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ATV with tracks - few questions


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I currently have a 2015 Polaris 570SP that I bought new and have been riding for for over 20 years.  

I don't do much trail riding or mudding like I used to when I was younger.  I mostly use it around my 25 acres in the country as a utility vehicle (moving trailers, working on hunting stands and gathering firewood in the woods).   The work in the woods sometimes tests the stock tires, but most the time I'm on high and dry ground.  And every once in a while the wife and I will get together with some other atv friends and go for a day of trail riding.  Maybe 2 or 3 times a year give or take.

I use the ATV year round, but here in Northwest Wisconsin, the snow depth makes it prohibitive to getting out in the woods or out on the frozen lake.

I don't want a snowmobile (they are such a bi*** to get un-stuck in deep snow - I know because I have a friends 500lb sled stuck in 3 feet of snow and slush on the lake right now).

So I'm thinking about getting a tracked machine.  I've never driven one, but have watched several youtube videos that are quite impressive.  Especially for snow.

I have seen some systems are geared for snow only, and some that are all terrain.   I would prefer to use a track system year round unless someone can convince me it's better to have tracks just for snow and wheels the rest of the year.

My questions are:

1. Between a Can Am 1000 and a Polaris 1000 - which one is better for tracks? I'm familiar with the Polaris AWD system and like it.  I've "heard" that Can Am's 4wd isn't quite as good, but maybe that's not true.  I'm open to other machines but these two are just my preference.

2. Tracks - all season vs winter. 

  • How much of a pain in the as* is it to change from tracks to wheels to tracks each year? 
  • Are the snow only tracks worth it vs year round tracks? 
  • Can you comfortably trail ride (non winter) with tracks?  I'm talking long, boring, well groomed, straight, flat dirt trails.  At the end of 50 miles am I going to wish I had put the wheels on?
  • How long are tracks good for?  My machine will be garage stored and my annual mileage/hours will be minimal. 
  • Are there any things to be aware of in terms of warranty violation if I were to buy a new machine and put tracks on it myself vs the dealer?
  • Any issues with stock axles, clutch or other components?

Thanks in advance!

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3 hours ago, Wayne Gilroy said:

I currently have a 2015 Polaris 570SP that I bought new and have been riding for for over 20 years.  

I don't do much trail riding or mudding like I used to when I was younger.  I mostly use it around my 25 acres in the country as a utility vehicle (moving trailers, working on hunting stands and gathering firewood in the woods).   The work in the woods sometimes tests the stock tires, but most the time I'm on high and dry ground.  And every once in a while the wife and I will get together with some other atv friends and go for a day of trail riding.  Maybe 2 or 3 times a year give or take.

I use the ATV year round, but here in Northwest Wisconsin, the snow depth makes it prohibitive to getting out in the woods or out on the frozen lake.

I don't want a snowmobile (they are such a bi*** to get un-stuck in deep snow - I know because I have a friends 500lb sled stuck in 3 feet of snow and slush on the lake right now).

So I'm thinking about getting a tracked machine.  I've never driven one, but have watched several youtube videos that are quite impressive.  Especially for snow.

I have seen some systems are geared for snow only, and some that are all terrain.   I would prefer to use a track system year round unless someone can convince me it's better to have tracks just for snow and wheels the rest of the year.

My questions are:

1. Between a Can Am 1000 and a Polaris 1000 - which one is better for tracks? I'm familiar with the Polaris AWD system and like it.  I've "heard" that Can Am's 4wd isn't quite as good, but maybe that's not true.  I'm open to other machines but these two are just my preference.

2. Tracks - all season vs winter. 

  • How much of a pain in the as* is it to change from tracks to wheels to tracks each year? 
  • Are the snow only tracks worth it vs year round tracks? 
  • Can you comfortably trail ride (non winter) with tracks?  I'm talking long, boring, well groomed, straight, flat dirt trails.  At the end of 50 miles am I going to wish I had put the wheels on?
  • How long are tracks good for?  My machine will be garage stored and my annual mileage/hours will be minimal. 
  • Are there any things to be aware of in terms of warranty violation if I were to buy a new machine and put tracks on it myself vs the dealer?
  • Any issues with stock axles, clutch or other components?

