Snow bikes or timber sleds have been around for a while.
It’s a simple idea, pull the wheels off your bike and bolt a snowmobile under it, not exactly, but that what it looks likes to the uninformed.
I had a chat with the guys at Inside Enduro who spend their winters doing snow bike tours and asked a few questions to enlighten you and let them tell you what it’s all about
In five words or less, why should someone come and ride a snow bike with you?
FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!
Snow bikes are recent innovation can you give a brief history?
Snow Bikes or say Timbersled particularly started production in 2010, so tracks have been turning for a decade with continued development and progression.
How does riding a snow bike compare to a street bike or a snowmobile?
Snow Bikes are much nimbler than snowmobiles and easier to maneuver. They are very similar to riding a jet ski or say a Dirt Bike. If you have a base knowledge of how to shift through the gears and apply heaps of throttle, you will be in the Euphoria of the Fun Zone quickly.
Are there any certain skills that do or don’t cross over from riding a motorcycle?
For the most part, anyone who can shift gears and twist the throttle can ride a snow bike. The front ski is something that is way different than riding a motorcycle, it can catch on hard snow and affect your steering a bit. Overall, it is easier and typically less physical than riding a dirt bike.
For the person who wants to do this themselves, are you better to have a dedicated snow bike or convert what you have when the snow comes?
It’s ideal to have a dedicated snow bike because of the labor that goes into switching from snow bike to dirtbike. With that being said, if that is out of the budget, switching it back and forth each year is not a big deal at all. We mostly ride two strokes in the summer, but all of our snow bikes are Big Bore 4 Strokes, so we leave them set up as dedicated snow bikes.
How long does it take to convert from street to snow?
It takes a few hours (approximately 2-5 hours) to build each bike because we had to remove a ton of parts from each bike, add quite a few new parts, as well as build some custom parts (battery box for example). It depends on how much bling and parts you plan to install.
What have you found to be the best bikes to convert?
Sherco’s are the only bikes we’ve built. With the Timbersled fit kits and a few other custom-made parts, these bikes go together nicely.
How does riding in the snow affect fuel mileage, are you tired before you hit empty, or fill up multiple times and just keep rockin’?
Snowbikes love to have the throttle open which sucks fuel. Snow conditions make a big difference on mileage as well, if it is sickly deep – Max throttle required. Either way you slice it, if you go through a tank and your accessory tank you have had a very Good Time!
Give us an idea of the cost for a complete snow bike for anyone who wants to do this themselves, are there companies you could recommend for a full bolt-on kit?
Our snow bike builds are pushing $25k each. We had to have a lot of custom parts made because we are one of the first to build Sherco snow bikes. We recommend using Timbersled kits as well as PST intakes and engine jackets.
If I wanted to come and ride with you guys, what kind of packages do you offer?
Our Primo-Program includes Bike, Fuel, Avalanche Gear, Transport, Mechanic Support at $500 per day – We may even throw in a campfire roasted squirrel if you are lucky.
When do you expect your season to end if I wanted to come this year?
The winter season typically ends around the end of April. Montana winters are variable and unexpected so they may go longer.
Do you provide me the gear I need to ride in, or do I use my motorcycle gear or a combination of both?
We have gear in stock to outfit you for any ride if you want to rent that too. From top-of-the-line avalanche backpacks, beacons, and radios to helmets, boots, and full mono suits.
Heated grips, heated seats on the bikes?
Heated bars which heat the grips well using coolant running through the bars. No heated seats, but the bike stays pretty hot overall so we haven’t found heated seats to be necessary.
What are some of the awesome things I should expect when doing a tour?
You can expect Inside Enduro to provide you with a truly authentic Montana backcountry experience you never thought was possible. You’ll get to enjoy riding the best snow bikes on the market with a super fun crew while immersed in epic scenery with breathtaking views.
Can someone come to join a tour if they know how to ride, but don’t have a motorcycle license, and are there any age limits?
Absolutely – no motorcycle license required. We cater our tours to the ability of each rider so they are comfortable and can enjoy the ride! There are no age limits as of now, although we only have full-size bikes available, no kids bikes as of right now.
Can I come back in the summer and see where you took me when there’s no snow on the ground? (Allowing for a shameless plug for summer enduro riding, ’cause they do that too!)
Great question! Yes, and we are already are experiencing this in reverse from two groups who ripped with us this summer. We took them to where we were and they usually exclaim, “NO WAY – I cant believe this is the same spot!” Things look different with 6-8ft of snow on the ground. Come on out and experience it for yourself!
If you have any more questions for the Inside Enduro team, contact them via their web page and let them answer all the questions that I might have missed.
…and if that wasn’t enough, they are raffling off a 2021 Sherco 300 SEF “Factory” 4-Stroke dirt bike