Are tracks actually better than X-trac tires on asphalt? - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-25-2016, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Are tracks actually better than X-trac tires on asphalt?

After lots of reading I eventually placed an order for a tracked Ariens to handle my steep asphalt driveway.

Today I went to a Toro dealer to look at single stage blowers and he told me

1. "Don'tbother with a single stage. I have a steep asphalt driveway and they're terrible to push up the hill. I got rid of it quickly."

2. The Toro 1028 does amazingly on his driveway. It pulls him up and he slips before these modern tires do.

3. Tracks are great for gravel or riding on snow but for a asphalt they have less pressure per square inch and you'd be better off with tires that dig down to the asphalt. You don't even need chains with the newest tires.

My head is spinning from the amount of contradictory advice I'm getting. Ugh.

The Toro 1028 was my second choice to the ariens so now I'm seriously second guessing my order. I don't want the headache of tracks if they aren't providing more traction.

Last edited by matto; 11-25-2016 at 09:04 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-25-2016, 09:22 PM
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You sound like me with frequent buyer's remorse. It is an expensive machine and you want to be happy with your choice. I find it hard to believe that X-Trac tires have more grip than tracks. Additionally the tracks will did deep into the plow pile without riding up. If you have a steep grade the tracked models are the way too go. The wheeled models are more maneuverable, especially when the engine is off. However they will not grip as well as a tracked model. I have learned not to trust everything a dealer says, they will often push what is more profitable or what they would rather service.

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-25-2016, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I hear you. But it's hard to be confident when almost every dealer I've been to told me to avoid the tracks because they're not worth it.

One option would be to start with the wheeled version and if I don't have enough traction, try the tracks accessory. It would be about the same price and I'd have both wheels and tracks.

What I can't figure out is whether the track accessory produces a rig that's identical to what you'd have if you bought the machine that way from the beginning. I'll try contacting Ariens tomorrow.
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 12:04 AM
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The dealer doesn't know what he's talking about. Tracks will give at least 5x the traction of the x-track tires. On snow and ice you get more traction from having more contact area, and from tread "bite" if the snow is packable. You get more tread bite and more contact area with tracks. This is a no brainer for anyone who's used both types.

Edit - think about friction: Have you ever seen a drag racer with narrow rear tires?

Last edited by SnowG; 11-26-2016 at 12:09 AM.
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowG View Post
On snow and ice you get more traction from having more contact area, and from tread "bite" if the snow is packable.
If you're on packable snow, yes absolutely. Tracks kick ass.

But if you're clearing down to 1/8 inch and the tires can easily bite through it and grab the asphalt?

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Originally Posted by SnowG View Post
Edit - think about friction: Have you ever seen a drag racer with narrow rear tires?
On dry pavement sure, wider all day long. But as long as you're going with the car analogy, in winter everyone knows to run narrower tires so they don't float on top of the snow like skiis. Narrower tires have more pressure per square inch, they push through the snow and grab the ground below.

And thats precisely the question of this thread! Why doesn't that also apply to snowblower tires on asphalt?

Last edited by matto; 11-26-2016 at 12:23 AM.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 12:43 AM
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matto: Continuing the car analogy. Ever drive a light bedded pickup truck without chains up an incline? Sure the tires will push, but they will push sideways, they will not push the heavy engine (i.e., the auger bucket processing snow) up the incline and if they do, the auger bucket will lift up and off the snow surface. I know from experience starting with a wheeled unit (used), adding chains (~$100) and then buying a Honda tracked unit.

Why don't you start with a $350 used wheeled machine like I did and see how it goes? If it works, great. Buy a new wheeled machine. If it doesn't. Sell it for $350 and buy a tracked machine.

There is a guy who posts on this forum who used to drive tanks in the army. His input could be really helpful about now.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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matto: Continuing the car analogy. Ever drive a light bedded pickup truck without chains up an incline?
No but I've driven a RWD car for many years and yes it sucks on snowy hills because there's no weight over the drive wheels!

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and if they do, the auger bucket will lift up and off the snow surface. I know from experience starting with a wheeled unit (used), adding chains (~$100) and then buying a Honda tracked unit.
Interesting, and yes that makes sense. If the machine is balanced so all the weight is on the drive wheels it will maximize climbing traction, but then there's nothing holding the front end down.

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Why don't you start with a $350 used wheeled machine like I did and see how it goes? If it works, great. Buy a new wheeled machine. If it doesn't. Sell it for $350 and buy a tracked machine.
That's not a bad plan. I started going down this route and even contacted several folks on Craigslist, but ended up getting frustrated and saying screw it I'm just buying something new and hoping for the best.

Last edited by matto; 11-26-2016 at 01:38 AM.
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 05:55 AM
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At my work we have both tracked and conventional skid steer Bobcat loaders (with tires). For snow removal everyone prefers the ones with tires for better traction.

Bobcat Equipment & Attachments - Official Bobcat Company Site
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 06:46 AM
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Dealers will tell you what ever you need to hear to make their product sound better than the competition.

The reason why dealer says you dont need tracks is because 3/5 times the tires will do a good enough job where you wouldnt need the tracks, most people get through the other 2/5 times using their tire machines and being content with it.


I have used both wheeled and tack models and I can tell you traction isnt even the main reason why I'd prefer the tracks over wheels. I'd buy a tracked machine over wheeled one due to the fact how the tracked machine wont kick up the bucket or ride up hard packed snow as the tracks gives a wider foot print along with not having a single axle to pivot on.

My only advice to you would be to get a smaller single stage machine to tackle storms with less than 6" of snow.

One of my favorite vidoes showing capabilities of a track equipped machine.

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-26-2016, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JnC View Post
have used both wheeled and tack models and I can tell you traction isnt even the main reason why I'd prefer the tracks over wheels. I'd buy a tracked machine over wheeled one due to the fact how the tracked machine wont kick up the bucket or ride up hard packed snow as the tracks gives a wider foot print along with not having a single axle to pivot on.
Gotcha.

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Originally Posted by JnC View Post
My only advice to you would be to get a smaller single stage machine to tackle storms with less than 6" of snow.
Well that was my plan.... until they guy who sells them and had plenty in stock sitting right in front of me said, "you don't want these, trust me."

Maybe I'll buy the little baby Toro. At 54 lbs I don't see how pushing it up a hill can be so bad.
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