THE BEST MOUNTAIN TRACK LENGTH
I wanted to ask about mountain sleds and how to choose a track length. I'm an avid viewer of the show (DirtTrax included), but I think sometimes there's an assumption we already posess the foundational knowledge from years of riding experience.
Truth is, I've recently moved to Alberta and have been an avid skier all my life. I've done some slackcountry touring and want to invest in a motorized chairlift. Yeah, yeah. I've heard it all before. A 'chairlift'? Well, I think even you guys are realizing that skiers and boarders are looking for ways to make fresh tracks without the $80 one-time lift-ticket or a $500 per day helicopter.
Thing is, I don't know what the advantages of 15x, 16x, and now 17x track lengths are, which will be best for my intended purpose, my riding style (I'm a younger guy with a lot of motorized and racing experience), thin/athletic body-type (155-160lbs) and even what other factors to consider (I've read snow-type/geography can play into things).
I know it'll be an 850 with a 3", but beyond that....???? Perhaps you guys could incorporate a short segment in one of your upcoming episodes. A side-by-side-by-side comparison of the same sled.
Keep up the good work,
- Colin Watt
Hey Colin -
Thanks for writing to us and thanks for your nice words about the shows. We appreciate it. We also appreciate your perspective on the content in terms of assumptions of viewer knowledge. You're absolutely right, often times we do assume viewers, mountain riders in particular, have a base understanding of things like track length and how that should effect their sled choice. This is because we know, based on demographic research, that mountain riders are among the most knowledgable buyers. With that said, I do agree going back to the basics is always a good idea from time to time.
In terms of track length for you, it's hard to make a suggestion without knowing more specific info on where you plan to ride and what the conditions are likely to be. But here's a short breakdown of what the different track lengths are best at.
A 154 is the shortest you'd want to go on a mountain sled IMO. For a beginner in the mountains the shorter track length can be easier to learn on in terms of maneuvering the sled but that comes at the cost of deep snow traction and flotation. The shorter sled will respond faster to the rider's inputs and your body weight and where its positioned will have a greater effect on the attitude of the sled. If you're riding in tight trees, a 154 might be more desirable. However, for a beginner, more traction and floatation can be a lifesaver when things are deep or steep. If you ride in the deep and steep stuff, even as a beginner, a 154 may not be your best choice.
A 175 is a LONG sled. I've found sleds this long can be more difficult to maneouver. On the other hand, you can't get better traction or floatation when when things are steep and deep, the 175 can and will go places no other sled can go. For a beginner, the extra length can give you the ability to go places you'd need a lot more experience and technique to go on a shorter sled.
If climbing is what you're after, the 175 is the best choice, but my feeling is that for a beginner in the mountains its too much sled. Also, when you do get stuck (and you will) the 175 will be WAY more stuck than a shorter sled. It takes more to get it stuck, but when it is, it's more stuck than anything else.
The 165 really is the middle ground between being maneouverable but still maintaining excellent traction and floatation. This is my preferred length when I ride in the mountains. I can still get the sled to go where I want it to without excessive effort, but it still gets crazy traction and floatation.
Your body inputs into the sled won't have as much of an effect on where the sled will go as on a 154, which can be good, especially on a G4 summit that is so effected by body positioning. However, they will have more of an effect than on the 175. A 165 is good in the steep and deep stuff, almost as good as the 175 which is only better when things are REALLY extreme.
By now I'm betting you've figured out my recommendation for you is the 165. It's a good all round choice thats easy enough to handle, but capable enough to go anywhere. There's lots of room on the tunnel for the Ski-Doo ski rack and lots of extra gear. I'd say you can't really go wrong with a 165.
Hope that helped. Good luck with your buying decision and don't be surprised if after you spend a few days on a G4 using it as a "chair lift" you find you don't really want to put the skis on to go back down the hill anymore. I've talked to dozens of pro level mountain riders who started out as backcountry skiers, using their sleds to access more remote terrain, only to find once they made it out there, they'd rather keep riding than start skiing. Jeremy Mercier is the best example I can think of. He was an avid professional skier... barely skis at all anymore. Spends every day riding.
Thanks again for your message.
More Like This
LATEST VIDEOS View All
Vote For North America's Top Snowmobiler! - ROUND 1
November 2, 2018
In collaboration with Ski-Doo, we’re on the search again to find North America’s Top Snowmobiler ...
2019 Polaris 850 INDY XC 129 Walk Around & First Impressions | Hay Days 2018
November 1, 2018
AJ's at Hay Days 2018 sharing his opinion of the 2019 Polaris 850 INDY XC after logging some ...
2019 Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha One Walk Around & Impressions | Hay Days 2018
October 26, 2018
Luke gives you the low-down on the all-new 2019 Arctic Cat M 8000 Alpha One.
2019 Yamaha Sidewinder SRX Walk Around & First Impressions - Hay Days 2018
October 19, 2018
Luke gives the SnowTrax Nation a quick overview of the 2019 Yamaha Sidewinder SRX.
2019 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo Walk Around & First Impressions - Hay Days 2018
October 12, 2018
AJ gets some seat time on the 2019 Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 900 ACE Turbo and let's you know ...
Top Gear View All
October 19, 2018
FXR HELIUM HELMET
FXR's Helium Carbon bucket has a cool impact absorbing chin composite and dual density EPS safety core to further protect your melon. ...
Ask Motorhead View All
September 26, 2018
850 Switchback XCR vs. Renegade XRS
If you were choosing between the XCR 850 Switchback and the XRS Renegade which sled would you go with?
Press Releases View All
November 2, 2018
Elka Suspension Announces New Line of High Performance Shocks
Elka Suspension is announcing its new line of high performance shocks for the 2019 Polaris Pro RMK with the 600, 800 or 850 engine. ...
Tourism View All
March 21, 2018
Québec Original – Ride Where the Passion Began
Ask any rider anywhere and they’ll tell you: When it comes to snowmobiling, Québec is the best place on earth!