Are Tracks on a Side by Side Worth It?

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Are Tracks on a Side by Side Worth It?

Are Tracks on a Side by Side Worth It?

If you own a side by side vehicle, you may have considered adding tracks to it. tracks can be a valuable addition to your side by side, especially if you frequently encounter challenging terrains or plan on using your vehicle for activities such as hunting or snow removal. However, tracks also come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of adding tracks to a side by side.

Key Takeaways

  • Adding tracks to a side by side can enhance its off-road capabilities.
  • Tracks provide increased traction and flotation on various terrains.
  • Tracks may limit the top speed of a side by side.

1. Enhanced Off-Road Capabilities: Tracks can significantly enhance the off-road capabilities of a side by side. With tracks, your vehicle gains improved traction and stability, allowing it to traverse challenging terrains such as mud, sand, snow, and rocks.

Imagine effortlessly cruising through deep snow without getting stuck.

2. Increased Traction and Flotation: Tracks offer superior traction compared to regular tires, thanks to their larger contact surface. They distribute the vehicle’s weight more evenly, reducing the risk of sinking into soft or uneven terrains. Furthermore, tracks provide better flotation, allowing the side by side to stay on top of loose surfaces like sand and snow.

Lose the worry of getting bogged down in deep mud or sinking in soft sand.

3. Speed Limitations: While tracks can provide excellent off-road capabilities, they may also limit the top speed of a side by side. The added weight of tracks and the increased rolling resistance can slow down the vehicle, especially on hard surfaces like pavement. It is essential to consider how you intend to use your side by side before deciding to add tracks.

Keep in mind that tracks are designed for off-road use and may impact your vehicle’s speed on regular roads.

Exploring the Numbers

Side by Side Model Tire Size Maximum Speed (mph)
Model X-100 26″ 50
Model Y-200 28″ 55
Model Z-300 30″ 45

Table 1: Maximum Speed Values of Different Side by Side Models with Standard Tires (without tracks).

When deciding on tracks for your side by side, it is crucial to consider any potential limitations they may impose. Factors to take into account include:

  • The type of terrain you will primarily be driving on.
  • Your desired speed and performance.
  • The weight capacity of your side by side.
  • The ease of installation and removal of tracks.

Keep in mind that tracks come in various sizes and designs tailored for specific applications, so it’s vital to choose the right tracks for your needs and vehicle.

Comparing Costs

Adding tracks to a side by side involves an additional expense. Below is a comparison of the estimated costs for tracks and standard tires:

Equipment Estimated Cost
Side by Side Tracks $2,500 – $5,000
Standard Side by Side Tires $500 – $1,000 (set of 4)

Table 2: Estimated Costs for Tracks and Standard Tires.

While tracks are generally more expensive than standard tires, it’s essential to consider their long-term benefits before making a decision.


In conclusion, tracks can be a valuable addition to your side by side, enhancing its off-road capabilities and providing increased traction and flotation. However, it is crucial to weigh the advantages against the potential speed limitations and cost of tracks. Consider your specific needs, desired performance, and budget carefully before making a decision.

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Common Misconceptions

Tracks on a Side by Side Are Only Useful in Snowy Conditions

One common misconception about tracks on a side by side is that they are only useful in snowy conditions. While it is true that tracks provide better traction and stability on snow, they also offer several advantages in other terrains.

  • Tracks increase flotation on soft or muddy terrain, preventing the vehicle from sinking.
  • Tracks distribute the weight of the side by side more evenly, reducing the impact on the ground and minimizing damage to delicate ecosystems.
  • Tracks provide better climbing ability on steep or uneven surfaces, allowing side by sides to access hard-to-reach areas.

Tracks on a Side by Side are Expensive and Not Worth the Investment

Another misconception is that tracks for side by sides are expensive and not worth the investment. While it is true that tracks can be a significant investment upfront, they offer long-term benefits that make them worthwhile.

  • Tracks extend the lifespan of the side by side by reducing wear and tear on tires and drivetrain components.
  • Tracks provide increased stability, reducing the risk of rollovers and costly damages.
  • Tracks improve the resale value of the side by side, as they are considered valuable upgrades by potential buyers.

Tracks on a Side by Side Decrease Speed and Maneuverability

Some people wrongly assume that tracks on a side by side significantly decrease speed and maneuverability. While it is true that tracks add weight and can reduce top speed, the impact on maneuverability is less significant.

  • Modern track systems are designed to provide excellent control and performance, allowing side by side drivers to navigate tight trails and corners with ease.
  • Tracks can be adjusted to different tensions, optimizing performance for various terrains and enhancing maneuverability.
  • The increased traction provided by tracks can actually improve maneuverability in challenging conditions, such as deep mud or loose gravel.

