Gear

The modern ski bike

This bike is the next level for this growing winter sport

Professional cyclist Rob Nichols is carving up the mountain on his ski bike. But he’s not riding that thing your uncle rented last year. Nope, this isn’t what you’re thinking.

“Those little skidders that you see people sliding around on are not the best interpretation of ski biking,” Nichols said.

First, Nichols is on a peg-style bike. He explains that the two symmetrical pegs where a typical bicycle would have cranks allows you to ride the ski bike more like a bicycle in attack mode. Called pegs, they’re far more along the lines of fixed pedals, so your feet are off the snow at all times.

Anther big difference: The skis themselves are a place where technology has vastly improved. Nichols switches out skis to match the terrain and conditions he’s riding. And this guy, and others pushing the sport, can and do ride anything from the terrain park to big mountain lines.

A retention system holds the ski in place, it’s basically a rubber band connected to a pivot arm. It creates the ability for the front ski to remain level when in the air.

In the air?

These guys see plenty of hang time. The rear ski has a fixed articulation of about 10 to 15 degrees, helping with stable landings.

Like their mountain biking cousins, a modern ski bike is fully suspended, with up to 6 inches or more of travel.

“This is a standard rear shock,” said Nichols. “And this is a fork right off a mountain bike. When you use the fork ands shock that you would on your mountain bike you get a lot of the same feelings that you do on your mountain bike on the snow.”

Next time, get Uncle Joe on a modern ski bike, or better yet, take one out for yourself.

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