How do You Choose a Snowmobile Track? [With Video Guide!]


Choosing the right snowmobile track is not rocket science, but requires careful attention. If you already own a sled and are looking for a replacement track, you should first check your sled’s manual, as it clearly states which tracks fit your snowmobile. But if you are new to sledding, you may wonder which size snowmobile track would be best for you.

Whatever the reason for wanting to learn more about snowmobile tracks, this post is for you.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a lot of useful info, along with several helpful tutorial videos under one roof.

No fluff, no affiliate links, just the info you need!

How do You Choose a Snowmobile Track?

When it comes to selecting a snowmobile track, it’s safe to say that how the sled will be used determines which size track you will need. The “perfect snowmobile track” unfortunately doesn’t exist since each condition requires a different design and dimensions. Thus, if you want to choose the right snowmobile track for you, here are the six main factors that you will need to consider:

  • Type
  • Length
  • Width
  • Thickness (Lug height)
  • Drive pitch
  • Rider’s weight

Let’s go through each of them one-by-one.

Types of Snowmobile Tracks

Based on your needs, there are 6 different types of snowmobile tracks types to choose from:

  • Mountain snowmobile tracks
  • Trail snowmobile tracks
  • Cross Country snowmobile tracks
  • Racing snowmobile tracks
  • Touring snowmobile tracks
  • Utility snowmobile tracks

Mountain Snowmobile Tracks

Mountain snowmobile tracks are specially designed for deep snow and high altitude terrain. They are usually the longest snowmobile tracks for maximum flotation. They also feature longer lugs, which provide better traction in deep snow.

Therefore, mountain tracks offer the most stability when it comes to riding in powder. We also have to mention their disadvantages.

The biggest con of long tracks is that they require a lot of engine power to drive them. Another issue is that they are significantly heavier, have less maneuverability, and present storing issues.

Trail Snowmobile Tracks

If you mainly ride on groomed trails, these types of tracks are for you. They do a really good job on the trails and on other hard-packed snow surfaces.

Trail tracks are generally shorter, thus they offer better maneuverability and great fuel efficiency as well. Moreover, you need a much smaller engine to drive them.

Their drawback is that they don’t perform well in deep snow, as they provide less flotation.

Cross Country Sled Tracks

If you like riding on trails, but you want to sometimes leave them, cross country snowmobile tracks are for you. These “Jack of all trades” tracks can handle a wide variety of snow conditions, giving you a lot of freedom.

That’s why they are also known as On-Off Trail Tracks.

Drawbacks? You can assume that they are “master of nothing.”

Racing Tracks

Racing snowmobile tracks, as their name implies, are designed for racing.

You can find different models on the market for oval, snocross, hillcross, and drag racing. They offer the best handling and acceleration available.

Touring Tracks

Large touring snowmobile tracks usually offer the best mpg and maximum longevity. If you want to regularly ride long distances, these tracks are for you.

Utility Tracks

If you are looking for the best efficiency and traction available, you can’t go wrong with a utility snowmobile track. Most of these lightweight tracks have a pre-studded design for the highest traction and stability. They are usually specially designed for utility snowmobiles.

What is The Best Snowmobile Track Length?

The best length for a snowmobile track is what fits both your sled and your needs. As a rule of thumb, shorter tracks offer better handling and need less engine power. In contrast, longer tracks provide better flotation, stability, and comfort. That’s why mountain sleds are usually equipped with longer tracks.

As a rule of thumb, if you prefer groomed trails and “racing style” rides you will need a shorter track. You can expect better handling and sharper turns with it.

But if you like riding in deep snow and in the mountains, you will definitely need a long track. Bigger track dimensions also reduce the risk of getting stuck in deep snow.

On the other hand, it’s good to know that the longer the track the more engine power it needs. Because of this, if you want a long-track sled, you will have to purchase a powerful model.

And finally, don’t forget that a long track makes a sled harder to haul on a sled deck.

What is considered a long track snowmobile?

