Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2825509 Summary

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(12) Patent: (11) CA 2825509
(54) English Title: TRACK ASSEMBLY FOR AN ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE
(54) French Title: CHENILLES POUR VEHICULE TOUT TERRAIN
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • B62D 55/08 (2006.01)
  • B60F 5/00 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • BOIVIN, DENIS (Canada)
  • BOIVIN, ALAIN (Canada)
  • COURTEMANCHE, DENIS (Canada)
(73) Owners :
  • CAMSO INC. (Canada)
(71) Applicants :
  • CAMOPLAST SOLIDEAL INC. (Canada)
(74) Agent: SMART & BIGGAR
(45) Issued: 2014-11-25
(22) Filed Date: 2002-05-30
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2003-08-25
Examination requested: 2013-08-29
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
2,372,949 Canada 2002-02-25

English Abstract





A track assembly for a reduced-size vehicle (e.g., an all-terrain vehicle)
designed primarily for
off-highway usage, over undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces,
steerable by changing
an orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the vehicle,
which comprises an
endless track and a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the endless
track. The plurality
of wheels includes a leading idler and a trailing idler and a segment of the
endless track
extending between the leading and the trailing idlers defines a ground
engaging run. The
plurality of wheels also includes a drive wheel in driving engagement with the
endless track for
imparting movement to the endless track. The ground engaging run has a load
bearing section
located between the leading idler and the trailing idler, and transferring to
the ground surface a
major portion of the load carried by the track assembly, and having a
longitudinal extent that
does not exceed a diameter of the drive wheel. The ground engaging run also
has a leading
section extending between the leading idler and the load bearing section and
oriented such as to
converge toward the ground surface when the endless track is in motion and
propels the vehicle
and a trailing section extending between the load bearing section and the
trailing idler and
oriented such as to diverge from the ground surface when the endless track is
in motion and
propels the vehicle. A first horizontal distance between the leading idler's
axis of rotation and
the drive wheel's axis of rotation is different from a second horizontal
distance between the
trailing idler's axis of rotation and the drive wheel's axis of rotation.


French Abstract

Des chenilles pour un véhicule de taille réduite (p. ex., un véhicule tout terrain) sont conçues principalement pour une utilisation hors route, sur des routes non finies ou d'autres surfaces non préparées, peuvent être dirigées en changeant l'orientation des chenilles à l'aide d'un mécanisme de direction du véhicule, qui comprend une bande sans fin et une pluralité de roues servant à soutenir et entraîner la bande sans fin. La pluralité de roues comprend une poulie avant et une poulie arrière, et un segment d'une bande sans fin s'étendant entre les poulies avant et arrière définit une bande d'engagement au sol. La pluralité de roues comprend également une roue d'entraînement en engagement d'entraînement avec la bande sans fin pour donner un mouvement à la bande sans fin. La bande d'engagement au sol présente une section porteuse de charge située entre la poulie avant et la poulie arrière, transfère à la surface du sol une grande partie du poids porté par les chenilles et comporte un prolongement longitudinal qui ne dépasse pas le diamètre de la roue d'entraînement. La bande d'engagement au sol comporte également une section avant s'étendant entre la poulie avant et la section porteuse de charge orientée de sorte à converger vers la surface au sol lorsque la bande sans fin est en mouvement et propulse le véhicule et une section arrière s'étendant entre la section porteuse de charge et la poulie arrière orientée de sorte à s'éloigner de la surface au sol lorsque la bande sans fin est en mouvement et propulse le véhicule. Une première distance horizontale entre l'axe de rotation de la poulie avant et l'axe de rotation de la roue d'entraînement est différente d'une deuxième distance entre l'axe de rotation de la poulie arrière et l'axe de rotation de la roue d'entraînement.


Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.




19
CLAIMS:
1. A track assembly for a reduced-size vehicle designed primarily for off-
highway usage, over undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces, steerable
by
changing an orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the
vehicle, the track assembly having a leading end and a trailing end and
comprising:
a) an endless track having an outer ground engaging surface and an opposite

inner surface; and
b) a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the endless track, the
plurality
of wheels including:
i) a leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers
being in
a spaced apart relationship, a segment of the endless track extending
between the leading and trailing idlers defining a ground engaging run,
the leading idler having a first axis of rotation, the trailing idler having a

second axis of rotation; and
ii) a drive wheel having a third axis of rotation, the drive wheel being in

driving engagement with the endless track for imparting movement to
the endless track;
the ground engaging run having:
i) a load bearing section located between the leading idler and the
trailing idler, the load bearing section transferring to the ground surface
a major portion of the load carried by the track assembly, the load
bearing section having a longitudinal extent that does not exceed a
diameter of the drive wheel;
ii) a leading section extending between the leading idler and the load
bearing section, the leading section being oriented such as to
converge toward the ground surface when the endless track is in
motion and propels the vehicle;
iii) a trailing section extending between the load bearing section and the
trailing idler, the trailing section being oriented such as to diverge from




20
the ground surface when the endless track is in motion and propels the
vehicle;
a first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of rotation and the

third axis of rotation being different from a second horizontal distance
defined
between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
2. A track assembly as defined in claim 1, wherein the longitudinal extent of
the
load bearing section is less than the diameter of the drive wheel and wherein
the
reduced-size vehicle is an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) with a seat straddled by
a
user and wherein the steering mechanism has handlebars.
3. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 and 2, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the load bearing section does not exceed a radius of
the
drive wheel.
4. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1, 2 and 3, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the load bearing section is less than a radius of the
drive
wheel.
5. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein an
imaginary
vertical axis that intersects the third axis of rotation also intersects the
load
bearing section.
6. A track assembly as defined in claim 5, wherein the imaginary vertical axis

intersects the load bearing section at a midpoint of the longitudinal extent
of the
load bearing section.
7. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 6, including a
support
structure having:
i) a center portion rotatably supported at the third axis of rotation;




21
ii) a first support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the leading end of the track
assembly;
iii) a second support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the trailing end of the track
assembly.
8. A track assembly as defined in claim 7, wherein the first support arm
defines a
first angle with an imaginary horizontal axis which extends through the third
axis
of rotation, the second support arm defines a second angle with the imaginary
horizontal axis, the first angle being different from the second angle.
9. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the drive
wheel
is in rolling contact with the inner surface of the ground engaging run.
10. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the drive
wheel
is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading and trailing idlers,
when
viewed in a plane that is normal to the third axis of rotation.
11. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the drive
wheel
is in overlapping relationship with the trailing idler, when viewed in a plane

normal to the third axis of rotation.
12. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the load

bearing section is located closer to one of the leading and trailing idlers
than to
the other of the leading and trailing idlers.
13. A track assembly as defined in claim 7, wherein one of the first and
second
support arms is longer than the other of the first and second support arms.




22
14. A track assembly as defined in claim 7, wherein the first support arm and
the
second support arm define an obtuse angle therebetween.
15. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the
endless
track is free of stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the
endless
track.
16. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 15, wherein the
profile of
the endless track in the transverse direction of the endless track is
generally
convex.
17. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein the
endless
track has drive lugs projecting from the inner surface for engagement by the
drive
wheel.
18. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the
endless
track has a pair of opposite lateral edge portions and a central portion
between
the lateral edge portions, the opposite lateral edge portions being free of
stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless track.
19. A track assembly as defined in claim 18, wherein the central portion
includes one
or more stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless
track,
the one or more stiffening rods being shorter than a transverse dimension of
the
endless track.
20.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the
endless
track includes a plurality of track segments, each track segment including a
drive
projection extending inwardly from the inner face for engaging the drive
wheel,
and a traction lug projecting from the outer ground engaging surface, the
drive
projection registering in a longitudinal direction of the endless track with
the




23
traction lug, the portion of the track segment defined between the drive
projection
and the traction lug being free of a stiffening rod extending transversally of
the
endless track.
21.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 14, wherein the
endless
track has a plurality of drive projections longitudinally spaced apart along
the
track for sequentially engaging the drive wheel such that rotation of the
drive
wheel imparts motion of the endless track to propel the vehicle, the endless
track
having a plurality of traction lugs projecting from the ground engaging outer
face,
the traction lugs being longitudinally spaced apart and registering with
respective
drive projections, the endless track being free of stiffening rods extending
transversally of the endless track at locations of the endless track at which
a
drive projection registers with a traction lug.
22. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 21, wherein the
third axis
is located above the first axis and the second axis.
23. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the
drive
wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, one of the leading and trailing
idlers
having a periphery bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower horizontal
imaginary plane being positioned below the second upper horizontal imaginary
plane.
24. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the
drive
wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, the leading idler having a
periphery
bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane and a second lower
horizontal imaginary plane, the trailing idler having a periphery bound
between a




24
third upper horizontal imaginary plane and a third lower horizontal imaginary
plane, the first lower horizontal imaginary plane being positioned below the
second upper horizontal imaginary plane and below the third upper horizontal
imaginary plane.
25. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 24, wherein the
plurality of
wheels impart a generally triangular path of travel to the endless track.
26. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 25, wherein the
plurality of
wheels define a track supporting and guiding arrangement that is in rolling
contact with the inner surface at a plurality of locations, one of said
locations
being the load bearing section.
27. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 26, wherein the
drive
wheel has an extent along the third axis of rotation that is less than a
transverse
dimension of the endless track.
28. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 27, wherein the load

bearing section extends below the leading section.
29. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 28, wherein the load

bearing section extends below the trailing section.
30.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 1 to 29, wherein the load
bearing section is located between a frontmost point and a rearmost point of
the
drive wheel in a longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
31. An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) comprising two steerable track assemblies as
defined in any one of claims 1 to 30, the two steerable track assemblies being

mounted on a common axle of the ATV.




