Outdoors

Snogo bike slashes fresh powder and groomed trails

Snogo bike slashes fresh powde...
Snogo on the snow
Snogo on the snow
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The Snogo features a suspension fork for smooth, rattle-free riding
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The Snogo features a suspension fork for smooth, rattle-free riding
The rear skis include open bindings and grip pads
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The rear skis include open bindings and grip pads
The Snogo bike is up on Kickstarter now and available for a $1,299 pledge
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The Snogo bike is up on Kickstarter now and available for a $1,299 pledge
The Snogo lets the rider "pop a wheelie"
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The Snogo lets the rider "pop a wheelie"
The articulated leaning system of the Snogo provides for steering, maneuvering and stopping
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The articulated leaning system of the Snogo provides for steering, maneuvering and stopping
Closeup of the rear ski steering system
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Closeup of the rear ski steering system
Snogo's RLTAG design makes its bike highly maneuverable
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Snogo's RLTAG design makes its bike highly maneuverable
The lift hook is set at what Snogo defines as industry standard lift chair height, making it easy to load the bike and sit down on the lift
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The lift hook is set at what Snogo defines as industry standard lift chair height, making it easy to load the bike and sit down on the lift
A Snogo rider hits the mountain
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A Snogo rider hits the mountain
The Snogo gives the rider sharp turning and carving capabilities
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The Snogo gives the rider sharp turning and carving capabilities
Snogo on the snow
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Snogo on the snow

Over the years, numerous tinkerers and companies have tried to transfer the fun of bicycling to the snow. While the fatbike has gained some recent traction, literally and figuratively, other designers still feel that replacing tires with skis is the only way to go. We've seen this trend in BikeBoards, the Skki and now the Snogo. The new ski bike uses an articulated steering system and front suspension to connect the rider to the powder or hard pack below.

Ski bikes are a classic example of gear that looks super-fun on paper or in a YouTube video, but isn't all that tempting in real life. In my 20 years of experience visiting ski resorts across the US Northeast and Rocky Mountains, I've found ski bikes to be only slightly more common than bartending polar bears. Such bikes look like fun, but because they're heavier, equally or more expensive and way less widely available than skis or snowboards, they just aren't that compelling. And I'd much rather take a tumble on skis than than on a heavy metal bike frame.

The Snogo features a suspension fork for smooth, rattle-free riding
The Snogo features a suspension fork for smooth, rattle-free riding

Salt Lake City's Snogo believes it has the recipe to make ski biking more fun. Its bike immediately reveals itself as quite different from the typical seated, dual-ski bike. Its triple-ski design is meant to be ridden standing up, with no seat to rest your mass on.

The Snogo's defining feature is the multilink steering system called responsive lateral torsion-assist geometry (RLTAG). This multi-hinged design allows each rear ski to move individually. The rider can actually lift each individual foot and lift the front ski off the ground.

Closeup of the rear ski steering system
Closeup of the rear ski steering system

The articulated RLTAG design provides more freedom of movement and looks like it will result in improved control and a better connection to the snow below when compared to simpler, less maneuverable snow bike designs. The articulation is also adjustable, allowing the rider (or rental shop) to tune steering and stopping for beginners, intermediates and advanced riders. Snogo says the bike is designed to ride any marked terrain a skier or snowboarder would tackle, including groomed trails, powder, trees and moguls.

I'm still not convinced that the ski bike has the same potential as skis or snowboards, especially with the Snogo's four-figure price tag in mind, but the design makes me curious enough to want to try – not something I'd say about simpler, dual-ski bikes. That super-maneuverable frame looks fun for both general downhill carving and pulling tricks, though I'm not sure how well all those joints will hold up to the latter.

A Snogo rider hits the mountain
A Snogo rider hits the mountain

Beyond its signature articulated construction, the Snogo bike is also designed to be user-friendly in other ways. The integrated chairlift hook is designed to offer a balanced, stable ride up the mountain and is set at a 22-in (56-cm) height to allow it to be seamlessly picked up by the average chairlift seat. The skis are mounted with quick releases, making it easy to break the bike down for transport and storage.The skis themselves are a versatile all-mountain, twin-tip design measuring 90 cm in back and 75 cm in front. They feature full wood cores, full steel edges and tip protection. The rear skis are equipped with open bindings that the rider can quickly slide his feet in and out of, and grippy stomp pads. Snogo recommends wearing snowboarding boots for stability and weather protection.

Much like a regular bike, Snogo components are interchangeable, allowing you to fine-tune performance and feel by swapping out the handlebar, stem, headset and fork. The safety leash can also be switched out.

The bike weighs 32 lb (14.5 kg) and features a welded 6061 aluminum alloy frame. It's available with both a standard 100-mm (3.9-in) suspension fork with remote lockout and a RockShox Sektor with rebound adjustment, twist lockout, and between 130 and 150 mm (5.1 and 5.9 in) of travel.

Snogo is offering complete bikes starting at Kickstarter pledge levels of US$1,299 (estimated retail: $1,599). Utah residents that want to give it a go can pledge $55 on a full-day rental voucher. Given that Utah is a popular ski destination, we'd think the designers could attract some interest from renters outside the state, but maybe they're worried their fleet is too small. With about $21K of their $32K goal raised in just a few days, it looks like they have a strong shot at a successful campaign without extending the rental perk to Kickstarters outside state borders.

You can see Snogo's full pitch on the Kickstarter campaign. The video below provides a nice look at a few Snogo bikes in action on the slopes.

Original SNO-GO Sneak Peek

Sources: Snogo, Kickstarter

4 comments
c w
the Martin Jetpack is not a jetpack. the Snogo "bike" is not a bike (unless one only counts the two skis on the back). I expect this kind of layman inaccuracy from Engadget, but you, Gizmag? I am very disappointed. VERY disappointed.
Norm Frey
I used a "sno bike" once, rented it at a ski resort near lake Tahoe, CA. Never skied before, but I was quickly going down the slopes and having fun, not spending days learning how to ski, but my experience on a dirt bike helped handle the snobike. THE BIG ISSUE WITH ALL THESE IS THAT (at that time) FEW RESORTS ALLOWED SNOBIKE TYPE THINGS ON THEIR SLOPES, So don't buy one and expect to be welcome wherever you want. And many chair lifts require you to ski off, they don't stop for you to unload your skibike from the back.
jayedwin98020
Obed & Chase, Why not give the bike's "lift hook" the ability to fold down, to the frame's cross member, when riding the bike. Then prior to getting on the chairlift, it could be swung back to the original, horizontal position. This suggested feature, might decrease the rider's need for knee pads. I was also thinking, you might consider adding a foldable, support bar/brace, to "lift hook", that would also swing down, and brace against the bike's cross member. This could provide the necessary support to actual allow a rider to sit on the bike's "lift hook" while riding. And for extra comfort, adding a little padding to the top of "lift hook", shouldn't be that difficult, if the 'seat idea' happened develop any wings. This seat idea could be a desirable "option", for the less athletic, or aggressive style of rider. And who knows, this proposed "option" could actually broaden your SNOGO Bike's potential customer base, and hopefully provide you with additional ROI. Best of Luck, Jim Dasher, Spectrum Graphics, E.: rii.jed@gmail P.: 425.774.0170
Disfigured leg
I agree, if a person has two good legs ski or snowboard is best choice. Not many of us that fall between handicap and nothing wrong. I recently witnessed people riding snogo at eagle point. Personally my foot feels nearly broken when I slip on boot for boarding 1/4 muscle fiber of good leg. This seems like a possibility to keep hitting slopes. Price and loading onto lifts is problems I see encountering