Introduction: XC Ski Kit for Fat Bike

Picture of XC Ski Kit for Fat Bike

After poking around online, I found a few different ideas to make a ski kit that would work behind my fat bike. The options available from Thule/Chariot were expensive and only sold as a kit for XC skiing, and I only needed the ski portions since the whole waist belt system wouldn't really work on a bike.


I also wanted an easy on/off option so I could ride to the trails with the wheels on, then attach the skis. This is what I came up with.

Step 1: Splitting the Conduit.

Picture of Splitting the Conduit.

First I found some PVC electrical conduit with a 10" radius bend, which matches pretty perfectly with the 20" diameter wheels on most bike trailers. I think they were about $2.98 per piece at Lowes.

I used a short blade on my jigsaw so I could cut each side of the conduit, making a tray for the wheel to sit in. Once split, I sanded down any sharp edges with a sanding block.

A side note on the conduit: while at Ace Hardware picking up some bungee cords, I saw some very similar conduit without the bell end, which might have been marginally better for this application due to a snugger fit at the end.

Step 2: Mounting the Skis

Picture of Mounting the Skis

After removing and discarding the old ski bindings, I drilled a pilot hole and attached the conduit to the skis with a short wood screw. Had to be careful to try and center up the skis so they will track straight.

FYI. the stock skis on the actual Thule Chariot ski attachment are 110cm. I found a 120cm kids XC ski at Play it Again Sports for under $20. They're very lightweight and have a wood core.

Step 3: Attaching, Continued

Picture of Attaching, Continued

I originally bought bolts and T-nuts to attach the conduit, but after the single small wood screw found good purchase in the core of the ski, I opted for a quicker and easier option. Two longer wood screws went right through the skis, following pilot holes I drilled so the conduit wouldn't crack or split.

Step 4: Trimming the Screws

Picture of Trimming the Screws

Obviously having the right length screw would have been better, but some quick Dremel action solved that issue pretty quickly. I might clean this up a bit more later, but I don't think it will have much affect.

Step 5: Attaching to the Tires

Picture of Attaching to the Tires

Another quick and easy option for now, I used 10" bungee cords ($4.99 for a 4 pack at Ace Hardware) to attach the conduit to the tires. I originally envisioned a velcro strap that would stay attached to the conduit, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. Might make something like that later since the bungee cords are a little tricky to get on/off with gloves on in the cold.

Step 6: Test Ride

Picture of Test Ride

This was the easy part (aside from the extra effort of hauling a trailer)!

The whole unit functioned pretty well the first time out. I'm definitely going to add one more bungee cord to each wheel, right where it sits in the bottom of the conduit. One one big bump the wheel popped out sideways just a little bit. Eventually I'll switch to velcro straps once I have time to sew them up. For an initial effort, this worked really well and the kiddo was stoked to come along on a fat bike adventure.

Step 7: Keep the Kiddo Stoked!

Picture of Keep the Kiddo Stoked!

Reward kid with hot chocolate, pancakes or waffles! I may toss a hot water bottle in with him next time, since I ended up having to take off the wind screen (it fogged up and he couldn't see). He still had the bug screen to protect him from snow, but the wind made him a bit colder when I was going downhill. He LOVED going downhill… which made for lots of uphill runs as well, adding a great workout for me. Good to remember that even though you're probably overheating, the kiddo is just sitting there and might be colder.

Comments

jtmahoney4 (author)2015-11-03

Looks great! Thank you for sharing. Curious on what size conduit you went with; 1.5" or 2"?

bikepolo (author)jtmahoney42015-11-04

2" I think. I actually brought the wheel into the hardware store with me and just eyeballed it.

AnthonyM74 (author)2015-10-17

nice work, hesitating between your pvc binding idea or diy wood bindings myself. Complimentary idea to keep the young one warm, I thought of battery heated seat pads that hunters and fichermen use. May i ask if you had any issues with slush or grim propeled by the weel going into the chariot?

bikepolo (author)AnthonyM742015-10-27

I usually have the roof on the chariot closed, since the rear wheel of the bike definitely sprays the front/roof if there is road grime. In most hard packed snow conditions, there isn't much getting kicked up, but the roof keeps the wind off the kiddo.

For extra warmth we have gone the old school route with a hot water bottle under a blanket.

bikepolo (author)2015-02-18

FYI for anybody who is wondering… the missing link in this whole project (for me) was actually figuring out how to attach the trailer hitch to my bike.

Normally, the Chariot hitch mounts via the quick release skewer. This bike has a wide thru axle, so I had to get a custom part from http://www.robertaxleproject.com which was a total lifesaver. Considering the money I saved with the DIY project, I was happy to spend a bit of cash to make sure the connection to the trailer was totally solid and know that it wasn't going to mess up my bike.

tomatoskins (author)2015-02-18

This is an awesome idea! I've never thought about it but I'm sure that your kid loves it!

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