X-Bull Recovery Tracks...another inexpensive alternative

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!

RainGoat

Rank VI
Member

Advocate I

3,124
Kirkland, WA
Member #

6791

I think you hit the nail on the head. With now so many different renditions of similar or exact copies, the only variable seems to be the material they are being made from. This is why I went with a X-BULL copy by ORCISH. It used virgin plastic/nylon vs recycled plastic /nylon. Seemed to get better reviews and was touted by ORCISH as of course being a better product. Time and use will be where the rubber hits the road on these, but the price was too good to pass up,, considering the retail price variations of all these boards on the market.

At one time I had considered the Smitty's, but as you mentioned, they were getting horrible reviews and I have not seen or heard of any improvements in their durability. And I might add, the price has creep-ed up, as has many recovery boards on the market. MY OPINION: If any company decides to release a version with the MAX-TRAX durability reputation, while keeping it at the $100.00 mark, they will corner the market.

EDIT: picture of the ones I got in olive greenView attachment 106811Came with a bag & tethers. Amazon=$98.99, E-Bay=$69.90 right now!
Totally agree, that’s a very useful post. Thanks!
 

Maverick1701

Rank I

Traveler I

136
Lubbock, TX, USA
First Name
Chris
Last Name
Tiedemann
Ham Callsign
KG5KBG
Seek Adventure on youtube did a comparison video of these vs maxtrax. If the video was meant to show how great maxtrax was, it ended up being a great sales tool for x-bull because they performed so well (see the comments). After seeing how well they performed the video sold me on buying a set of x-bull tracks.

Here's the video:
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Desert Runner

Desert Runner

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

3,857
Southern Nevada
First Name
Jerold
Last Name
Fisler
Member #

14991

Seek Adventure on youtube did a comparison video of these vs maxtrax. If the video was meant to show how great maxtrax was, it ended up being a great sales tool for x-bull because they performed so well (see the comments). After seeing how well they performed the video sold me on buying a set of x-bull tracks.

Here's the video:
I saw that video, and was what led me to the X-Bull in the first place. Up until that time all the reviews and pictures I saw showed fractures and outright failures similar to what the Smittys were experiencing. Seeing that test by Seek Adventure and then the Orsich video made it easier when it came to me purchasing recovery boards.

I am hoping my heavy truck being close to 4.5 ton plus, will not overtax the design limits of the 10 ton product. The vehicle Micheal in Seek Adventure used was smaller and lighter. The bridging aspect is where these might have problems unless you double them up. Then the question of a 2nd set comes into play. Having 4 over 2 then presents the question of transportabity...aka...storage, as I am still exploring bracket mounting options for 2, not 4. All the options for a commercial made product are gonna cost, and I have yet to find a similar option with more than a 3 or 4 dollar difference. Either for the cheaper renditions, or the gen 3 upgrade versions. MSRP seems to be locked fairly tightly. The homemade idea can and might be the option I go with. It is the flared specialty nut of the TRED 800-1100 version that I want, that keeps me from going the 'homemade' route. I want that TRED convenience, and not have to risk a handful of parts being lost in the dirt.
 
Last edited:

Baipin

Rank V

Enthusiast I

I saw that video, and was what led me to the X-20bull in the first place. Up until that time all the reviews and pictures I saw showed fractures and outright failures similar to what the Smittys were experiencing. Seeing that test by Seek Adventure and then the Orsich video made it easier when it came to me purchasing recovery boards.

I am hoping my heavy truck being close to 4.5 ton plus, will not overtax the design limits of the 10 ton product. The vehicle Micheal in Seek Adventure used was smaller and lighter. The bridging aspect is where these might have problems unless you double them up. Then the question of a 2nd set comes into play. Having 4 over 2 then presents the question of transportabity...aka...storage, as I am still exploring bracket mounting options for 2, not 4. All the options for a commercial made product are gonna cost, and I have yet to find a similar option with more than a 3 or 4 dollar difference. Either for the cheaper renditions, or the gen 3 upgrade versions. MSRP seems to be locked fairly tightly. The homemade idea can and might be the option I go with. It is the flared specialty nut that keeps me from going that route. I want that convenience, and not have to risk a handful of parts being lost in the dirt.
Looking at pics of the recovery that broke one of my X-Bull boards, it seems the weakness is if a tire runs over the board while the board cannot be compressed anymore along its width (the side of the board facing outwards from the vehicle is raised on a rock or something, while the side facing inwards was on the ground, and there's no support in the middle; it was held only by the lengthwise edges. The tire basically sheared the board lengthwise when it pushed down on the unsupported middle portion.

Excuse the crappy drawing, but you could do something like this for your roof rack:



Have a carriage bolt going through the holes in the boards, which is secured to your roofrack or whatever has a hole in it. Add a screw-on knob to retain the boards, and thin aircraft cable to retain the knob itself. Just make sure the cable is long enough so the knob can still be unscrewed!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Desert Runner

Desert Runner

Rank VI
Member

Influencer I

3,857
Southern Nevada
First Name
Jerold
Last Name
Fisler
Member #

14991

Looking at pics of the recovery that broke one of my X-Bull boards, it seems the weakness is if a tire runs over the board while the board cannot be compressed anymore along its width (the side of the board facing outwards from the vehicle is raised on a rock or something, while the side facing inwards was on the ground, and there's no support in the middle; it was held only by the lengthwise edges. The tire basically sheared the board lengthwise when it pushed down on the unsupported middle portion.

