Studded Tracks - UPDATE!
This is Part 2 of the Studded Tracks post! You can find Part 1 here, and it's worth a quick read if you haven't seen it already.
Just to recap quickly, we have a Compact 13HP Snowdog (in Snow Camo) that we've been testing in Manitoba and NW Ontario for the last year. It's a great machine, and very capable in all kinds of conditions. We follow some Facebook groups where studded tracks are a topic of much interest, and so we decided to do some testing. We tested the Kold Kutter #10 x 5/8" studs. After installing them and using them for a season, here's what we found!
Our first impressions on snow were "meh". Obviously, unless the studs have something to actually grip, there won't be any noticeable improvement in traction. Initially, we tested the studded track in areas we've traveled before: snow-covered trails, roads, and snow-covered lakes. There was no improvement in traction or steering at all.
Then we decided to visit Lake Winnipeg, a large body of water just North of us. In the winter after freeze-up, Big Windy has vast open areas of ice that are windswept and nearly perfectly smooth. With no snow for the track to grab, the acceleration on a Snowdog is, at best, "underwhelming". With studs installed, though, the Snowdog accelerated to full speed without any hesitation. The studs made a 100% difference.
BUT THERE'S A CATCH
If, like me, you are fussy about things like your garage floor, your truck bed or utility trailer decking, then you'll want to find a way to maneuver your Snowdog without taking sharp turns or dragging it. Studs are designed to grip, and they're good at what they do! I have some pretty deep scratches in my garage floor and on my trailer to prove it.
We learned that in certain conditions, studs make a huge difference. If you're going to be using your Snowdog mostly on bare ice, then studs will definitely give you maximum grip.
OH, and this...
If you decide to go with studs, we recommend getting the sled skate kit, too. This will help your sled track properly behind your Snowdog and prevent "trailer whip".. which is helpful, since you're also in the trailer.