Ski-Doo Snowmobiles Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 106 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
Inevitably this thread will get rowdy with opinions, but I would like to hear what the very aggressive riders are doing to optimize handling.

I have had a compromised setup for the last couple years, because my loading arrangement becomes a PITA if I tighten the limiter strap too much. I have been keeping the font end on 3.5, centre spring LOOSE, and rear springs full stiff (I ride hard enough this minimizes bottoming, but doesn't eliminate it) with the coupler blocks on their highest setting. I weigh 190#, BTW.

In the past, I have setup machines to rail, and inevitably compromise the ride and powder performance, by doing the following;

Front springs just soft enough to keep the chassis settled over big bumps, limiter strap very tight, (ie; almost no slack when sitting on machine), with the centre spring quite tight (to minimize front arm bottoming with the reduced travel), and rear springs and blocks full (or close to it) stiff.

^This typically yields a machine with ZERO ski lift, makes leaning at anything other than 90% speeds not necessary (as the limiter strap stops the ski lift, by preventing the front arm being a fulcrum). Hell, I even made a ****ty 4 stroke Phazer handle well with this setup......

So lets hear some opinions, try to keep the criticisms constructive, all opinions are valid, right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
I'm about 200lbs and my setup is purely for trail riding and exactly the opposite of your settings. Really soft on front shocks and on 13 clicks for dampening adjustment. Centre shock is tightened as far as I could get it and showing about 1.5" of threads. Rear is set super soft. Sled rides really nice and sucks up bumps but I do find a bit of ski lift when running hard.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

·
Regular ol' run-of-the-mill Member
Joined
·
5,663 Posts
Keep in mind that varying opinions will be blended with varying stud patterns, track lengths, track choices, ski choices, carbide choices, rider weights, preferred seating positions, handlebar positions, SC5 vs R-motion suspensions, X vs non-X vs revalved setups, and the very definition of "aggressive."

So good luck learning much of anything from this thread...

That said I'll throw my number in the hat anyway. As an extremely fast trail rider in most all conditions smooth and rough (and I do not consider this to be the definition of aggressive...big jump snowcrossing/ditchbanging and backcountry mountain riding is the definition of aggressive IMO)...here's what I have....

On my 2010 SC-5 Adrenaline Gade, unstudded Cobra 137" track, no studs, Slydog Powderhound Skis & 6" carbides, upgraded to Monster Performance custom valved Adrenaline front shocks/Z-bros rear shock/X center shock....200-ish pounds, plus 2 gallons extra fuel and gear bag sitting on the rear shelf...

I run closer to Izey's setup...and near polar opposite of what Hemi describes. I've found the front ends of these 1200's are so insanely heavy there is no reason to set it up to rail like I may have in the past with a light weight 2-smoker. So now I have coupler set for full transfer, rear springs set full soft, center spring set quite stiff....probably 2/3 of the way toward full stiff on the threads, ski springs set very loose/soft, limiter strap let out a notch from stock. Love it. On trail, off trail, rough or smooth. Haven't found anyone able to keep up with me in twisties yet and it's easy to ride and compliant when things get rough. Bottoms occasionally on a big surprise hits, but of course if you're paying attention to your driving there is no such thing as a big surprise hit...so I just stand for 'em when I see them and hammer thru 'em hard while listening to the sound of bumpers slamming the chassis. I don't jump, and I'm sure my setup would suck if I did. And anyone who thinks they are cornering fast without getting their arse 100% outta the seat and down near the running board every time is simply NOT cornering fast...so eliminating ski lift while sitting up high on the seat and only leaning in has never been a priority for me, cuz that's not fast anyway. With your CG up that high, it's gonna lift a ski if you go fast...and I expect it. So when I want the ski to stay planted, I use body english to keep it planted...

And the fact that Izey and I do not have R-motion shorties makes both of our SC-5 long track setups largely useless for Hemi to waste time reading IMO...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
744 Posts
Inevitably this thread will get rowdy with opinions, but I would like to hear what the very aggressive riders are doing to optimize handling.

I have had a compromised setup for the last couple years, because my loading arrangement becomes a PITA if I tighten the limiter strap too much. I have been keeping the font end on 3.5, centre spring LOOSE, and rear springs full stiff (I ride hard enough this minimizes bottoming, but doesn't eliminate it) with the coupler blocks on their highest setting. I weigh 190#, BTW.

