As a rule of thumb, the majority of snow bikes can go as fast as 40-50 mph. Only a few of the most powerful ones can hit the 60 mph mark! Compared to regular snowmobiles they are significantly slower, as sleds top out at 80-120 mph. This is because snow bikes are built using less powerful, 2-stroke dirt bikes. But let’s face it, snow bikes are not designed for extreme speeds but for playing around in powder!
If you want to learn more about the performance of snow bikes, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
What Does the Top Speed of a Snow Bike Depend On?
The top speed of a snow bike depends on five main factors, which are as follows:
- Performance and features of the dirt bike
- Track design and dimensions
- Overall weight of the machine
- External factors (altitude, temperature, terrain, etc.)
When it comes to the top speed, the biggest factor that affects it is arguably the performance of the engine.
Most snow bikes are built using 450-550cc dirt bikes, which typically produce only 45-55 HP. In contrast, snowmobile engines crank out 65-211 HP.
That’s why sleds are much faster!
Just like on regular dirt bikes, you also have an opportunity to play with the gearing. However, you can’t expect a miracle from this modification.
If you really need more power, you should consider some aftermarket performance mods.
If you are curious about the performance of a turbocharged snow bike, don’t miss this video!
As in the case of snowmobiles, the design and dimensions of the track can also affect the available speeds.
Short tracks are smaller, lighter, and feature smaller lugs, so they need less power to reach the same speed.
As a general rule, short tracks corner better and go faster on hard-packed surfaces.
Furthermore, the overall weight also matters. The weight of a 2-stroke snow bike ranges from 280 up to 320 pounds, while a 4-stroke can exceed the 350-pound limit.
Don’t forget that your weight and the gear you carry also affect the performance, and finally the speed.
Last but not least, the top speed of snow bikes is also dependent on many external factors like the terrain, temperature, and altitude. A big differences in altitude can be an issue especially on carbureted bikes.
Let’s move on and take a closer look at the top speeds of different snow bikes!
How Fast do Snow Bikes Go?
It’s safe to say that nearly all snow bikes are built using 450-550cc, 2-stroke dirt bikes. These machines produce 45-55 HP and top out at 80-100 mph on dirt. But surprisingly converting them into a snow bike cuts their top speed in half. Therefore, the average snow bike can only go as fast as 40-60 mph. It’s safe to say that the majority of them top out at 40-50 mph, so only the most powerful or modified bikes can hit the 60 mph mark.
This shocks many performance-minded riders who are used to the high speeds of their bikes. But unfortunately the large track and the snow robs engine power, which finally results in lower speeds.
The lack of power and speed can be an issue on the trails but don’t forget that snow bikes are designed for backcountry riders.
In powder lower speeds are not such a big problem, as bikers typically prefer to play around instead of maintain higher speeds.
Riding a snow bike at full throttle for an extended period of time is not a great idea anyway. Why?
First, a snow bike doesn’t feature any fairings, so you are completely exposed to the cold air. Since it provides less stability than a sled, riding a bike too fast can even be dangerous.
Too much speed can be an issue especially on trails where the front ski tends to follow the grooves.
Last but not least, don’t forget that 2-stroke engines are more sensitive for WOT (full throttle) operation compared to 4-strokes.
Running a bike too long at WOT can cause its engine to run lean or overheat. In the worst-case scenario, it may end in a seized engine!
Most snow bikes offer a top speed of 40-50 mph, while a few powerful models can hit 60 mph.
Since their engines produce only 45-55 HP, they are far less powerful than regular snowmobiles. This results in lower top speeds.
Nevertheless, riding a snow bike is really fun. They are typically used in the backcountry where the lower top speed is not such a big deal!