Opinion
February 24th, 2018
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Sled vs Snow Bike – A Social Experiment in Riding Together

Last year, we asked whether or not sled and snow bikes can co-exist. Our answer was yes. But it’s not quite as cut and dry as that. There was some controversy around the matter. Some readers argued that there’s no place a snow bike can go that a sled can’t follow. We don’t agree with that. Others thought the question was stupid. Again, disagree. The snow bike community is still growing by leaps and bounds. Sooner or later, every mountain sledder will share a day riding with a friend on a snow bike. So we decided to try out a social experiment, to experience a sled vs snow bike day in the mountains firsthand. And we filmed it. Here’s what went down.

 

Sled vs Snow Bike – A Social Experiment in Riding Together

Sled vs Snow Bike

 

For this experiment, Mountain Sledder editor and self-proclaimed “competent” sledder, Pat, headed out with snow bike/dirt bike/sledder aficionado friend Brian for a day at the local motorized playground.

The two spent the day chasing each other through a variety of terrain. Pat was mic’d up for the day so he could offer his “sledder” perspective on the terrain, ability to keep up and other pros and cons. Here it is:

 

 

Sled vs Snow Bike Conclusion

So, after all is said and done, our opinion remains unchanged. You can have a mixed group of sled vs snow bike, and have a hell of a good day. BUT! Certain mitigating factors will be in play.

For one, if a sledder tries to follow a snow bike in steep, tightly treed terrain all day, he’s going to be one sad sack of tired stuff by the end. That’s how much easier it is to manoeuvre a snow bike through that kind of terrain. As mentioned in the video, the degree to which a sled can hang depends largely on the ability level of the rider on a sled. This was just our experience.

 

Sled vs Snow Bike

 

The flip side of the coin—which we didn’t really get to experience because we were having fun slaying low-angle pow—is that a sled can substantially outclimb a snow bike in the wide open. So if your goal for the day is range far and wide beyond some long and steep pulls, you might be limited by a snow bike in your group.

If your goal is to push the limits of what your vehicle of choice for the day can accomplish, then it might be best not to mix the two. The other machine will likely fall short. However, these days are rare in our experience. That leaves plenty of days of fun compromise!

 

 

– MS