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Aug 28, 2017
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Alright old guy questions..... anyone in here that used to snowmobile that has back/elbow/shoulder issues switch to a snowbike? If so how did you do with it? Easier on the above mentioned areas, same, or worse? I've been out all season due to a back and elbow injury, wondering if I could go anyway on a snowbike.

Been riding the dirt bike in the desert this winter, not having to much trouble with that. Just wanta go, sucks getting old!
 

needpowder

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Old?

Snow biking can definitely be easier on your body than snowmobiling. Depends what kind of terrain and snow conditions you are getting into. It can be very easy if you pick the correct conditions. You should give it a try. Are you posting on your sons account? 33 doesn’t seem too old?
 

dooman92

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First off your heading says 33. That's not old.
Back to the question. I had more issues, primarily with my back, but to some degree shoulders, when riding the sled. Rode sleds for almost 50 yrs, I've been 100% bike for four years and feel it is easier on my body. I'd be even better if not for helping sledding buddies get unstuck?
 
Mar 9, 2017
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out of sledding in the mountains, and riding dirtbikes in the summer, id say snowbiking is the easiest of them all. no bumps, no ruts, no rocks, no hard surfaces, no tight areas (like for turns... you can take most turns as wide and easy as you want assuming you arent in the trees), no extreme traction issues where its hard to hold onto the bike. no arm pump on the snowbikes, no muscling around and fighting with a 500lb machine all day. crashing doesnt hurt as much,or at all sometimes. you can ride on 99% of the terrain as its snow covered.. cant do that in the forest or desert for the most part on the bikes due to fallen logs, rocks, mud, bushes, etc...


snowbike is very easy if youre just going out and ripping around. I almost found it too easy and dare I say "bored" at times because it was so easy!! so effortless. you can sit down all day and still go anywhere without hardly flexing a muscle in 2nd gear. I was able to go out 5-6 days in a row last winter whereas my sled buddies were BEAT after 2-3 days in a row. same thing with dirtbiking.. most people cant do 3 long days in a row.


getting stuck can be a little exhausting at times, especially if you dressed for the cold and it happens to be warm out. otherwise I think youd do fine and love it. once you get used to it, its a very easy sport id say. or maybe I just dont ride extreme enough. I went places the sledders didnt think possible... while sitting down, relaxed, putting in 2nd gear, no effort required. if they followed me they would be EXHAUSTED after about a quarter mile and not having fun. I got told a few times by guys on turboed 800s and brand new 850s that they "were jealous" and "two sickest lines I seen all day were on the snowbike".


the only downside to is it theyre damn expensive and not necessarily the most reliable toys out there (dirtbikes werent made for this... even if you spend $30,000 itll still be hard on the machine and wont last as long as a summer ridden dirtbike, or sled)
 
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Lol, not sure why it says 33. I'm actually 43, which isn't that old. Long story short I've got a form of spinal arthritis, makes injuries hold on forever it seems like. On top of that I'm not a big guy, takes more effort for me to horse a sled around than some of my heavier buddies.
 
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The two snow bikes (YZ w/TS and YZ w/Camso) I rode were so horrible on the trail and ski heavy that I couldn't imagine spending a day on them. I know it's not about riding on the trail but if I had to do 5 miles on tore up trail either of those bikes I think it would just ruin the entire day! I however love doing single track in the summer and convinced that the right setup would work good. After a TON of research I settled on a 2019 TE300i (efi) w/CMX 129. Not only is bike light (supposed to feel a lot lighter than it actually is) but the new CMX spindle and ski are supposed to be like having power steering and the CMX kit is supposed to be really like on the ski with a lot of weight transfer which makes for a very playful and effortless setup...
 
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CATSLEDMAN1

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ok, I am older

I confess I ride bikes...........year around. I own an atv and a later model 800 cat and started on sleds when I had to do demo days in the winter of 1968.
But sno bikes are nicer, easier, more frustrating for beginners, between your legs, make tooo much noise.....;... but I'm near deaf at 70.

If you learn to ride a snowbike it can save winter for you. If they did not make snow bikes I would still be riding sleds a couple of days a week.

I grew up a ski racer and I don't ski because I got tired of the ski areas.
I spent 50 years on sleds but I got tired of the sledding areas.
I rode my 800 cat on a rescue mission for a day last winter on easy terrain and my elbows were sore for a week.

I burned through a tank and a half of gas yesterday in a snowstorm in tight trees on steep hillsides and rode an old USFS trail out to the truck and my elbow would be good again today for a ride but my partner is elk hunting.

