We often hear the question Why are air tracks so expensive?
So here at Elite Tracks UK LTD we wanted to try and answer this question.
Firstly I’m not saying that the cheaper tracks don’t have their place! But they should be used and considered as a toy not a functional piece of training equipment that Elite tracks are designed and manufactured to be.
There are many different reasons as to why the prices vary so much from the toy to the training air tracks. You will see some of the toy 3m x1mx10cm selling for as little as £60, whilst the 3m training tracks can go up to as much as £400. Elite track start from £199
So the first thing to point out is the fact that Elite tracks start at 15cm deep. This instantly gives a higher value to the track as the materials cost more. The cheaper versions are only 10cm deep. Our added 5cm makes a huge difference on growing bones and joints as it decreases the impact on landing. When a growing child lands on an air track it is helping to take away some of that impact. With the 10cm tracks however most children still have some impact on the floor! With the 15cm track this is resolved! Most commercial gyms started out with the 10cm tracks but they used gym mats underneath. most air tracks used at home are on hard ground! Commercial gyms have now converted to 15, 20 or even 30cm tracks. (There are still some 10cm tracks on the market classed as training tracks selling for up to £250 these will have been manufactured like an Elite track but will still have some of the issues of the toy tracks with impact)
The other issue with the 10cm tracks is the valve! When you look at the standard valve size used in almost all air tracks it is about 7cm in diameter! this only leaved 1.5cm either side of the valve for the seem of the track. You will see on a lot of instructions that you should avoid landing near the valve, this is because it puts a strain on the seam and will eventually split it! so you loose about a meter of your track in avoiding the valve, which to us just doesn’t make sense. if you buy a 3m track you wan to use the full 3m.
You will see form the image below the areas marked red give the distance from the valve to the seam! also check out the yellow area showing workmanship on the 10cm toy track compared to the.
These areas show clearly that there is an increased level of workmanship gone into the training tracks.
The next point is the process involved in manufacturing quality, durable air tracks. The cheaper toy tracks will only be superficially glued. not using setting agents to fully seal. While the tracks may seem air tight when first used they will gradually start to come apart at the seams as the glue hold wears off.
here are the processes used in manufacturing the training tracks.
- All tracks are made by hand, including gluing for a leak free seal, neatness, accuracy and finish.
- Tested for air leaks twice. First when finish the gluing of the edge, and to check before adding the
protection strip. Second time they are tested is after the protection strip has been added on the edge of air
- REACH and CE qualified double wall fabric materials. for safety and durability, drop stitched at 1000 thread per sqm , this helps a track keep form and stop it flipping at the ends
- PLATO PVC for edge materials, which is qualified PVC materials mused to make inflatable RIB boats used commercially
- BRAVO valve used on all air tracks.
- Rubber handles, or Heavy duty handles(double woven layers),
- Curing agent is used in the gluing process in to prevent degumming and air leak. the same glue used to manufacture commercial inflatable boats
- High quality double stitched Velcro.
Here are some of the process or lack of)used for the toy tracks
- Material has no Reach and CE report, lots are made with material used for making a inflatable toys. love thread count of 500-800 per sqm
- Top, edge and the protection strip glue is machine heated sealed rather than using curing agent, this hurts the material, and can not be repaired once it breaks down.
- single layer fabric
- Low brand of valve is used for cost saving, this will not be as secure or as durable as the Bravo range used for high pressure items such as inflatable paddle boards.
- Air track glue is low quality, This causes bubbles under the strips. and air leaks
- Velcro has single line stitching or just raw cut, and of low quality
- Single layer woven handles, glues on which will break easily
Next Customer service and warranty so Why are air tracks so expensive?
When you are buying form a UK company it is likely that the Air track has come form China but is stored and managed in the UK. Unlike the cheaper toy versions which sell on Amazon and ebay directly from Chinese manufacturers. this can lead to delays and problems when problems arise
Here at Elite Tracks we have a great relationship with our supplier. We worked hard to research and buy only quality tracks, we worked with leading UK gymnastics coaches and athletes to test and trial the products and sourced the best quality available. We had the tracks built to a standard that would last and look good whilst still being affordable. For use inside and out that would do what they are designed to do! Give the gymnast a safer landing surface to protect growing bones and joints as well as a great training aid to use at home.
Because of this we pride ourselves on the fact you will receive a quality item and so we offer a 12 month no quibble refund or replacement should anything go wrong, something you may not get with the toy style tracks!
A lot of you will be looking to buy a track for a child that wants to practice there gymnastics or dance or parkour at home. would you want your child training on substandard equipment in the gym? I doubt it so why should you at home? surely you need them to be even safer!
Take a look at out 15cm tracks and you’ll see its an investment not an expense!
We hope this gives you some idea of what is involved in the pricing of an air track and give you peace of mind that you are investing in a quality track that will last. with a back up UK customer service.
Please feel free to contact us if you require any further information