Well Saturday was the day, Glen and I were off to the hill to do a bit of a comparison of tracks versus wheels to see if they are worth the money.
My first concern now that they were on was would they fit my trailer, so after riding it in and lifting the tailgate it fitted like a glove there was not a millimetre to spare. So that was every bit of length taken up in an Ifor Williams 8 x4 trailer, so far so good. We got to my ground and set off up the hill the test had begun. The first thing I noticed is that where with the wheels you dip and dive into the ruts, there is non of that the vastly increased footprint seems to iron all of that out and you just float along above it all. The extra ground clearance is really noticeable with no scraping of rocks or the centre of established tracks, the additional weight is also a good thing making it feel much more planted and stable. It was quite strange riding this hill without waving a wheel in the air.
The climbing ability is staggering it is quite steep in places, although it is hard to get a feel of it in the video, it just climbs in a very none dramatic way going over bumps and through the sticky bits with ease. It suddenly dawned on me when I was about halfway up the hill that I was still in two wheel drive and not even low box! We had come to test it though and not just to ride about so with this in mind we searched out known quad eaters and other places we normally skirt around. Now Glen, and I hate having to say this, is probably the best quad operator that I know, he cut his quadding teeth in the flow Country which for those of you that know it will understand what that means, for those of you that don't it is like a hilly marsh with boggy bits. Anyway off we went with Glen having to use speed in a lot of situations to get through and escape the sticky embrace of the bog, I just followed along behind at a steady pace in an undramatic fashion. There was one hole that defeated the wheeled quad, well without a lot of heaving and exertion anyway, and it was in up to the rear light. We got it out and it was my turn, it is the bit on the video where he is shouting at me that he is not happy, for after it swallowed his quad I just went straight over it as if it was not there and that was the story for the rest of the day.
We went to the top and Glen could not resist taking out further to try and get it stuck but did not. What I did notice when I got of was I sunk up to my ankles, and would have gone further, but the quad was still sat on the su8rface. On the way back we crossed a ditch that I had to winch myself out of last time I tried it, although in my defence I did have a red stag passenger, and it just went straight over. I had to reverse out of a ditch once on the way back down but that was my fault, I entered it at the wrong angle and allowed the steering to turn too far and push the track against the edge of the ditch, so I just reversed out, straightened up and then rode straight over it.
Conclusions - Ability wise, there is no doubting their ability they climb difficult terrain with ease, they float over the most treacherous of soft ground and they do it in an apparently unflappable manner. Yes you can feel a bit of difference in the steering in 4WD but it is not enough of a difference to be off putting in my view. For me as a recreational bit of kit it is fantastic and will get me to places that have been previously out of bounds and more importantly get me back again. They do inspire confidence but as long as you do not ask the impossible of them, everything has limits, you will not be disappointed. For professional use they must surely be advantageous as they make an already impressive quad quite remarkable. Later in the year, next month, there will be a large tract of flow Country ground for us to explore and should test it more.
Were they worth the money? to me YES