How did the Cheetah Factory Racing iRack with ski attachments stack up for the PB crew? Read on to find out.
- iRack 2.0: $199
- Dual Ski Bracket Kit: $127.95 x 2
- Total Cost: $460
Utilizing a snowmobile to ski a far off peak is a highly rewarding thing to spend one’s time doing. Deep snow. Big lines. The skier’s dream.
However, as anyone who has jumped into the sled-ski game can attest, you are adding a whole bunch of variables to the “lets have a good time on snow” equation. Too often, we see our buddies who are new to the sport take the plunge into sled access skiing completely overlook how they plan on getting their gear into the backcountry.
Yes, you can string up something together in your garage that’ll kind of hold your shit. But unless you have access to a machine shop and spend your nights drawing up fabrications of your own, we’d bet a lot of money your “rack” will fail, and it will fail at the worst time possible. (Editor’s note: Bungee cords have no business near bogey wheels. Ever).
When I got into this a half a decade ago, I was that guy. I’m also really stubborn, and it took countless ruined days, a few “where do you think they fell off” moments and yes, bungee cords in the bogey wheels moments before I finally said screw it and sprung for a Cheetah Rack. Five years later that rack is the only snowmobile specific part in my garage that has gone from sled, to sled, to sled (five times) without missing a beat (and with no permanent modification to any of those sleds – huge bonus when you go to sell them).
This is snowmobiling. Shit breaks all the time. But the the CFR iRack and accompanying ski attachments have been rock. Yeah, that’s the only thing I can think to compare this to, an actual rock…If that rock were shat out of Chuck Norris himself that is. The rack has quiet literally surviving hundreds of rolls, a handful of tomahawks and two accidents that totaled the sled they were hung off the back of (sad face).
Installation is easy and painless; requiring no modification to the tunnel of the snowmobile itself. For a Polaris, we had to drill holes in the iRack to line up with the attachment channels, then fasten our ski racks to the rack. All in, about an hour. After installed, it takes about 1 minutes and an drill with a 11mm socket to take the rack off. Ski-Doo users can forgo this first step, as the rack integrates seamlessly with the Linq system.
On two dimensional snow the rack never let us down. It held our stuff great, no broken straps or lost gear, even through the worst of whoops. The only concern we had was with the sled’s tunnel. Let us say first hand, snowmobiles, specifically the ones that start with a “P” and end in “aris” were not designed to carry a lot of stuff off the back. You have two options; slow down when things get rough or reinforce the tunnel. We chose to do both, as plowing through rough trail doing your best Keith Curtis impression its a surefire way to crinkle a tunnel. You don’t have to do a Grandma Creep but you should slow down while carrying your skis, our $0.02.
As our skills have progressed, the rack has proven more and more valuable. The idea is to get to a fun, far off mountain that would take days of touring, a helicopter or a competent rider on a mountain sled. The “getting there” is often half the fun, negotiating various drainages, tricky sidehills and motor stretching climbs. Trying to negotiate what your skis are doing, flopping around off the back or smooshed into the footholds is simply not an option. The CFR rack puts your gear in a good spot, out of the way, even for more technical riding. Also, worth noting, when we were off the whooped out trail, we’d often put our skis further “back”, fastening them between the heel piece, some may scoff at this but once its soft getting the skis out of the way is paramount.
Once to your spot taking your skis (or snowboard) off is as quick as you could possibly imagine, taking all of 10 seconds. This is super valuable if you are lucky enough to find some sled-shuttlable terrain where quick laps are in order or if you perhaps get stuck and need a courtesy roll…which may or may not have happened a handful (editor’s note: LOT) of times.
To us, one of the greatest parts of the rack is how versatile it is outside of skiing. Yeah, your hardcore mountain riders will scoff at the idea of leaving something like the iRack on the back of your tunnel for some hairy mountain riding, but considering all the shit you should be bringing on your average ride into the mountains, this thing is a kick butt tool for your non skier; staying low profile and being incredibly versatile.
What could be improved?
Well it could be cheaper, just like everything. But considering how well this thing has performed, we still say “its worth it”. Second to that, we’d really like to see them create a bracket that works with skis as well as a snowboard or Powsurfer. We have to think its possible, even if it means changing one strap out (which could be more modular – quick release kind of system to swap). But hey, now we are dreamin’
In an era where we spend $200 on drive belts, $50 on a gallon of oil, this rack looks less and less expensive. Yeah, snowmobile access skiing is an expensive sport, though if done right, it offers cat/heli like experience for pennies on the dollar.
Our opinion is obvious. If you sled ski, buy this rack. It works as advertised, is as tough as nails, is versatile outside of skiing and is aesthetically pleasing; keeping a low profile on the sled. It may seem a bit expensive, but in retrospect, its something you can buy and never give another thought to; unlike just about every other part on the modern mountain sled.
Also, for those wondering, CFR does not sponsor this site or this post.