Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Wheel Ski

I still have snow biking on the brain and one of my favorite aspects of snow biking is the endless tinkering.

A couple years ago, JayP and I geeked-out on the idea of a wheel ski for times when you knew that you would be pushing for sustained distance. Jay crafted one out of an old Pocket Rocket ski, tested it, and never used it in a race. I have seen a few random pics of bikes on the start line of the ITI 350 with wheel skis mounted on a rack but I have never seen or heard of anyone actually using one in the race.

The pics below are from this year's race and I heard that the owner pitched the ski only a few miles into the race. I wonder if he regretted that move when he got to Rainey Pass?





I still think this idea is valid if executed properly. How about a retractable, wide, carbon ski that floated both wheels?

8 comments:

Vito said...

That is freaking awesome! How many cold were involved in coming up with the idea?

Jill said...

If you're going to add extra weight anyway, I think a lightweight pair of snowshoes would be offer more benefits than a wheel ski. Wheels still float better than feet in most snow conditions (I've actually ridden in some spring conditions where I was riding on top of crust, put my foot down and sunk to my hips), so I think snowshoes are the way to go.

Still, it can be just more junk to haul. I specifically remember talking to Tracy P about why snowbikers don't generally carry snowshoes at the pre-race party (if I remember right, she thought they were a good idea.) I wonder if she regretted not bringing any along for Rainy Pass.

Anonymous said...

Jill, I don't think anyone should carry snowshoes at the pre-race party!!

Chris E.

Dave Byers said...

Jill - I agree that adding weight is the downside and the elaborate carbon cradle on the ski in this post would make it tough to haul.

Unless you took the non-drive pedal off, snow shoes would really get in the way wouldn't they? I am a Neos wearer so I do get a little extra float from them.

Anonymous said...

Dave, Dahon has a QR pedal for their folding bikes that may be just what you're looking for. Tool free pedal removal. http://www.dahon.com/components/ex/mksezy.htm

Chris E.

Dave Byers said...

Chris E. - the QR pedal rocks! Great find. As long as it is durable I can see the benefit of having it. I played with removing the pedal when pushing this year and I like it.

Jill said...

I don't really understand how snowshoes would make your leg bump against the pedal any more than a normal bike pushing situation. They do make your stance wider, but you can compensate for that with your outside foot. I'm thinking small kiddie pairs of snowshoes. I saw some at Fred Meyer for $25 and actually came really close to buying them for the ITI. I'm guessing they weighed about a pound and a half, maybe two. They would have widened the surface area of my foot to about four or five times its normal surface area. Good point about the NEOS, though. I bet those clodhoppers do add float. Too bad I never learned how to walk in them. :-) (I did take mine a few hikes. I just couldn't imagine myself slogging along for longer than five miles wearing them.)

I still don't understand the ski, though. What good is keeping your front wheel on top of the snow if you're sinking to your waist?

Dave Byers said...

Jill - my theory (unproven) on the wheel ski is that in 6 to 12 inches of windblown snow (2008 Su100), the ski would act as a "groomer" for the rear wheel and reduce resistance.
I agree that in situations like this year's ITI where the leaders were waist deep over Rainey Pass it would not have helped.