As “Winter’s Coming!” is becoming a famous phrase, dirt bikers have one primary concern. Ditching their favorite dirt bikes for a few months. Or how will it feel to ride a dirt bike in the snow? When there is ice everywhere up to your knees, you likely will find a safe spot in your garage to kickstand your dirt bike thinking that is what everyone else does. Well, you are wrong! Some people have so much fun riding their dirt bikes right in the snow. If you have never had the opportunity, you are missing out a great deal.
Seriously, there is plenty of gear and accessories out there that makes dirt biking in the snow memorable. In this post, we are going to be looking at what many people do to fulfill their endless yearn for the power and excitement that comes with riding dirt bikes. Some snow riders modify their dirt bikes and turn them into snow bikes. No. Not snowmobiles and sleds (yuk!) Snow bikes. Whereas, others get some kit that makes their dirt bikes able to thrive in deep snow. How can you do either of the two and enjoy what makes dirt biking classic? We will discuss that question in this post.
Come on. First of all, we will look at what you would need to do to prepare yourself and your dirt bike this winter for awesome rides in the snow. I will also be sharing some things I have learned (I can call them tips, right?) Right. Let’s get to it.
What You Need
Before you get out in the cold on your dirt bike, you need to decide whether you want to use your dirt bike’s tires only with a little adjustments that will make them fit to run around even in deep snow or ice, or you would remove both tires and replace them with a conversion kit that converts your dirt bike into snow bike. Either way, we will first talk about how you can ride in the snow without having to remove or do any replacements.
How To Prepare Your Dirt Bike For Snow Ride
Read now to look at a step by step guide we have compiled on how you can run your dirt bike in the snow without any conversion. What will your bike need to take on this task?
#1. Grip Heaters
The first thing you will have to get on your bike is grip heaters on both handlebars. You should not linger or negotiate this. Even if you want a snow bike, this is a necessity. The cold would numb your fingers. If this happens while you are on the run, you will lose your grip on the handlebars, and the bike can go out of control. You also will not be able to operate the throttle, clutch lever, and front brake lever.
#2. Cloth Athletic Tape
Like the grip heaters, another thing you may consider getting is athletic cloth tape. This tape serves as an insulator between your fingers and the cold metal clutch and brake levers. However, if you are wearing insulated hand gloves, you may not need this. (See our article on recommended hand gloves that can be used in extremely cold conditions here)
#3. Build Your Tires For Traction
On snow, tires can get stuck on the run, or they can even lose momentum and slide off the ground. You don’t want that to happen to you so you must prepare your bike. One thing some people have found helpful is to buy an entirely new pair of dirt bike tires made for snow riding. These tires are well studded and lay very heavily on the ground with an excellent grip so that you ride with the same feeling as you would all summer. But this option is too costly to be comfortable with for me. Tire companies like Michelin offer a set of these studded tires for as much as 580$ per set. As I said, I am not comfortable with that option even though the tires are made to last many years so that you can always pick them up every winter till they wear out. The other option I would recommend if you are not willing to spend that much on a pair of studded winter tires is to buy ice screws that you can fit into your dirt bike tires. These screws are pretty cheap, and for the most part, they get the job done. You can get one bag for as much as 20$, and you may not even finish five bags on both tires. These screws come in various sizes. You choose to depend on the depth of the snow outside and your specs. The lengths vary from ⅜ inches to 1-½ inches long.
#4. Adjust Air Fuel Mixture for a 2 Stroke
The bottom line is that your bike too will get cold, extremely cold outside and so you have to make sure it doesn’t freeze. For a two-stroke dirt bike, you will need to adjust the air-fuel mixture a couple of sizes up on the main jet and also adjust the needle one clip position. This will ensure that the engine does not freeze on the run. Only that you have to ensure that the jetting is okay before you run off in the snow. It is better to make the air-fuel more productive than not enough, or it will damage your bike’s engine.
#5. Protect the Carburetor and Air Box
Your two-stroke dirt bike will again need you to protect it from freezing. You have to cover the sides of the carburetor; otherwise, you may have issues riding. When the carburetor is exposed to extreme cold, it could freeze up. And there is no way you will ride without hitting the carburetor with snow every second. If the carburetor freezes, your engine will be starved of fuel, and the throttle will be stuck! Then think of your air box. If you are riding in deep snow, regularly stop to check your air box for the build-up of snow. A two-stroke dirt bike will sometimes take in so much snow into the airbox that the filter will plug and freeze. Four-stroke dirt bikes are not as prone to this problem as two-stroke bikes.