Tracks on a Side by Side Require Constant Maintenance

Some people believe that tracks on a side by side require constant maintenance, making them more trouble than they are worth. However, with proper care and regular maintenance, tracks can be a reliable and low-maintenance addition to your side by side.

  • Most track systems are designed to be durable and require minimal maintenance, such as lubricating the bearings and checking the tension occasionally.
  • Tracks have fewer components that are subjected to wear than traditional tires, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
  • Choosing high-quality tracks from reputable manufacturers can ensure a longer lifespan and reduce the need for constant maintenance.

Tracks on a Side by Side Only Benefit Off-Road Enthusiasts

Lastly, there is a misconception that tracks on a side by side only benefit off-road enthusiasts and are not useful for other purposes. However, tracks can offer advantages in a variety of applications.

  • Farmers and ranchers can benefit from tracks as they provide better traction and reduce soil compaction, making it easier to navigate uneven terrain and perform agricultural tasks.
  • Hunters and wildlife enthusiasts can use tracks to access remote hunting grounds or observe wildlife without disturbing the natural habitat as much.
  • Emergency response teams and law enforcement professionals can benefit from increased stability and performance when navigating challenging terrains during rescue operations.
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Are Tracks on a Side by Side Worth It?

Side by sides, also known as utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), have become increasingly popular in recent years. These versatile off-road vehicles offer great mobility and enhanced stability, making them suitable for various outdoor activities. One popular modification for side by sides is the addition of tracks instead of traditional wheels. Tracks can provide improved traction, flotation, and overall performance, especially in challenging terrain. However, the decision to equip a side by side with tracks comes with considerations. Let’s explore some key points and weigh the pros and cons.

Enhanced Stability and Versatility

Equipping a side by side with tracks can significantly enhance its stability and versatility, especially when traversing challenging terrains, such as deep mud, snow, or loose surfaces. Tracks distribute the vehicle’s weight more evenly, providing increased flotation and reducing the likelihood of getting stuck or bogged down.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Flotation Excellent Good
Traction Excellent Good
Stability Excellent Good
Maneuverability Good Excellent

The table above illustrates the comparison between tracks and wheels in terms of flotation, traction, stability, and maneuverability. While tracks excel in flotation, traction, and stability, wheels offer superior maneuverability, allowing for sharper turns and more nimble handling.

Added Weight and Reduced Speed

One factor to consider when opting for tracks on a side by side is the added weight. Tracks are generally heavier than traditional wheels, which can impact the vehicle’s overall performance and speed. However, the increase in weight is often offset by the enhanced traction and flotation provided by the tracks.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Weight Increase ~200 lbs Negligible
Top Speed Reduced Higher
Fuel Efficiency Reduced Higher

Above, we can observe the effect of tracks versus wheels on weight increase, top speed, and fuel efficiency. While tracks add around 200 pounds to the vehicle’s weight, they can reduce the top speed and impact fuel efficiency. On the other hand, wheels have a negligible weight increase compared to the performance benefits they offer.

Cost and Management

When considering tracks for a side by side, cost and maintenance are important aspects to evaluate. Tracks tend to be more expensive than wheels and may require additional maintenance, such as track tension adjustments or replacement of worn components. Wheels, while generally more affordable, have their own maintenance requirements, such as tire rotation and replacement.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Cost Higher Lower
Maintenance More Less
Durability High High

The table above highlights the differences in cost, maintenance, and durability between tracks and wheels. While tracks come at a higher cost and require more maintenance, they are known for their durability. Conversely, wheels are more cost-effective and generally require less maintenance.

Off-Roading Performance

For off-road enthusiasts, optimizing a side by side’s performance is of utmost importance. Tracks can significantly enhance the vehicle’s off-roading capabilities, allowing it to tackle more challenging terrains with ease. However, it’s crucial to consider the specific needs and preferences of each individual, as off-roading performance can be subjective.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Mud Excellent Good
Snow Excellent Good
Rocky Terrain Good Excellent
Desert Sand Good Excellent

The table above showcases the off-roading performance comparison between tracks and wheels in different terrains. While tracks excel in mud and snow, wheels perform admirably on rocky terrains and desert sands.

