Wear bars form one of the most important components of snowmobiles as they assist in the handling of your snowmobile. But wait, what are carbides?
Though they sound very intimidating, they are just wear bars with a different than the usual metal used.
Arouses your curiosity?
Well then read on to find out all about snowmobile carbides.
My Personal Recommendation
If I have to recommend to you the best snowmobile carbides in 2019, then I’ll go with Snowmobile Ski Carbides by SnowStuds.
If you see details of SnowStuds Ski Carbides, you’ll see that it gets good reviews from the users also.
Coming from Snowstuds is one of the most aggressive carbide runners on the market, made from high-grade carbide. It can be easily said that it is one of the toughest bars on the market. It features hard weld-filler which gives it prolonged life.
It has large 2″ pieces of 60 deg Turning carbide per carbide and a 1/2″ host bar. It is carbide brazed on 4 surfaces, which gives it seamless joints, and the added advantage of not worrying about the corrosion on the welds.
It also features a leading wear pad on every bar, which also contributes to its excellent life. It has front and rear wear pads by design.
Models are available for all makes of snowmobiles or aftermarket skis, just make sure to see the application chart to ensure the correct fit and a smooth and responsive ride.
What are Snowmobile Carbides?
The Snowmobile ski carbides looks like metal rods of a specific length. But, we all know they’re not just metal rods, they’re much more than that. So, let’s learn about snowmobile carbides in detail.
Wear bars are replaceable runners bolted under the skis. They are essential for steering the snowmobile; without them, you’ll slide off the trail when turning corners, since they pierce into the snow and help give direction to the engine’s power.
Construction of a replaceable runner can be thought of as a runner base, which has provision for attaching the runner to the ski, having a portion covered with another material (attached by welding et cetera), such as steel or carbide, which are the two most frequently used materials.
As it may come with no surprise, the snowmobile runners made of carbides are known as snowmobile carbides.
Since they are essential for steering your snowmobile, if you face problems steering or controlling your snowmobile, check the wear bars to ensure they are functioning properly and not worn out.
Wear bars should be inspected and replaced often to reduce the chances of a crash, which can occur as a result of improper handling, which may prove to be very dangerous.
Snowmobile Wear Bars vs. Carbides
Normal snowmobile wear bars come with steel wear bars and hence are generally referred to as wear bars. On the other hand, the wear bars with carbide instead of steel are known as snowmobile carbides or simply carbides.
Then there are also hard bars are just standard wear bars, but with a bead or beads of weld down the length of them, which makes the softer steel harder where it is welded, thus they last longer. Carbides are actually short welds of carbide steel that are attached to the runners.
These strips of carbide give great grip on ice and hard road surfaces and make it easier to steer the sled as they can penetrate better and easily into the snow, just because carbide is significantly harder.
In the case of steel wear bars, ice and packed snow where wear bars will usually slide straight across even when cranked all the way to the right or left, in comparison to the carbides. But carbide steel is a very high grade of steel, from which it derives the property of hardness.
This hardness means that it has several other problems, such that very difficult to work with, requires special machinery et cetera, which results in increased cost of the final product of carbides when compared to steel hand bars.
Things to Consider Before Buying Snowmobile Carbides
Before buying carbides, make sure that you have checked and considered the following points of discussion:
Keep in mind what make and model of a snowmobile you are using. Generally, the model mentioned along with the types of wear bars would be enough to get you one.
These, of course, are just general guidelines to follow to find the right carbides. Applications will vary due to the size of the rider, the aggressiveness of the rider, the snowmobile’s setup (number of studs, track and lug length, and ski pressure) and type of terrain that you will be riding on.
Reconditioning is an option
Sometimes, the wear bars bend due to a sudden force applied on them, or due to the application of heavyweight, but if they are not having any discontinuity (cracks et cetera) on the side of contact with the ground, there is a chance that they can be serviced and reused.
To do this, you can simply put your wear bars in a vice and try to shape them back to their normal shape.
Another normal problem is blunting, which can happen due to skiing on a very rough surface for extended time periods. This is equally easy to fix, just use an angle grinder and sharpen them up. There are also special tools available in the market for doing this.
So, if your bars in serviceable condition, why not get the best out of them?
Length of carbides matter
Normally if you put longer steel wear bars, there is not much change in the steering response, but this is not the case with carbides.
The longer carbides you opt for, the more responsive the steering becomes, so choose the length at which the sensitivity suits best to you.
Also, another point to mention while discussing the length of wear bars is that the shorter bars you choose, the faster they will wither as they have to take more load for less surface area, and hence, the rate of erosion increases.
If in case more studs are added and/or the length of track lugs is changed, you will want to add longer carbides. This is because, with the added traction in the back and usage of short of carbides, the sled will tend to “push” through on the corners, or simply put, the skis will not get enough bite to change the direction of the sled fast enough in a corner.
The type of carbides
Generally, carbides can be bought either by the manufacturer, if they provide sets for your ski, or from other manufacturers, which can make carbides for skis, whose manufacturers don’t offer one.
Also, if you are willing to spend more money, you can always have custom carbides made for your skis, which are fine-tuned for your ski in particular.
So, the bottom line here is, if you are buying either from the manufacturer or buying custom made ones, there are no issues. However, if you are buying aftermarket parts, make sure that it is compatible with your snowmobile.
The degree of cut of the carbides
The degree that the carbide is cut is also important as it affects the longevity of the carbide.
A 60-degree cut will give you more bite when the carbides are new, but because more of the weight focused on a point, it will wear out faster. A 90-degree carbide will not give you as much bite when new but will last much longer and provide the best traction in the long run.
But if all in your mind is about the steering responsiveness, go for 60-degree carbides.
Suspension tuning and ski alignment
Suspension tuning and ski alignment also affect the drivability of the machine. Wear bars are designed & tested on stock snowmobiles with factory suspension settings front & rear as recommended for the weight of the rider.
It is strongly recommended that the suspension, especially the rear suspension and front arm limiter adjuster to be reset to factory settings and ski alignment checked when other than factory wear bars are installed.
If you want more information about the rear and front suspensions, then you can read my other article that is focused on snowmobile suspension. In which I’ve shared everything about snowmobile suspensions from how to remove them and install new suspensions to adjusting the existing one.
In this article, we learned about how carbides can help improve the responsiveness of the steering and give you tighter turns. Though expensive initially, it should be noted that over a period of time, due to their longevity, give excellent value for your money, and once you start using carbides, there is no turning back, as they give much superior control over your ski when compared with steel wear bars.