I like to find ways to optimize my time and various tasks in everyday life. One task that has been weighing on me more and more over the past few years was transporting snowmobiles. I had to load a snowmobile into my truck using a cheap ramp that was anything but safe. Also, when my wife joined me for a ride, I had to borrow a trailer, which added a lot of logistical headaches and stress to my transportation.
That’s where Zone Atomik 13 comes in! We worked with them to test their Excursion Serie II model over two seasons and I am very excited to tell you about it.
Presentation of the Serie II Model
The Serie II is the top-of-the-line model from Zone Atomik 13. Stretchy, covered with SuperGlides and accompanied by a backtrack, it has quite a look! I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked what brand it is. And let me tell you, it even impressed a few people who have a sled deck from another brand. And for good reason; the build quality is impeccable.
The model we have on trial is the 8′ version, which works with the 5 ½’, 6 ½’, and 8′ boxes. A 7′ version is also available.
If you are getting a sled deck, seriously consider adding the option of SuperClamps, at least on the front. Although it is quite expensive, you will save time and energy. Especially up there, it’s not great to have to run straps to tie down a snowmobile. With the SuperClamp, it’s literally a matter of seconds and the front of the snowmobile is secured, and secured solid!
It’s all about the details
A unique feature on the market is the addition of LED lights on each side of the platform. This makes it so much easier to board and secure the snowmobile in the dark.
Finding missing stuff on the Excursion Serie II was quite difficult, and I was all proud to write that having a drawer under the platform could be a nice option. I was caught short, because Atomik Zone 13 now offers it on their [website] (https://zoneatomik13.com/produit/402-tdsd-72-72-quot-sled-deck-drawer-for-7-and-8-sled-deck). They really think of everything!
The Telescopic Ramp
Zone Atomik 13 also produces its own 10′ 6″ telescoping boom. The length felt right, even when I was at a slightly more aggressive angle to board the truck.
Like the platform, the ramp is covered with SuperGlide, making it very safe to board and disembark. There is even SuperGlide II Wide in the middle, allowing the snowmobile’s track to grip well.
This ramp has its own storage under the platform which is very well done. Naturally, it takes some effort to line it up and climb it into the truck, but once docked, the slides make it easy to slide into its storage.
I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to close the ramp when it was stored. Even with a good layer of snow, it closes without any problem.
My only negative point about the ramp is the attachment to secure the telescopic function. To do this, you use a pin and have to manipulate it four times to use the ramp. An integrated system that can be unloaded and automatically resets itself when the ramp is fully extended would be quite an upgrade. This system exists on certain models of telescopic ladders.
Boarding the Snowmobile
If you are afraid of heights, you will need a little adjustment time to get on and off the platform. Personally, my only hesitation was when I disembarked the first time. However, once it’s done, you realize that the whole thing is really solid and well-made. Nothing moves and it quickly gives you confidence. The SuperGlides help a lot, they add a lot of traction and guide the skis in a stable trajectory.
One of the things I really like is how well the ramp embeds the platform. Since it is nested on a large metal tube, it is very easy to slide it from one side to the other when loading two snowmobiles.
On several occasions, I had difficulty removing the ramp because it was trapped between two rows of snowmobile spikes. I suspect that a 3″ track did not give a chance, but it can still become irritating.
As for the attachment of the snowmobile, in addition to the SuperClamp, no less than four hooks are available on the sides (two on each side) to attach the snowmobile. I particularly used the two in the back to attach a strap to the rear suspension of the snowmobile. The advantage of the platform height is that I can do this at a comfortable height as the snowmobile is about eye level.
Loading on the truck
I don’t want to turn this article into a truck review, so I’ll try to brush the subject off as quickly as possible. The suspension on my full-size truck settles slightly when I have one snowmobile on board. When I have two, the back end starts to get quite a bit lower. Since I don’t have to drive very long distances (on average 2 hours), I live with this very well. However, if I had to drive more often or for longer, I would probably consider adding air suspensions to my truck.
To my great surprise, the driving aspect most affected by having two snowmobiles (and the platform!) is not the suspension, but the braking.
If you don’t have a telescopic mirror, you’ll want to get some kind of towing mirror, because when the deck is opened wide, you can only see two big black bars. I personally opted for removable mirrors that fit over my current mirrors and I liked the look so much that I left them on the truck all season.
Extending the Platform
To open and close the extension, you simply use two locks that are relatively easy to access. Then, you just have to pull on each side. However, don’t do what I did the first time; pull (or push) from the middle and not from one end!
After one of our many rainy episodes, I was pleasantly surprised to see that although the platform was completely covered with ice, the extension worked without any resistance.
To conclude, I highly recommend the Zone Atomik 13 Sled Deck Serie II. We agree that it is not cheap, but you really get what you pay for if you use one or two snowmobiles and want to keep the agility of driving your truck. Whether it’s the quality of the construction, the super well-built ramp or all the accessories that allow you to safely load your snowmobile, it’s very hard to remain indifferent to this platform. My favorite aspect is without a doubt the ease of use and the fact that it. Works. Every. Time. Never once did I have any trouble using it throughout the season, no matter what the weather.
I would like to thank Dave and his team at Zone Atomik 13 for making this test possible! As mentioned at the beginning, this trial will last until the end of next season. You will have access to our very long-term review at the end of the next season.
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