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Snowmobile Trail Sleds: Short Track Vs. Long Track

Posted by FAST TRAC on

If you want to maximize the enjoyment of snowmobiling, you need a sled that fits your preferences. In addition to engine size, the track length is a massive factor in how your snowmobile handles certain conditions. Over the years, as snowmobile design has improved, track options have gotten longer.

Short Tracks

Common short track lengths are 120,121,128, and 129. The smaller footprint of these tracks makes it much easier to turn and the skis planted. With tight steering, these sleds handle twisty trails with minimal effort. While 129” is the most common track length for the trail, some suspension setups like the Polaris CC skid give their tracks the same footprint on the ground as a 121”.

Long Tracks

The long track category lengths are 136”, 137”, 141”, 144” and 146”. These lengths are cross-over and capable both on and off-trail. The tracks in the 130s are considered more favorable for trail and 140s more favorable for off-trail. A longer track is more effort to steer as you the is more track pushing forward. A benefit of the long track is better performance in deeper snow, and it rides over stutter bumps and moguls. With the longer cross-over tracks, Polaris and Ski-Doo have started using tipped rails that pull the track off the ground at the very end. This ingenious design gives the track a more nimble footprint of a 137” track with the benefit of the extra track length in deep snow. These model snowmobiles usually have an uncoupled suspension that results in more ski lift from acceleration and effort to turn.

So what track length should you go with? If you are serious about trail riding and want to rail corners like a roller coaster, the shorter tracks with coupled suspensions are your best option. For the casual rider, they take less input to turn, and for the aggressive riders, the reduced effort allows very fast ridding. The 137 track length is for those that want a cushier ride with improved deep snow performance and don’t mind a little extra effort to turn. The 141,144, and 146 are for those that want a sled that can perform well in any condition. If trail is more dominant in your ridding, you’ll want to make sure to get a machine with a 42” trail front end. This makes the snowmobile more stable in turns and enjoyable on the trails. If off-trail is your dominant ridding preference, opt for a cross over with a 40” or less front end. The sled will be tippier on the trails but allows for a more agile machine off the trails. ˙

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