25
32. An all-terrain vehicle as defined in claim 31, wherein the steering
mechanism
includes a rod for controlling an angular orientation of at least one of the
two
steerable track assemblies, the rod being coupled to the at least one of the
two
steerable track assemblies.
33. A track drive and support assembly for a reduced-size vehicle designed
primarily
for off-highway usage, over undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces
steerable by changing an orientation of the track drive and support assembly
by
a steering mechanism of the vehicle, the track drive and support assembly
having a leading end and a trailing end and comprising:
a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving an endless track, the
plurality of
wheels including:
i) a leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers being
in a
spaced apart relationship, the leading idler having a first axis of rotation,
the
trailing idler having a second axis of rotation; and
ii) a drive wheel having a third axis of rotation, the drive wheel being
configured
for driving engagement with the endless track for imparting movement to the
endless track;
the plurality of wheels being configured to impart to the endless track a path
of
travel having a ground engaging run that extends between the leading idler and

the trailing idler, the ground engaging run having:
i) a load bearing section between the leading idler and the trailing idler,
the load
bearing section transferring to the ground surface a major portion of the load

carried by the track drive and support assembly, the load bearing section
having a longitudinal extent that does not exceed a diameter of the drive
wheel;
ii) a leading section extending between the leading idler and the load bearing

section, the leading section being oriented such as to converge toward the
ground surface when the endless track is in motion and propels the vehicle;




26
iii) a trailing section extending between the load bearing section and the
trailing
idler, the trailing section being oriented such as to diverge from the ground
surface when the endless track is in motion and propels the vehicle;
a first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of rotation and the
third
axis of rotation being different from a second horizontal distance defined
between
the second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
34.A track drive and support assembly as defined in claim 33, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the load bearing section is less than the diameter of
the
drive wheel and wherein the reduced-size vehicle is an All-Terrain Vehicle
(ATV)
with a seat straddled by a user and wherein the steering mechanism has
handlebars.
35.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 and
34,
wherein the longitudinal extent of the load bearing section does not exceed a
radius of the drive wheel.
36.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
35,
wherein the longitudinal extent of the load bearing section is less than a
radius of
the drive wheel.
37.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
36,
wherein an imaginary vertical axis that intersects the third axis of rotation
also
intersects the load bearing section.
38.A track drive and support assembly as defined in claim 37, wherein the
imaginary
vertical axis intersects the load bearing section at a midpoint of the
longitudinal
extent of the load-bearing section.




27
39.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
38,
including a support structure having:
a) a center portion rotatably supported at the third axis of rotation;
b) a first support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the leading end of the track drive
and support assembly;
c) a second support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the trailing end of the track drive
and
support assembly.
40.A track drive and support assembly as defined in claim 39, wherein the
first
support arm defines a first angle with an imaginary horizontal axis that
intersects
the third axis of rotation, the second support arm defining a second angle
with
the imaginary horizontal axis, the first angle being different than the second

angle.
41.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
40,
wherein the drive wheel is configured to establish a rolling contact with the
inner
surface of the ground engaging run.
42. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
41,
wherein the drive wheel is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading
and
trailing idlers, when viewed in an imaginary plane that is normal to the third
axis.
43. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
42,
wherein the drive wheel is in overlapping relationship with the trailing
idler, when
viewed in an imaginary plane that is normal to the third axis.




28
44. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
43,
wherein the load bearing section is located closer to one of the leading and
trailing idlers than to the other of the leading and trailing idlers.
45. A track drive and support assembly as defined in claim 39, wherein one of
the
first and second support arms is longer than the other of the first and second

support arms.
46. A track drive and support assembly as defined in claim 39, wherein the
first
support arm and the second support arm define an obtuse angle therebetween.
47. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
46,
wherein the third axis is located above the first axis and the second axis.
48. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
47,
wherein the drive wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal

imaginary plane and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, one of the
leading
and trailing idlers having a periphery bound between a second upper horizontal

imaginary plane and a second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower

horizontal imaginary plane being positioned below the second upper horizontal
imaginary plane.
49.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
47,
wherein the drive wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal

imaginary plane and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, the leading
idler
having a periphery bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the trailing idler having a
periphery bound between a third upper horizontal imaginary plane and a third
lower horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower horizontal imaginary plane
being




29
positioned below the second upper horizontal imaginary plane and below the
third upper horizontal imaginary plane.
50. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
49,
wherein the path of travel is generally triangular.
51. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
50,
wherein the track drive and support assembly is configured such that the
plurality
of wheels establish a rolling contact with the inner surface of the endless
track at
a plurality of locations, one of said locations being the load bearing
section.
52. A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
51,
wherein the track drive and support assembly is configured such that a portion
of
the ground engaging run that defines the load bearing section is at a level
below
a lowermost peripheral portion of the leading idler and below a lowermost
peripheral portion of the trailing idler.
53.A track drive and support assembly as defined in any one of claims 33 to
52,
wherein the load bearing section is located between a frontmost point and a
rearmost point of the drive wheel in a longitudinal direction of the track
drive and
support assembly.
54. A track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), steerable by
changing an
orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the ATV, the
track
assembly having a leading end and a trailing end and comprising:
a) an endless track having an outer ground-engaging surface and an opposite

inner surface; and
b) a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the endless track, the
plurality
of wheels including:




30
i) a leading idler and a trailing idler in a spaced apart relationship, a
segment of the endless track extending between the leading and
trailing idlers defining a ground-engaging run, the leading idler having a
first axis of rotation, the trailing idler having a second axis of rotation;
and
ii) a drive wheel in driving engagement with the endless track for
imparting movement to the endless track, the drive wheel having a
third axis of rotation;
a first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of rotation and the

third axis of rotation being different from a second horizontal distance
defined
between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation;
wherein the ground-engaging run has:
i) an intermediate section located between the leading idler and the
trailing idler and having a longitudinal extent not exceeding a diameter
of the drive wheel;
ii) a leading section rising from the intermediate section and extending
towards the leading idler; and
iii) a trailing section rising from the intermediate section and extending
towards the trailing idler.
55. A track assembly as defined in claim 54, wherein the longitudinal extent
of the
intermediate section is less than the diameter of the drive wheel and wherein
the
ATV has a seat straddled by a user and wherein the steering mechanism has
handlebars.
56.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 and 55, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the intermediate section does not exceed a radius of
the
drive wheel.




31
57.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 56, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the intermediate section is less than a radius of the
drive
wheel.
58.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 57, wherein an
imaginary
vertical axis that intersects the third axis of rotation also intersects the
intermediate section.
59.A track assembly as defined in claim 58, wherein the imaginary vertical
axis
intersects the intermediate section at a midpoint of the longitudinal extent
of the
intermediate section.
60.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 59, including a
support
structure having:
i) a center portion rotatably supported at the third axis of rotation;
ii) a first support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the leading end of the track
assembly;
iii) a second support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the trailing end of the track
assembly.
61.A track assembly as defined in claim 60, wherein the first support arm
defines a
first angle with an imaginary horizontal axis which extends through the third
axis
of rotation, the second support arm defines a second angle with the imaginary
horizontal axis, the first angle being different from the second angle.
62.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 61, wherein the
drive
wheel is in rolling contact with the inner surface of the ground engaging run.




32
63. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 62, wherein the
drive
wheel is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading and trailing
idlers,
when viewed in an imaginary plane that is normal to the third axis of
rotation.
64. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 62, wherein the
drive
wheel is in overlapping relationship with the trailing idler, when viewed in
an
imaginary plane normal to the third axis of rotation.
65. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 64, wherein the
intermediate section is located closer to one of the leading and trailing
idlers than
to the other of the leading and trailing idlers.
66. A track assembly as defined in claim 60, wherein one of the first and
second
support arms is longer than the other of the first and second support arms.
67. A track assembly as defined in claim 60, wherein the first support arm and
the
second support arm define an obtuse angle therebetween.
68. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 67, wherein the
endless
track is free of stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the
endless
track.
69. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 68, wherein the
profile of
the endless track in the transverse direction of the endless track is
generally
convex.
70. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 69, wherein the
endless
track has drive lugs projecting from the inner surface for engagement by the
drive
wheel.




