Whether you should stud your snowmobile track or not depends on many factors like where you regularly ride, your riding style, and your sled’s features. As a rule of thumb, you should stud your track if you mainly ride on hard-packed snow or ice, but if you usually ride in deep snow studs don’t make much sense. The main advantage of studs is that they improve your sled’s performance and handling, which results in more fun and safety.
On the other hand, they mean extra cost and weight, and can even shorten the track’s lifespan!
If you want to learn more about snowmobile studs, you are in the right place.
We’ve done the research and compiled all the most important info on studs right here!
The Benefits of Studding a Track
First, let’s check what the benefits are of studding a snowmobile track:
- Increased traction
- Faster acceleration
- Shorter braking distance
- Better climbing ability
- More cornering control
- Better overall handling and safety
And here are the cons as well:
- Time to install
- Added weight
- Shorter track life
- Track spins easier on concrete/blacktop/garage floor
- Risk of damage and injuries when the track blows or a stud loosens
If you’ve decided to stud your sled, you probably want to know how many studs you will need.
How Many Studs Should I Put on My Snowmobile?
The number of studs you should put on your snowmobile depends on several factors. The most commonly used quantities are as follows: 96,120,144,168,192. Be careful when determining the number of studs for your sled. If you use too many studs, they add some extra weight to the track, decrease the top speed and make the sled harder to turn. In contrast, having too few of them can lead to handling issues or damage the track or the studs themselves.
Snowmobile.com claims that unless you want to race on ice, you won’t have to add more than 144 studs to your sled. Based on that, the recommended number of studs for everyday riders is around 96-144. The final number depends on many factors, such as:
- Your riding style
- The sled weight
- The engine performance
- Where you ride your sled
- The track’s length and design
- The stud patterns you choose
If you do your research, you may find a lot of charts and calculators that recommend quantities based on your riding style. The typical categories are “trail,” “advanced,” “aggressive or max performance” and “racing.”
Unfortunately, this categorization leads to many misunderstandings, as many riders who have an “aggressive” riding style consider themselves just average “trail riders.” Therefore, it’s quite hard to determine the “perfect” quantity of studs, as different riding styles cannot be accurately described either.
As a rule of thumb, you can count on having 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, or 4 studs per lug, depending on the pattern. Typical patterns usually contain:
- Touring and Trail: 2 studs/lug
- Performance: 2-3 studs/lug
- Racing and Aggressive: 3-4 studs/lug
If you are confused, you can make a good start with Woody’s snowmobile stud calculator. Just enter your sled’s year, type, and model, and you can choose among different stud patterns and packages.
Snowmobile Stud Patterns
Beyond the number of studs, the pattern is no less important. Stud manufacturers usually offer different patterns based on your track and riding style. These patterns are usually available for all OEM sleds.
Some designs can improve your acceleration, while others are great when cornering. Although many different patterns are available, one of the most popular is arguably the “V pattern.”
Before you make your purchase, don’t forget to check the snowmobile and track manufacturer’s studding recommendations in the owner’s manuals.
If you are unsure about which pattern you should choose, don’t hesitate to contact the stud manufacturer, or ask your dealer for further guidance.
How Many Studs Does a Snowmobile Track Have?
As a rule of thumb, to say that snowmobile tracks have around 96-192 studs depending on the above-discussed factors. Let’s look at some typical track lengths and see how many studs they have!
As the most common pitch of snowmobile tracks is 2.52 or 2.86 inches, we can calculate the number of windows (or spaces between lugs) based on the length of the tracks. Some examples:
How many studs are in a 121” track?
There are typically 96, 120, or 144 studs in a 121” snowmobile track. The calculation is as follows: 121” / 2.52” = 48, which means there are 48 windows in a 121” snowmobile track. If you consider 2 studs per lug, it results in a total of 96 studs, while 3 studs per lugs means 144 studs.
How many studs are in a 137” track?
Surprisingly, 137” snowmobile tracks typically need the same number of studs as 121” tracks. Are you wondering how this is possible? As 137” tracks feature a 2.86” pitch, this means they also have exactly 48 windows. Performing the same calculation: 137” / 2.86” = 48. Finally, this means there are 96, 120 or 144 studs in a 137” track.
Let’s check another example:
How many studs do I need for a 144” track?
144” tracks typically require 114, 142 or 171 studs depending on the pattern. The math: 144” / 2.52” = 57 windows. If you want to install 2 studs/lug that means 114 studs, while 3 studs/lug give you 172 total studs.