Turning Your Dirt Bike To a Snow Bike
Now that we have seen how you can continue using your dirt bike as everything is on the tab simply by adding a few adjustments, we will now look at the ultimate fun part of it. Enjoying your dirt bike as you would a snowmobile only with the power and aesthetics of a dirt bike.
This is the fun part. Look, think of it as a fusion of a snowmobile and a dirt bike. Then, for now, use your imagination to see what sort of a snow beast would evolve! We will be turning your dirt bike into such a monster in no time. Follow along.
As I said earlier, turning your dirt bike into a snow bike will only need a few screws and a little bit high-quality sled kit.
Snow Bikes or SnowMobiles?
Now, let’s talk about snow bikes. Snow bikes are simply dirt bikes that have a tank-like tread system instead of the rear wheel and a ski or snowmobile sled instead of the front wheel. Snow bikes are a lot smaller, more agile, and way cheaper than snowmobiles. So if you want something more exciting and fun than snowmobiles, the answer is snow bikes.
The only thing about this process is that no company produces ready-made snow bikes, you have to do everything yourself (or by your mechanic of course!) So basically, you have to buy a conversion kit that will replace your wheels and turn your dirt bike into a snow bike.
Many brands out there are making these kits. The only one we, at Gadnets, have used is the kit made by Timbersled. Don’t worry, and we will notify you whenever we review the world’s best snow bike conversion kit. However, there are many different types and brands of conversion kits out there for various brands of bikes and dirt bike specifications. Now, if you had some money to spend on hobbies, you might be like the neighbor that said, “I’d rather drive a snowmobile!” When we got our Timbersled kit, he got to ride my Honda CRF 750 on the snow, and he honestly shouted for joy. He hadn’t had so much fun on a snowmobile. He sold his snowmobile and got his kit the next day.
Why are snowmobiles hated so much? No hate, no pressure whatsoever. I only think that people who believe that snowmobiles are a better option than snow bikes are like an older man who prefers a tractor to an SUV. Snow bikes, unlike snowmobiles, are not heavy and broad, they are narrow, light, and much more comfortable to turn, control and throw stunts on. This means that you can go where snowmobiles simply can’t, cutting your lines through dense trees in the woods. The best thing about riding in the snow is that everywhere is a trail!
Snowmobiles are a bit lousy when sliding. When going sideways, instead of going sideways, a snowmobile goes forward cutting across a steep slope. On a snow bike, because you’re on just one ski and one tread, you remain upright just like you would on a standard mountain bike. The design of this machine also enables you to carve your way down very steep terrain, as if you were on a snowboard on a dirt bike.
When we tried the timber sled, we had a joyful ride. Now, let us talk about how you can get this kit. Conversion kits are available from 1,500 dollars to 8,000 dollars. The best thing about this is that every winter, you will always have your favorite dirt bikes all summer.
One of the significant benefits of having snow bikes over snowmobiles is the weight. Snow bikes weigh much less than a snowmobile. You can get your kids a fun time in the snow without having them wrestle with heavy snowmobiles.
Talking of snow bikes conversion kits, aside Timbersled, there are many more brands out there you can try (although we are working on getting all these kits together and testing them so that we will give you guys a useful review. But for now, stay tuned.) There are brands like MotoTrax, Yeti SnowMX, CMX Snow bike Kit, Camso, and Savage Snowbikes. These are also reputed but not as popular as Timbersled.
Safe Snow Riding – Riding Gear and Tips
- Make sure to wear a good set of polypropylene full-length thermal underwear. You can now wear your standard riding jersey over the polypropylene underwear to get the needed warmth.
- How about socks? Get yourself a good pair of fleece-lined Gore-Tex socks. They come with a fleece lining that will keep your feet warm. They also have an outer Gore-Tex shell that will keep your feet dry.
- Aside from the footgear, you must wear suitable clothing that will keep you warm in the cold weather. We recommend Enduro jacket and pants or any other insulated winter wear.
- Make sure you wear water repellent winter boots to keep your feet safe from the biting cold.
- Choose a good helmet that is ventilated but not too much. If your helmet has too many air vents and you feel cold while wearing it, you could wear a thin stocking type cap, or a balaclava like street riders wear under your helmet.
- Next, you should know by snow goggles that will not get foggy while you’re on the run. We recommend that you get a dual-pane goggle lens.
We believe that you have enjoyed reading this comprehensive article. Don’t keep your dirt bike in your garage throughout winter while cruising on a snowmobile. That’s cheating! You must be faithful to your darling snowbike. Enjoy yourself this winter. And remember, where there is snow, everywhere is a dirt trail! If you need any more tips and guides on this new hobby of yours, linger around in this category. Share this article with your friends; don’t be selfish.
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