33
71. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 67, wherein the
endless
track has a pair of opposite lateral edge portions and a central portion
between
the lateral edge portions, the opposite lateral edge portions being free of
stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless track.
72. A track assembly as defined in claim 71, wherein the central portion
includes one
or more stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless
track,
the one or more stiffening rods being shorter than a transverse dimension of
the
endless track.
73. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 67, wherein the
endless
track includes a plurality of track segments, each track segment including a
drive
projection extending inwardly from the inner face for engaging the driving
wheel,
and a traction lug projecting from the outer ground engaging surface, the
drive
projection registering in a longitudinal direction of the endless track with
the
traction lug, the portion of the track segment defined between the drive
projection
and the traction lug being free of a stiffening rod extending transversally of
the
endless track.
74.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 67, wherein the
endless
track has a plurality of drive projections extending inwardly from the inner
face,
the drive projections being longitudinally spaced apart along the track, the
endless track having a plurality of traction lugs projecting from the ground
engaging outer face, the traction lugs being longitudinally spaced apart along
the
track and registering with respective drive projections, the endless track
being
free of stiffening rods extending transversally of the endless track at
multiple
locations of the endless track at which a drive projection registers with a
traction
lug.


34
75.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 54 to 74, wherein the
intermediate section is located between a frontmost point and a rearmost point
of
the drive wheel in a longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
76. A track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), steerable by changing
an
orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the ATV, the
track
assembly having a leading end and a trailing end and comprising:
a) an endless track having an outer ground engaging surface and an opposite

inner surface; and
b) a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the endless track, the
plurality
of wheels including:
i) a leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers
being in
a spaced apart relationship, a segment of the endless track extending
between the leading and trailing idlers defining a ground engaging run,
the leading idler having a first axis of rotation, the trailing idler having a

second axis of rotation; and
ii) a drive wheel having a third axis of rotation, the drive wheel being in

driving engagement with the endless track for imparting movement to
the endless track;
the ground engaging run having:
i) a load bearing section located between the leading idler and the
trailing idler, the load bearing section transferring to the ground surface
a major portion of the load carried by the track assembly, the load
bearing section having a longitudinal extent that does not exceed a
diameter of the drive wheel;
ii) a leading section extending between the leading idler and the load
bearing section; and
iii) a trailing section extending between the load bearing section and the
trailing idler;


35
a first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of rotation and the

third axis of rotation being different from a second horizontal distance
defined
between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
77.A track assembly as defined in claim 76, wherein the longitudinal extent of
the
load bearing section is less than the diameter of the drive wheel and wherein
the
ATV has a seat straddled by a user and wherein the steering mechanism has
handlebars.
78.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 and 77, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the load bearing section does not exceed a radius of
the
drive wheel.
79.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 78, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the load bearing section is less than a radius of the
drive
wheel.
80.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 79, wherein an
imaginary
vertical axis that intersects the third axis of rotation also intersects the
load
bearing section.
81.A track assembly as defined in claim 80, wherein the imaginary vertical
axis
intersects the load bearing section at a midpoint of the longitudinal extent
of the
load bearing section.
82.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 81, including a
support
structure having:
i) a center portion rotatably connected at the third axis of rotation;


36
ii) a first support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the leading end of the track
assembly;
iii) a second support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the trailing end of the track
assembly.
83.A track assembly as defined in claim 82, wherein the first support arm
defines a
first angle with an imaginary horizontal axis which extends through the third
axis
of rotation, the second support arm defines a second angle with the imaginary
horizontal axis, the first angle being different from the second angle.
84.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 83, wherein the
drive
wheel is in rolling contact with the inner surface of the ground engaging run.
85. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 84, wherein the
drive
wheel is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading and trailing
idlers,
when viewed in an imaginary plane that is normal to the third axis of
rotation.
86. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 85, wherein the
drive
wheel is in overlapping relationship with the trailing idler, when viewed in
an
imaginary plane normal to the third axis of rotation.
87. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 86, wherein the
load
bearing section is located closer to one of the leading and trailing idlers
than to
the other of the leading and trailing idlers.
88. A track assembly as defined in claim 82, wherein one of the first and
second
support arms is longer than the other of the first and second support arms.



37
89. A track assembly as defined in claim 82, wherein the first support arm and
the
second support arm define an obtuse angle therebetween.
90. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 89, wherein the
endless
track is free of stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the
endless
track.
91. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 90, wherein the
profile of
the endless track in the transverse direction of the endless track is
generally
convex.
92. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 91, wherein the
endless
track has drive lugs projecting from the inner surface for engagement by the
drive
wheel.
93. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 89, wherein the
endless
track has a pair of opposite lateral edge portions and a central portion
between
the lateral edge portions, the opposite lateral edge portions being free of
stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless track.
94. A track assembly as defined in claim 93, wherein the central portion
includes one
or more stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless
track,
the one or more stiffening rods being shorter than a transverse dimension of
the
endless track.
95.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 89, wherein the
endless
track includes a plurality of track segments, each track segment including a
drive
projection extending inwardly from the inner face for engaging the driving
wheel,
and a traction lug projecting from the outer ground engaging surface, the
drive
projection registering in a longitudinal direction of the endless track with
the



38
traction lug, the portion of the track segment defined between the drive
projection
and the traction lug being free of a stiffening rod extending transversally of
the
endless track.
96.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 89, wherein the
endless
track has a plurality of drive projections extending inwardly from the inner
face,
the drive projections being longitudinally spaced apart along the track for
sequentially engaging the drive wheel such that rotation of the drive wheel
imparts motion of the endless track to propel the vehicle, the endless track
having a plurality of traction lugs projecting from the ground engaging outer
face,
the traction lugs being longitudinally spaced apart and registering with
respective
drive projections, the endless track being free of stiffening rods extending
transversally of the endless track at a plurality of locations of the endless
track at
which a drive projection registers with a traction lug.
97. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 96, wherein the
leading
section is substantially straight.
98.A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 97, wherein the
trailing
section is substantially straight.
99. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 98, wherein the
load
bearing section extends below a lowermost peripheral portion of the trailing
idler.
100. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 99, wherein the
load
bearing section extends below a lowermost peripheral portion of the leading
idler.
101. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 100, wherein the
third
axis is located above the first axis and above the second axis.


39
102. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 101, wherein the
drive
wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, one of the leading and trailing
idlers
having a periphery bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower horizontal
imaginary plane being positioned below the second upper horizontal imaginary
plane.
103. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 101, wherein the
drive
wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, the leading idler having a
periphery
bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane and a second lower
horizontal imaginary plane, the trailing idler having a periphery bound
between a
third upper horizontal imaginary plane and a third lower horizontal imaginary
plane, the first lower horizontal plane being imaginary positioned below the
second upper horizontal imaginary plane and below the third upper horizontal
imaginary plane.
104. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 103, wherein the
plurality of wheels impart a generally triangular path of travel to the
endless track.
105. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 104, wherein the
plurality of wheels define a track supporting and guiding arrangement that is
in
rolling contact with the inner surface of the endless track at a plurality of
locations, one of said locations being the load bearing section.
106. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 105, wherein the
drive
wheel has an extent along the third axis of rotation that is less than a
transverse
dimension of the endless track.


40
107. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 76 to 106, wherein the
load
bearing section is located between a frontmost point and a rearmost point of
the
drive wheel in a longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
108. A track assembly for providing traction to an all-terrain vehicle (ATV),
the track
assembly being configured to replace a ground-engaging wheel of the ATV, the
track assembly being steerable by a steering mechanism of the ATV to change
an orientation of the track assembly in order to steer the ATV, the track
assembly
comprising:
a) a plurality of wheels including:
- a drive wheel; and
- a leading idler wheel adjacent to a leading end of the track assembly
and a trailing idler wheel adjacent to a trailing end of the track
assembly;
and
b) an endless track disposed around the plurality of wheels and comprising:
- an inner surface for facing the plurality of wheels, the drive wheel
being
rotatable to impart motion of the endless track;
- a ground-engaging outer surface opposite to the inner surface; and
- a plurality of traction projections projecting from the ground-
engaging
outer surface;
a bottom run of the endless track being located under the leading idler wheel
and the trailing idler wheel and extending in a longitudinal direction of the
track assembly from an axis of rotation of the leading idler wheel to an axis
of
rotation of the trailing idler wheel;
wherein:
i) the plurality of wheels is configured to bend the bottom run of
the
endless track such that, when the track assembly is on hard horizontal
ground, a ground-contacting area of the endless track in contact with
the hard horizontal ground has an extent in the longitudinal direction of


41
the track assembly that does not exceed a diameter of the drive wheel;
and
ii) a distance between an axis of rotation of the drive wheel and the
axis
of rotation of the leading idler wheel in the longitudinal direction of the
track assembly is different from a distance between the axis of rotation
of the drive wheel and the axis of rotation of the trailing idler wheel in
the longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
109. A track assembly as defined in claim 108, wherein the extent of the
ground-
contacting area of the endless track in the longitudinal direction of the
track
assembly is less than the diameter of the drive wheel.
110. A track assembly as defined in claim 109, wherein the extent of the
ground-
contacting area of the endless track in the longitudinal direction of the
track
assembly does not exceed a radius of the drive wheel.
111. A track assembly as defined in claim 110, wherein the extent of the
ground-
contacting area of the endless track in the longitudinal direction of the
track
assembly is less than the radius of the drive wheel.
112. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 111, wherein the
distance between the axis of rotation of the drive wheel and the axis of
rotation of
the leading idler wheel in the longitudinal direction of the track assembly is

greater than the distance between the axis of rotation of the drive wheel and
the
axis of rotation of the trailing idler wheel in the longitudinal direction of
the track
assembly.
113. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 112, comprising a

track frame supporting the leading idler wheel and the trailing idler wheel
and
comprising a first arm extending downwardly and forwardly towards the leading


