Editor’s Note: In each issue of Snow Goer magazine, our team of experienced product testers reviews various aftermarket products in the Cold Tested department. This review was printed in the October 2015 issue of Snow Goer. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive such reviews, 7 times per year delivered to your home.
Snowmobilers and snowmobile manufacturers in North America essentially have one choice for traction and flotation: Camso, the company formerly known as Camoplast. Camso has a full portfolio of snowmobile tracks that meet the traction needs of all segments of snowmobiling, but Composit International is a new snowmobile track brand unveiled in North America last year that could make in-roads to the snowmobile market. We tested its Talon 32 track on our 2015 Polaris 800 Indy SP demo sled last winter.
Composit snowmobile tracks are manufactured in Russia and exported to Composit International in Minnesota for distribution throughout the United States and Canada, said Dale Fett, owner of Composit International. Composit’s main line of business has been to supply rubber and plastic products, piping, tubing and conveyers to the mining industry in Siberia, Fett said. The company has made snowmobile tracks since the early 1990s, but their use has been confined to Russian snowmobile brands.
Testing a Composit snowmobile track was one of our most highly anticipated product tests last winter. We first touched and inspected Composit snowmobile tracks at the Haydays grass drag and swap meet event in September 2014. The tracks on display looked robust and well built, and so did our test track when we received it last fall. Edges were neatly trimmed without the fuzzy white material protruding from between the rubber layers, and clips were tightly and neatly pressed against the thick, 2-ply track carcass.
The Talon track we tested weighed 46.95 pounds, and the Indy’s stock Rip Saw II track weighed 38.35 pounds, according to an electronic shipping scale. Fett pointed to the Composit track’s thicker internal fabric and track clips made from higher-grade metal for the roughly 8.5-pound difference. Some materials changes and design updates will result in a slight reduction in weight for Composit snowmobile tracks effective this season, Fett said.
Traction wise, the Talon 32 – “32” refers to the track’s lug height, in millimeters, which converts to 1.25 inches – was similar to the Camoplast RipSaw II that was originally on our Indy. We rode the stock sled 110 miles before installing the Composit track.
More than 400 miles of this track test were on trails with a hard, icy base under a softer couple of inches of snow. Compared to a RipSaw, it had less side bite than a well-hooked-up Yamaha RS Vector a fellow rider was driving ahead of us. Ideally we would have also had a stock Indy and gone back-to-back on the same trail to be able to tell the difference and how much was trail conditions vs. track, but we all are waiting for the perfect world, aren’t we?
Acceleration and braking with the Talon was good, but that sideways drift through corners allowed riders to rear steer the machine like an older sled and also enjoy quicker straight-line acceleration and more effective braking than experienced when riding those old snowmobiles back in the day.
The Composit Talon 32 track ran quietly and smoothly as we didn’t notice any strange noises or feel anything that signaled it was out of balance. The Talon required two tension and alignment adjustments within the first 450 miles, but it required no further adjustment through the final 400 miles of our test.
Wear and longevity are important factors for major parts like tracks. Unfortunately for our test, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with our plan to more extensively test the track like we’d planned. Nonetheless, a close examination after 850 miles shows virtually no wear, which is impressive considering that snow was thin in most places we rode the Composit-equipped Indy last winter. Lug tips are sharp and there aren’t any signs of rubber erosion, and only a few inches, laterally, of the white rubber cords have protruded from the edges.
Talon 32 Track – $399
Portfolio: Composit already has an impressively wide selection for width, length, lug height, pitch and lug pattern.
Windows: Punch-outs are 1-1/8-inch wide, which is narrower than hyfax spec’d for late-model Indys.
Thumbs Up: Competitive pricing, seemingly high quality and good traction make the Talon 32 a worthy replacement track for trail riders.