Product Review: Curve Leader Trail Ski System

The story behind Curve Industries is an interesting read on how a frustrated snowcross racer built a better mouse trap, in this case…a better ski.

Some of my snowmobiling friends have raved about Curve Industries skis for years. Total disclosure: I’m not one to pimp up my sled much. Snowmobiles are expensive enough to own, operate and repair without spending extra money to accessorize. For me, the default Pilot skis on my 2009 Ski Doo XP were good enough.

At the Eastern Grass Drag Nationals @ Excell Raceway Park before last winter, Curve Industries owner Nick Pryputniewicz gave me a Curve Leader Trail Ski System and a set of Commander carbides in exchange for advertising space on ilsnow.com. Although I have never considered buying a set of aftermarket skis, I happily accepted Nick’s offer.

Out of the box:

Each Curve Leader Trail Ski System includes a pair of skis and loops. In addition, you order mounting hardware specific to your make and model of snowmobile. The necessary carbides can be purchased from Curve Industries or another distributor.

Ease of installation:

It really didn’t look too difficult, but I’m lucky if I can turn a wrench without slashing my knuckles into bloody ribbons. I had the The Lemon Tree in Speculator install the Curve Skis when they did the preseason maintenance on the ’09 XP. I guess you’ll have to ask the Lemon Tree how that went. Anyway, the Curve Skis looked sharp on my sled:

IMG_0811

By the way, there are a number of colors to chose from. The default black looks fine on my black and yellow XP.

The nitty gritty: How good are they?

I had a full winter and over 2000 miles on the Curves, so I can say that I’ve tested them under most conditions that trail riders would experience.

Simply put, the Curve Skis are every bit as good as my friends told me they would be. My XP handles corners like nobody else’s business with the Curves on, a vast improvement over the default Pilot skis. As a matter of fact, the Curve Skis generate so much downward pressure into the snow, I had to adjust the front spring pressure downward a notch to maintain steering ease. When riding the narrow trails in the Adirondacks, it’s imperative to have your sled hug the insides of right turns and hold the outsides of left turns for safety’s sake. That’s mission accomplished with the Curve Skis (and negotiating the corners at a safe speed!)

The Curve Skis are also great for deep powder riding. When I ride on fields or lake with deep powder, the front end of my XP stays up top of the snow much better. I have gotten through places that used to get me stuck. If the XP had a long track, some deep lugs and a bit more horsepower, I’m convinced my sled would be an absolute powder mauler with the Curves on to provide the front end floatation.

The only trail surface in which the Curves struggled to maintain a good bite was a completely icy base with a few inches of loose powder on them. I would guess that most skis would struggle with that kind of surface, with only the carbides offering any steering bite.

Late last winter, I rode a demo Ski Doo snowmobile from the Lemon Tree that had the default Pilot skis and experienced a significant drop off in corner grabbing ability. I rode the demo fairly conservatively so I wouldn’t drive it into a tree. Like tires for a car, the skis make the total difference when it comes to front end handling of a snowmobile.

Customer Service:

Low snow conditions early last winter left my carbides open to severe wear. When I ordered a pair of replacement carbides from Curve, they promptly called to inform me the carbides I ordered were not in stock and offered an alternative at a lower price. As a result, they were able to ship the replacement carbides to me promptly and I didn’t miss a ride.

Bottom line:

If you deem $350 (plus carbides) a fair price for a quantum leap from your snowmobile’s default skis, I’d highly recommend getting a set of Curve Leader Trail Skis as a product that lives up to its reputation. You’ll be amazed at the difference in handling and reduction of darting and pushing.

In the event you buy a set of Curve Skis as a result of my recommendation, please tell the good folks at Curve Industries that Darrin @ ilsnow.com sent you.

Find Curve Industries at www.curveindustries.com

For the ilsnow nation,

Darrin

Comments welcomed!

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