripsaw type tracks offers considerably better performance than the full block design. The newer design, open center track, is the premium performance snowmobile track of today.
Compared to the OEM stock .91" or 1.0" tracks, the performance of the 1.25" track is so superior that most snowmobilers will be overwhelmed. I like to use an example from the automotive world to illustrate the performance of the 1.25" snowmobile track. A .91" or 1.0" track is like driving a car with bald tires on a slippery, snowy road. A 1.25" snowmobile track is like driving the same car in the same conditions with both a new set of premium snow tires and chains installed.