Thanks in advance!

Alrighty ... so someone said I know Tracks ... Funny thou, they never said I know Jack before ... and I still don't know Jack .... But I think I know enough about tracks to answer your questions Gilroy Guy ...

First ... if your friend was stuck out on the lake in snow & slush with his 500lb sled ... with a tracked ATV, which with the snow & ice on it, will weight about 1000 to 1400 lbs (And I SH*T you not about those numbers) ... I'm afraid you would be too. And Yes, they are a SOB to get unstuck. Sorta ... I've never been in snow & slush, but from what I've read & talked to some Canadian friends about it, it's NOT something I want to try.

Getting stuck in just snow ... and you will ... isn't to bad, if you just take it as part of the adventure & take your time digging yourself out. See, usually when a tracked ATV gets stuck, like tires, it's because the belly of your ATV is resting on snow & the tracks don't have anything to grab a hold of ... Yeah, you're high centered. So, armed with a good snowmobile snow shovel, you have to dig down around the ATV so you can dig the snow out from underneath the ATV. And maybe dig a ramp affair in front of the ATV & usually, you can drive right out. That has worked for me for 10 yrs, so .... and a winch is worthless unless you have something to attached it to. And even then, you'll have to dig because the winch won't be able to get out out of the hole you're in & back on top of the snow.

So, to answer your questions ........

1) Buy whichever one you like best. I've had a Can-Am since 2011 & I've ridden with a friend with a Polaris with tracks. Personally, you couldn't give me a Polaris. But you asked.

2) All Season vs Winter Tracks.

I've had both and after the first season of using my 4 season tracks, I ended up using them for snow only. Tracks ride real dang rough on dirt. They throw mud every where. But the 4 season tracks can ridden on asphalt for miles if a guy needed to without hurting the tracks.

Snow only tracks are just that ... Snow only. Think "Snowmobile" ... Snow Only.

It takes a bit of time to change out tires to tracks & back. But I use the time to do all my service work. Change oils, grease things up, inspect everything, check the belt, etc. They say you can do the change over in a couple hours. I'd say 4 hrs not killing yourself. What takes most the time is putting the mounting brackets for the tracks on. The tracks themselves mount up just like tires with 4 lug nuts.I usually take a couple days cause I also take the skid plates off & really clean the bike up. And with my back etc, I see no reason to hurry.

Are snow only tracks worth it compared to 4 season tracks ?? ...... That's a tough one. For me personally, where we get between 4 to 8 ft of snow ... YES. HOWEVER, I used my 4 season tracks for 9 yrs in those same conditions & did just fine. (I did get stuck more often thou) But these new Can-Am Apache Backcountry Tracks are AMAZING !!! Pricey, but Amazing ... And I wouldn't go back to a 4 season track ... but that's me & where I ride.

Your third bullet point asking about tracks and long trail rides in the summer .... You could I guess, but the tracks are going to beat the crap of you. Tracks have no give like a tire. They ride damn rough on dirt. AND, a tracked up ATV will NOT go as fast a one on tires. Track drive sprockets are between 14 & 16 inches in diameter. Your ATV tires are 24, 25, 26, or larger. So with tracks, you are geared down a lot. The fastest I've ever done on tracks (& that is my new ones with 16 inch drive sprockets) is 42 mph. But let me tell you, you will have your motor rpms maxed out. I usually run 18 to 25 mph on hard pack snow. Yes, I can go faster, but I don't. And speaking of being geared down, with tracks you will use lots more fuel. About twice as much. My Can-Am 1000 has a 5 gal fuel tank. On tires, I've ridden 82 miles on a tank before I refueled. On tracks, both on hard pack & powder snow, & remember, you'll be in 4WD the entire time, I've done 33 miles before I had to refuel.