When you learn to ride it, a sno bike is way easier on your body..........if you don't kill yourself learning.
 

off road rider

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Interesting views from the older crowd. Im well south of 50 and ride/race 990 KTms against 450's No issues with riding dirt. A few years ago I tore the rotator cuff muscles and my bicep on my left arm on my snowbike. A simple bad attempt at picking up a stuck bike. It was a mess, lost two seasons.
The biggest issue for me is getting stuck and having to dig out, or get into a situation where the bike is packed with snow making it harder to pickup. That would be the same situation sled or bike. IMO Bikes are overall easier to ride well and take less effort to ride than a sled.
 

POLZIN

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I have a bad arm from a sledding injury that sledding aggravated. Switching to snowbikes has been a blessing for me. Now I can ride and have use of my arm/hand the next day. In general it is easier on the body IMO
 
Aug 28, 2017
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So, as far as getting stuck. Compared to a sled how hard is a snow bike to get out? Through lots of reading it sounds like the KTM 300 TPI's seem to get lots of love for carrying their weight low. Thus making them easier to pick up if you flop it over in the snow. I ride a KTM 450 SF X in the dirt and sand, is the 300 worth looking at for that reason? For reference I weigh about 180 in gear and about 5'8" tall.
 

dooman92

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Stuck

I find the bike easier to get unstuck most of the time. It always helps to have help but, I find more frequently a necessity with the sled. Sometimes the bike gets you to a place the sled would not and the resulting stuck may be a big challenge (steep tight trees bike falls over down hill). Sometimes the bike will pull out of a hole going uphill where a sled must be turned down hill or rolled. So, overall I find the bike easier to get unstuck.
 

Adobe-Al

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So, as far as getting stuck. Compared to a sled how hard is a snow bike to get out? Through lots of reading it sounds like the KTM 300 TPI's seem to get lots of love for carrying their weight low. Thus making them easier to pick up if you flop it over in the snow. I ride a KTM 450 SF X in the dirt and sand, is the 300 worth looking at for that reason? For reference I weigh about 180 in gear and about 5'8" tall.
IMO- My 2018 300(carb) at my elevation (9K to 13K) wouldn't have enough grunt
to work well and I would be ringing it's neck all day. If your 450 is FI I would use it.
As for getting unstuck a bike is hands down easier. How you get unstuck depends
on the direction you can go. If you are stuck going up hill(and have not trenched to China)simple pull your ski a little past 90 degrees to the hill and ride out. If I'm
getting stuck on the flats. The snow is just too deep that day and I need to let it setup more. The last thing to remember about snow bikes is: If you are riding where you see snowmobile tracks you are riding in the wrong area.
My2cents!
 
Feb 18, 2009
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IMO- My 2018 300(carb) at my elevation (9K to 13K) wouldn't have enough grunt
to work well and I would be ringing it's neck all day. If your 450 is FI I would use it.
As for getting unstuck a bike is hands down easier. How you get unstuck depends
on the direction you can go. If you are stuck going up hill(and have not trenched to China)simple pull your ski a little past 90 degrees to the hill and ride out. If I'm
getting stuck on the flats. The snow is just too deep that day and I need to let it setup more. The last thing to remember about snow bikes is: If you are riding where you see snowmobile tracks you are riding in the wrong area.
My2cents!
Lots of people going from 450/500sc to the 300 tpi. It may only be 10-20lbs lighter but feels 100lbs lighter. I suspect the tpi keeps it running at peak performance vs the carb and makes a huge difference overall. No oil changes after every ride and easy rebuilds....
 
Aug 28, 2017
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Is there still a need to engine blanket the 2 strokes? One of the reasons I've veered away from the snowbikes is all the tinkering to make them run right. It would be nice if someone would release a dedicated bike that addressed the engine temp, breather tubes, air intake, ect......
 

Adobe-Al

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Lots of people going from 450/500sc to the 300 tpi. It may only be 10-20lbs lighter but feels 100lbs lighter. I suspect the tpi keeps it running at peak performance vs the carb and makes a huge difference overall. No oil changes after every ride and easy rebuilds....
I have a 300 XC-W and I know from expreience with my 450 Xc-W(wifes snowlike) that gearing from 2nd to 3rd is not great at my elevation. My 300 does have more than 450 Xc-w, but still not enough for me. I have never been on a 300 XC FI. It could be great? I have been on a 450 SX as a snowlike and was very impressive. He already has a 450 SX, seems to me give that a try as snow bike before buying a 300.
 

