There’s been much discussion recently about whether 120-inch sleds should move to 137-inches or follow Cat and Yamaha’s lead to move trail sleds to 129-inches.
Ski-Doo recently announced a limited build 2015 MX-Z Iron Dog with a 128-incher and many riders think this is the way things should go. Here’s our take on the subject.
We’ve been very vocal about our support for 137-inch tracks. The versatility you get with a longer track (but not too long) is substantial and since snowmobiling is about more than just trail riding, it makes sense to have enough floatation to be able to ride in powder occasionally. “Occasionally” is actually the key word here.
You need to ask yourself if the mogul bridging effect of a longer track combined with its slightly slower turning ability is enough of a trade-off to suit your riding style. Remember, those 120’s really can crank it on the trails and in tight stuff, their response and turning effort is very noticeable.
It’s actually one of the reasons we like the concept of a 128 or 129. It’s almost impossible to tell the handling difference apart from a 120 and yet you get considerably more floatation with the extra track.
This is very noticeable on sleds that are already light like the Iron Dog compared to a standard MX-Z. We’ve noticed the featherweight 120 MX-Z works surprisingly good in powder and although not ideal, can get the job done.
What about off-trail slanted crossovers? There’s a strong leaning toward 141-146-inch tracks for freestyle and semi-off-trail targeted sleds. Frankly, we feel the more track there is, the less maneuverability you get.
Longer tracks are flat-out harder to turn. We like the 141 because it offers a nice balance of floatation and steering ease, but, with the clutching and engine packages available for today’s sleds you can go heavily into powder with a 137 and not get stuck. True, flat-out hill-climbing is limited on a 137 but it all depends where you’re riding.
There are plenty of choices out there but you need to remember to ask yourself how you really ride, where you ride and then realistically consider the things you like about a sled before you dive in with a track that might be too short – or too long.