42
idler wheel and a second arm extending downwardly and rearwardly towards the
trailing idler wheel.
114. A track assembly as defined in claim 113, wherein the first arm is longer
than
the second arm.
115. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 114, wherein the
drive wheel engages the bottom run of the endless track.
116. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 115, wherein an
imaginary vertical axis that intersects the axis of rotation of the drive
wheel also
intersects the ground-contacting area of the endless track.
117. A track assembly as defined in claim 116, wherein the imaginary vertical
axis
intersects the ground-contacting area of the endless track at a midpoint of
the
ground-contacting area of the endless track in the longitudinal direction of
the
track assembly.
118. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 117, wherein the
drive wheel is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading idler wheel
and
the trailing idler wheel, when viewed in a plane that is normal to the axis of

rotation of the drive wheel.
119. A track assembly as defined in claim 118, wherein the drive wheel is in
overlapping relationship with the trailing idler wheel, when viewed in the
plane
normal to the axis of rotation of the drive wheel.
120. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 119, wherein the
ground-contacting area of the endless track is located closer to one of the


43
leading idler wheel and the trailing idler wheel than to the other of the
leading
idler wheel and the trailing idler wheel.
121. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 120, wherein the
endless track is free of stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction
of the
endless track.
122. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 121, wherein a
profile
of the endless track in a transverse direction of the endless track is
generally
convex.
123. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 122, wherein the
endless track comprises a plurality of drive lugs projecting from the inner
surface
for engagement with the drive wheel.
124. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 120, wherein the
endless track has a pair of lateral edge portions and a central portion
between
the lateral edge portions, the lateral edge portions being free of stiffening
rods
extending in a transverse direction of the endless track.
125. A track assembly as defined in claim 124, wherein the central portion
includes
one or more stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless

track and shorter than a transverse dimension of the endless track.
126. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 120, wherein the
endless track includes a plurality of track segments, each track segment
including (i) a drive projection projecting from the inner face to engage the
drive
wheel and (ii) a given one of the traction projections that registers with the
drive
projection in a longitudinal direction of the endless track, the track segment
being


44
free of a stiffening rod extending transversally of the endless track between
the
drive projection and the given one of the traction projections.
127. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 120, wherein the
endless track comprises a plurality of drive projections projecting from the
inner
surface for engaging the drive wheel, the drive projections registering with
respective ones of the traction projections in a longitudinal direction of the

endless track, the endless track being free of stiffening rods extending
transversally of the endless track at locations at which a drive projection
registers
with a traction projection.
128. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 127, wherein the
drive
wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary plane
and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, the leading idler wheel having a

periphery bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane and a
second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the trailing idler wheel having a
periphery bound between a third upper horizontal imaginary plane and a third
lower horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower horizontal imaginary plane
being
positioned below the second upper horizontal imaginary plane and below the
third upper horizontal imaginary plane.
129. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 128, wherein the
plurality of wheels imparts a generally triangular path of travel to the
endless
track.
130. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 129, wherein the
drive
wheel has an extent along its axis of rotation that is less than a transverse
dimension of the endless track.



45
131. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 130, wherein the
ground-contacting area is located between a frontmost point and a rearmost
point of the drive wheel in the longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
132. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 108 to 131, wherein the
steering mechanism of the ATV comprises handlebars.
133. A set of track assemblies for providing traction to an all-terrain
vehicle (ATV),
wherein at least two of the track assemblies are as defined in any one of
claims
108 to 132.
134. An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) comprising the set of track assemblies as
defined in
claim 133.
135. An ATV as defined in claim 134, wherein the steering mechanism includes a

rod for controlling an angular orientation of at least one of the at least two
track
assemblies, the rod being coupled to the at least one of the at least two
track
assemblies.
136. A track assembly for a reduced-size vehicle designed primarily for off-
highway
usage, over undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces steerable by
changing
an orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the vehicle,
the
track assembly having a leading end and a trailing end and comprising:
a) an endless track having an outer ground engaging surface and an opposite

inner surface; and
b) a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the endless track, the
plurality
of wheels including:
i) a leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing
idlers being in
a spaced apart relationship, a segment of the endless track extending
between the leading and trailing idlers defining a ground engaging run,


46
the leading and trailing idlers respectively having first and second axes
of rotation; and
ii) a drive wheel having a third axis of rotation and being in driving
engagement with the endless track for imparting movement to the
endless track;
the ground engaging run having:
i) a load bearing section located between the leading idler and the
trailing idler, the load bearing section transferring to the ground surface
a major portion of the load carried by the track assembly, the load
bearing section having a longitudinal extent that does not exceed a
diameter of the drive wheel;
ii) a leading section extending between the leading idler and the load
bearing section, the leading section being oriented such as to
converge toward the ground surface when the endless track is in
motion and propels the vehicle; and
iii) a trailing section extending between the load bearing section and the
trailing idler, the trailing section being oriented such as to diverge from
the ground surface when the endless track is in motion and propels the
vehicle;
a first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of rotation and the

third axis of rotation being different from a second horizontal distance
defined
between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
137. A track assembly as defined in claim 136, wherein the longitudinal extent
of the
load bearing section is less than the diameter of the drive wheel and wherein
the
reduced-size vehicle is an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) with a seat straddled by
a
user and wherein the steering mechanism has handlebars.
138. A track assembly as defined in claim 137, wherein the longitudinal extent
of the
load bearing section does not exceed a radius of the drive wheel.


47
139. A track assembly as defined in claim 138, wherein the longitudinal extent
of the
load bearing section is less than a radius of the drive wheel.
140. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 139, wherein an
imaginary vertical axis that intersects the third axis of rotation also
intersects the
load bearing section.
141. A track assembly as defined in claim 140, wherein the imaginary vertical
axis
intersects the load bearing section at a midpoint of the longitudinal extent
of the
load bearing portion.
142. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 141, including a
support structure having:
i) a center portion with bearing means for rotatably supporting the
drive wheel such that the drive wheel can rotate about the third
axis of rotation;
ii) a first support arm mounted to the center portion and extending
along a radial direction of the drive wheel toward the leading
end of the track assembly;
iii) a second support arm mounted to the center portion of and
extending along a radial direction of the drive wheel toward the
trailing end of the track assembly.
143. A track assembly as defined in claim 142, wherein the first support arm
defines
a first angle between an imaginary horizontal axis which is different from a
second angle defined between the second arm and the imaginary horizontal axis.
144. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 143, wherein the
drive
wheel is in rolling contact with the inner surface of the ground engaging run.


48
145. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 144, wherein the
drive
wheel is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading and trailing
idlers.
146. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 144, wherein the
drive
wheel is in overlapping relationship with the trailing idler.
147. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 146, wherein the
load
bearing section is located closer to one of the leading and trailing idlers
than to
the other of the leading and trailing idlers.
148. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 136 to 147, wherein the
load bearing section is located between a frontmost point and a rearmost point
of
the drive wheel in a longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
149. An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) comprising two steerable track assemblies as

defined in any one of claims 136 to 148.
150. A track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), steerable by changing
an
orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the ATV, the
track
assembly having a leading end and a trailing end and comprising:
a) an endless track having an outer ground engaging surface and an opposite
inner surface;
b) a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the endless track, the
endless
track having a plurality of consecutively arranged segments, areas of juncture

between adjacent segments corresponding to locations at which the plurality
of wheels contact the inner surface of the endless track, the plurality of
wheels including:


49
i) a leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers
being in
a spaced apart relationship, the leading idler having a first axis of
rotation, the trailing idler having a second axis of rotation;
ii) a drive wheel having a third axis of rotation, the drive wheel being in

driving engagement with the endless track for imparting movement to
the endless track;
the plurality of segments including a leading segment, a trailing segment, and

an intermediate segment between the leading segment and the trailing
segment, wherein:
i) the leading segment extends from the leading idler to the intermediate
segment;
ii) the trailing segment extends from the intermediate segment to the
trailing idler;
iii) the intermediate segment descends lower than the leading and trailing
segments;
iv) the intermediate segment has a longitudinal extent not exceeding a
diameter of the drive wheel; and
v) a first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of rotation
and
the third axis of rotation is different from a second horizontal distance
defined between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of
rotation.
151. A track assembly as defined in claim 150, wherein the longitudinal extent
of
the intermediate segment is less than the diameter of the drive wheel.
152. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 and 151, wherein the

longitudinal extent of the intermediate segment does not exceed a radius of
the
drive wheel.


50
153. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 152, wherein the
longitudinal extent of the intermediate segment is less than a radius of the
drive
wheel.
154. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 153, wherein an
imaginary vertical axis that intersects the third axis of rotation also
intersects the
intermediate segment.
155. A track assembly as defined in claim 154, wherein the imaginary vertical
axis
intersects the intermediate segment at a midpoint of the longitudinal extent
of the
intermediate segment.
156. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 155, including a
support structure having:
i) a center portion rotatably supported at the third axis of rotation;
ii) a first support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the leading end of the track
assembly;
iii) a second support arm mounted to the center portion and extending along a
radial direction of the drive wheel toward the trailing end of the track
assembly.
157. A track assembly as defined in claim 156, wherein the first support arm
defines a first angle with an imaginary horizontal axis which extends through
the
third axis of rotation, the second support arm defines a second angle with the

imaginary horizontal axis, the first angle being different from the second
angle.
158. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 157, wherein the
drive wheel is in rolling contact with the inner surface of a ground engaging
run of
the endless track.


