Living in a frigid northern climate enables its residents to enjoy snow for many months during the winter. For avid mountain bikers, that can hinder the amount of riding time on fast, packed dirt trails. Not wanting to be slowed by snow in the winter months, I set out to combine my passion for mountain biking with the speed of downhill skiing. This mash-up of sports yields an incredibly fun, challenging and extreme sport of its own: Ski-biking.
This instructable documents my journey using the engineering process as I designed, built and rode my own version of a ski-bike. Several ski-bike instructables already exist for quick and easy ski-biking fun. However, if you want to build a serious snow shredding machine, you will want to follow this Instructable as I describe the crucial aspects of ski-bike design and the implications of various design choices.
Below are the steps of the engineering process that I employed.
• Define the problem or need
• Research existing intellectual property and history
• Conceptualize & brainstorm
• Establish design requirements
• Product design
• Production planning and tool design
• Test & Analyze
• Repeat (coming soon!)
Step 1: Research
There was no advantage for me to "reinvent the wheel" so instead of trying to develop everything on my own, I first conducted research on the internet to find out 1) what was already developed, 2) what designs or characteristics I wanted to utilize, and 3) designs or characteristics I wanted to avoid. Another useful research trick is to understand how the sport has evolved over the years. That helps to confirm a potential design isn't outdated or purposefully avoided by the industry.
Despite their lack of mainstream use (and possibly even awareness), Ski-bikes have been around in various forms since the 1960's! And just as your standard bicycle or set of skis, these designs have significantly improved over the years. In the following steps, I’ll describe how I used some of the information I gathered to influence the design of my own ski-bike.