Generally speaking, a long track snowmobile features a 136-inch track or longer. It’s an interesting fact that not too long ago a 136-inch sled was considered to be a long-track mountain snowmobile. But nowadays the track length of most mountain sleds starts at 154-155 inches!

What is the longest track on a snowmobile?

The longest snowmobile tracks are 174 inches long. You can find these tracks on many popular mountain sleds like the Ski-Doo Summit X 175, or the Polaris PRO RMK 174.

What is the shortest track on a snowmobile?

The shortest snowmobile tracks are 93-96 inches long. But it has to be mentioned that these short tracks are found on youth snowmobiles. When it comes to full-sized sleds, the shortest tracks start at 120-121 inches.

What is the Best Snowmobile Track Width?

The best width of a snowmobile track varies depending on your needs and your sled’s design. Don’t forget that the appropriate width of the track is clearly stated in the owner’s manual.

Simply put, if you choose a track that is too narrow, your sled will be unstable. But track that is too wide can make your sled harder to steer and it would also need more engine power to maintain the same speed.

Additionally, narrow tracks are more lightweight, while wider tracks offer better flotation and traction in deep powder.

The typical widths of snowmobile tracks are: 13.5”, 14”, 15”, 16”, but some tracks are as wide as 20” or even 24”.

Thickness of the Snowmobile Track

Another important consideration is the thickness of the track, which is the distance of the lugs above the surface of the tracks. Therefore, this dimension is also known as lug height or paddle height.

You have to be careful when selecting the thickness of the snowmobile track.

If it’s too thin, it will wear out fast and won’t provide enough traction. This means the track will spin out much easier.

But if the lugs are too long, it will need significantly more engine power to drive it. Moreover, the sled will get stuck much easier as it digs into the snow.

If you want to purchase a snowmobile track with longer lugs, you have to pay attention to the clearance as well.

This means before you make your purchase, make sure that there is enough space for the lugs and that they won’t touch the tunnel or any other parts around them.

As an example, mountain sleds usually come with 1- to 3-inch lugs, which allows them to go up very steep slopes.

What is the Pitch on a Snowmobile Track?

Simply put, the pitch on a snowmobile track is the (center-to-center) distance between lugs. The most commonly used snowmobile track pitches are 2.52”, 2.86” and 3”.

Before you make your purchase check your manual to make sure you select a track with the right pitch.

Rider’s Weight

Surprisingly, your weight is also an important factor when choosing the right track. The general rule is the heavier you are, a longer track and longer lugs are needed.

Snowmobile Track Selection Guide

The length of the track is probably the most important factor in the track selection procedure.

To help your decision, we’ve compiled some key pros and cons of short and long tracks into this snowmobile track selection guide:

  Short tracks Long tracks
Required engine power Less More
Flotation Worse Better
Traction Worse Better
Weight Lower Higher
Stability Worse Better
Maneuverability Better Worse
Sharp turns Yes No
Good in deep snow No Yes
Good in mountains No Yes
Good on groomed trails Yes No
Risk of getting stuck Higher Lower
Storage Easier Harder
Rider’s weight Lower Higher

Snowmobile Track Size Chart

We’ve also done the research and put together a chart with the most common snowmobile track sizes:

Length (“) Width (“)
93 10
114 15
116 15
120 15
121 14,15
128 13.5,14,15
129 15
136 15,16
137 15,16
139 15
141 15
144 14,15
146 15,16
151 15
153 15
154 15,16,20,24
156 14,16,20,24
159 14,15
162 15,16
163 15,16
165 15,16
174 15,16

Other FAQs About Tracks

Are snowmobile tracks interchangeable?

The majority of snowmobile tracks are interchangeable, but not all of them. As a rule of thumb, the tracks of the same length are usually interchangeable among brands of sleds, as it’s their dimensions that matter, not the manufacturer.

Are snowmobile tracks directional?

The majority of snowmobile tracks are directional. You can find a molded arrow in the center of the track that informs you of the direction of rotation. If you lay the sled on its side to check the track’s bottom, the arrow should point to the rear. If you can’t find the arrow at first glance, don’t worry. Sometimes you need to completely rotate the track to find it.

