Take your UTV from horse to mule

The Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) is no longer viewed as a farm toy. It performs a multitude of farm tasks and does real work.

Little Brother ATV is still a handy get-around vehicle and more of a recreational machine, but Big Brother UTV is the one farmers rely on as a miniature pickup truck.

Extracting the most work from an UTV usually means adding extra equipment. The aftermarket supplies just about anything most farmers need to enhance the work capabilities: dump boxes, sprayer kits, snowplows, front buckets, gun racks, spotlights, better winches, engine modifications, cabs, locking luggage boxes, pull carts and sleds, fridges, tire chains for ice and deep snow, studded tires, really skinny tires to make temporary field drains in mud, big wide flotation tires for swampy work and tracks, lots of tracks kits from all the major rubber track manufacturers. The same companies that make tracks for ag implements also make OEM and aftermarket rubber track kits to fit every UTV sold in Canada.

“In the last five years, we see a major trend with farmers switching from wheels to rubber tracks on their UTVs,” says CAMSO’s Lysandre Michaud-Verreault. CAMSO has long been known for its track systems that began with snowmobiles and later evolved to provide both OEM and conversion systems for farm and industrial applications.

“What we see often is a farmer buys his UTV and drives it on wheels the first year. Then he sees that it doesn’t work as well in the winter as he would like, so the second year he buys the 4S1 tracks. Now he has better traction so he can go places he couldn’t go before on wheels. 4S means it’s a four-season system and 1 means it’s our premium track.

“You have more pulling power with tracks. More hauling power. You do heavier work because it’s lower gears than with wheels. The undercarriage sprocket is one-third smaller than a tire, so you lose a little bit of speed. You want to lose some speed. You should remember that the road is the number one enemy of any rubber tire or track.”

Michaud-Verreault cautions that rubber tracks are not intended for driving on hard surface roads because they are unstable on asphalt or concrete.

Not all track manufacturers use the same engineering concepts. For example, slide type systems are more likely to experience premature wear when working in sandy conditions, according to Michel Cote, vice-president of sales at Kimpex. He explained that Kimpex is a subsidiary of Soucy, so their track lineup for UTVs is identical. And none of these kits use the slide. He adds that the engineering department is located within Soucy, known for agricultural and industrial track systems.

“Our main product for many years for the UTVs has been the WSS4. This is a four season kit, because it does not use a slide device and the track profile is higher on our kit,” explains Cote. “When you have a slide, you cannot go in sand or mud because the slide wears out. For us, we have only wheels in the track. Our kits have two-year warranty.”

“The sprockets are custom engineered for each UTV to promote longer life. This way the number of teeth respect the gear ratio of the differential the engineers wanted when they designed the machine originally. So your speed and torque aren’t altered from original when your machine had tires. We have a very good reputation for not breaking our customers’ ATVs or UTVs and it’s because we design each kit to match the vehicle. We are also working with the OEMs to design and supply tracks, so of course they guard their integrity closely.”

Cote says the Click N Go system for attaching snow plows, snow blowers and buckets is one of the most popular items farmers buy once they have the tracks. Tracks give them traction to perform work they could not previously perform on tires. The system lets the operator hook up in a matter of seconds from the standing position. The Click N Go frame brings the push point back to the centre of the UTV frame for more efficient operation. Kimpex carries three different plows ranging in width from 50 inches to 72 inches, plus a bucket capable of lifting 200 pounds.

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