Comfort and Noise

Comfort and noise levels are additional considerations when contemplating tracks for side by sides. Due to their design, tracks can provide a smoother and more comfortable ride on uneven terrain, reducing the impact felt by occupants. However, tracks may generate more noise compared to wheels, especially when traveling on harder surfaces.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Ride Comfort Good Good
Noise More Less

Above, we can observe the comparison between tracks and wheels regarding ride comfort and noise levels. Both tracks and wheels offer a good level of comfort, but tracks may produce slightly more noise, particularly on hard surfaces.

Environmental Impact

Considering the environmental impact is essential for responsible off-roading. Tracks and wheels have differing effects on the environment, particularly in terms of terrain preservation and access to certain areas.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Terrain Preservation Better Less
Access to Areas Restricted Less Restricted

Above, we can observe the impact of tracks and wheels on terrain preservation and access to certain areas. Tracks have a better ability to preserve the terrain, minimizing the impact on the environment. However, certain areas may have restrictions on track usage, thereby limiting access compared to vehicles with wheels.

Personal Style and Preference

The decision to equip tracks on a side by side can also be influenced by personal style and preference. Appearance and functionality often go hand in hand when it comes to customization, and tracks can give a side by side a distinct and rugged look that appeals to some enthusiasts.

Safety Considerations

Ensuring safety should always be a top priority when operating any vehicle. When considering tracks for a side by side, it’s important to evaluate their impact on vehicle stability, braking performance, and rollover risk.

Aspect Tracks Wheels
Rollover Risk Lower Higher
Braking Performance Good Good

The table above compares tracks and wheels in terms of rollover risk and braking performance. Generally, tracks offer lower rollover risk due to their enhanced stability, while both tracks and wheels can provide similar braking performance.

A Better Choice?

After examining the various aspects and data surrounding tracks on a side by side, one can conclude that the decision ultimately depends on individual needs, preferences, and off-roading requirements. While tracks provide undeniable benefits in terms of flotation, traction, stability, and comfort, they come with drawbacks such as added weight, reduced speed, increased cost, and higher maintenance. On the other hand, traditional wheels offer superior maneuverability, higher top speeds, lower costs, and less maintenance. Reflecting on these factors and considering the intended use of the side by side will aid in making an informed decision that aligns with specific needs and desired off-roading experiences.

FAQs: Are Tracks on a Side by Side Worth It?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tracks on a Side by Side Worth It?

What are tracks on a side by side?

Tracks on a side by side refer to the aftermarket accessory that replaces the regular wheels of the vehicle with track systems, providing enhanced traction and flotation.

What are the benefits of tracks on a side by side?

Some benefits of tracks on a side by side include improved traction on various terrains such as snow, mud, and sand, increased stability and control, reduced ground pressure, better maneuverability through obstacles, and enhanced off-road capabilities.

Can tracks damage a side by side?

While tracks themselves are designed to be durable and withstand off-road conditions, improper usage or engaging in extreme activities can potentially lead to damage to the side by side. It is important to follow manufacturer instructions and use tracks appropriate for your vehicle.

Are tracks difficult to install on a side by side?

The installation process may vary depending on the specific track system and the side by side model. Generally, it requires some mechanical skills and tools. However, it is recommended to consult the user manual or seek professional assistance for proper installation to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Do tracks affect the speed of a side by side?

Yes, tracks can affect the overall speed of a side by side. The increased traction and friction of tracks make it slightly slower compared to using regular wheels. However, the trade-off in speed is often outweighed by the enhanced off-road capabilities provided by tracks.

What is the cost of installing tracks on a side by side?

The cost of tracks for a side by side can vary depending on the brand, quality, and specific model. Generally, a set of tracks may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. It is always recommended to research and compare prices from different manufacturers or suppliers.

Can tracks be used on any side by side?

Not all side by side vehicles are compatible with tracks. It is essential to check the specific requirements and recommendations from the track manufacturer to ensure proper fitment and compatibility.

What maintenance is required for tracks on a side by side?

Regular maintenance of tracks on a side by side includes cleaning them after use to remove debris, inspecting for any signs of wear or damage, lubricating moving parts as per manufacturer guidelines, and tightening any loose bolts or fasteners. It is crucial to follow the maintenance recommendations provided by the track manufacturer.

Are tracks suitable for all terrains?

While tracks can significantly improve traction on various terrains such as snow, mud, and sand, they may not perform as effectively on hard surfaces like pavement or concrete. It is advisable to use tracks primarily in off-road environments and switch to regular wheels when driving on public roads or harder surfaces.

Can tracks make a side by side more fuel-efficient?

While tracks provide several benefits, increased fuel efficiency is not one of them. The added weight and altered drivetrain dynamics may result in slightly higher fuel consumption compared to using regular wheels on a side by side.