Indy Project Sled - Plastic Skis

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF

 

SLP Skis

Cost: $350 (US)
Risks: Minor
Benefits: Improved handling
Tools Required: Sockets and wrenches
Parts Required: SLP Skis
Mechanical Skill Required: Can you turn a bolt?

Here's another mod for handling that also looks better than the stock item. SLP skis are fairly expensive, so they need to work well to be worth the money. And in my opinion, there is no question they are worth the price. You get four benefits over the stock steel skis: better handling, lighter weight, better durability and better looks.

They are laughably easy to install, a true bolt-on mod, remove the old skis, bolt the new ones on and go. They use the same carbides as the stock Polaris skis, so if your old carbides are good, just switch 'em over and you're set to ride.

The SLP skis are each 3 pounds lighter than the stock steel skis, so your total weight savings is 6 pounds (I didn't major in math for nothing :) so right there is a pretty darned good reason for spending the money, even if the handling was a wash (which it isn't). The weight of the skis is unsprung weight, which means that it is arguabley more critical than 6 pounds on the chassis. That's because unsprung weight causes the suspension to react more sluggishly to the terrain. 6 pounds of unsprung weight saved makes a noticable difference in handling over the bumps . . . or maybe that's just more mental horsepower, whatever, it works for me.

What isn't mental horsepower is the way the SLPs grip the the snow in the corners. Big improvement in "bite", which allows you to run less ski pressure, resulting in lighter steering and better hook-up for the track.

If you hit a rock with the stock steel skis, either you straighten out the dent or you remember that rock for as long as you own the sled. With the SLPs, the skis will bounce off most rocks without damage. There is the steel skeleton there and if you hit a really big rock really hard, you will bend that and they'll be finished. The new Polaris plastic ski is more durable than the SLPs, but more about them in a moment.

The colored bottoms look really great, when they're new. If I had it to do over again, I'd buy black bottoms. And the bottoms will wear out or they can get cut, but when they do, they're replacable. When I replace mine, I'll get black. Why? Because the colored ones fade in sunlight. I have a full-body cover that keeps them out of the sun, but eventually they'll fade and won't look so good. If you look close at the pictures of my sled, you can see that the ski bottoms have faded some already. I'll put black bottoms on and paint the skeletons "Arctic Purple" (I'll tell you why in the section about the lightweight hood) and I'm pretty confident it will look as good or better. I've seen MXZs with SLPs with black bottoms and yellow skeletons and they looked mighty sharp, but better yet, they won't look lousy after one season.

If you are serious about improving the handling of your older Indy, this is one mod that's worth the money . . . unless you maybe want to opt for the new Polaris plastic ski. Not as flashy maybe, unless you go with the colored skis, which will suffer from the same fading problem, but they're much cheaper than SLPs and more durable - they can be bent back nearly double and snap back into shape with no damage. I cannot tell a handling difference between the SLPs and the Polaris skis. It's up to you to decide, when I put on my SLPs, the Polaris skis were not yet available. Had they been, it would have been a tough choice to make.


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