In the past, I have setup machines to rail, and inevitably compromise the ride and powder performance, by doing the following;

Front springs just soft enough to keep the chassis settled over big bumps, limiter strap very tight, (ie; almost no slack when sitting on machine), with the centre spring quite tight (to minimize front arm bottoming with the reduced travel), and rear springs and blocks full (or close to it) stiff.
^This typically yields a machine with ZERO ski lift, makes leaning at anything other than 90% speeds not necessary (as the limiter strap stops the ski lift, by preventing the front arm being a fulcrum). Hell, I even made a ****ty 4 stroke Phazer handle well with this setup......

So lets hear some opinions, try to keep the criticisms constructive, all opinions are valid, right?
Just got my 2012 didn't try it yet but I ran my 2008 mx 600 sdi like yours but with snow trackers !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
Keep in mind that varying opinions will be blended with varying stud patterns, track lengths, track choices, ski choices, carbide choices, rider weights, preferred seating positions, handlebar positions, SC5 vs R-motion suspensions, X vs non-X vs revalved setups, and the very definition of "aggressive."

So good luck learning much of anything from this thread...

That said...as an extremely fast trail rider in most all conditions smooth and rough (and I do not consider this to be the definition of aggressive...big jump snowcrossing/ditchbanging and backcountry mountain riding is the definition of aggressive IMO)...

On my 2010 SC-5 Adrenaline Gade, unstudded Cobra 137" track, no studs, Slydog Powderhound Skis & 6" carbides, upgraded to Monster Performance custom valved Adrenaline front shocks/Z-bros rear shock/X center shock....200-ish pounds, plus 2 gallons extra fuel and gear bag sitting on the rear shelf...

I run closer to Izey's setup...and near polar opposite of what Hemi describes. I feel front ends of these 1200's are so insanely heavy there is no reason to set it up to rail like you would a light weight 2-smoker. So I have coupler set for full transfer, rear springs set full soft, center spring set quite stiff....probably 2/3 of the way toward full stiff on the threads, ski springs set very loose/soft, limiter strap let out a notch from stock. Love it. On trail, off trail, rough or smooth. Haven't found anyone able to keep up with me in twisties yet and it's easy to ride and compliant when things get rough. Bottoms occasionally on a big surprise hits, but of course if you're paying attention to your driving there is no such thing as a big surprise hit...so I just stand for 'em when I see them and hammer thru 'em hard while listening to the sound of bumpers slamming the chassis. I don't jump, and I'm sure my setup would suck if I did. And anyone who thinks they are cornering fast without getting their arse 100% outta the seat and down near the running board every time is simply NOT cornering fast...so eliminating ski lift while sitting up high on the seat has never been a priority for me. With CG that high, it's gonna lift a ski...and I expect it. When I want the ski to stay planted, I use body english to keep it planted...

And the fact that Izey and I do not have R-motion shorties makes both of our SC-5 long track setups largely useless for Hemi to waste time reading IMO...
Very well said Craze. I'm extremely impressed with the KYB's too ... in fact the overall suspension is about 100x better than the previous cat I had. Fox suspension sucked compared to this thing. I also load my sled with rear bag and fuel caddy ... i may try slightly stiffer this year as I'm only year 2 on the Doo and still messing around with everything.

Isthatahemi - you are going to get so many opinions that it likely would make more sense to tell us what kind of riding you do and your riding style...then people can give you some better direction. I have a buddy that like all SNOWX racers, has his sled setup stiffer and tighter than anything I've ever driven in my 15 years of riding...absolutely hated it and didn't want to drive it more than 1km, especially through the forest but to him..."its the best sled ever".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Basically I'm a balls-out trail rider, my style is clean though, no wrong side bull****. I do it all though, lots of air, trail braking into bumpy corners, basically making the sled dance. And I agree on the front end being heavy on the ski's, but that doesn't stop it from inside ski lifting at the limits with my recent setup. I run fast ditches, fast trails, lower speed technical, the whole enchilada.

I know I can make it rail by simply eliminating the slack in the limiter strap at static ride height, I was just wondering what others do. You guys really have me wondering with running looser limiter strap, that is definitely not the key to keeping ski lift minimized under power....

I used to run what some would consider a "soft" sno-X suspension setup, but it kinda sucks on the arms and in the powder, but cornering does becomes more of a skill / how much balls you have issue with that setup, hanging way off becomes secondary......

My new sled is going to be a 2014 X shortie with Snowtracker aggressives and a Rip 2 track. Personally I don't find the "glued to the snow" setup fastest, so I don't run studs. Flat handling with a "softer" limit is kinda my goal. Like big wide medium profile tires on a car vs low-pros.......

