Friday, January 9, 2009

Ski Bikes?

Winter can be a hard time for Cyclists in colder states. It's after the new year, the snow has been piled up for a long time, and it seems like you haven't been able to get out and open your lungs on a bike for a coon's age. That is...without getting that annoying cold-weather runny nose that you can't feel until you can taste it.

A few weeks ago, a buddy Zach and I attempted to put an end to our cycle-less sorrows and build the ultimate sledding machine. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Peter Flapjacks: the Skibike.

He does look a little daunting at first, yes...but he's rather sturdy. Two quick-releases, some wood blocks, Skis, and a hand-me-down Target Mountain Bike were what we had, and we decided to throw a little love in the mixture to see what happened. Peter Flapjacks was a for one thing.

Peter can't go. Sure, as much as gravity will propel a rock down the side of a hill is as much as Peter CAN go--rather quickly, too--but what he lacks is the will or means of self-propulsion. Peter was gloomily retired to the garage after we realized the hard way that in order to ride the bike down the hill, one must carry the bike UP the hill first.

So what, the solution to the winter cycling discontent? One solution developed by a Canadian guy is called the Ktrak...and it resembles Peter Flapjacks quite closely.

According the Ktrak's website, the Ktrak "redefines the mountain bike," and I would say that's an understatement. The idea is actually a kit that will adapt to your current bike...kind of like an Xtracycle. The tank-looking rear assembly mounts in place of your current rear wheel, and the consumer has the option of a Ski in the front or keeping their own wheel in place.

Reviews have been mixed, but positive in the majority, and although the Ktrak can tackle Snow, ice, and dirt, its downfall is cement! although you won't have to worry about scratching the ski or the tread on the rear, the bike (ish-thing) can't get the traction to turn on the cement. This could be a problem for commuters, which is where I'm guessing that Ktrak will get any market at all.

It's not as expensive as you would think, either. The rear kit alone will cost $350, while the complete kit (with ski) will cost you about $450.


1 comment:

B I D W E L L said...

I've got a ski bike made out of a specialized bmx- fairly easy to lug up a hill. It is most fun though when pulled behind a 4 wheeler in a corn field.