300cc two stroke snow bike verses 450cc four stroke snow bike

Everyone always asks us, way more people are not riding 300cc two strokes for snow bikes.  They make great power and they are lighter than a 450cc dirt bike.  In the last 10 years of renting snow bikes we have had a hand full of 300cc two stroke snow bikes and they are awesome!!  It does feel lighter and much more nimble, then the 4 strokes.  The power is incredible, once you get the motor on the pipe there is nothing like the power of a 2 stroke.  Now that we have bikes that are oil and fuel injected, it just makes everything that much easier.  So back to the question.  Why are there not more 300cc two stroke snow bikes out there?  The first problem we had, was renters would cold seize the motor. Twice we encounter where the bike cold seized. When went to retrieve the bike you could see where they had lunch and about 30 yards away.  You definitely need to let the bike warm up before you get on it.  On really cold days, even with carburetor blankets and intake heaters you can run into problems with slides freezing.  Another small disadvantage is, you must carry much more fuel, which cuts into the light weight feel to the bike.  However, the biggest disadvantage is that you have to ride it much more aggressive than a 4 stroke.  You diffently can not lug it around all day like you can a 4 stroke.  The track system is much heavier than a wheel set up.  You really need to ride it wide open the majority of the time.  You don’t realize how often you need the full power of your snow bike, until you ride a 2 stroke.  You often need that low end power, instantly, for hill climbs unseen ditches, creeks, tight trees etc.  On really long rides, deep powder days, it defiantly takes a lot more energy to ride the 2 stroke.  If I only had one bike in my garage I would certainly go with a 4 stroke verses a 2 stroke.

What are the best snow bike Kits out there! Yeti, Timbersled, Mountain top?

One of the most commonly asked questions we get.  What is my favorite or best snow bike kit.  We rent 10-15 snow bikes a season and we have been in business for the last 10 years.  We  like to think we have tried every make, model, brand and configurations out there.  We usually build 2-4 new bikes each season and we usually get to demo the new equipment before it comes out.  We currently offer Yeti, Timbersled and Mountain Top.  We offer every shape and size. From long tracks, 137 inch long all the way down to a 120 inch kits.  We have narrow tracks, wide tracks, and lug lengths from 2.5 inches to 3 1/4.  You really can not go wrong with any of the top 3 companies.  The newest company is Mountain Top and everyone in the shop agrees that it is the most play full kit out there.  Their 3 1/4 inch track is a true powder monster and the kit rides very efficient.  Currents snow conditions is the deciding factor whenever I choose a bike to take out for the day.  Obviously the more snow, the longer, wider and deeper lug length.  I always say it really depends on the terrain and snow conditions you ride, that will dictate what the best kit is for you.  There is so much new technology introduce to the industry each year, that our favorite kit usually changes each year. It has came long way in the last 10 years and we cant wait to see where it continues to advance.

What a dirt bike needs to become a snow bike

People often ask us what does the bike need to convert it into a snow bike?  Most people are either building their own bike or are looking at buying one that is already built.  They always want to know what are the “must haves” on a snow bike.   I started riding snow bikes in 2008 and I have been renting snow bikes for the last 10 years.  I currently have 13 snow bikes and probably have owned over 40 different bikes in the last 20 years.

Let’s first start with the bike.  Most people choose a 450cc race bike.  It has the best power to weight ratio and has the best transmission for snow biking.  You definitely want a bike with an electric start as trying to kick it over while being off balance can sometimes be very difficult.  Also, being able to start the bike while standing next to it is very helpful.  Trying to climb on the bike when you are standing in 5 feet of snow is not easy.

Here is a short list of “must haves,” and a list of most common added items.

  1. Thermostat helps keep the bike warm and from over fueling.
  2. Spare fuel tank, you do not want to run out of fuel.
  3. Fan on the radiator, you do not want your bike to run hot!
  4. Temperature gauge, you want to know what temperature your bike is always running.
  5. Heavy duty fork springs the bike will ride horribly you do not have at least heavy springs.
  6. Headlight, often you will find yourself coming out at night and without a light is very hard.

Here is a list of what we ride on our bikes.  We found C3 makes the best products for snow bikes.

  1. Hand guards always riding in the trees will save your hands and fingers.
  2. Heated handlebars for $200 I don’t know anyone that would not pay $200 when your hands are frozen.
  3. Engine jackets just help control the temperature of the bike.
  4. Radiator guards are always smashing through the trees.
  5. Comfortable seat you are sitting down most of the day unlike a dirt bike.
  6. Rack to carry gear, we carry jump pack shovels saws, straps, tools, and a track pack at minimum.
  7. Over size foot pegs normal peg become clogged with ice

Here is a short list of other parts most added.

  1. Aftermarket ecu helps keep bike from over fueling and you can changes tunes in bike
  2. Valving in front shocks, does make it ride even better.
  3. Voyager display
  4. Exhaust shields.
  5. Handlebar muffs
  6. Aftermarket exhaust

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.

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