If a track doesn’t have an arrow, the orientation of the lugs can still show you the right direction. Keeping safety in mind, the lugs should offer the best traction when putting the brakes on. This means the track should be installed to provide better braking, not acceleration.

How do you measure the length of a snowmobile track?

To measure a snowmobile track’s length, you have to multiply the drive pitch by the number of lugs. Based on this the formula is as follows:

[drive pitch] x [number of lugs] = [length of the track]

As an example: pitch: 2.86”, number of lugs: 42, which results in a 120” track length.

By the numbers:  2.86” x 42 = 120”

Beyond the length and drive pitch, there are another two important sizes you need to consider: the width and the lug height (thickness). Don’t forget that snowmobile tracks are always measured in inches!

Who Makes Snowmobile Tracks?

The best-known snowmobile track manufacturers are:

  • Camso (Camoplast)
  • Composit
  • RubTrack

Let’s take a closer look at them!

Camso (Camoplast)

Camso (formerly known as Camoplast) is the most well-known snowmobile track manufacturer in the industry. The company has a complete portfolio of tracks for every need. It’s good to know that new stock snowmobiles usually come out of the factory with Camso tracks.

Composit

Composit snowmobile tracks appeared in the North American market in 2014. The manufacturer has made tracks for sleds since the 90s, but their products were only available in Russia. Fortunately, their products are now available in the US and Canada as well. Composite snowmobile tracks are made with a special double-fabric ply structure to prevent the stretching and ballooning effect. This results in a longer lifetime and better efficiency.

RubTrack

RubTrack designs and manufactures custom rubber tracks for various vehicles at affordable prices. They offer tracks for Polaris, Arctic Cat, Yamaha, and Ski-Doo sleds. If you are looking for a custom snowmobile track, don’t hesitate to contact RubTrack!

Which is the Best Snowmobile Track?

Many claim that the best snowmobile tracks are made by Camso. Currently, this is the leading manufacturer on the US market, supplying tracks to the main four snowmobile brands. (Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, and Yamaha). And if the biggest manufacturers trust Camso products, it’s a definite sign that these could be the best snowmobile tracks on the market.

What are Snowmobile Tracks Made of?

Snowmobile tracks are made of a composite material that consists of rubber and Kevlar/fiberglass. The first snowmobiles tracks were made only of rubber, but they stretched too much and could be easily damaged by gas and oil. The main advantages of the new composite track materials are that they are much more durable, but still flexible at the same time.

Conclusion: What Size Snowmobile Track do You Need?

What size snowmobile track do you need? If you already own a snowmobile, the track size you need is stated in the manual. The lug length (thickness of the track) you should choose depends on many factors like where you regularly ride, the design of your sled, and your weight.

If you are a beginner and just want to purchase your first sled, there are many factors you have to consider to choose the right track, such as:

  • Where you mainly want to ride your sled (mountains or flat lands)
  • The surface you will ride on (deep snow/groomed trails/or a combination of both)
  • Your riding style (touring, racing, etc.)
  • Your weight
  • Your budget (long track sleds need more HP, so they are more expensive)

Keep in mind that there is no “perfect snowmobile track size,” as each design has its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, the short track vs. long tack debate is pointless!

It’s wise to do your research upfront as selling the sled and buying another one is always a hassle.

If you want to find out which snowmobile track you need, you can’t go wrong if you rent different sleds to experience the difference!

References:

https://www.tracksusa.com/shop-snowmobile-tracks-by-type

https://amsnow.com/how-to-tech/1997/11/how-to-align-your-track-and-skis-and-check-the-track-tension

https://snowgoer.com/reviews/composit-snowmobile-track-review/19069/

http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/publications/vs/tracks.html

https://www.snowtechmagazine.com/what-track-length/

https://www.snowtechmagazine.com/track-direction/

https://www.denniskirk.com/learn/how-to-snowmobile-track

https://snowgoer.com/top-stories/how-to-replace-snowmobile-track-clips/

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