Snow Bikes/Timber sleds How it got started and where it is going

Snow Bikes/Timber sleds have been gaining popularity in the last 5 years mostly due to the advancements in technology.  It is a very simple idea that takes a dirt bike and puts a ski on the front and a track on the back.   The first prototypes dates to the 1920s where tracks were put on the back motorcycles, then in the 1930s a ski was introduced to the front of the bike.  It took till 1993 until a man named Vernal Forbes created his motorized Frankenstein Monster in his Boise garage.  They have been improving dramatically ever since.

I first rode a snow bike back in 2008. It was an extremely exciting yet dangerous experience.  The technology simply was not there.  The first day we rode it, we broke the handlebars off, bent the sub frame, smashed the exhaust, and collapsed both radiators.  The bike was simply uncontrollable, leading to multiple high-speed crashes.  Fast forward to 2024.  I now own Vail Extreme Rentals.  We currently own 13 of the latest and greatest snow bikes.  We probably have owned over 30 different types of snow bikes in the last 10 years.

It is an exciting time to be in the snow bike industry.  They continue to get lighter, more efficient, and easier to ride.  Carbon fiber, Titantium, and aluminum are now more affordable to incorporate into the kits, making them ride and feel more like dirt bikes.  There are many styles of kits offered.   The differences between the kits are the length and width of the tracks, and the length of the lugs. The longer the track, width and lugs the better it does in deep powder. The shorter length, width and lug height, the better it handles and rides more like a dirt bike.

The biggest hurdle the snow bike industry must face is creating a bike that has more reliable power.  When we add the track to the bike, we are adding a lot of   rotational weight which robs the horsepower. Once they find a way to add double the horsepower with little to no additional weight, the sport will explode.  Most people who choose to ride snowmobiles over snow bikes is simply because the power of the bikes is so low.  Snowmobiles can now make close to 200hp where a snow bike is around 50hp.  The 3 top manufacturers Polaris’s Timber sled, Yeti Snow bikes and Mt Top are continuing to make the bikes lighter, stronger, more efficient, and easier to ride.  There are companies that are working on transmissions for the bikes like snowmobiles which will make the bike feel like it has 30% more power.  Turbo systems make great horsepower and companies are working on lighter more reliable kits to increase horsepower on the bikes.  I believe soon we will see these improvements hit the market boosting sales and taking a large percentage of the snowmobile market.  I just hope I am around long enough to throw my leg over a 250 pound snow bike with 120hp.