51
159. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 158, wherein the
drive wheel is in overlapping relationship with one of the leading and
trailing
idlers, when viewed in a plane that is normal to the third axis of rotation.
160. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 158, wherein the
drive wheel is in overlapping relationship with the trailing idler, when
viewed in a
plane normal to the third axis of rotation.
161. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 160, wherein the
intermediate segment is located closer to one of the leading and trailing
idlers
than to the other of the leading and trailing idlers.
162. A track assembly as defined in claim 156, wherein one of the first and
second support arms is longer than the other of the first and second support
arms.
163. A track assembly as defined in claim 156, wherein the first support arm
and the
second support arm define an obtuse angle therebetween.
164. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 163, wherein the
endless track is free of stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction
of the
endless track.
165. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 164, wherein the
profile of the endless track in the transverse direction of the endless track
is
generally convex.


52
166. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 165, wherein the
endless track has drive lugs projecting from the inner surface for engagement
by
the drive wheel.
167. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 163, wherein the
endless track has a pair of opposite lateral edge portions and a central
portion
between the lateral edge portions, the opposite lateral edge portions being
free of
stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless track.
168. A track assembly as defined in claim 167, wherein the central portion
includes
one or more stiffening rods extending in a transverse direction of the endless

track, the one or more stiffening rods being shorter than a transverse
dimension
of the endless track.
169. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 163, wherein the
endless track includes a plurality of track segments, each track segment
including a drive projection extending inwardly from the inner face for
engaging
the drive wheel, and a traction lug projecting from the outer ground engaging
surface, the drive projection registering in a longitudinal direction of the
endless
track with the traction lug, the portion of the track segment defined between
the
drive projection and the traction lug being free of a stiffening rod extending

transversally of the endless track.
170. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 163, wherein the
endless track has a plurality of drive projections longitudinally spaced apart
along
the track for sequentially engaging the drive wheel such that rotation of the
drive
wheel imparts motion of the endless track to propel the vehicle, the endless
track
having a plurality of traction lugs projecting from the ground engaging outer
face,
the traction lugs being longitudinally spaced apart and registering with
respective
drive projections, the endless track being free of stiffening rods extending


53
transversally of the endless track at locations of the endless track at which
a
drive projection registers with a traction lug.
171. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 170, wherein the
third axis is located above the first axis and the second axis.
172. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 171, wherein the
drive wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary
plane and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, one of the leading and
trailing
idlers having a periphery bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary
plane and a second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower
horizontal
imaginary plane being positioned below the second upper horizontal imaginary
plane.
173. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 171, wherein the
drive wheel has a periphery bound between a first upper horizontal imaginary
plane and a first lower horizontal imaginary plane, the leading idler having a

periphery bound between a second upper horizontal imaginary plane and a
second lower horizontal imaginary plane, the trailing idler having a periphery

bound between a third upper horizontal imaginary plane and a third lower
horizontal imaginary plane, the first lower horizontal imaginary plane being
positioned below the second upper horizontal imaginary plane and below the
third upper horizontal imaginary plane.
174. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 173, wherein the
plurality of wheels impart a generally triangular path of travel to the
endless track.
175. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 174, wherein the
drive
wheel has an extent along the third axis of rotation that is less than a
transverse
dimension of the endless track.

54

176. A track assembly as defined in any one of claims 150 to 175, wherein the
intermediate segment is located between a frontmost point and a rearmost point

of the drive wheel in a longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
177. An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) comprising two steerable track assemblies as

defined in any one of claims 150 to 176, the two steerable track assemblies
being mounted on a common axle of the ATV.
178. An all-terrain vehicle as defined in claim 177, wherein the steering
mechanism
includes a rod for controlling an angular orientation of at least one of the
two
steerable track assemblies, the rod being coupled to the at least one of the
two
steerable track assemblies.

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
1
TITLE OF THE INVENTION
Track assembly for an all-terrain vehicle
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to all-terrain vehicles. More specifically, the
present
invention is concerned with track assemblies for an all-terrain vehicle.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Traditionally, two types of all-terrain vehicles are proposed either the wheel
type
or the tracked type.
Generally, a wheeled vehicle is more maneuverable than a tracked vehicle, but
is
not as efficient on uneven or soft terrain such as, for example snow.
Tracked all-terrain vehicles have been proposed, which require complicated
track
assemblies comprising a track frame to maintain the tension of the endless
track belt
and prevent it from loosening. Furthermore, such vehicles have generally a
large
contact area with the ground, which results in a decreased maneuverability and
an
increased impact on the often soft terrain.
Therefore, there is still room for improvements toward an all-terrain vehicle
provided with track assemblies, which is maneuverable and effective upon a
variety of
unstable or uneven surfaces, while designed to maintain tension upon the
endless track
belts to keep them in their due course and prevent accidental loosening, and
at the
same time reducing damages inflicted on the terrain.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
An object of the present invention is therefore to provide improved track
assemblies for an all-terrain vehicle.

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
. .
2
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a
track
assembly for a reduced-size vehicle designed primarily for off-highway usage,
over
undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces steerable by changing an
orientation
of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the vehicle. The track
assembly has a
leading end and a trailing end and comprises: an endless track having an outer
ground
engaging surface and an opposite inner surface, a plurality of wheels for
supporting and
driving the endless track, and a ground engaging run. The plurality of wheels
includes a
leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers being in a
spaced apart
relationship, a segment of the endless track extending between the leading and
trailing
idlers defining a ground engaging run, the leading and trailing idlers having
first and
second respective axes of rotation. The plurality of wheels also includes a
drive wheel
having a third axis of rotation and being in driving engagement with the
endless track for
imparting movement to the endless track. The ground engaging run has a load
bearing
section located between the leading idler and the trailing idler, the load
bearing section
transferring to the ground surface a major portion of the load carried by the
track
assembly. The load bearing section has a longitudinal extent that does not
exceed a
diameter of the drive wheel. The ground engaging run also has a leading
section
extending between the leading idler and the load bearing section, the leading
section
being oriented such as to converge toward the ground surface when the endless
track is
in motion and propels the vehicle. A trailing section also extends between the
load
bearing section and the trailing idler, the trailing section being oriented
such as to
diverge from the ground surface when the endless track is in motion and
propels the
vehicle. The ground engaging run has a first horizontal distance defined
between the
first axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation. This distance is
different from a second
horizontal distance defined between the second axis of rotation and the third
axis of
rotation.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
an
all-terrain vehicle comprising at least two track assemblies to support the
all-terrain

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
. .
3
vehicle onto a ground surface, each one of said at least two track assemblies
comprising: a longitudinal endless track belt provided with an inner surface
provided
with a plurality of inner lugs and an outer surface provided with a plurality
of external
lugs; a mounting structure to mount said longitudinal endless track belt to
said vehicle,
wherein, when mounted to said mounting structure, said longitudinal endless
track belt
has a punctually localized surface contact with the ground surface.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
an
endless track belt assembly comprising: a track driving wheel provided with a
plurality of
teeth; an endless track belt provided with an inner surface having a plurality
of inner
lugs and an outer surface having a plurality of external lugs, said endless
track belt
being wounded around said track driving wheel; wherein a) said teeth are so
spaced
that a distance between two consecutive teeth spans a distance separating two
consecutive inner lugs of said endless track belt and b) said endless track
belt, when
mounted to said track riving wheel, has a punctually localized contact with a
ground
surface.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
a
method for mounting an endless track belt on a all-terrain vehicle, comprising
the acts
of: providing an endless track belt having inner lugs and external lugs;
providing a track
driving wheel having a plurality of teeth so spaced that a distance between
two
consecutive of the plurality of teeth spans a distance separating two
consecutive of a
plurality of inner lugs of the endless track belt; interconnecting the track
driving wheel to
an inside idler wheel and to an outside idler wheel; and tensioning the
endless track belt
around the track driving wheel, the inside idler wheel and the outside idler
wheel so that
the endless track belt has a punctually localized surface contact with a
ground surface.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
a
track assembly for a reduced-size vehicle designed primarily for off-highway
usage,
over undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces, steerable by changing an
orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the vehicle. The
track

