Rubber truck tracks? What’s the big deal? Well, there’s nothing like going off-road, and 4×4, 6×6, and other wheel-based vehicle solutions are out there. Who still remembers the first time their friend let them ride in their Argosy or other small bush-mobile and you climbed up some seriously steep bank or something, like a tank? More tires can be good, because you have more places you touch the surface and can push forward. They can also be a negative, because you have less weight pushing down on each one, and if the ground is soft or slushy you might spin instead of getting a good forceful contact. This is one of the criticisms of duallys, which look so tough but sometimes can get stuck where a regular 4-wheel truck wouldn’t.
Well, today we’re looking at another off road solution: replacing tires with tracks. It looks cool, and it works cool. With a set of these, your regular vehicle (often its a Jeep or other already-off-road-type vehicle, but you can put them on a town car or SUV) can coast over snow, soft grass, the shallow water at river banks, gravel, and some swamps. You can go where you wouldn’t go with tires, just by putting tracks on.
There are a number of companies doing t his right now. One is Mahindra Roxor Mattracks, which is getting a lot of attention right now. Another we noticed is American Truck Track, which sums up the use of truck tracks nicely: “Rubber Track conversion systems for off-road transportation insnow, ice, wetlands, mud, and other challenging terrain.Simple bolt-on installation in minutes!”
The Roxor Mattracks we read about, for example, come with a special rubber torsion anti-torque system and full rubber torsion suspension while HSLA steel frame construction and presence of aluminium drive sprockets reduce the overall weight. And the American Truck Tracks we noticed come in both standard and XL sizes, depending which fits your application better, whether you’re using your vehicle for pleasure off-roading, off grid transport, logging, surveying, drilling, or any forrest-based industrial work.
Not only are these available commercially, but armies are starting to use these for their vehicles. For example, DARPA is equipping army vehicles with tires that are track tires, but more. They actually transform between round tires and the triangular configuration. And there’s also people making these for other applications, like amphibious transport. Bill Feeley built custom tracks for his Exteme Hagglunds All Terrain Vehicles, which are so cool.