Guys who hop in my 2010 1200 always say "it's so easy to go fast on that thing', so it's not like my setup sucked. Very light steering with the Slim Jims, they just lost their precision in about 1000 miles, hence the snowtrackers..... Amazing what light steering and NO darting allows effortless speed. Hoping for even better with the trackers!

Mostly I just started this thread for "tech talk" on what I consider one of the most neglected topics in sledding!
 

·
Ski-Doo Guru
Joined
·
13,962 Posts
Keeping in mind what Craze1cars posted I feel its next to impossible to forum tune some else's suspension I have ridden in the past with many who claim to be the trail king who couldn't out ride my inexperienced wife. So take it for what its worth.

I prefer a sled that is very light in the front end that I can use "body english" to control where its going to go by sliding forward / back on it to transfer weight around. I used to ride mx so you get used to moving around a lot on the seat in the corners. That being said my setup on my 2013 TNT rMotion sled was as follows.

Front preload #2

Center shock because its threaded its hard to explain I would make it full loose so the springs were loose on the stand tighten until I took the slack out then tighten further another inch. Its my opinion the tender spring is too soft on this shock for how I ride.

My rear spring preload was adjusted to #4 and my couplers were set to #1, limiters full loose.

This setup gave me the handling I desire your recipe may vary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
692 Posts
Isthatahemi, I think I know where you are going with your setup especially the limiter strap as I was there too. The only way I could get enough ski pressure to corner was with the strap up but that seemed to lead to worse bottoming. The fix for cornering is the snowtrackers, then you can properly adjust the rest of the machine for riding conditions and style. I made the switch to snowtrackers after my Quebec trip last year where I just could not get the machine to steer safely and handle bumps, it was one or the other. If you have your skid out take a look at what tightening the limiter strap does to the travel of the front skid shock - you will find that for every notch tighter than factory you take about 1" of travel out of the shock (based on the compression required to hook up the limiter). The more you compress that shock the less travel you have before bottoming. Even with the snow trackers I could not get the machine to where I wanted, found there was too much body roll with softer setting or too harsh when set harder (my shocks were the cheap 5 setting non rebuildable). I have a new set of Elka's setup by Ian to dial in this year so I really looking forward to snow.
 

·
Regular ol' run-of-the-mill Member
Joined
·
5,663 Posts
Hemi...something to consider...with regards to your stud choice you're basically saying "loose is fast", which is pretty much universal in all motorsports and I agree fully. So my question is why would you want to run the front so "tight" like you describe? Obviously one of your goals is to eliminate front ski lift...but setting up super tight up front is not the only way to do that. Running very loose up front can do the same. If you turn the skis to the left and it's allowed to push a bit (understeer), it won't lift a ski because they're not biting that hard...the skis are essentially sliding. There are also 2 ways people attempt to corner fast...1. Powering out (which most people seem to favor), but 2. Even more effective I have found diving IN to the turn at what some perceive to be stupid speeds and simply coasting thru the turn at much higher overall speed than most would ever consider, and is where I end up pulling away from pretty much everyone after a few turns. I have found that if someone is powering hard OUT of a turn, it's simply because they have entered the turn too slowly and have already lost so much speed they are beginning to fall behind.

My machine is sorta like a teeter-totter in some respects with center spring set stiff and front/rear set soft. I can enter a turn at silly speeds, tight to the right side (often with one ski high on the right side of the trail...and sometimes a few inches OFF trail) with full confidence that it will be biting like nothing you'd ever imagine while the weight is transferred forward on decelleration. Once the turn is sighted fully to be safe/clear and I have a LONG exit line picked out I can start getting on the throttle and the front end loosens up. It's still turning right but the skis are in a controlled push/slide. As the trail straightens and there's room to open it up, the throttle can go to the bars and the skis can now be completely off the ground. But since my body is STILL hanging hard off the side of the sled, it will still be arcing a turn with the track being the only contact point. When it's time to go completely straight I center my body and the sled straightens out as the skis slowly settle back down.

At any given moment if something remotely questionable with regards to safety, long-line visibilty, sled approaching in the distance or whatever comes up, all I have to do is release the throttle a bit and the skis bite hard as heck, and can therefore respond immediately to whatever input I need to give it and slow quickly without ANY "panic fishtail" like I often see when a wrong-sider comes flying at me and I've surprised him and he needs to panic and get all over the brake and attempt to get off my slde of the trail with his poor handling setup...and I'm already in full control with 50% of my sled clear off the right side and he's still going all sideways/stupid.

