How to Choose Snowmobile Tracks

The track on your snowmobile is critical to the performance of your sled. Choosing a replacement track or deciding which track length to go with on a new sled can be confusing if you’ve never looked into this before. 

I’m a snowmobile enthusiast who loves everything about these incredible machines and winter sports in general. I’ve replaced numerous tracks and have also shopped for new machines. I know about snowmobiles tracks through first-hand experience. 

This post will show you how to choose snowmobile tracks. Tracks can wear out, so it might be time for a new one, or maybe you just want an upgrade. Either way, the information you’ll find below will help you out. 

Let’s get after it. 

Initial Thoughts 

Before we get into the specifics of choosing a snowmobile track, it’s important to understand that you need to check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the best track width and length if you are replacing a track on a machine you already have. 

You can’t change the track length simply by buying a longer track. Snowmobile models are designed with a specific track length when they are made. You can purchase sleds with different lengths, but you can’t change them to different lengths. 

That said, different track lengths serve different purposes. A shorter track will give you increased handling and maneuverability, which is ideal for groomed trails or snowmobile racing. Longer tracks will provide you with more float in deeper snow but need a more powerful engine. 

How to Choose Snowmobile Tracks

Here are all the things you need to keep in mind when choosing snowmobile tracks. 

1. Check Specs/Choose Length

The first step to choosing a snowmobile track is to either check the manufacturer’s specs if you are replacing it or choose an ideal length if you are buying a new sled.

You need to know what the ideal length and width of track will work for your machine. You can’t buy any track you want because not every one will fit your specific make and model of snowmobile. 

If you are buying a new or used sled, you can choose to go with a longer or shorter track length, depending on your needs, preferences, and riding style. 

2. Lug Height 

Lug height is another crucial thing to keep in mind when choosing a snowmobile track. This is sometimes also known as the thickness of the track, and different heights have various advantages or disadvantages. 

A thinner track can be good when you don’t need as much bite in the snow. This is better for lower snow conditions like ice fishing or groomed trails. But a thinner track will also wear out faster because there is less material, and you’ll need to replace them more often.

Thicker tracks will give you added grip and bite in deeper snow. These are good if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry and want to push around deep snow. As the lugs get longer, it requires more engine power to operate, so you need to make sure your machine can handle it. 

Another thing you need to consider with lug height is the clearance you get. If the lugs are too long, they can hit the heat exchanger and damage this critical component that helps keep the engine cool. 

Check the clearance before you purchase a track to ensure there is enough room for the track to spin freely without hitting the heat exchanger or any other components around the tunnel. 

3. Pitch

The pitch of a snowmobile track is the amount of space between each lug. This is another factor that comes into play when choosing the right snowmobile track for your specific machine. 

Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the correct track pitch to ensure you don’t run into any issues when riding. 

4. Riding Style 

If you are buying a new snowmobile, you should keep your preferred riding style in mind when choosing the ideal snowmobile track. Different lengths and types of track will give you advantages in certain situations. 

If you are a new rider and are going to stick to trails and more hardpack conditions, you can go with a shorter track. This will give you good handling and maneuverability but less float in deep snow. 

If you want all-around capabilities, you’ll want a medium-length track that can handle a little bit of everything. These are common on crossover sleds and can handle trails and deeper snow, although they won’t stand out in either. 

If you want to bomb around the backcountry, you’ll want to get a longer track that has thicker lugs. This will give you good float in deep snow and increased traction with those thicker lugs. 

If you have a specialized need for snowmobiling like racing, touring, or utility purposes, you can also get specific tracks that excel in these types of riding. They will give you better performance and traction designed for these types of situations specifically. 

FAQs

Here are a few quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about snowmobile tracks. 

Are all snowmobile tracks the same?

No, not all snowmobile tracks are the same. Tracks can be of various lengths, widths, and thicknesses. You need to match the track you buy with what will work for your sled, or else you’ll run into problems. 

What is the best track length for trail riding?

Generally, a track length of 120 to 136 inches is ideal for trail riding. This sits in the sweet spot of giving you good handling without being too short or long. But each rider has their own personal preferences. 

How long is a snowmobile with a 163 track?

A snowmobile with a 163-inch track will probably be about 12 to 13 feet long. It depends on the make and model, and each manufacturer that puts out a 163 track length won’t be the same total length. 

What snowmobile has the widest track?

The Ski-Doo Skandic has one of the widest tracks you can find, and it comes in at a hefty 24-inches. That’s a lot wider than tracks that are 15 or 18 inches. 

Will a 120 track fit a 121?

A 120 track should fit on a 121, but you’ll have to make a few changes to make it happen. You’ll need to adjust the drivers to make up for the change in pitch between these two tracks. It’s subtle, but the difference needs to be accounted for. 

How do I identify a snowmobile track?

You first need to figure out the pitch by measuring the distance between 11 crossbars. Divide that by 10, and you have the pitch. Then count the total number of crossbars on your track and multiply that by your pitch to get the length. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing a snowmobile track isn’t all that complicated, but you need to keep all of the above advice when picking the best option for your machine and riding style. 

The track plays a vital role in what a snowmobile can do in the snow, so be sure to get an option that meets your needs or preferences as a rider. And always check the manufacturer’s specifications when replacing a track on a sled you already have.

About Chaz Wyland
I’m a snowmobile fanatic. I live for riding and am out on the trails or backcountry as often as possible during the winter months. I was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains and have snowmobiled in dozens of North American locations. When the snow is falling, you’ll find me on a sled.

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