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
4
assembly has a leading end and a trailing end and comprises: an endless track
having
an outer ground engaging surface and an opposite inner surface; and a
plurality of
wheels for supporting and driving the endless track. The plurality of wheels
includes: a
leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers being in a
spaced apart
relationship, a segment of the endless track extending between the leading and
trailing
idlers defining a ground engaging run, the leading idler having a first axis
of rotation, the
trailing idler having a second axis of rotation; and a drive wheel having a
third axis of
rotation, the drive wheel being in driving engagement with the endless track
for
imparting movement to the endless track. The ground engaging run has: a load
bearing
section located between the leading idler and the trailing idler, the load
bearing section
transferring to the ground surface a major portion of the load carried by the
track
assembly, the load bearing section having a longitudinal extent that does not
exceed a
diameter of the drive wheel; a leading section extending between the leading
idler and
the load bearing section, the leading section being oriented such as to
converge toward
the ground surface when the endless track is in motion and propels the
vehicle; and a
trailing section extending between the load bearing section and the trailing
idler, the
trailing section being oriented such as to diverge from the ground surface
when the
endless track is in motion and propels the vehicle. A first horizontal
distance defined
between the first axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation is different
from a second
horizontal distance defined between the second axis of rotation and the third
axis of
rotation.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
a
track drive and support assembly for a reduced-size vehicle designed primarily
for off-
highway usage, over undeveloped roads or other unprepared surfaces steerable
by
changing an orientation of the track drive and support assembly by a steering
mechanism of the vehicle. The track drive and support assembly has a leading
end and
a trailing end and comprises: a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving
an endless
track. The plurality of wheels includes: a leading idler and a trailing idler,
the leading and
trailing idlers being in a spaced apart relationship, the leading idler having
a first axis of
rotation, the trailing idler having a second axis of rotation; and a drive
wheel having a

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
. ,
third axis of rotation, the drive wheel being configured for driving
engagement with the
endless track for imparting movement to the endless track. The plurality of
wheels is
configured to impart to the endless track a path of travel having a ground
engaging run
that extends between the leading idler and the trailing idler. The ground
engaging run
has: a load bearing section between the leading idler and the trailing idler,
the load
bearing section transferring to the ground surface a major portion of the load
carried by
the track drive and support assembly, the load bearing section having a
longitudinal
extent that does not exceed a diameter of the drive wheel; a leading section
extending
between the leading idler and the load bearing section, the leading section
being
oriented such as to converge toward the ground surface when the endless track
is in
motion and propels the vehicle; and a trailing section extending between the
load
bearing section and the trailing idler, the trailing section being oriented
such as to
diverge from the ground surface when the endless track is in motion and
propels the
vehicle. A first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of
rotation and the third
axis of rotation is different from a second horizontal distance defined
between the
second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
a
track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), steerable by changing an
orientation of
the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the ATV. The track assembly has
a
leading end and a trailing end and comprises: an endless track having an outer
ground-
engaging surface and an opposite inner surface; and a plurality of wheels for
supporting
and driving the endless track. The plurality of wheels includes: a leading
idler and a
trailing idler in a spaced apart relationship, a segment of the endless track
extending
between the leading and trailing idlers defining a ground-engaging run, the
leading idler
having a first axis of rotation, the trailing idler having a second axis of
rotation; and a
drive wheel in driving engagement with the endless track for imparting
movement to the
endless track, the drive wheel having a third axis of rotation. A first
horizontal distance
defined between the first axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation is
different from a
second horizontal distance defined between the second axis of rotation and the
third
axis of rotation. The ground-engaging run has: an intermediate section located
between

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
6
the leading idler and the trailing idler and having a longitudinal extent not
exceeding a
diameter of the drive wheel; a leading section rising from the intermediate
section and
extending towards the leading idler; and a trailing section rising from the
intermediate
section and extending towards the trailing idler.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is
provided a track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), steerable by
changing an
orientation of the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the ATV, The
track
assembly has a leading end and a trailing end and comprises: an endless track
having
an outer ground engaging surface and an opposite inner surface; and a
plurality of
wheels for supporting and driving the endless track. The plurality of wheels
includes: a
leading idler and a trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers being in a
spaced apart
relationship, a segment of the endless track extending between the leading and
trailing
idlers defining a ground engaging run, the leading idler having a first axis
of rotation, the
trailing idler having a second axis of rotation; and a drive wheel having a
third axis of
rotation, the drive wheel being in driving engagement with the endless track
for
imparting movement to the endless track. The ground engaging run has: a load
bearing
section located between the leading idler and the trailing idler, the load
bearing section
transferring to the ground surface a major portion of the load carried by the
track
assembly, the load bearing section having a longitudinal extent that does not
exceed a
diameter of the drive wheel; a leading section extending between the leading
idler and
the load bearing section; and a trailing section extending between the load
bearing
section and the trailing idler. A first horizontal distance defined between
the first axis of
rotation and the third axis of rotation is different from a second horizontal
distance
defined between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is
provided a track assembly for providing traction to an all-terrain vehicle
(ATV). The track
assembly is configured to replace a ground-engaging wheel of the ATV. The
track
assembly is steerable by a steering mechanism of the ATV to change an
orientation of
the track assembly in order to steer the ATV. The track assembly comprises a
plurality

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
7
of wheels that includes a drive wheel, a leading idler wheel adjacent to a
leading end of
the track assembly, and a trailing idler wheel adjacent to a trailing end of
the track
assembly. The track assembly comprises an endless track disposed around the
plurality
of wheels. The endless track comprises: an inner surface for facing the
plurality of
wheels, the drive wheel being rotatable to impart motion of the endless track;
a ground-
engaging outer surface opposite to the inner surface; and a plurality of
traction
projections projecting from the ground-engaging outer surface. A bottom run of
the
endless track is located under the leading idler wheel and the trailing idler
wheel and
extends in a longitudinal direction of the track assembly from an axis of
rotation of the
leading idler wheel to an axis of rotation of the trailing idler wheel. The
plurality of
wheels is configured to bend the bottom run of the endless track such that,
when the
track assembly is on hard horizontal ground, a ground-contacting area of the
endless
track in contact with the hard horizontal ground has an extent in the
longitudinal
direction of the track assembly that does not exceed a diameter of the drive
wheel. A
distance between an axis of rotation of the drive wheel and the axis of
rotation of the
leading idler wheel in the longitudinal direction of the track assembly is
different from a
distance between the axis of rotation of the drive wheel and the axis of
rotation of the
trailing idler wheel in the longitudinal direction of the track assembly.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided
a
track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), steerable by changing an
orientation of
the track assembly by a steering mechanism of the vehicle. The track assembly
has a
leading end and a trailing end and comprises: an endless track having an outer
ground
engaging surface and an opposite inner surface; and a plurality of wheels for
supporting
and driving the endless track. The plurality of wheels includes: a leading
idler and a
trailing idler, the leading and trailing idlers being in a spaced apart
relationship, a
segment of the endless track extending between the leading and trailing idlers
defining
a ground engaging run, the leading idler having a first axis of rotation, the
trailing idler
having a second axis of rotation; and a drive wheel having a third axis of
rotation, the
drive wheel being in driving engagement with the endless track for imparting
movement
to the endless track. The ground engaging run has: a load bearing section
located

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
, .
8
between the leading idler and the trailing idler, the load bearing section
transferring to
the ground surface a major portion of the load carried by the track assembly,
the load
bearing section having a longitudinal extent that does not exceed a diameter
of the drive
wheel; a leading section extending between the leading idler and the load
bearing
section; and a trailing section extending between the load bearing section and
the
trailing idler. A first horizontal distance defined between the first axis of
rotation and the
third axis of rotation is different from a second horizontal distance defined
between the
second axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is
provided a track assembly for an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). The track assembly
is
. steerable by changing an orientation of the track assembly by a steering
mechanism of
the ATV. The track assembly has a leading end and a trailing end. The track
assembly
comprises: an endless track having an outer ground engaging surface and an
opposite
inner surface; and a plurality of wheels for supporting and driving the
endless track. The
endless track has a plurality of consecutively arranged segments and areas of
juncture
between adjacent segments corresponding to locations at which the plurality of
wheels
contact the inner surface of the endless track. The plurality of wheels
includes a leading
idler and a trailing idler. The leading and trailing idlers are in a spaced
apart
relationship. The leading idler has a first axis of rotation and the trailing
idler has a
second axis of rotation. The plurality of wheels also includes a drive wheel
having a
third axis of rotation. The drive wheel is in driving engagement with the
endless track for
imparting movement to the endless track. The plurality of segments includes a
leading
segment, a trailing segment, and an intermediate segment between the leading
segment and the trailing segment. The leading segment extends from the leading
idler
to the intermediate segment. The trailing segment extends from the
intermediate
segment to the trailing idler. The intermediate segment descends lower than
the leading
and trailing segments. Moreover, the intermediate segment has a longitudinal
extent not
exceeding a diameter of the drive wheel. A first horizontal distance defined
between the

CA 02825509 2014-06-19
. .
8a
first axis of rotation and the third axis of rotation is different from a
second horizontal
distance defined between the second axis of rotation and the third axis of
rotation.
Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become
more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of
preferred
embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the
accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the appended drawings:
Figure 1 is a side elevational view of an all-terrain vehicle provided with
track
assemblies according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 2 is a side elevational view of the front track assembly of the vehicle
of
Figure 1, seen from of the outside of the all-terrain vehicle;
Figure 3 is a side elevational view of the front track assembly of the vehicle
of
Figure 1, seen form the inside of the all-terrain vehicle;
Figure 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of Figure 3;
Figure 5 is an enlarged side view of an outside idler wheel attachment of the
track assembly of Figure 2;

