You’ve most likely heard of motocross biking and snowmobiling—now take the two and put ‘em together, and you’ve got snowbiking. Still not sure what it is? Considered the new, younger, cooler winter sport, snowbiking is the breath of creativity that is attracting new blood to the world of extreme snow sports. Read on to get the run down on all things snowbikes, and how you can get started.
A snowbike is basically a cross between a snowmobile and a motocross bike. Keeping a standard dirt bike frame, suspension and engine, the wheels go off and are replaced with a single ski on the front and a snowmobile-like track on the back, and you’re ready to go.
It all started in 2002 when husband and wife duo Allen and Natasha Mangum created the company, Timbersled, based on Allen’s previous work of building and modifying mountain snowmobiles. A Timbersled System gives you the opportunity to convert your bike from dirt to snow- and you can change it back so that you can ride year-round. By 2009, the first prototype was created and 2010 marked the first year of production. Since then, the sport has been growing in popularity, and the last few years have seen a surge in interest.
Snowbiking has quickly developed various disciplines that attract a range of talented athletes from across the world of action sports. Those disciplines include divisions like freestyle, fast moto-style racing and backcountry free riding. The sport is evolving quickly, with athletes from similar sports like skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding and biking constantly pushing the limits as to what is possible.
Can I Buy a Snowbike?
Ready to rev it up and take off with your new snowbike? Not so fast! At the time of writing, snowbikes themselves are not available on the market—but conversion kits are. You can use your existing dirt bike, or purchase one along with a single ski, a specially designed snowmobile-style track. All you have to do is pop the wheels off and add on the ski and track, and you’re ready to go.
The only major decision you need to make when purchasing your new equipment is what type of track system you want, and that depends on what type of discipline you’ll be doing. You have two options: short track or long track. Short track systems are great for preforming backflips and other freestyle tricks, and long tracks work better for racing and backcountry freeriding. So, it really depends on what you are planning to do.
Snowbikes Sit Higher Than Dirtbikes
The first thing you should know is that snowbikes sit a few inches higher than a normal dirtbike, and you start with both feet on the pegs. A snowbike balances itself fairly well when just sitting in place, but taking off can be a little challenging until you get the hang of it.
Normally, on a wheeled dirt bike or motorcycle, you’d leave one foot on the ground and walk it till you get enough momentum to get your balance. This method does not work so well with a snowbike – the best way to get started is to gain as much momentum as possible. Already knowing how to maneuver a dirt bike is essential, and being confident with your ability to smoothly get your snowbike moving will come with time and practice.
As the world of snowbiking progresses, riders are learning more of the nuances of handling their snow bikes—not just riding but with jumps as well, and all of the cool tricks and maneuvers that are done on regular motocross bikes. As new advances are made, we can be sure to see even more epic snow sport in the near future.
How Much Does the Complete Setup Cost?
Generally, snowbike sets can range from $2,000 to $8,000. Add in a dirt bike at around $8,000 plus an installation kit at an additional $250-$350, it can be a costly start—around the same price of a new snowmobile. Something to keep in mind, however, is that that snowmobiles can only been used part of the year when there is enough snow, while your snowbike and been used year round—just pop the wheels back on, and you’re off!
Finding the Perfect Snowbiking Spot
Most ski resorts will not allow snowbikes, so it’s best if you find your own location to practice. Timbersled has this handy map to show locations where you can rent a Timbersled if you want to get a feel for the sport before you purchase your own. Snowbiking is perfect for vast terrain access the colder climates both in the US and worldwide—the northern US, Canada, Finland, Sweden and Russia are perfect locations to enjoy the natural world, with a number of locations offering special trips and tours for the ultimate snowbiking experience. Austria is also a location quickly growing more and more popular for snowbiking, so you have quite a few opportunities to explore new counties and cultures while enjoying your favorite sport.
Kick it Into High Gear With Snowbiking Events
Snowbiking is still in it’s beginning stages, and the national stage of snowbike commissions is small but growing quickly. Snowbiking was introduced into the X Games for the first time with Snow BikeCross and Snow Bike Best Trick events in 2017. This brought a huge amount of attention to the sport, as well as many top athletes from other snow and biking sports to get involved with snowbiking.
Additionally, Starting in January and ending in mid March in states like Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon, the National Championships are one of the most prominent snowbike competitions out there. For more information, check out their website.
Have we got your interest peaked? Snowbiking isn’t for the faint of heart, and it sure to give you the feeling of freedom along with that adrenaline rush every extreme sports athlete loves. Have questions or thoughts? Drop a comment below!
Follow GOWFO.com for the latest news on all things extreme sports. Want to grow your followers within the extreme sports world? If you’re an extreme sports content creator or influencer and want to participate in the launch of WFO.TV, please contact us.