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  1. #1
    Bronze Member Lebneh's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
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    North East
    Tractor
    John Deere 3720

    Default Tracks vs wheels

    I have no experience with skid steers but I am interested in them.

    I hear people mention "float" in reference to tracked machines but I don't really know what that means. I also have seen conversion kits for the wheeled units but they seem little more than knock off attempts to mimic the real tracks.

    I am under the impression that tracked units are more expensive than wheeled ones. If that's true are the tracks worth all the extra $$?

    I am hoping someone with real knowledge on the subject can school me on the pro's and con's of each.

    Also I am curious about the converters for wheels machines. Are they worth it? Would the conversion kit help prevent flats from the stump of a small tree improperly cut at an angle?
    ~Lebneh

  2. #2
    Gold Member Wnc3's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    352
    Location
    S.E., Texas
    Tractor
    John Deere 820 utility, John Deere 5525, 997 JD Zmower, Komatsu PC 35 miniExcavator

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    I have both. The track machine is great for everything in the dirt or mud and no flats. It also has much better traction and bounces (bucks) less.
    Those add on track kits work, but are not even close to a tracked machine.
    The only reason I have a wheeled unit is for work on concrete surfaces.

    I love my track machine. It is the way to go for most applications.

  3. #3
    Silver Member jobguy's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    237
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    MN
    Tractor
    Bobcat CT120

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    I had a skid steer with add-on over the tire steel tracks. Made a so so machine into a monster worker. It did at least twice the work or more,,, when tracks were on the unit. Only draw back is that steel tracks will tear up black-top (especially on hot days) slips on ice and tears up sod also. Was also hard to load because it would slip on smooth steel and wood. Yet I loved the work this thing could do. The tracks come with a special tool for mounting and removing the tracks (takes about 30 min to mount once you get used to the process). Without tracks the wheeled machine would sink into soft soil and hang up all the time. I ended up leaving the tracks on and have lost track of the special mounting tool. I would not have this type of machine without tracks of some sort.

  4. #4
    Super Member CompactTractorFan's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
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    Pennsylvania
    Tractor
    Kubota BX25

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    Well, dozers have tracks...so........
    Kyle - CompactTractorFan

    Kubota BX25 w/R4's (23 hp, 17.7 PTO hp), Loader, Backhoe, 60" Mid Mount Mower, Cyclone Rake Z-10 Lawn Vacuum, CountyLine Carryall, Ferris 48" Walk-Behind Mower, Honda 21" Walk-Behind Mower, Mighty Mac 4" Chipper/Shredder,
    2000 Dodge Intrepid, 2012 Ford F-150 EcoBoost

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2012
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    1,108
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    Ma
    Tractor
    Kubota b2920

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    Having used both I've found: Rubber tracks aren't particularly useful, so I'd only use metal. Metal tracks product awesome traction, but rip up everything. Tracks turn in a tighter area than tires, but rip up the ground. Tracks can go across a trench at a right angle if its sized right and a tire can't. Tracks tend to be 'tippier' in certain situations where the ground has mounds or edges since the machine sits on a level plane and can't straddle an object like tires. Tires are gentler on the turf and finished surfaces. Tires can be better if you need to straddle things while maneuvering (i.e. among good sized rocks that you want to go over, but not put a tire or track on top of). Tracks have less PSI for ground pressure than tires.

  6. #6
    Elite Member
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    Earth
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    Deere

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    I asked the same question to a contractor that was doing some work last year with a tracked skid steer. He said the cost more to buy, cost more to maintain and the repairs cost more, but there's really no comparison. The much wider and longer track equals less ground pressure, more stability and better traction. I would not get a metal track though, they will just eat the ground up. Cat is the only company left to offer them and they are really poor sellers. The rubber track gives off a lot less ground pressure and won't eat up the ground near as much while maintaining similar traction. Looking new, the Deere D series is supposed to be the nicest in the market right now.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    MessickFarmEqu's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
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    Lancaster County, PA

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    all depends on the application... I can say that we see many people buying tracks becaues they are cool and the latest thing, and not because they are right for their application.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Rustyiron's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Lakes Region, Maine
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    M 9540 Kubota

    Default Re: Tracks vs wheels

    Quote Originally Posted by MessickFarmEqu View Post
    all depends on the application... I can say that we see many people buying tracks becaues they are cool and the latest thing, and not because they are right for their application.
    I agree completly! If $$ were no object, I'd have one of each as well as a Bocat "A" model (all wheel steer) My tires are 14pr. and a small stump cut at an angle is not a problem and I don't think that it would be for most any SS tire. Float (floatation) or ground (psi) pressure on a track machine will be the lowest, providing the best (around 3-5 psi) vs a tire machine. For pure get it done traction, my vote goes to over the tire steel tracks. They'll leave a dedicated rubber track spinning they'r tracks. In the winter, (with a tire machine) put on tire chains. The undercarriage and tracks gan get quite pricey and I've seen estimates that you can attribute up to $15/hour for cost of operation on the track system alone, that's not fuel included. The Loegering VTS is the track conversion that is another reason for a wheeled machine. They are not cheap but will give you another "mode" of operation on a wheeled SS. The ability to take them off and run much cheaper tires when the floatation is not necessary is a nice choice to have. I noticed that back when Cat was using the ASV u/c on their tracked machines (crappy & $$$$$$ to service), that the dealers were putting the VTS set up on their rental units. That tells me alot! Rubber tracks are not for snow either. Can you tell that my vote is for wheels on a SS for most general use, at least in our corner of the world.
    ]We need more people to WORK for a living and less people to VOTE for a living!
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