How long are tracks good for ?? I've got a set that are 9 yrs old & they look brand new. Remember thou, I've used them mostly for snow only. The hub bearings & bogie wheel bearings are where you have to pay attention. I used to change ALL my bearings out every 2 or 3 yrs. Something like, 56 bearings I think. Yes, I bought cheap Chinese bearings & greased then up good. My new tracks I'm hoping will be better. On the plus side, if I have to change the bearings out, there are only 22 not counting the 4 additional bogie wheels I added to the rear tracks, which would be 8 more bearings.

Warranty issues with tracks ?? Depends on your dealer I guess. I do ALL my own work on my machines & have the dealer check & verify I did good. But I'm on REAL good terms with my dealer, so ....

Issues with stock axles, clutches or other components ?? Not in my experience. But anyone can break anything given enough time, throttle or alcohol. I started with a 2003 660 Grizzly. I was told that was the worse year fo Grizzly there was for breaking axles. I ran tracks on that machine for 4 yrs & never broke an axle. Actually, the only issue I've had with tracks over 11 yrs is one CV boot. I tore a hole in one doing some spring track'in on my 4 season tracks. But, I've also put holes in CV boots while riding on tires, so ........... Stock clutches should work fine. And I've never had to change a wheel bearing or a tie rod. Some guys I guess have had issues with those components, but I haven't ... ever.

Hope that info gives you the answers you're after ....... PRAY FOR SNOW !!!!

 

 

 

...

Edited by Gunny
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I would go Polaris- dont know anything about tracks tho.  I'm in VA- not much snow.  I know that 28" mud tires do good for snow unless your belly rubs, then you're stuck.  I would get a polaris highlifter and throw a 2" lift on it and then tracks...for snow, I know I would hate to use tracks on the trail cause I cant stand going slow.

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Right On ... I think you'll enjoy the tracks ... whatever brand you get & on whichever machine you buy. Can-Am & Polaris make their own brand of snow tracks. I know the other two types of Can-Am tracks (360's & 360 LT's) are 4 season tracks & I believe the ones Polaris sells for their machines are also 4 season tracks. Something to think about (buying ATV brand tracks) if warranty is a concern.

 

 

...

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  • 1 year later...

@Gunny what is your experience with running the Apache Backcountry‘s on pavement? I‘m not talking miles on end - my machine is parked in a village about a mile away from the trailhead. At the beginning of the season, it is more difficult to find a backcountry route to the trailhead that has sufficient snow, so riding about a mile on pavement is the best option. The dealer told me that it should not be a problem as long as I go slow. What is your experience? 

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2 hours ago, Michlb said:

@Gunny what is your experience with running the Apache Backcountry‘s on pavement? I‘m not talking miles on end - my machine is parked in a village about a mile away from the trailhead. At the beginning of the season, it is more difficult to find a backcountry route to the trailhead that has sufficient snow, so riding about a mile on pavement is the best option. The dealer told me that it should not be a problem as long as I go slow. What is your experience? 

 

I have to ride my machine on my cement driveway to get it into the back of the truck & now into a trailer. So I haven't done a lot of hard pavement riding & I personally, try to avoid it. I agree with your dealer. I see sledders ride asphalt all the time, so if you ride slow, it should be OK. I do think the track paddles will wear ... the little numbs on each paddle, and the ride is gonna be kinda rough, but I guess that's a price a guy would have to make in your area. One mile each way is a long ways to me ... I'm glad I don't have to make that decision ... YET ... by that I mean, we don't have much snow this year so far, so I may end up having to do some asphalt riding this year ..... PRAY FOR SNOW!!!!

 

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Appreciate the quick response (also on YouTube!)! I guess we will give it a go with the backcountry version. We will use our machine in the Sierras, and once we reach the trailhead, there can be an abundance of snow. I ride a snowmobile in this area, so I know that there are situations where we will need all the help we can get to get out of a stuck situation, just like you shared in some of your videos. Yes, I know exactly what you mean with the little numbs on each paddle. It is exactly like a snowmobile track. Hopefully, once we have enough snow, this trip on asphalt will no longer be needed. We will get a trailer anyway, but even with that, it would be a complete pain to load and unload just to get a mile to the trailhead. Yes ... PRAY FOR SNOW! I appreciate your time and advice! 

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