I’m a firm believer in track studs. So much, in fact, that I might even have an addiction to the pointy metal pieces that help my sled stay stuck to the trail. I’ve always used them in my snowmobiles. I’ve made a few attempts to quit, but mid-way through a season without studs I would find myself in the garage screwing a hundred-or-so of them into my track. I recently tried a different approach to kick the habit.
More than 8,000 miles on my 2004 Ski-Doo MX Z Renegade made it a good machine to test Camoplast’s Ice Ripper XT snowmobile track, which the company considers a high-performance trail track. The sample I tested was a 15- by 136- by 1.25-inch track; the same dimensions as my sled’s stock overshoe.
It had 288 studs molded into the lugs that proved to be a good compromise between traditional studs and a bare track. Even with 288 lug studs, the Ice Ripper was about 10 pounds lighter than my stock track that had 162 push-through studs. I liked the weight reduction and the fact I didn’t have to install studs. It hooked up well on the trail and provided good traction for acceleration and braking.
Camoplast says the Ice Ripper is not designed to provide the same traction as traditional studs, but I say it hooks up well. I could blow out the rear end in corners and sweep the sled through turns if I wanted to, or I could work the throttle to stay hooked up and power out of turns. Lake runners and pure acceleration freaks should stick with traditional studs, though.
So far I’ve logged more than 1,000 miles with the track installed. It shows no signs of excess wear and the studs are intact and still sharp to the touch. The lugs and clips look like new. The Ice Ripper’s stud pattern is six-six-four and then repeats. It has open windows with clips on every lug and a guide every third lug. Clips are drilled to hold ice and snow for lubrication.
The $838 Ice Ripper proved to be a good replacement for my worn track. It costs at least a few Benjamins more than a regular track, but that won’t include extra traction like this one does. If the Ice Ripper was available as a factory option on my next new sled, it might just kick my stud addiction all together.
Plattsburgh, New York