The reason for the growing demand for compact track loaders is clear. These durable, versatile and cost-effective loaders have continued their reign in the compact equipment industry because of their tracks and track patterns. The right tracks can improve your machine’s performance, minimize ground disturbance and extend your working season in wetter months.
Tracks can be wide or narrow, are designed with different tread patterns, and can be non-marking. Since there are a variety of options, it’s important to speak with your dealer before buying to make sure you choose the best tracks for your jobsite.
Most compact track loaders can be outfitted with either wide or narrow tracks. If you want to minimize ground disturbance on your worksite, choose wider tracks. Wider tracks also increase your loader’s flotation, making them ideal for working in softer soils, like mud or sand.
Narrower tracks are a good choice when you need increased traction or force and when flotation is less of a concern. Choose narrow tracks when operating in slippery or icy conditions, or when trying to maximize your loader’s push force on a firm surface.
There are a variety of tread patterns available so it’s important to understand the most common patterns and which one best meets your needs.
Multi-bar lug pattern treads
The multi-bar lug pattern is a durable, all-season track that offers superior traction in wet conditions and extended wear life on hard, flat surfaces. It’s a great choice for general construction work and for working in sand and dirt. It is not recommended for extremely rocky conditions. Multi-bar lug pattern tracks are also available in a non-marking orange option.
The standard-duty C-pattern is one of the most versatile tread patterns on the market. It offers durability and traction throughout the seasons and is excellent in dirt and mud. A premium C-pattern tread is available for select Bobcat compact track loaders and provides superior traction in most applications and ground conditions, including dirt, mud, rock and demolition. C-pattern treads are not recommended for snow.
Zigzag pattern treads
This tread type works well in conditions where the ground is extremely wet and muddy, on slippery slopes or on clay. The stepped tread design offers improved cleanout and operates smoothly for snow removal. The zigzag pattern isn’t recommended for demolition or turf.
Hex pattern treads
The Hex pattern track is incredibly versatile, durable on gravel and turf-friendly. The track pattern offers a smooth and comfortable ride while leaving a minimal footprint on grass and lawns; however, it’s not recommended for extremely wet conditions. It’s a great option for landscaping and performs best on turf, solid dirt or sandy applications.
A great multi-application track for general use, the H-pattern treads minimize vibration and reduce undercarriage wear. These treads are good for general construction work and applications involving rock, concrete, mud or sloped surfaces.
If you are traveling across hard surfaces such as concrete, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots where leaving track marks is a concern, consider using non-marking tracks. Non-marking tracks are especially popular in landscaping and turf maintenance applications.
As a rule, you should consult the Operation & Maintenance Manual to see how often the track tensioning should be checked. Loose tracks can result in de-tracking, which causes unplanned downtime. Tracks that are too tight can reduce loader performance and can cause accelerated wear to the rollers, sprockets and drive motors.
Compact track loaders are versatile machines, especially when paired with the right tracks. By following these tips, you can optimize your performance on the jobsite while exceeding the expectations of your customers.
Ready to add a compact track loader to your fleet? These tips will help you select the right size machine for your work.