Now if I decellerate while turning hard and have crazy bite due to front weight transfer and I'm sitting up on the seat, yes it will lift a ski. So I simply don't do that. If I'm resting/cruising/in traffic/caught up to a slower group and going easy while politely waiting for a wave-by or the next stop sign, I'm taking turns at much more sane speeds, and I can sit high and centered and simply lean into turns and not lift a ski. This is because I'm riding much slower.

I had a real hard time getting the perfect balance of "loose front", but with "insane bite" whenever I want it to engage, until I switched to the Slydogs. I find the perfect for my style. Stockers (actually I had 6.9's) couldn't do it with any carbides I tried....they were just always too aggressive and unpredictable for me and could never do a controlled push like I wanted them to regardless of setup. They'd start to push and then suddenly bite, and that's where the ski would come up. I can certainly lift a ski real easy with the Slydogs too, but only when I fully expect it because my body is out of position for a tight turn...and I can easily settle it right back down by moving my CG to that side while giving it a little bit of throttle. Basically I find Slydogs to be 100% predictable, and 6.9's left me guessing and occasionally surprised.

Incidentally, I also get zero dart, zero fishtail (unless there's an ice patch obviously). I just carve turns without any wasteful side-to-side movement.

And this is about where we'll get yelled at by someone for "racing" on the trails. It's hard to explain, but the only person out there who knows I'm running like a bat outta heck is the guy behind me who can't keep up. Blind turns are suicide to take like I describe, so I don't do it...I'll take those easy. And if there's another sled within 1/2 mile of me I'm slowing WAY down and passing politely/slowly while waving/giving hand signals. And I'll NEVER pass a sled in motion that I catch up to until they are actually pulling over to allow me by, at which time I pass SLOWLY with a polite wave, no matter how long I've had to wait for them to notice my presence. If I'm not the leader of my group on a given day and I want to go fast, I hang WAY back and then let it all out...until I catch up to his snow dust, at which point I'll hang way back and do it again. And I usually skip Saturdays and go boondocking/exploring on those days instead, because they're too crowded to be fun and all the inexperienced monkeys are out there. Tailgating your buddy is also suicide IMO and I HATE seeing a pair of headlights bouncing at me...cuz I know the 2nd guy can see NOTHING and is likely to dart to my side just to get a sight line...what a moron...SPREAD OUT!!! But despite any explanation I attempt, we'll likely get chastized for trail racing anyway...just wait for it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,864 Posts
I changed the 120# front springs to 105's. The center shock to 150 from 180. This gets the suspension settings in the middle of the range even for a 200# rider.

This is actually and alternative setup recommended by ski doo. I find that the sled works very well in changing conditions. I don't feel the need to tweak it for different snow.

Most people don't know these alternative setups exist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Reply to Craze1....

I found that Slim Jims gave that slightly loose / not grabby feel that was easy fast. I'm curious how my snowtrackers will work. I will say this, the cornering you describe is similar to how my last 1200 handled. But again, a limiter strap with minimal slack (but NOT enough to be adding static weight to the skis), will quell the throttle on lift on exit......

I like to be off the brakes, and on throttle through turns..... I only like to weight the front end and rotate the back as plan B. It is harder to set up a machine for and early brake / early apex style. It also tends to be not much quicker, but the chassis takes a set and you can feed in throttle, instead of applying after late braking which upsets the chassis mid-corner.

And I read ya loud and clear on the trail baloney. Nothing pisses me off more than so called fast guys who can't do it clean. I hope they find the rhubarb enough times to teach them a lesson. Fast must be clean on trails, or it's just ****.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I changed the 120# front springs to 105's. The center shock to 150 from 180. This gets the suspension settings in the middle of the range even for a 200# rider.

This is actually and alternative setup recommended by ski doo. I find that the sled works very well in changing conditions. I don't feel the need to tweak it for different snow.

Most people don't know these alternative setups exist.
Hmmm. I like the sound of that beefed up centre spring. I am too airbourne for the softer front springs to work, but does the X possibly come with a beefier centre spring? I might order one..... less preload, more rate, that would solve the front arm issue that seems to appear on beaten trails. It should also cut down on the negative effects of a shortened limiter strap. Thanks for the tip!

Does anyone know if the X gets the 150 centre spring?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
Craze has the right idea as I'm still struggling to get my XR to have that looser feel upfront, but just enough so its controlled. The key to fast is pretty much the opposite of what I always see posted on forums over the years. More studs and more carbide! lol That does nothing but lock the sled up so you are fighting it in corners. I started with 96 studs and i'm down to 48...still hooks up plenty for trail running. They need to slide ever so slightly and give you that teeter-totter feel Craze is referring to.

