The flaws of my sledges
This post is a necessary explanation. Oddly enough, but the reviews of people who bought my sledges for sled dogs, and this is not one hundred by the beginning of 2017, can hardly create an objective picture. On the one hand, this is undoubtedly pleasant - when I manage to avoid significant shoals and people are mostly satisfied with the work. But on the other hand, it can draw a picture to a potential buyer that is too safe, not quite consistent with reality.
Therefore, I considered it necessary to make this, not quite a standard move - to describe the shortcomings of my products myself. At the moment I can afford it - if someone refuses to buy a sledge from me, this will not affect my motivation to work and my well-being in general.
Each consumer can have its own special requirements, so there can be a great many detailed flaws. But I will focus on three main ones, which I consider the most significant.
It so happened from the beginning that for me there are no role models. A sports sledge for dogs with vertical folding - an imported sprint sledge (such as the “Dunler Hornet” or “Europe”) - does not seem to me a good design. Yes, for the period of the development of sledding in Russia, they became examples of quality, since they did not have Russian competitors, and other imported ones probably
turned out to be less successful. I think that’s why our native masters adopted this scheme and these sledges as samples for imitation.
But the sled dog sport world itself is much more than just riding sports. And sledges, as well as the purposes for which they are used, are so different. I thought - why offer people what many people already do without me?
That is why the scheme, in which more than two-meter runners are attached to the frame with flimsy mounts in the middle of the length, does not suit me. Yes, this allows them to be quickly unfastened and put in a passenger sedan. But it is more important for me to be reliable in operation, and not convenience of transportation.
So, the first drawback of my sledges, which I have not yet eliminated, is the impossibility of quickly separating the skids from the frame. Almost all the options for "quick" detaching that I have considered are either much inferior in reliability, or they significantly add weight to the frame, or, in mind manufacturing difficulties, its cost is several thousand more expensive.
In general, the essence of the drawback is the inconvenience of transporting and carrying my sledges. The sledges are folded up, "laying down" on the skids, without separating them from the frame. Keep this in mind based on the size of your car and the mode in which you plan to use the sledge.
The second drawback is the artisanal manufacture. In the near future I’m unlikely to order laser cutting of plastic parts. Or powder coating of the frame. Anything that involves including a bunch of equipment that is NOT in my possession in the chain of the sledge production workshop, and a lot of people working on it, with their troubles and force majeure in life - all this, firstly, increases the cost of many parts, and secondly, makes the production time less predictable, which is unacceptable to me. My “iron rule” is that the sledge should be ready on time.
Laser cutting of polyethylene has nothing to do with the driving performance of a sledge for dogs, no applied value. With my small batches of products, it simply is not needed. But the production flexibility is of great value, when a thought appears to its realization in the finished product from the moment in a couple of days pass by the product. It is the flexibility of production, its independence from unnecessary people and equipment, that allows me to eliminate any identified deficiency in the design in time or make actual changes.
Therefore, the artisanal, "non-factory" appearance, so far remains the inevitable concomitant drawback of my products.
The third drawback is that I’m unlikely to position my sledges for dogs as sports ever. And that's why.
Judging at races is a constant human factor. I see how a sledge with an anchor sticking out teeth above the canopy is allowed to the races. Although, according to the rules, the sledge’s canopy can be used to transport an injured dog. That is, such an arrangement of the anchor, when the teeth of the anchor look into its head, on a sledge jumping along the highway, it is not considered dangerous. But it is also considered dangerous, that my hybrid brake does not have long spikes. This, according to some judges can lead to dog incontinence. But! For some reason, an inverted brake caliper of some of our so-called leading manufacturers - not a dangerous device. Their brake pad, with spikes flying out of it, since the studding technology is not followed - is also not a dangerous device. Well, surely! How can it be considered dangerous and wrong that was stolen from the imported product?
How can one doubt the controllability of a sledge on cross-country riding, if such is done even in great Austria? How can one step back from the stamp if the "wedding general" - a foreign judge at the race, has never seen such a thing before?
That’s why I’m unlikely to try to meet such strange standards. I saw how cross-country skis on the pothole come off the frame due to the leaks of the material from which this ski is made. I saw how the soft ram on a sledge is required from the participants, and on the same race they allow “Europe”, which does not have a soft ram. How pathos expensive sledges fly head over heels on the bends of the track, which I do not even consider to be a turn.
Manageability, predictability in dynamics is the first, indisputable quality that affects safety. Strength on an uneven, bumpy track is the second indisputable quality. And I will never sacrifice these components for the sake of sports stereotypes. It’s easier for me to consider my sledges for dogs unsportsmanlike than to accept requirements that are illogical, in my opinion.
I probably lived a little under socialism, and did not manage to grow an inferiority complex in front of a foreign product. I will call unsuccessful technical solutions unsuccessful, no matter where they come from.
Therefore, consider this significant drawback of my sledges - they may not be allowed to the race, although some models formally comply with the rules of the competition.
However, the topic of "good" and "bad" sledges, which occasionally pops up in discussions, of course, excites me. But, like any techie, I prefer to discuss specific parameters, qualities. I prefer to see facts and not interpretations, figures, not opinions.
If anyone wishes, I will provide any of my sledges for any of the toughest tests. Provided that other manufacturers will participate in the same test.
Well, for example: tests for controllability, for sliding efficiency, for the ratio of the sledge's own weight to its carrying capacity, for mechanical strength in a crash test, for braking efficiency, for anything.
I’m even ready to offer my own definition of the concept of “controllability” and my simple and logical test for measuring it.
However, I more than sure that none of the "pathos" in such comparisons would not want to participate. The myths that still keep them afloat should stretch as long as possible.
Sincerely, Roman Karev