Through the snowmobile industry’s “roaring ’90s” it seemed every time we went to a snowmobile show there were four more small companies showcasing the newest “best” idea to tie a sled to a trailer.
In hindsight, some of the tie-down systems were overthought – with a bunch of small parts and other intricate details that would work well if used on a warm day without worry about ice and snow. But in the real world where snowmobilers use the product, riders return to the tow vehicle in a dark parking lot on a sub-zero evening. Other systems failed because the companies that made them were underfinanced or didn’t have the distribution they needed.
Out of that clutter, one product rose above them all – especially when the second generation of the product was launched; we were reminded of that when we utilized the Superclamp II system on our Floe Pro-Tektor four-place enclosed trailer last winter.
Trailering Made Easy
Various trailer manufacturers, including Floe, have come up with ways that make tying down a snowmobile easier than it used to be, but nobody has developed as simple of a system as the Superclamp II – from installation, to setting the system up for various snowmobiles, it’s the benchmark for ease of use.
Installation was incredibly easy. An accessory T-style enclosed deck hook slid into the existing channel in our Floe trailer – it simply had to be tightened in place and squared up in the location of our choice. Folks with trailers utilizing evenly spaced half-inch holes with stabilized nuts in the trailer deck have it almost as easy – pick the hole that works best for your sled and trailer, then screw and tighten the deck hook into place. The toughest scenario is if you’re utilizing a cargo trailer without holes in the floor. In this instance, you’ll have to drill your own hole in the floor at a chosen location, making sure that you’ve got some frame and not just plywood decking beneath to hold the receiver hook in place.
The simple safety key – attached with a short tether – prevents spring tension from releasing once its been inserted into the keeper hole.
The actual Superclamp II mechanism comes from the factory fully assembled. It’s 46.5 inches wide, making it wide enough to span sleds with even the widest of ski stances, and weighs 7.5 pounds, making it feel sturdy.
The first time you use the Superclamp II, run your snowmobile into position on the trailer, centering the skis over the deck-mounted hook so that the host bar will fit in front of the spindle on a flat part of the ski – just like you would with any other tie-down system. To make the Superclamp II fit the height of a snowmobile’s skis, turn the square adjuster knob at the tie-down’s center counter-clockwise to extend the hook on the bottom of the tie-down bar. Once there is room, place the tie down bar over the skis, with the big orange pistol-grip handle toward the outer edge of the trailer standing up, and shove the J-hook on the bottom of the bar through the deck-mounted receiver hook. Then start turning that same center-mounted orange adjustment knob clockwise to shorten the length of the protruding J-hook.
When the J-hook starts to contact the deck-mounted enclosed hook, stop turning and focus your attention to the pistol-grip handle. Grab it and give it a firm pull toward the trailer deck – this effectively pulls your J-hook the rest of the way up into the deck-mounted hook, securing the tie-down firmly in place. You should feel tension on the handle as it is pulled all the way into the “down” position. When the pistol handle is all the way down, a small hole in the aluminum near the pistol-grip’s base should be exposed. That’s where you’ll install the safety key – line it up so the little nub on top is facing up, slide the key end through the hole and then turn the key sideways.
Now it’s time to fine-tune. After securing the Superclamp II into place by pushing down on the pistol-grip handle, try shaking the skis or moving the Superclamp mechanism – they should stay solidly in place. If they don’t, go back to that center-mounted orange knob and give it another clockwise spin or two to bring the J-shoot up higher. However, if you unlatch the pistol grip end and you can’t get the J-hook out of its deck-mounted receiver hook, then you probably need to back off the center-mounted adjustment knob by one counter-clockwise turn.
Once properly set up, the Superclamp II was easy to install over our sleds’ skis all winter. We’d simply slide the bar in place, place the J-hook into the deck-mounted hook, clamp down pressure by lowering the pistol-grip handle and then secure it with the safety key. Total time to tie down a sled at end of a ride? About five seconds! There was no worry about having to chip ice out of the channel and no cold metal parts to fiddle with. The hook stayed in place within the trailer’s center channel all winter – we’d simply drive the sleds right over the top of it without problem.
The Superclamp II product is made of high-quality parts, with careful attention to detail. The mechanisms that hold the skis down are made of steel – from the hooks to the screw, and the spring to the lever arm. But virtually all of the parts that the user touches are made of highly engineered fiber-filled thermoplastic designed to hold up in extreme temperatures. Meanwhile, the pads that come down over the skis are made of ribbed silicone rubber.
There are two orange grab handles – one on the outer edge and one just to the outer-edge of center – that make carrying or shifting the Superclamp II into place a breeze. The designers truly thought of everything.