For your convenience, we’ve gathered some common tracks into one chart. You can read how many studs you will need overall depending on the number of studs/lug you want to install:
Snowmobile Stud Selection Chart
|Track Length (“)||Windows||2 Studs/lug||2.5 Studs/lug||3 Studs/lug||4 Studs/lug|
These numbers are just for informational purposes! For exact numbers contact your dealer or check the owner’s manual!
How do You Measure a Snowmobile Stud?
Beyond their quantity, the size of the studs is also important. But how do you measure a snowmobile stud?
As a rule of thumb, snowmobile studs are always measured in inches. To determine which studs fit your track, you have to consider these three factors:
- Overall length of the stud
- Track lug height
- Stud protrude over lug
As they say, a picture says more than a thousand words, so let’s see how you can measure a snowmobile stud using a picture:
What Size Studs do I Need for My Snowmobile?
How long should snowmobile studs be?
The length of snowmobile studs always depends on the length of the lugs. Experts recommend that the studs should protrude over the lugs from 1/4” to 3/8”. If you choose studs that are too short, they won’t be effective. On the other hand, studs that are too long are prone to bending and can even damage the track, or other parts of the sled. If your track has lugs with varying heights, you should always use the highest lugs in making the calculations.
Can you stud a 1.75” track?
Yes, you can stud a 1.75” track, as you can find Snowcross studs on the market specially designed for 1.75” lug heights.
Can you stud a 2” track?
There are many signs that you can’t stud a 2” track. The first clue is that such a long stud is not available on the market, and with good reason. Long lugs do a good job in deep snow, where studs make no sense. Another risk would be overheating if you rode a 2” studded track on hard-packed snow.
How do You Install Snowmobile Track Studs?
You can install snowmobile track studs using these simple steps:
- Make sure your track and your sled are in perfect condition
- Install tunnel protector if your sled doesn’t have this feature
- Select the right stud package and pattern
- Prepare the tools: track cutting tool, socket set and bits, drill, tape measure, paint marker
- Remove the belt as you will need to frequently rotate the track
- Flip the sled on its side on a blanket or cardboard
- Mark the pattern on the entire track with a paint marker
- Grab the drill and the track cutter. Using other tools to cut the holes is not recommended!
- Before you drill, make sure that there isn’t anything on the other side of the track (e.g. idler wheel) to avoid damage.
- Place the cutter over the marks and cut the holes one-by-one.
- Push one stud through the hole and place the backer on it, too.
- Then, thread a self-locking nut on the stud. It’s recommended that you use self-locking nuts.
- Tighten the nut with the required torque.
- Repeat the procedure for each hole.
- Adjust the tension of the track based on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Anchor the snow flap to the chassis with a strap or cord.
- Test the sled’s traction in safe conditions.
- Inspect the track and tighten the nuts if needed.
For further advice, please refer to the owner’s manual and the stud’s installation guide. You can also make good use of this tutorial video:
How long does it take to stud a snowmobile track?
Generally, it takes around 4-6 hours to stud a snowmobile track. Although this heavily depends on how many studs you want to install as well as your skills.
Other Considerations for Studding a Snowmobile Track
- Take your time figuring out the right number of studs and pattern you need.
- Never install less than 2 studs per lug unless it’s a low-performance or a youth snowmobile.
- You won’t need studs if you ride primarily in powder.
- Don’t install studs if your snowmobile doesn’t feature tunnel protectors.
- If too many studs are installed in the outside belts it can lead to instability
- Studs on the sides of the track offer extra bite at the corners but can tear the edges of the track faster.
- Carefully check the owner’s manuals before you install studs!
Can You Take Studs Out of a Snowmobile Track?
According to real-life experiences, you can take studs out of a snowmobile track without any issues. If you’re afraid your track will wear out sooner, consider the fact that many mountain sledders drill 1” holes into their tracks to reduce weight and snow build-up. Based on this, it seems these little stud holes won’t significantly affect the lifespan of the track or cause any issues.
Conclusion – Do You Need Studs on Your Snowmobile Track?
If you ride primarily on ice you definitely need to stud your snowmobile. If you ride on groomed trails, you can also make good use of a studded track. The main benefit of studs is better handling and extra braking power, which result in increased safety.
The number of studs you need depends on your riding style; the harder you ride, the more studs you will need. In general, most sledders install 2-4 studs per lug depending on the pattern they choose.
Finally, the number of the studs usually falls between 50-250, but the most common quantities are 50-150.
The length of the studs is also an important factor. As a general rule, the protrusion of the studs over the lugs should be around 1/4”- 3/8”.
This is our snowmobile track studding guide. We hope you find it useful!
Disclaimer: Studding a snowmobile track carries several risks. Always carefully read the studding recommendations of the sled and the track manufacturer in the owner’s manual. Beware that improper studding may void the warranty and can be dangerous in many ways!