DIY Skibike - The Build

Posted: Sunday, 20 December 2009 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: ,

With just a week to go before Christmas, the post man dropped off a note to inform me that a package was due for collection at the sorting office. After paying the import duties and taxes due, the box was home and eagerly unwrapped. I was impressed by the quality of the components, there was nothing cheap or flimsy about them; comprehensive conversion instructions were provided.

Adapter Kit from
My temporary job ended on the 23rd December and I spent Christmas with an old school friend and his family. Returning home a couple of days later and with slim chances of any more work on the horizon, now would be my ideal opportunity to make the conversion.

I started by stripping down the Marin to a bare frame. From prior bike experiences I was expecting this to be a lengthy process, but luckily it wasn't. Even the parts that are normally seized in place; such as the seat post and bottom bracket all came apart with no fuss.

Having got ahead of schedule I was able to test fit the adapters, which dropped in well at the rear, the front was a little too tight, but some fine adjustments using a pair of cramps to act as spreaders sorted it.

Following these excellent DIY instructions I cut down my old pair of 1980's Fischer Sunrise skis from 190cm to 99cm. The bases and edges were still in fine working order but I had to shave the bases slightly where the mounting screws had caused a few unwanted bumps in the base. A hacksaw was the ideal tool for the job and necessary to get through the hardened steel edges. Each ski took around 10 minutes to cut, followed by some smoothing off with a power sander and finally a few coats of car spray paint to seal off the exposed wood core.

Following advice provided by Randy at SkiBikeFun I found the balance point of the now truncated skis by balancing it on a pencil. I marked this on the ski with a permanent pen and was then able to calculated an ideal mounting point to give a 60/40 front/rear (Alpine) weight distribution.

I used the skis original binding mounting screws to fix the new adapters to the skis and made test assembly. Everything lined up correctly, however the adapters are predrilled with a number of mounting holes so there is plenty of scope for fine adjustments fore and aft later.
I was concerned that the rear ski might dig in if I became airborne, so I rigged up a chain to fix the tip to the downtube.

I didn't think I would be using the pegs so installed a couple of large washers to act as blanking panels for the bottom bracket shell.

Skibike Mk.1 - New Year's Day 2010

UPDATE - Since writing this article, it has become one of the most popular on this blog. Look here to see how this skibike evolved 

Cold Weather Arrives

Posted: Tuesday, 1 December 2009 by Mark Kinnon in Labels:

By the start of December I found myself some temporary work for Royal Mail at their Gatwick sorting office. It was a minimum wage job but was fantastic when viewed as a paid workout. A stamina building bike commute of 30+ miles a day, followed by 8 hours shifting mail sacks, I lost weight and have never felt fitter.

The month started mild, wet and windy, typical British weather but as Christmas approached the winds swung to the East and the weather took on a distinctly chill quality.
The first snow arrived, with the sorting office cloaked in a mini blizzard. One of my co-workers had only arrived from Pakistan a few months previously and had never seen it before. I rode home through a couple of inches of fresh snow.
Heading home that evening, my hard wearing road tyres offered little purchase and I took a couple of nasty spills bending the crank on the second occasion. I was forced to ride home at a snail's pace with the crank knocking against the chainstay with every rotation.

Was this to be a portent of conditions to come?