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
,
9
Figure 6 is a sectional view of a rigid member of the track assembly of Figure
2;
Figure 7 is a top plan view of the attachment of the front track assembly of
Figure
1 to the all-terrain vehicle;
Figure 8 is a side elevational view of a rear track assembly of Figure 1, seen
from
the inside of the all-terrain vehicle;
Figure 9 is a top plan view of the attachment of the rear track assembly of
Figure
1 to the all-terrain vehicle;
Figure 10 is a sectional view similar to Figure 4 but illustrating a second
type of
endless track; and
Figure 11 is a sectional view similar to Figure 4 but illustrating a third
type of
endless track.
DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT
A track assembly for an all-terrain vehicle according to an embodiment of the
present invention will now be described in details with reference to the
appended
drawings.
Figure 1 shows an all-terrain vehicle 10 comprising a body 12 and four track
assemblies (only two shown) according to the present invention arranged in a
plane
adjacent to each side of the vehicle 10.
There are two identical track assemblies in the front of the all-terrain
vehicle 10,
of which only one track assembly 14 is visible in Figure 1, in place of
conventional front

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
,
,
wheels. Similarly, there are two identical track assemblies, of which only one
track
assembly 16 is visible in Figure 1, in place of the conventional rear wheels.
Only the track assemblies 14 and 16 visible in Figure 1 will be described
hereinbelow. Furthermore, as they are symmetrical about a vertical axis 22
when
viewed from the outside of the vehicle 10 (see Figure 1), only the track
assemblies 14
will be described hereinbelow. It is also to be noted that the elements as
seen from the
outside of the vehicle 10 will bear the same numbers in the rear track
assembly 16 than
the corresponding ones in the front track assembly 14, with a prime.
However, since the attachment of rear and front track assemblies differs as
seen
from the inside of the vehicles 10, they will be described separately.
The front track assembly 14 is better seen in Figure 2. It comprises a
longitudinal
endless track belt 23 and a mounting structure to mount the endless track belt
23 to the
vehicle 10. The mounting structure includes a track driving wheel 24, a pair
of inside
idler wheels 26, a pair of outside idler wheels 28 and supports to
interconnect the
wheels 24, 26 and 28 as will be described hereinbelow.
The endless track belt 23 is provided with inner lugs 30 on its inner surface
31
and with external lugs 32 on its outer surface 33. It is wounded around the
track driving
wheel 24 and the idler wheels 28 and 26.
As can be better seen from Figure 4, the track driving wheel 24 is mounted to
a
conventional hub 35 of the all-terrain vehicle 10. The wheel 24 includes a
first mounting
plate 37 mounted to the hub 35 and a second mounting plate 34 mounted to the
first
plate 37 via four bolt and spacer assemblies 36. A circular disk 38 is mounted
to the bolt
and spacer assemblies 36 and includes equidistant wide teeth 40 contacting the
inner
surface 31 of the track 23.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
11
As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the equidistant teeth 40 are so

located as to cooperate with some of the inner lugs 30 of the endless track
belt 23.
More precisely, as can be better seen from Figure 2, the teeth 40 are spaced
so that the
distance between two consecutive teeth 40 spans the distance separating
consecutive
inner lugs 30 of the endless track belt 23, in a meshing engagement, in such a
way as
to drive the endless track belt 23.
Each of the inside idler wheels 26 includes a peripheral portion in contact
with the
internal surface 31 of the track 23. The wheels 26 are interconnected by a
spacing
element (not shown).
Similarly, each outer idler wheel 28 includes a peripheral portion in contact
with
the internal surface 31 of the track 23. The wheels 28 are interconnected by a
spacing
element 42.
The wheels 24, 26 and 28 are interconnected, as seen from the outside of the
track assembly 14, by an angled connecting element 44. The angled connecting
element 44 has a center portion 46 provided with an aperture 48 in which
bearings 50
are mounted. A fastener 52 connects the connecting element 44 to the second
plate 34
while allowing the angled connecting element 44 to pivot about the fastener.
The connecting element 44 has a short arm 54 having a free end to which the
inside idler wheels 26 are rotatably mounted. The connecting element 44 also
has a
long arm 56 having a free end to which the inside idler wheels 28 are
rotatably mounted
as will be further discussed hereinbelow. The connecting element 44 is better
seen from
the top plan view of Figure 6.
Turning now briefly to Figure 3 of the appended drawings, as can be seen from
the inside of the all-terrain vehicle 10, the idler wheels 26 and 28 of the
front track
assembly 14 are also directly connected together by an elbowed connection
element
58. The inside idler wheels 26 are rotatably mounted to a first end of the
elbowed

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
,
12
connection element 58 while the outside idler wheels 28 are rotatably mounted
to a
second end of the elbowed connection element 58.
The rotatable connection of the outside idler wheels 28 to the angle
connection
element 44 and to the elbowed connection element 58 will now be described with

reference to Figure 5.
As will easily be understood by one skilled in the art upon inspection of
Figure 5,
the tension of the endless track belt 23 is adjusted by the connection of the
outside idler
wheels 28 to the elements 44 and 58. For concision purpose, only the
connection of the
wheels 28 to the elbowed connection element 58 will be described.
With reference to the enlarged side view of Figure 5, a tension adjusting
assembly according to another aspect of the present invention will be
described. As can
be seen from this figure, a distal end of the connection element 58 includes a
slotted
aperture 60 receiving a fastener 62 used to rotatably mount the wheels 28 to
the
assembly. By sliding the fastener 62 in the aperture 60, it is possible to
increase or
decrease the tension on the track 23. To adjust and maintain this track
tension, a cam
element 64, having an outer periphery provided with notches 66 located at
different
distances from the attachment point of the element 64, is mounted to the
fastener 62.
By selecting which notch 66 is in contact with a fixed pin 68 of the element
58, a
predetermined tension may be maintained. It is to be noted that the cam
element 64 is
provided with a handle 70 to facilitate the manipulation by a user.
Returning to Figure 4 of the appended drawings the endless track 23 will be
described in greater detail.
As can be seen from Figure 4, the overall profile of the track 23, from one
side to
the other, i.e. transversely, is generally convex. However, the convex profile
of the track
23 is created by a lug arrangement comprising two successive transverse rows
of lugs
arranged in a staggered relationship.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
13
A first transverse row of lugs contains three lugs 72, 74 and 76 and a second
row
of lugs contains four lugs 78, 80, 82 and 84. These lugs are symmetrical about
a
longitudinal axis (not shown).
A first lateral lug 72 of the first row includes three ground-contacting
surfaces
separated by two indentations. The shape of lateral lug 72 is such that the
ground
contacting surfaces are generally transversally convex.
A central lug 74 is centered about longitudinal axis and includes two ground-
contacting surfaces separated by an indentation. The ground contacting
surfaces are
symmetrical about the longitudinal axis and are generally transversally
convex.
A second lateral lug 76 is a mirror image of lug 72 about the longitudinal
axis.
The first and second lateral lugs 72 and 76 are laterally spaced apart from
the
central lug 74.
In the second transverse row of lugs, a first intermediate lug 80 includes two

ground-contacting surfaces separated by an indentation. The ground engaging
surfaces
are slightly transversally convex.
A first external rug 78 includes two ground-contacting surfaces that are
separated
by an indentation and are transversally convex.
Finally, the second intermediate lug 82 and the second external lug 84 are
respectively mirror images of lugs 80 and 78 with respect to the longitudinal
axis. For
concision purposes, these lugs will not be further described herein.
Of course, the sequences described hereinabove of the lug arrangement defined
by the rows of lugs are repeated onto the entire external surface of the
endless track 23.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
,
14
The endless track belt 23 further includes, for each row of lugs, a stiffening
rod
71, made of glass fibers for example. Each stiffening rod 71 is embedded in
the material
forming the track belt 23 so as to be generally parallel to the inner surface
31 thereof.
The rods 71 provide enhanced rigidity to the endless track belt 23. The
enhanced
rigidity of the track belt 23 has many advantages. For example, it helps the
track to
provide adequate traction even when the center portion of the track is not in
direct
contact with the ground, as illustrated in Figure 4. However, it has been
found that this
type of traction may be detrimental to the steering of the vehicle in some
conditions.
As it is apparent from Figure 4 the ground contacting surfaces of symmetrical
lugs 78 and 84 are not aligned with the outer surfaces of the other lugs to
form a
continuous profile. Indeed, the ground contacting surfaces of lugs 78 and 84
are more
angled and exceed the convex profile defined by the other lugs. This
configuration of
the outer lugs is advantageous since it further prevents the vehicle from
tipping over
during sharp turns at high speed when the vehicle 10 is severely tilted.
As mentioned hereinabove, the way the front track assembly 14 is attached to
the body 12 of the vehicle 10 differs from the way the rear track assembly 16
is attached
to the body 12 of the vehicle 10. These two attachments will be described
hereinbelow.
The front track assembly 14 is attached to the body 12 of the vehicle 10 in a
fashion shown in Figures 4 and 7, while the rear track assembly 16 is attached
to the
body 12 of the vehicle 10 in a fashion shown in Figure 8 and 9.
As seen in Figures 4 and 7, the front track assembly 14 is mounted to a
tubular
wheel table 100 of the vehicle 10 by means of a generally triangular plate 102
fastened
thereto by a plurality of U-bolts 104,106,108 and 110. A rod 112 is connected
between
the elbowed connection element 58 and a pivot 114 of the tubular wheel table
100. A
first end of the rod 112 is attached to the elbowed connection element 58 by
means of
rubber damping elements 116, in such a way as to allow a vertical movement at
this

