Testing the Cobra runners by Qualipieces
For two years, I have been using the HC Top Gold runners made by Qualipièces in Drummondville. This product met my expectations with its physical characteristics and its performance, as you can read in the following article http://www.sledmagazine.com/actions/page?docId=8739&ctx=Pieces-et-accessoires&Aucun=HC%20TOP%20GOLD%20carbide%20runners%20for%20BRP&request_locale=en .
In 2016, I tested another product of the same category. It is called “ Cobra anti-darting device ”, # B08-220-08. To differenciate it from the HC Top Gold runners, we must take a look at their respective characteristics. As a picture is worth a thousand words, the four following photos show the differences of design.
HC Top Gold
HC Top Gold
Firstly, here is a summary of the test realized with the Qualipièces HC Top Gold. I have been seduced by the numerous results that have met my expectations. To begin, I was looking for a light runner that would provide efficient cornering in snow as well as on ice, that would perform in deep snow, without negative consequence on the less powerful engines, a runner that would be easy to install and resistant to shocks and wear.
As you can see on photo 5 below, even after 6 500 km, the runners remained in good shape, thus efficient for many more kilometers. Also, they have met the above-mentioned requirements.
HC Top Gold after 6 500 km
Concerning our test product, the Cobra, we can easily see that it is in the same category than the HC. Effectively, this plated runner of 3/8 in. wide X ½ in. high / 9,525 mm X 12,7 mm, is like a design at the carbide angles of attack.
Its most important features are the blade and the progressive carbide design of 1 in. / 25,4 mm at 90 ° and 8 in. / 203,2 mm at 60 °. The blade is at the front of the ski, which improves flotation without affecting the efficiency of the keel. The carbides allow a natural extension of this keel by providing more grip in turns. The result of this design is to eliminate most of darting all while protecting the front of the keel. According to Qualipieces, this efficiency does not affect the fuel consumption and prevents premature wear of steering parts.
Installation : You will find on Qualipieces web site all the installation guides for each snowmobile brand. For example, for a BRP machine with Pilot 5.7 skis : https://www.qualipieces.com/gpc/_media/Document/b08-220-08.pdf . As you can see here, it is very easy and quick to install the Cobra. It takes about 15 minutes to replace both runners.
Also, you can install the Cobra and later return to a more traditional runner. In fact, the installation modification consists of drilling a hole of 7/16 in. / 11,113 mm into the ski in order to insert the tip of the Cobra blade without damaging the ski.
What about our tests on snow and ice? In fact, I have been quite surprised by the grip provided to steering. So much that I had to reduce the rear spring pre-load by 1 click to decrease the weight on front end of the snowmobile. The Cobra easily gets into morning icy or hardened snow surfaces, which provides optimal control of the machine. Also, in powder snow, the Cobra is still efficient by helping cornering. Personally, I had the feeling that this runner was very efficient without being too hard on my arms and shoulders.
Snowmobilers who experience darting will be happy to learn that with the Cobra, darting is almost totally eliminated. Thanks to these famous blades, I saw that the Cobra makes us keep straight and precise steering. I could easily feel that it reduces weight on front end of the ski, which improves flotation and reduces effort when getting into snow. This is really appreciated with machines that are less powerful. And it directly affected the fuel consumption during my tests in packed and sticky snow.
Conclusion : I would say that the Qualipieces Cobra runners are faultless. According to my experience, the Cobra are efficient and robust. Due to their various characteristics, you have to take them into consideration on your next purchase of runners. They are extremely efficient, economical and surprisingly durable. Once you try them, you can hardly ride without them. Personally, I think this is one of the best product on the market.