How to Easily Convert Your Bike Into a Snow Bike




Before I bring you to the materials list, I'd better cover my butt with a disclaimer.

I'm not responsible if anyone gets hurt during the construction or use of this product. I design and construct this product in a manner that I believe is safe, but as in everything accidents do happen, so follow this Instructable at your own risk and please use all applicable safety equipment during the use and construction of this product such as a helmet when wearing it.

Now that we got that out of the way, time to begin the fun!

In this Instructable we're going to learn how to build a bike that is ride-able in the snow, aka a snow bike, out of simple materials that are cheap and easy to work with. A good thing about this project is that the bike can be easily converted back afterwards.

Step 1: Materials List


• Ski or pair of skis preferably small, otherwise you may have to cut them down (I only had water skis, so i used those, but snow would probably work best)
• Zip-ties (at least 44, I bought two packs of 30 zip ties at the local dollar store for a dollar each.)
• A bike that isn't super expensive. (I used a $20 yard sale bike just in case something goes wrong you are not out much. Don't use your $2,000 Specialized or KHS for this project just to be safe.)


• Pliers
• Tape Measure
• Cutters that can cut zip-ties
• Drill
• Some type of writing utensil that can write on wood. Permanent markers and grease pencils work best.
Optional: For better precision of holes use a drill press

Step 2: Unscrew the Bindings

On your ski, unscrew and remove the bindings screws as seen in the picture. Remove the boot from the rear binding, it should come right out, if not, press the buttons used to adjust it and then slide it out. You won't need the boot or any of the parts from the front binding. Save the rails and screws from the rear binding.

If you are using children's skis and they are connected, also remove anything connecting the two skis together.

Step 3: Measure and Mark

Find the width of your bike tire, it should be on the side of the tire, if not measure it.

Once you know the width of your tire, measure out how far the bindings must move in in order to have the binding edge against the tire. To do this, you can measure the middle of your ski and then offset each binding just a tiny bit over (1/32" or 1/64" should do) half of the width of the tire on each side of the center of the ski. For example if we have a 1.5" wide tire we would measure measure .8 from the right and left of the center and that's where each binding would go.

Once you've found the correct distance, now just measure over the holes in the same manner and mark them.

Step 4: Drill Holes

Now, carefully (preferably wearing safety glasses) pre-drill the holes that you marked using a drill bit just a little smaller than the other holes.

Step 5: Screw the Bindings Back In

Now we screw the bindings into the new holes that we drilled, pretty self explanatory, just make sure to push hard on the screwdriver so as not to strip out the Philips screws.

Step 6: Put Wheel Into Bindings and Deflate

First, before you put your wheel between the new bindings, put some zip-ties underneath the bindings as shown in the first picture. Use a good amount because these will hold the wheel to the binding.

Now, move the bike so that the tire is in between the bindings on top of the zip-ties.

Once you have it centered well, deflate the tire. Notice how the rubber fills and gaps between the bindings and the wheel and forms a nice tight fit.

Step 7: Tie Zip-ties and Tighten With Pliers

Now pull those zip-ties around and pull them tight with a pair of pliers.

Step 8: Adjust Brakes to Make Room for Zip-tie Snow Chains

If you have rim brakes, loosen the brakes so that the zip-ties won't hit and then zip-tie the cable out of the way so it isn't able to catch on anything.. (they won't be much use in snow anyhow)

Step 9: Zip-tie Snow Chains

Now to give some grip, we must make zip-tie snow chains on the rear wheel. Simply distribute zip-ties evenly and generously around the rear rim and then clip off the tag. I ended up using about 35 zip-ties for my rear wheel, but its a 24" so you will probably use more if your wheel us larger.

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    19 Discussions


    1 year ago

    How effective are these zip tie snow chanis?

    80% as good as real chains?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Different, but not bad considering it's in snow so the handling is different in general. It works, but I would not try any 360 burnouts :D


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Dont forget to somehow block the front wheel,or the ski front will go downwards and stuck in snow as soon as it gets a chance.Maybe some hard springs that will hold it a bit upwards when not under pressure,and prevent it from going down in snow.
    But great idea with zip ties,thin metal ones would be more expensive,but probably much better.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, that's a great idea. I'd never thought of using metal zip-ties. So used to having the plastic ones around. :D

    I'm going to use this on my soon to be moped! There is snow in the ground 4 months a year where i live. Thanks so much.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I'm so anxious to hear from someone first-hand but bet is on poor control in powder due to the rear sinking in and acting like an anchor in powder drift or when trying to slide into a drift.


    I haven't tested in powder because we have just ended our snow season, but it does a decent speed. Next time I ride I'll gps the speed on it and let you know how fast it goes.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Also, people if you like this project please be sure to vote so I can get a new set of tools to use on future projects. :D


    6 years ago on Introduction

    We used to do similar to dirt motorcycles. One observation though: there's no rigid connection between the forks and the ski. Attaching the ski only to the wheel will exponentially multiply the side forces applied to the wheel when steering, especially when steeringing out of a rut. It's not uncommon to "taco" an unmodified wheel with heavy steering inputs. With this setup, it's almost inevitable. Also, when wrapping the rear wheel, be sure to keep the cord tight. If it's loose, it'll ride up over the spoke nipples and pedaling torque will bend spokes at the least, break them at the worst. It's best to use a knobby tire, helps to keep the cord tight and evenly spaced around the wheel.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, the zip ties should be tight, I agree. This is a simplified version meant to easily be built and reversed with home tools. I may in the future create a snow bike that's fully custom made with shop tools with a ski attached to a metal mount that can attach where the hubs are bolted. Thanks for your comments everyone!


    6 years ago

    Very nice, I will have to use this next year. Btw you should enter this in the bike contest.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    No, the clearance was hitting but since it is in snow it is still easy to stop on your own or put your foot down to stop.

    Iron Cowbell

    6 years ago

    If only I'd found this 4 months ago