A beat-up steel frame, studded tires, and lobster gloves used to be the only key ingredients for building a winter commuter bike. Not anymore. Steamboat Springs' Moots bicycle company's second fleet of snow-specific FrosTi cycles are slick (in a good way).
The frame—available in four sizes (16-, 18-, 20-, 22-inch)—is molded to accommodate tires spanning 3.7 inches wide. It's like a tank tread, in bicycle terms. But, in true Moots fashion, the titanium frame allows for a doable uphill slog, as the bike is about 34 pounds when built-up. The frame will run you $3,975, but you get to customize the part quality depending on how "blinged" out you want your FrosTi to be. (The bike shown on the Moots website would retail for about $6,900.) It's not cheap, but you've got to pay to play. Or justify the cost by going on a snow bike adventure like Grand Junction's Mike Curiak.
Curiak was one of the key inspirations for the FrosTi bike. When the bicycle wheel builder decided to take on Alaska's Iditarod Challenge by bicycle, he knew he needed a burley ride that would work on all types of frozen terrain. The Moots team took on the challenge and produced a snow bike Curiak affectionately called "Snoots," a mixture of snow and Moots. The bike was outfitted to carry all of Curiak's gear and food for the 25-day, 1,100-mile self-supported journey from Knit to Nome. (Watch Curiak and Snoots' journey here.)
With Curiak's prototype-model tested in some of the planet's harshest conditions, the team at Moots started building snow bikes for themselves to take on the Steamboat winter before showing a model off at the 2008 North American Handmade Show (which will be in Denver this spring). And now, you can have one for yourself. Preorder with a Moots dealer before November 1, and you'll have your chubby-tired bike 10 days before Christmas. The only holiday present better than a bike with a bow is a bike with a bow you don't have to wait until March to ride.