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Snowbiking vs. Dirtbiking

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I imagine most of you snowbikers came from dirt first, although I'm sure there are sledders who have transitioned to snowbiking. In any case, I absolutely love dirtbiking. I ride as much as I can when the weather allows, and get a good 50 days in per year. I ride 90% singletrack. I am an avid snowboarder and have amazing winters here in Bozeman, MT. I've snowmobiled twice ever and thought it was a lot of fun, but didn't blow me away like "I have to do that again..." Granted, I know it takes years to become a good snowmobile rider.

I'm looking for feedback from dirtbikers who also ride snowbikes or even snowmobilers who switched over. How does it compare to riding a dirtbike? Do you have as much fun? What sort of terrain do you generally ride? How much more costly is your average day snowbiking than your average day dirtbiking? I've heard with snowmobiling parts break all the time and it's wildly expensive - is this the case with snowbiking too?

Investing into a hugely expensive sport without knowing how much I'd like it is tough. It seems like it would make the long MT winters even more enjoyable when I don't feel like strapping on a snowboard. I just don't want to break the bank if it's not going to be at least almost as fun as riding my dirtbike in the summer. Looking forward to all feedback!

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Don't do it! it will ruin dirt biking forever! 

I have been an avid dirt bike for over 10 years. Rode a ton in bozeman, but just on dirt/studs. Did my first real season of snowkiting last winter up here in Alaska. I am usually pretty cheap when it comes to bikes, my newest one was an 05 until recently when i bought a 2016 450sxf factory edition specifically so I could put my track kit on it. Last winter I rode an 2002 yz426 and had an absolute blast. Only downsides were some occasional issues with carb icing and hard starting when the bike would get flooded from being upside down (should be solved with the new bike). Otherwise was problem free, didn't have any breakdowns or really any damaged parts. 
These bikes will climb grades that will blow you mind at first, the track sticks so far back  its like having an extended swing arm but with traction. SIdehilling is of course extremely easy, you are pretty much good until the bar is dragging through the side of the hill. you can get all kinds of places the snowmobilers can only dream about. I ride tight trees to huge mountains it works well in both especially with snow thats on the firm side.

I have a load of videos on my youtube from  last winter

 

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17 hours ago, Wild Alaskan said:

Don't do it! it will ruin dirt biking forever! 

I have been an avid dirt bike for over 10 years. Rode a ton in bozeman, but just on dirt/studs. Did my first real season of snowkiting last winter up here in Alaska. I am usually pretty cheap when it comes to bikes, my newest one was an 05 until recently when i bought a 2016 450sxf factory edition specifically so I could put my track kit on it. Last winter I rode an 2002 yz426 and had an absolute blast. Only downsides were some occasional issues with carb icing and hard starting when the bike would get flooded from being upside down (should be solved with the new bike). Otherwise was problem free, didn't have any breakdowns or really any damaged parts. 
These bikes will climb grades that will blow you mind at first, the track sticks so far back  its like having an extended swing arm but with traction. SIdehilling is of course extremely easy, you are pretty much good until the bar is dragging through the side of the hill. you can get all kinds of places the snowmobilers can only dream about. I ride tight trees to huge mountains it works well in both especially with snow thats on the firm side.

I have a load of videos on my youtube from  last winter

 

Thanks for the feedback! I'll check out some of those videos later! 

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I have 45 years of dirt bike experience and around 20yrs of snowmobile experience. I am also a mountain guide and work heli skiing all winter.

IMO snowbiking beats them all. Think dune riding but with endless terrain features and no diving front end.

You can pretty much go anywhere in the mountains and you can have fun on most any terrain unlike a snowmobile.

Only downside is access trail riding sucks if you can't get off the trail but that sucks on a sled as well.

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I agree with tribalbc, snowbiking beats both dirtbiking and snowmobiling, by a longshot.  

Snowbikes go just about anywhere it is white/there is snow, and just simply do not get stuck.  They are point and shoot, twist and go-machines.  

The feeling of floating about on the snow is incredible, and with a LOT less energy spent as compared to riding a snowmobile in power/mountain sled.  

 

It is so true, the biggest bummer is that there are no legal off-trail areas to ride them in.  My only place is around my BIL's  so outside of that, here in New England, snowbikes just can't really take off like out west.  

 

 

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I'm also from the Bozeman area and have a couple years on a snowbike, 25 years of snowmobile experience and about 8 years riding dirt bike.

I like dirt biking alpine single track the best overall but when the conditions are perfect (18"+ of fresh on a good base on a 20 degree blue bird day), snowbiking or snowmobiling amazing.  Also, I love the freedom of riding and boondocking every where as opposed to your supposed to stay on the trail on dirt.

The difference between sledding and snowbiking is you can learn to ride a snow bike in a few hours and have a blast.  Really takes a solid year or more to be proficient on a snowmobile in deep powder.

Snowbiking isnt crazy expensive.  You burn 2 or 3 times more fuel than dirt riding and change the oil every other ride but you don't smokr through tires so its probably similar overall.

I switched to snowbiking from sledding because it isn't as condtion dependent.  I only like to ride snowmobile with over a foot of fresh.  I  will ride Snowbike anytime there is a good base.  You just rip through the trees and have a blast.

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Im in the bitteroot valley. Ive tried sleds for a few years and never really figured them out. Switched to snowbikes and fell in love. Im 50yrs old. Ride single track most of my life. And have crappy knees and back to show for it. I can go out for a consertive day of single track ridding and know ill hurt the next day.

 

a full day of hard core snowbiking on the other hand is so much easier on my body. No hard jarring impacts. Just carving virgin lines thru the fluff all day long. I rarely ride in the dirt anymore.

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Most of my dirt bike riding buddies have switched to Snowbikes when conditions allow. 

The opinions range from Fun as hell but different fun than a dirtbike, more about the places you can go and things you can see on a snowbike to 

I wish I could snowbike year round. They all say it's just like riding a dirtbike on the snow. 

 

They keep telling me to get a track for my 450 but the setup is expensive and I see way too many motor failures for my budget. 

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Snowbikes are "Different". 
Similar, but not like a bike.  Similar, but not like a sled.

If you're comfortable on a bike, you can figure out a snowbike pretty easy.  Having some snowmobile experience will help with terrain/line choices and obstacle avoidance.

But they're definitely their own category of vehicles imo.

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