At Supertrax, we’ve often commented how some longer tracked sleds lose almost no handling precision over 120-121-inch versions of the same thing.
One of our supertraxmag.com frequent visitors vehemently disagreed. We’re still sticking to our guns… but with some provisions.
Yes, for those riders who ride extremely tight woodsy sections of trail at brisk speeds, it’s true, there is a noticeable difference in the longer sled’s ability to corner-carve with the same Ginsu precision as a shorter tracked sled.
Some sleds are worse than others and we would have to say anything over 137-inches decreases the rider’s ability to get razor-sharp handling in these conditions.
On the positive side, the Polaris Switchback 136 with a 15-wide track suffers very little compared to a 121-inch RUSH.
Also, Ski-Doo’s Renegade sleds with a 137 (actually a 136.5) track also are very crisp handlers in about 95-percent of trail conditions, even considering those models use a wider 16-inch track.
Bump it up to 141 or 144 and the handling gets really slow, even on sleds with the “tipped” style slide rails that supposedly cure the problem.
Here are a few thoughts: First, snow conditions can make a huge difference in the handling performance of the two lengths. Hard packed, frozen-down snow will make a longer tracked snowmobile’s track stick harder and resist turn-in, especially if it’s studded.
The best riding style to compensate for this resistance is what we call “tailing-out” or using the throttle to break the track loose in corners so the sled enters an oversteer attitude. More fun, anyway.
When conditions are hard, frozen snow with a thin layer of fresh, dry snow on top, there is almost no way to tell the difference. Heavy, wet snow can also slow down the handling of a long tracked sled.
There are many things to consider but the biggest factors are the riders, specifically the speeds they ride at and the terrain they ride over.