Excuse the crappy drawing, but you could do something like this for your roof rack:



Have a carriage bolt going through the holes in the boards, which is secured to your roofrack or whatever has a hole in it. Add a screw-on knob to retain the boards, and thin aircraft cable to retain the knob itself. Just make sure the cable is long enough so the knob can still be unscrewed!
Looking at pics of the recovery that broke one of my X-Bull boards, it seems the weakness is if a tire runs over the board while the board cannot be compressed anymore along its width (the side of the board facing outwards from the vehicle is raised on a rock or something, while the side facing inwards was on the ground, and there's no support in the middle; it was held only by the lengthwise edges. The tire basically sheared the board lengthwise when it pushed down on the unsupported middle portion.

Excuse the crappy drawing, but you could do something like this for your roof rack:



Have a carriage bolt going through the holes in the boards, which is secured to your roof-rack or whatever has a hole in it. Add a screw-on knob to retain the boards, and thin aircraft cable to retain the knob itself. Just make sure the cable is long enough so the knob can still be unscrewed!
If you watch the various You-Tube videos when these or other brands are used, there seem to be 2 methods used. I'm not sure if it is laziness, or what, but you see them placed either at a extreme angle of 55 degrees or so, with that fulcrum you mentioned, or at a gentler 40-45 degree angle where it is better supported underneath as the tire climbs the board. This could be a key on how they fair with different users, and explain some of the durability variances many of us have commented on. So my conclusion would be to take a little more time and clean out the area the tires and boards will go, thus supporting the recovery board as it reaches the half-way point on the tires climb out. This probably is also more important, the heavier the rig is!

On the board mounting question, I have a open pickup bed, no rack, so i was contemplating a mount on the top of my bed tool-box for 1 set, and leaving the 2nd (if I get them) in their transport bag for backup.....still weighing my options.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
EDIT: 07/10/19
*** Saw a you-tuber post a walk around at the Expo-West and saw a mounting solution that would probably work. It looks like the boards were mounted longitudinally (horizontally) along the inside of the bed. Half of the board was above the bed rail, and the lower half was in the bed.

I think using 2 camper shell clamps, the recovery boards could be attached via some flat metal pieces to those clamps. It would allow a on/off mount that could not be removed while the boards were mounted due to not having access to the clamping bolts! ....Comments, Input?......The best part would be no drilling holes in either my truck, or some other piece of gear onboard.

PS: .......On posting 147 below, Mud brings a whole new variable to the table. My response reflects a sand recovery and/or a dirt recovery. Have done the 10 minute ATV mud thrill, only to spend 3+ hours with a pressure washer getting the mud off the Quad...
.something I now try to avoid. :fearful: Baipin's mud recovery is an example of needing recovery boards and being able to self-extract with the proper gear when alone. STILL, ......I imagine that was a long all day process, as that mud looks downright Nasty. Glad it all worked out.:grinning:
 
Last edited:

Baipin

Rank V

Enthusiast I

If you watch the various You-Tube videos when these or other brands are used, there seem to be 2 methods used. I'm not sure if it is laziness, or what, but you see them placed either at a extreme angle of 55 degrees or so, with that fulcrum you mentioned, or at a gentler 40-45 degree angle where it is better supported underneath as the tire climbs the board. This could be a key on how they fair with different users, and explain some of the durability variances many of us have commented on. So my conclusion would be to take a little more time and clean out the area the tires and boards will go, thus supporting the recovery board as it reaches the half-way point on the tires climb out. This probably also more important, the heavier the rig is!

On the board mounting question, I have a open pickup bed, no rack, so i was contemplating a mount on the top of my bed tool-box for 1 set, and leaving the 2nd (if I get them) in their transport bag for backup.....still weighing my options.
Yup, digging is the key. I even did this with a fair bit of digging and 1 broken board that I didn't get around to replacing yet:

107272

It was about 2-3 ft of mud/clay in the deepest part; so bad that a tractor nearby got bogged down for 5+ hours. Yet these boards - even with 1 broken one - handled it like a champ.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Desert Runner

titicaca

Rank IV

Advocate II

854
Calgary
Looking at pics of the recovery that broke one of my X-Bull boards, it seems the weakness is if a tire runs over the board while the board cannot be compressed anymore along its width (the side of the board facing outwards from the vehicle is raised on a rock or something, while the side facing inwards was on the ground, and there's no support in the middle; it was held only by the lengthwise edges. The tire basically sheared the board lengthwise when it pushed down on the unsupported middle portion.
Interesting observation on how they break - unsupported bridging side-to-side. I went with a 4 set of RUGCEL (Smittybuilt clone) - the teeth look and feel very aggressive! Can't wait to use them! I have a question on how they should be used. Looking at the Amazon picture demo RUGCEL has them upside-down in ramp over rocks scenario. This is contrary to how other traction boards are used. But it makes sense as they would naturally bend easier that way, both length wise and side-to-side, thus avoiding unsupported bridging that may cause a crack. Any thoughts on this?
A1LGuiJREGL._SL1500_.jpg91K3intZq2L._SL1500_.jpg
 

Attachments

Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Baipin