Adobe-Al

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Is there still a need to engine blanket the 2 strokes? One of the reasons I've veered away from the snowbikes is all the tinkering to make them run right. It would be nice if someone would release a dedicated bike that addressed the engine temp, breather tubes, air intake, ect......

I don't want to break to you, but if you don't want to tinker with that stuff you almost can't snowbike. We have all wished for a dedicated snowbike with 80 hp!. Hope we see one in the future.
 

Jaynelson

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On trails...sled is easier.

On undulating terrain off trail...snowbike is easier on the body for sure. Being more of a sledder I usually get a good laugh when I go for a snowbike ride....lots of people think they are semi-pro on these things....but truth is, they're just easy to ride. Also super confidence inspiring, because screw-ups have waaaay lower consequences than similar screw-ups on a sled or dirtbike.

That said, there is terrain/snow conditions where sleds shine, and others where the bikes shine. It's also super hard to compare which a person will prefer....without knowing how good they are on a sled. Bikes...anyone who is handy on a dirtbike will figure out a snowbike quickly. A few rides and you can navigate terrain that is pretty aggressive (likely requiring years of experience) on a sled. BUT....a good sled rider can comfortably take the machine places that many other riders don't even understand.

SB's are more tinkering and maintenance....don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
 
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Kinda sounds like if I'm going to try it I should just get a kit and slap it on my 450. I think all I would have to do is add a thermostat, engine blanket and some kind of mod for the air intake. That and maybe a rekluse clutch, I've been riding a dirtbike since I was about 12 so I don't think the learning curve would be bad. Sleds on the other hand I've only been on for a couple years, and its been fun but frustrating at the same time.
 

GKR

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EOREGON, you nailed it. Put a kit on and the accessories you indicated and ride. They do require some maintenance but nothing crazy. The running issues are not a huge concern. I have a group of 5 bikes we ride with that have just those basics done that you described and we are having the time of our lives. The odd minor thing to address but we have been relatively problem free. We are all in and around 50 years old and are dirt bikers, some are sledders. We all absolutely love it, its WAY easier to ride than a sled in my opinion and it makes tree riding and difficult terrain super fun. Bonus is they don't necessarily shine in the alpine which is keeping us all safe and out of avalanche country but still maximum fun in the mountains. We tended to boondock and tree ride anyway last number of years.
Thermostat and engine blanket for sure. We have had good success with just an outwears cover over a dry stock foam air filter. I think I had to stop and clean snow out of my airbox two times in two years of riding and some of it was nipple deep fresh pow. Aftermarket intakes work well too and are not expensive.
Rekluse is nice but not necessary at all. I am tall and don't find it a problem, shorter riders may like it more because you don't have to reach across for the clutch when you are standing in knee deep pow trying to get going. Nice to have if you want to "burp" the bike out of a hole if you are stuck.
I will say that overall it feels more like a bike than a sled when you are riding. If you are comfortable on a bike it will be a piece of cake.
They use way less fuel than a sled so the frequent oil changes (1.4L at a time) are not really expensive. Regular bolt check and chain adjustments and lube are about it for regular maintenance, nothing out of the ordinary for a dirtbiker.
I ride a Husky FC450 with a Timbersled ARO 120. Last bike was a KTM 450SXF with a Yeti 129.
 
Nov 28, 2007
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I ride both at 52 I still like the sled when I fell like having a workout although the 850 doo dialled with a 15 wide track is so easy to handle its not even funny ( still 170 hp to hang on to). After I switch to the bike it is easy city no energy required if you do it right ( 60 Hp to hang on to). The difference is similar to when I came of my 300 hp Yamaha turbo and went to a 800 doo with 150 hp that felt like riding a moped in comparison. Where I would differ from the other guys -- I say the bike is harder to get unstuck. The New sleds are so good that a tuck on the ski is usually all that is necessary to get unstuck -- and drive away. Not that a bike is that hard but rolling them or flipping them around is just as hard. They are tall and take a different approach. Not having reverse sucks. Maintenance is not as bad as often said. One of my riding buddies has a 14 Yz with a 14 timbersled kit on it fro 3 seasons now just basic maintenance once dialled. Blew out one bearing on the trail thats it in 3 seasons. He is more into riding and maintenance is not a priority for him , still has great reliability.
Coming up on 100 hrs on the bike here so he needs a top end for next season. Plan a piston for sure every 100 hrs no matter what you run.
 
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