Snowmobile Carbide: Everything You Want to Know About Carbides

Various factors can determine how your snowmobile will handle. The one that needs to be changed most often is the sled’s traction. Choosing the right carbide is one of the crucial components of setting up your sled’s traction correctly. Choosing the wrong ones and you will be in for a not so pleasant ride, and there is also a risk of getting an accident.

The prevalent misconception of every rider is that a longer amount of carbide will improve the sled’s handling. The truth is that its size and the shape should have just as much – if not more – to do with your sled’s running.

What are Snowmobile Carbides?

What are Snowmobile Carbides?

The snowmobile carbide is primarily a durable wear surface and a sharp edge that is occasionally helpful on any icy surface. These are also known as the ski-runners. The carbide runners are available in three styles varying in length to satisfy the demands of the riders.

Most ski runners come with a sharp carbide blade. This blade comes in multiple lengths from a couple of inches up to 14 inches that depend on the application. Like the runner itself, the size of the carbide on the runner changes the surface area in contact with the snow. More extended carbide will provide a more aggressive, positive steering feel than the shorter one.

Just like the tread of the tire, the runners of your skis are the contact patch that keeps our snowmobile pointed in the right direction. Finding the right combination of carbide for your sled can improve handling and also makes a great ride too!

Snowmobile Wear Bars vs. Carbides

The wear bar is the bar that holds the carbide. It protects the ski and helps steering by creating a keel.

The carbide is a hardened metal which is sharpened to cut ice and aid steering. This helps with hard snow, ice and pavement.

Wear bars are great when there is a lot of snow and no ice. Carbide runners are great when there is a lot of ice or bare ice corners.

Carbides come in different lengths, thicknesses, and designs. When compared to the wear bars, carbides make it easier to turn on bare ground, ice and packed snow. Whereas, the wear bars will usually slide straight across even when cranked all the way to the right or left. Carbides have a metal carbide ”piece” that is connected to the bottom of the wear rods.

The 60-degree carbide point is more aggressive when new as it penetrates deeper into the ice. The 90-degree carbide point shares the load closer to the point. It is not aggressive when new but will etch the ice longer as the point dulls slower.

The wear bars hold up through many paved road crossings, inadequate snow cover, and close encounters with the rocks. The object here is to keep the carbide shattering and chipping.

Things To Consider Before Buying Snowmobile Carbides

Recommended snowmobile carbide

Buying your own snowmobile carbides can be a considerable investment, but this can offer big rewards on the slopes. Here are a few essential tips to know before buying snowmobile carbide.

Use Recommended Snowmobile Carbide

There are various lengths of the snowmobile carbide, depending on what the rider requires. If you are a flat-lander, you can use the short track without studs, a short track with studs, a long track without studs, long track with studs, etc. If you are Mountain-rider, minimal carbide of 4”- 6” will be sufficient. However, it is always good to talk to the professionals on this and use the carbide recommended by them that suits your snowmobile.

Carbide Length

The carbide length plays a significant role in how aggressively snowmobile works. Most of the carbide comes with a sharp blade with multiple lengths from a couple of inches up to 14 inches. The size and length of the carbide on the runner will change the surface area in contact with the snow. The more surface area will give an aggressive and positive steering feel than the shorter carbide.

Carbide Runner Mounting Tip

Make sure the front end of the runner fits tightly into the opening or recess of the ski that is designed to accept the carbide runner. Any failure to follow this procedure will result in injury or sled damage.

Know The Discounts

It is no surprise that various shops offer great discounts. But something you need to keep in mind is that always plan to do your shopping over the summer or you can also look out for the end of season discounts.

Demo Your Carbide

Always make sure to have a demo with your snowmobile carbide as any issue in it can be immediately returned and exchanged.

Smart Choice of Buying Second-Hand Accessories

For the budget-conscious snowmobile riders, buying second- hand snowmobile carbide can be an excellent way to save a bit of cash. Always find someone selling these accessories that they have used on a couple of holiday trips rather than the actual second-hand buyers that have been used on the snow for the last three seasons.

Best Snowmobile Carbides

6” Round Bar (1/2”) Snowmobile Ski Carbides (Pair) – Gripper Ski

This is the most aggressive carbide runner on the market. It has most wear pads and hard weld filler for extended life. This is a large 2” pieces of 60 deg turning carbide and 1/2 ” host bar. The carbide is brazed on 4 surfaces.

The model of this carbide is available for all makes of snowmobiles and is sold in pairs.


These are, of course, the general guidelines on knowing a few things about the snowmobile carbide. Applications will vary depending on the size of the rider, the aggressiveness of the rider, the snowmobile setup like the number of studs, track and lug length, ski pressure, the type of terrain that you will be riding on, etc.

In the end, all of us want to return home safely. Sometimes the simple things get overlooked, and the carbide also lands in the same category. We hope the above snowmobile carbide guide has helped our riders to have a safe and enjoyable ride in your snowmobile.

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