There is much discussion on tread patterns and their effectiveness in certain operating conditions and environments. Extensive research is done annually by manufacturers, as well as some good old fashioned YouTube videos where two guys hook up their track loaders with chains and play tug of war to see who has the best traction. All of that scientific research has lead us to many upgrades over the years in the tread pattern offerings. Some larger contractors are installing different tread pattern tracks on different machines for each purpose, while smaller operations chose to change their rubber tracks seasonally as conditions change. If you are doing residential work all summer you don’t want to run the most aggressive snow-removal tread patterns and do extensive damage to finished landscapes. When the snow starts to fall, the phone starts ringing with customers searching for traction. The most recent Zig Zag tread pattern track for mud and snow conditions seems to meet the demand! Many years ago the C-Pad was the highest rated among snow, then the straight bar came out with great traction but there was nothing preventing you from sliding sideways because the traction was all focused directionally. Some manufacturers highly suggest the Multi-Bar tread pattern that has been out for several years. The Multi-Bar is still a great option for distributing weight for flotation purposes and giving that directional traction. It definitely minimizes the operator fatigue that can happen when you go with the most aggressive option. Since the creation of the Zig Zag tread pattern the problem seems to be solved. After the last couple of years of perfecting the Zig Zag tread depth and the support bars behind the tread sections, the Zig Zag seems meet the needs of the highest demand tread pattern when it comes to the snow season. We would love to hear your feedback. Share your experiences with us so we can continue to improve on the tread pattern designs.
The next factor for traction during the snow conditions is the width of the track. In recent years even the smallest track loaders are coming out with wider rubber track options along with these new tread patterns. Previous generation Bobcat and Cat models that originally came with a 12.5″ wide standard track are now pushing to the 16″ width. Adding a Zig-Zag tread pattern with three and a half inches of extra width provides less ground pressure with more traction. Keep in mind if you are clearing snow and you upgrade to a wider rubber track then you need to make sure your bucket or scraper attachment is wider than the new overall width or you won’t be able to get all the way to the edge of a curb for instance. Although the cut-resistant edges of the rubber track are more durable than in previous generations, it is not a good idea to rub against curbs all day while clearing streets.
Most of the larger models come with an 18″ wide rubber track. As of this year you can now get the Zig Zag pattern in all compact track loader rubber track width options, and in every guide system, so you can get a track with a Bobcat guiding system or a Takeuchi guiding system and still choose the most aggressive tread option. We can equip any brand in any track width in the new tread pattern options. Reach out to our experienced staff with any questions you have on how to best equip your track loader for the snow season. Make sure you clean the undercarriage when the job is done because it seems like snow would be self-cleaning, however the salts and de-icing materials spread on road surfaces are not good for the undercarriage.
In summary, the Multi-Bar is still a great option as the tread will conform to the surface and give that straight bar type traction you need without the extensive vibration that you might experience with the Zig Zag. The Zig Zag is the best way to go if you need maximum traction, and the off-set waves in the tread are designed to reduce the vibration so if you tried the Zig Zag a few years ago then it’s time to give it another try. The Zig Zag tread provides maximum traction and prevents sliding from side to side and now they are made directionally with a step-down support bar behind each row of traction lugs to give the track extra support where it’s needed which solves the previous generation’s initial cracking concerns.
Enhancements are made every year so we wills strive to keep you updated throughout our social media platforms as tread pattern enhancements evolve. You can see more about our track loader tread patterns and listings for our most popular Bobcat tracks online, or give us a call anytime for more information.