January 2012

Bikers, Winter Doesn’t Have to Suck: What to Do When It’s Too Cold to Ride Your Motorcycle

January can be a depressing time for motorcycle enthusiasts who live north of the winter snow line. Our bikes are most likely in a garage with the battery removed and the oil drained, but that doesn’t mean there are no outlets to fill the hole left by your usual adrenaline pumping hobby.

Try a Snowmobile

If you live somewhere where the winters are particularly white and powdery, finding a new way to feel the wind on your face at high speeds may be as simple as switching to a snowmobile. Snowmobiles, also called snow machines, are often compared to motorcycles for their open riding, powerful engines and typical capacity for a driver and one passenger.

Snowmobiles are powered by either a 4- or 2-stroke internal combustion engine. Some later models can produce horsepower of up to 180, and some are designed to go 150 mph or more. Snowmobiles run on tracks made of a Kevlar composite and most are made by one of four companies: Ski-Doo, Polaris, Arctic Cat or Yamaha.

Originally designed to go where other vehicles simply couldn’t in winter weather, snowmobiles are still a great way to explore snowy trails and frozen lakes. If you don’t live near a park or forest, you may not want to fork over the cash to purchase a new snowmobile, which can go for $6000 or more. Consider a trip to a state park or recreation area where snowmobile rentals and tours go for about the same price as a ski lift ticket.

Perhaps the most exciting reason to give snowmobiling a try comes from fellow Biker Gift Shop blogger, Biker Black. He says, “Riding a motorcycle and riding a snowmobile have a lot in common, but snowmobiles have one extra advantage. Because you’re not on a road, you can go as fast as you want. On a frozen lake, you can push down the throttle and go full speed, and it’s legal! Where else can you do that? Maybe on the Salt Flats in a bike, but that’s all I can think of.”