I also struggle on the concept of the snow trackers but will give them a go this season just to see for myself as I know guys on here say they are excellent on these 1200s. I used them on my previous sled (Cat F1000) and they were awful. The only reason I could see them being good is because they will lift the pilots off the ground so they aren't biting as much. I'm being led to believe that the pilots aren't the right ski for the handling I'm looking for. It's just too sticky up front and that forces inside ski lift and ultimately slowing down a lot before going into a corner. Of course, like most, I'm riding through it as its not all that bad and I can compensate, but I've had a few close calls and thought I was going to high side it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,864 Posts
Hmmm. I like the sound of that beefed up centre spring. I am too airbourne for the softer front springs to work, but does the X possibly come with a beefier centre spring? I might order one..... less preload, more rate, that would solve the front arm issue that seems to appear on beaten trails. It should also cut down on the negative effects of a shortened limiter strap. Thanks for the tip!

Does anyone know if the X gets the 150 centre spring?
I softened the middle spring. Reduced from 180 to 150. This setup may not be for everyone as it is softer than stock. Ski doo publishes different spring setups (different springs) for most of their sleds. They have "SOFTER STANDARD, and HARDER " setup in their service bulletins. The 1200 does not list a "HARDER" setup as of 2009. I believe that remains true.
 

·
Regular ol' run-of-the-mill Member
Joined
·
5,663 Posts
Best I can tell, Hitek is talking SC5 from 2009, and Hemi has R-motion 5 years newer. I can't imagine the same springs/shocks/rates are installed, or that anything remotely close to the same setups and specs will apply...entirely different suspension with different geometry. Plus Hemi you misunderstood what he did...he softened the springs...he didn't beef anything up.

Have you even ridden your R-motion yet Hemi? If no, then I'd strongly suggest you set preload according to the book and ride first. Then figure out how to correct handling characteristics you might not like. Otherwise you're gonna lose your baseline and not know where to go if you make a bunch of changes with no baseline info to start with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm gonna start fresh with my '14/

I am surprised to hear folks come out of nowhere and agree with me that a slightly loose from end is FAST. That's whow I've felt for years. Knapp and I were debating snowtrackers vs Slim Jims. But the Slim Jims slight slip angle got rid of 90% of my ski lift on my 1200. With 6" carbides I had the typical fast entry hard steering, hook, ski lift, fight hard steering, fight the hooking carbide and ski lift on the way out .... to lean,(okay, hang off, I confess lol) load up the front slightly point, throttle on and drift the back end while the front inside ski skims the ground.

Now I'm second guessing snowtrackers...... I was so comfortable with the slim Jim's, I hate that big carbide locked in feeling. I may have made a mistake!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,518 Posts
Woooooh, why the he// would anybody say loose is fast in all of motorsports? So what you saying is slipping is better than hooking up?

Ya, Thats why drag racers love to spin there tires, and slip there belts on the clutches. And Top fuelers try so hard to spin tires and slip clutches. And road racers like to "slip there tires" some in the corners. And Ice oval sleds like to slide thru corners. And F1 cars like to push and understeer too. Because loose is fast.

I've heard it all now. WOW!

Racers and crew chiefs want to be hooked up, and stay hooked up no matter what it is that may slip, wether it's skis, clutches, tires, belts, tracks or carbides. They tune the chassis to not be ill handling, the key is to hook it up and not let it slip. The only exception to this is Dirt oval cars, and that's only because they have to let it hang out. No other form of motorsports wants any type of slipping, pushing or sliding.

Opps, and drifting, which I don't get the point of anyway. Because they are not fast at all.
 

·
Regular ol' run-of-the-mill Member
Joined
·
5,663 Posts
Fair enough. I made a blanket statement where I shouldn't have. I do feel in SOME motorsports, Nascar, dirt track as you point out, and various other places such as taking aggressive turns on a snowmobile...there is certainly a time you want to hook up hard, and a time to have some controlled slide to make max speed. If you or anyone disagrees, I'll just concede no prob...not a big fan of keyboard racing. I've been told I'm wrong before and sometimes I am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
It's more a question of whether fighting a trail sled at 95% is fast and fun. Or a more relaxed feel at 95% is fast / fun.

Not a difficult answer really.

A sled that bucks and highsides is a lot less fun, and yes, not as quick, as one that gently drifts at the limit. And one that drifts inspires confidence, a razor's edge does not.

Really not worth explaining though; folks either get it or they don't.

Abd Knapp, you are flat out wrong about " to not be ill handling, the key is to hook it up and not let it slip". That doesn't even make sense. Maybe for someone (not suggesting u) who has no skill to control at or over the limit.
 
1 - 20 of 106 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top