New Firem VS model skibike for the 2011-12 season

Posted: Monday, 12 December 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , ,

French skibike builder Firem VS have recently rationalised their offering and are producing only two models of skibike, namely the boutique VS 411 and the new VS 512 "all mountain" machine.

As a direct result of consumer feedback for a smaller, lighter skibike. Firem have evolved their original kid sized skibike chassis to become an adult design that is considerably lighter, more compact and manageable than the Evolution model it replaces.
But is the VS 512 skibike an overgrown child's toy, or a serious all mountain machine? I was able to view the prototype in July 2011, construction and finish were up to typical Firem standards and in a different league to certain traditional manufacturers products. But not only was it robust it had a number of unique, innovative and useful features.

The VS 512 skibike is designed to disassemble in two pieces for easy transportation in the boot of a car or to fit into the type of mini gondola lift found throughout Europe. This should keep the lifties happy that your skibike is not going to trash the cabin interior. Separating the two halves is a tool free operation requiring a few twists of 2 quick release handles, both halves of the frame can then be parted. When you travel, it can be safe and secure out of sight in the boot of the car, not sitting on the roof.

Another novel feature is a releasable ant-dive lock on the rear ski. In normal operation the travel of the rear ski is limited to prevent diving into soft snow. This feature can be unlocked, then the skibike can be tipped vertically on its rear ski for loading into a cable car and taking up little more space than a snowboard.

The skibike incorporates the Firem design of rear ski brake, which remains a subject of much heated discussion whenever skibikers get the chance. Much like Marmite it is something you will either love or hate.

The saddle features very simple up/down adjustment for riders of different heights.

The total weight of the VS 512 is approximately 11kg, which is probably still a couple of kilos over the ideal, but represents a 30% weight reduction on the outgoing model it replaces.

Firem vs512 skibike - smaller, lighter and more manageable
The price is listed at 1500 Euros which is equivalent (at the time of writing) to $2000 or £1280. The first production model hit the snow at Grand Bornand last Saturday for testing by ski tech Jef who also provided a lot of input into the new models design.
I should be heading out to the French Alps in the new year and look forward to testing it too.