How to choose a sledge?
How to choose a sledge? To what we should pay attention? Let's look at an example. Let's say you are looking for a sledge for sports. In sports, such parameters as the weight of the sledge, the quality of sliding of the runners, handling, compliance with the rules of sled dog sport are fundamental. All models that are made for racing usually have sled dog sports’ compliance. And for the rest there are some nuances. Weight is the most important characteristic of the sledge. When choosing a sledge, watch a video of the actual weighing of the sledge on an accurate electronic scale if it is possible. Some manufacturers are cunning; they use in the descriptions of the scales not in the configuration in which the sledge will be allowed to race. Therefore, do not be lazy to clarify this question, since you are choosing the weight of the load that can be carried by your dogs for a while. It is foolish to pay money for a heavier sledge. Indeed, in addition to the load on the dogs, the weight of the sledge is also its controllability. Heavier, inert sledges are harder to corner and, as a result, cause more hassle on the track. The sledge should be weighed with brakes, hard and soft, with two anchor mounts, with a canopy, with fastened runners. Anchors are not always bought with a sledge, they can be of different weights and shapes, so it is better to weigh a sledge without anchors.
Slipping. For a sports sledge, if the result is important, a special ski slide is desirable. It is available for skis and snowboards, has a thickness of no more than 1.5 mm and cannot be made removable, that is, it can only be glued on. All replaceable slides made of industrial plastic sheets, in which a channel is cut under the guide rail, regardless of color and brand. At low temperatures, the difference reaches 15-20 percent, therefore, such slippers are undesirable for high-quality results. In training, they are irreplaceable, especially on bad tracks, where it is a pity to spoil a thin special slide. On some mid or long races, if there are snow-free sections of the track, a thick, removable slide is also better. According to my observations, no one but me conducts comparative tests, so few people so far attach importance to this difference. But this is a matter of time. And further: if the slide is not a special ski (well, let's say, you don't care about the quality of the slide, sport is just fun physical education and health for you), then pay attention that it must be removable and in case of wear (and with little snow winters, wear occurs quickly) just change the slide, which is inexpensive. Otherwise, if it is not removable, you will have to change the runners entirely, and this is much more expensive.
Reliability. I think very few people would like to have a flimsy sledge and, having invested effort and money in preparing for the race, at the decisive moment they will not reach the finish line normally due to a breakdown of the sledge. Pay attention to the runners, they should be as multi-layered as possible. And by no means cross-country skis. In such skis, the structure is too loose, they do not hold well on the frame mounts, they are too soft and at the slightest unevenness of the track they are critically deformed, which is fraught with breakage.
Controllability. The more obedient the projectile is in the turn and the more difficult the track that it allows you to pass, the better. Even slicked sports tracks have turns and obstacles that require manipulation of the sledge at speed. The easier the sledge is driven, the easier you will feel in twisty sections, and therefore less use of the brake caliper. If the sledge is so clumsy that you are forced to slow down and do not take your foot off the brakes, then, in fact, your dogs are wasting their strength. There is an undeniable direct relationship between the musher's
psychological readiness to pass difficult sections confidently, at full speed, and the final result. If you are "afraid", dogs will still give their best, they are honest hard workers, but a huge part of their strength will be devoured by a brake caliper or a rug. Therefore, choose more maneuverable sledges.
So, there is my choice of sports sledge, the main points: 1. Weight should be no more than 13 kg fully assembled without anchors. 2. Replaceable slide for training runners necessarily, and preferably second runners with a special ski slide (can be purchased later). 3. Multi-layer glued skis, not cross-country skis 4. Good handling, at least from the words of users.
Respectfully yours, Roman Karev (developer, manufacturer, sledge tester and owner of the “Shaman” company)