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
point of the rod 112 in relation to the elbowed connection element 58. A
second end of
the rod 112 is attached to the pivot 114 of the tubular wheel table 100 by
means of an
R-clip 120, in such a way as to allow at this point a horizontal movement of
the plate
102 holding the tubular wheel table 100 relative to the elbowed connection
element 58.
The front track assembly 14 is further attached to the body 12 of the vehicle
10
through a conventional rod 150 of the suspension system of the vehicle 10 and
a
conventional rod 157 used for direction (see Figure 4).
As seen in Figures 8 and 9, the rear track assembly 16 is mounted to the body
12
of the vehicle 10 by a rod 212. The rod 212 is connected on a first end to the
elbowed
connection element 58' by means of a rubber damping attachment 216. It is
attached,
on a second end, to a tubular chassis 130 of the body 12 of the vehicle 10 by
means of
a chipping joint 132 fastened thereto by an R-clip 134.
From the above description of the fashion in which the front and rear track
assemblies 14 and 16 are mounted to the body 12 of the vehicle 10, in relation
to
Figures 4 and 7, and 8 and 9 respectively, the present invention provides for
track
assemblies that are easily removed or mounted to the vehicle 10, through using
R-clips
(120 and 134), which enable disconnecting the track assemblies from the
vehicle in a
simple manner.
As stated hereinabove, the interior surface 31 of the endless track belt 23 is

provided with a plurality of equally spaced lugs 30, which ensure a positive
engagement
with the teeth 40 provided on the outer circumference of the wheel 24. In
operation, the
wheel 24 is coupled to a drive shaft, via the hub 30, connected to an engine
(not
shown), in such a way that the engine drives the wheel 24 in rotation. The
wheel 24
thus drives the endless track belt 23 by the meshing engagement of the teeth
40 with
the internal lugs 30 of the endless track belt 23.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
,
16
It is further to be understood that the external lugs 32 on the external
circumference surface of the endless track belt 23 respectively exert a
positive
mechanical connection with the underlying ground surface that contributes to
propel the
vehicle 10.
Figure 10 and Figure 11 show sectional views similar to that of Figure 4 but
illustrating variants of an endless track that may be mounted to the track
assembly of
the present invention.
In Figure 10, the overall profile of the endless track belt 23a, from one side
to the
other, i.e. transversely, is generally convex.
The convex profile of the endless track belt 23a is created by the same lug
arrangement as that described hereinabove in relation to Figure 4. In this
specific
embodiment however, the endless track belt 23a does not include stiffening
rods under
each row of lugs. Consequently, the rigidity of the endless track belt 23a is
less than the
rigidity of the endless track belt 23 (Figure 4) and the profile of the
endless track belt
23a conforms itself to the profile of the ground. Since the pressure is more
localized in
the center of the endless track belt 23a, a more punctually localized contact
zone
between the endless track belt 23a and the ground 29 is created. In many
cases, this
punctually localized contact zone makes the vehicle 10 more maneuverable.
Turning now to Figure 11, a third version of an endless track belt 23b will be

described. The endless track belt 23b is wounded around the track driving
wheel 24 and
the idler wheels 28 and 26, is still provided with inner lugs 30 on its inner
surface 31.
However, its outer surface is provided with rectangular lugs 86. Since there
are no
stiffening rods in the endless track belt 23b, the endless track belt 23b is
free to conform
itself to the ground 29, as seen in Figure 11. Furthermore, since the pressure
is exerted
only in the middle of the endless track belt 23b by the wide teeth 40, a
punctually
localized contact zone between the endless track belt 23b and the ground 29 is
created.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
17
As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the endless track belts 23a has
a
particularly punctually localized contact surface with the ground 29. Indeed,
since it is
transversally convex, it generally contacts the ground 29 with a limited
surface at any
given time when the ground 29 is hard.
Furthermore, since there are no guiding rails for the endless track belts 23,
23a
or 23b, the external lugs only exert a pressure on the ground 29, when it is
hard, in the
vicinity of the wide teeth 40 if the wheel 24. These two combined features
improve the
maneuverability of the vehicle since it emulates the contact of a conventional
tire onto
hard ground, given that a shortened length of contact of the endless track
with the
ground surface reduces the resistance to a turning force.
Of course, it would be plain to a person skilled in the art that a different
convex
profile of the external lugs of the endless track belts 23 and/or another
arrangement of
the mounting assembly of the endless track belts 23 to the vehicle 10 could be
used to
obtain this "one point contact" feature. For example, one could provide a
guiding rail
having a convex profile and transversally convex lugs to achieve similar
results.
As people in the art will understand, the all-terrain vehicle of the present
invention, provided with four endless track assemblies, can be used for a wide
range of
operations and terrain, while being highly mobile and offering good running
performance.
The endless track structure maintains an adequate configuration over a variety
of
surfaces.
It will be obvious to people skilled in the art that the present invention can
be
applied both in the case of a two-wheel drive vehicle wherein the power is
typically
applied only to the rear track belt assemblies and the front track assemblies
merely
facilitate steering, and in the case of a four-wheel vehicle, wherein power is

independently provided to each one of the four track assemblies.

CA 02825509 2014-05-28
,
18
As will be further understood by one skilled in the art, the all-terrain
vehicle 10,
equipped with track assemblies according to the present invention, may be
viewed as a
snow vehicle since it may be used on snow as efficiently as conventional snow
vehicles
such as snowmobiles, for example. However, the one-point contact feature of
the
present invention allows the use of the all-terrain vehicle on harder surface
without the
usual drawbacks of tracked vehicles.
Interestingly, the present track assembly system can equip all four wheels of
an
all-terrain vehicle or only the front or rear wheels thereof, since it only
weakly reduces
the speed of the vehicle relative to the underground surface.
A further possibility would be to use track assemblies according to the
present
invention in place of the rear wheels of a vehicle, while mounting skis in
place of the
front wheels thereof.

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

For a clearer understanding of the status of the application/patent presented on this page, the site Disclaimer , as well as the definitions for Patent , Administrative Status , Maintenance Fee  and Payment History  should be consulted.

Admin Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date 2014-11-25
(22) Filed 2002-05-30
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2003-08-25
Examination Requested 2013-08-29
(45) Issued 2014-11-25

Maintenance Fee

Description Date Amount
Last Payment 2019-04-30 $450.00
Next Payment if small entity fee 2020-06-01 $225.00
Next Payment if standard fee 2020-06-01 $450.00

Note : If the full payment has not been received on or before the date indicated, a further fee may be required which may be one of the following

  • the reinstatement fee set out in Item 7 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules;
  • the late payment fee set out in Item 22.1 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules; or
  • the additional fee for late payment set out in Items 31 and 32 of Schedule II of the Patent Rules.

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Special Order $500.00 2013-08-29
Request for Examination $800.00 2013-08-29
Registration of Documents $100.00 2013-08-29
Registration of Documents $100.00 2013-08-29
Registration of Documents $100.00 2013-08-29
Filing $400.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2004-05-31 $100.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 3 2005-05-30 $100.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 4 2006-05-30 $100.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 5 2007-05-30 $200.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 6 2008-05-30 $200.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 7 2009-06-01 $200.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 8 2010-05-31 $200.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 9 2011-05-30 $200.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 10 2012-05-30 $250.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 11 2013-05-30 $250.00 2013-08-29
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 12 2014-05-30 $250.00 2014-05-01
Final $300.00 2014-09-09
Registration of Documents $100.00 2014-12-03
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 13 2015-06-01 $250.00 2015-05-01
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 14 2016-05-30 $250.00 2016-05-02
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 15 2017-05-30 $450.00 2017-05-04
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 16 2018-05-30 $450.00 2018-05-30
Registration of Documents $100.00 2018-07-16
Maintenance Fee - Patent - New Act 17 2019-05-30 $450.00 2019-04-30
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
CAMSO INC.
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
CAMOPLAST SOLIDEAL INC.
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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Document
Description
Date
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Abstract 2013-08-29 1 12
Description 2013-08-29 16 520
Claims 2013-08-29 6 191
Drawings 2013-08-29 10 329
Representative Drawing 2013-09-13 1 24
Description 2013-08-30 18 608
Claims 2013-08-30 3 110
Cover Page 2013-09-23 1 53
Abstract 2014-05-28 1 39
Description 2014-05-28 18 820
Claims 2014-05-28 29 1,087
Claims 2014-06-19 36 1,366
Description 2014-06-19 19 874
Cover Page 2014-10-30 2 76
Prosecution-Amendment 2013-08-29 8 281
Prosecution-Amendment 2013-09-16 1 16
Correspondence 2013-10-09 1 37
Prosecution-Amendment 2014-02-28 2 53
Correspondence 2015-03-04 3 119
Prosecution-Amendment 2014-05-28 55 2,125
Prosecution-Amendment 2014-06-19 48 1,913
Correspondence 2014-07-17 11 380
Correspondence 2014-07-30 1 21
Correspondence 2014-09-09 2 72
Fees 2018-05-30 1 60
Fees 2019-04-30 1 55