Follow a snowmobile that has Curve XS skis with the Curve Industries Leading Edge accessory and you’ll notice quite a groove — or row of snow — has been laid down by those snowmobile skis. We ran this package on our 2011 Arctic Cat F8 LXR demo snowmobile and learned that handling was sure-footed without darting, and steering effort was comfortable, even with a pair of aggressive wear bars and 153 studs in the track. Despite that the traction package was aggressive and helped the sled handle well, the snowmobile steered comfortably through hard-packed and tracked-up trails.
We tested the Curve Industries skis a few years ago on our 2008 Yamaha FX Nytro snowmobile and liked how well they settled down that machine’s steering and handling characteristics. The skis are unchanged since then, but what motivated us to test them again was the company’s new Leading Edge system.
The Leading Edge is like a miniature, dual-runner wear bar that bolts to the bottom of each ski about 2 inches in front of the wear bar. It has two, 2-inch pieces of cutting carbide spaced about 1.25 inches apart. The Leading Edge was designed to reduce the darting effect that happens with some sleds when the driver lets off the throttle. It breaks up ice and hard-packed snow in the path in front of the wear bar to prevent the keel and carbide from jumping into a groove and causing the skis to suddenly dart to one side of the snowmobile trail. Initially, we were concerned that the Leading Edge might catch on steep inclines like curbs or trailer loading ramps, but it didn’t cause any trouble during our test.
The hourglass shape of Curve XS skis is designed, Curve says, to draw in snow from the tip and compress it, making a rail for the keel to turn against. This design also slightly elevates the skis so they sit up on the snow rather than plow through it, which contributes to less steering effort and reduced wear to the ski bottom and wear bar.
Installing the Leading Edge on each ski was fairly easy because the drilling template included with the kit was perfectly accurate. Unfortunately, the drill stop didn’t work very well so we had to improvise in order to drill the correct depth to hold the Leading Edge. Bolting the skis to the spindles was way more work, though.
Trying to get the bolt hole in the ski to line up with the hole in the spindle was difficult, but coercing the parts with a pry bar, a block of wood and a mallet made the parts line up. The thick rubber bushing that’s sandwiched between the ski and spindle causes the tight fit. This bushing also serves as a shim that transfers pressure so the rear of the ski takes some of the steering load and reduces darting. Once the skis are finally on, the tight fit allows zero steering slop.
As tested, our Curve Industries ski package retails for $570.87 (Curve XS Performance Skis, loops, 6-inch Stud Boy Shaper Bars, Leading Edge).
Curve Industries, curvexs.com; 315/292-0594