Choosing the right track when you’re buying a new sled is pretty big deal because once you’ve made the decision, you’re pretty much stuck with the one on your sled.
Here’s our best advice: At point of purchase you need to do an honest evaluation of how and where you’re planning to spend your sled’s life riding. Obviously, we’re talking to trail riders here, however, even foothill and mountain riders need to take some careful considerations before deciding on lug depth.
First, trail riders: If you plan on strictly riding on trails, the range you should be considering is between 1.25 inch lug depth and a 1.6. If your sled is generating anything more than 125 horsepower, you would seriously benefit from upgrading to a 1.35, 1.5 or a 1.6-lugger.
The two deeper tracks (1.5 and 1.6) almost – and we stress, almost – eliminate the need for traction products – provided most of your riding is done on semi-hardpack or packed powder trails. Ice is another matter completely!
The two deeper tracks also open the door for being able to go off-trail once in a while. You won’t be able to climb like a mountain sled but the extra depth, even on a 129-inch sled, will allow you to do some pretty serious flatland exploring without getting stuck.
We formerly mentioned a horsepower ceiling of 125 ponies. In our opinion, most of the 800, 850 and turbo sleds offered today simply do not have enough track under them to allow decent traction, acceleration and even in some cases, safety, unless you add a bunch of studs.
Most of these powerful sleds are still coming from the factory with 1.25-inch tracks and it simply doesn’t make sense to us. The good news is, more OEMs are offering early-order or optional deeper track choices.
There is one caveat. There’s slightly more friction with a deeper track and that may rob a bit of top end. If you’re a lake racer only interested in max speed, you’ll be better off with a 1.25-inch lug depth but may want to up the ante and go for a track that depth with factory studs.
In our view (for what it’s worth) we are sold on the 1.5 or 1.6-inch depth tracks. The difference in bite is immediately noticeable and even braking is way improved.