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Twin Track Ridge Runner

Fun, comfort, safety and utility
RELATED TOPICS: BACK TRACKS | VINTAGE
1970 Twin Track Ridge Runner
I was at “Rip Roaring Willow Days” in Willow River, Min. when I came upon a striking, bright yellow snowmobile that was still in great shape for an original that was 47 years old! Troy and Bridgett Karst from Princeton, Min. were the owners of this sled they found out in Colorado. It was used by a cabin owner and parked in 1983 with transmission problems. Troy rebuilt it to its original state. The Twin Track Ridge Runner was made in Minneapolis from 1969-1971.

■ Abnormally practical

The Ridge Runner has no skis to steer, just two long tracks that run the length of the machine. The tracks were made by the BF Goodrich Rubber Co. which also made tracks for Polaris. These tracks were made for twin drivers with steel clips in the holes to drive on. They said they used a 15-inch wide by 84-inch long track, but I’m not so sure, because the tracks run along the whole body which measures 112-inches. I think the 84-inches referred to how much of it was on the snow. The footprint was 2520 square inches. Overall width was 45-inches, height was 52-inches and weight was 800+ lbs.
1970 Twin Track Ridge Runner
Power came from a Kohler two cycle, twin-cylinder, single carburetor 618cc that made 33 hp at 6000 RPM. Kohler made this engine with cast iron cylinders, which made it rather heavy, coming in at 97 lbs. Electric start was a $137.50 option and it had an ammeter gauge.

The first Ridge Runners came with twin-cylinder JLO 440cc engines but didn’t make enough power for this sled. Power went through the Salisbury 1190 drive and driven clutches to the patented “Quad/Drive Transmission” that was hydraulically actuated and provided instant response. Ridge Runner said it was the only transmission of its kind. The first transmissions had heating problems and the 1971 models had built-in fins to take away the heat. From the transmission was a drive sprocket using a #40 roller chain down to the drive shaft axle sprocket, however there was casing to keep the chain clean and lubed.
1970 Twin Track Ridge Runner
With twin drive handle bars that controlled each drive track, you could turn around in a circle with one track going forward and the other one in reverse. The more you pushed forward on the handle bars, the faster you would go.

There were many accessories too! The color yellow was standard with blue, red or black for $27.50; cross country cruise control for $82.50; a compass for $32.45; transistor radio for $43.45; plow for $495.00; clock for $28.00; turn signals for $26.95; bucket seats for $54.45; convertible top for $186.95.
1970 Twin Track Ridge Runner
To get to the engine you had to unsnap the canvas top at the windshield and undo the hood latches, then you could tilt the hood forward with the windshield to expose the drive system. A fiberglass hood and body panels made it easy to work on. The rear luggage compartment had 8 cu. ft. of space with enough room for a 12 gallon fuel tank. Driving the Ridge Runner, was like driving a sports car over snow. The Ridge Runner was called an ASV(All Season Vehicle). New it was around $2195.

In 1971 the company was sold to Steiger Tractor Inc in Fargo. Steiger wanted to build a stronger machine for commercial and farm use. They produced a new unit called Aqua Trac that could go on water, snow and ground. But during the 1974 gas shortage, sales weren’t the greatest so they quit making them.
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