LeBlanc debuts Gnar Bike prototype in White River Rumble

More than 50 riders competed in the third annual White River Rumble cross country snowmobile/snow bike race, organized by Mountain States Snowmobile Racing, held on Yellow Jack Pass last Saturday, including Meeker’s Barney LeBlanc, who debuted his patent-pending Gnar Bike in the snow bike division, finishing fifth in a field of nine. LeBlanc was encouraged by his finish and he hopes to sell and produce 10 to 20 of them this winter. For race results, please visit MSSR on Facebook and for more information the Gnar Bike, please check out the website at www.gnarbike.net. Bobby Gutierrez photo

MEEKER | God and gnarly are not usually used in the same conversation, unless you are conversing with Barney LeBlanc about his patent-pending Gnar Bike. LeBlanc rode the snow bike competitively for the first time in the third annual White River Rumble cross country snowmobile/snow bike race held last Saturday starting at Yellow Jacket Pass.
LeBlanc, who has an engineering management degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango, used to joke with his college buddies about “Shredding the gnar-gnar,” so he used “gnar” (short for gnarly) in the naming of his patent-pending design of an adapted motorcycle frame to sit atop a snowmobile style tunnel, the Gnar Bike.
“It has been awesome to see how God has directed me,” LeBlanc said before the start of the race last Saturday. “Seeing God’s hand, knowing all of my inabilities and him redeeming my inabilities, has been awesome.”
LeBlanc, who has had a construction business for more than 13 years, has been working on snow-bike prototypes for more than six years and he has been working on the prototype he rode in the White River Rumble since last May.
“I love dirt biking and I have been watching snow bikes, riding each of the new versions,” LeBlanc said. “Their handling is more intuitive than a snowmobile and I wanted to be able to jump like a dirt bike.”
LeBlanc said he first built a prototype of a dirt bike on top of snowmobile tunnel but it was too tall and unrideable. He put one on two tracks but it lost the agility of a snow bike. Then he built a snowmobile-powered one and got the weight more on the track but the transmission was too wide.
Last March, Leblanc applied for a patent for his design, then built a prototype last May, in line with the one he raced Saturday and received notice in November of his patent-pending status.
LeBlanc said some of the patented pieces are the direct drive from the transmission of a dirt bike to the drivers of the track, the handle bars are within a foot of the track vertically and it is a tubular frame with a tunnel.
“A lot of others don’t have snowmobile-style tunnels,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc was “encouraged” by his fifth place finish in a field of 10 snow bikes entered in the White River Rumble. He is also ready to start selling them, hoping to produce 10 to 20 of them this winter, while gearing up for mass production later in 2018. LeBlanc would like to manufacture the Gnar Bike in Meeker.
“I was encouraged with the fifth place finish,” LeBlanc said. “About five miles into the race, I wrecked super hard and broke the main bolt in my suspension, which caused me to lose time, trying to go too fast when my machine was broken. It was a great learning experience and I glad it happened in Meeker and not on a bigger stage.”
LeBlanc would like to get on a bigger stage by finding “a better rider” to race his Gnar Bike and have it compete in national snow cross races, while he works on production.
He is also working on a CVR 1000, with 160 horsepower, which he said is fast “but kind of heavy,” and he is most excited about new Pantera 550 two-stroke engine he will install in March, which he says is the “latest, greatest technology and it makes 100 horsepower.”
“The next piece to develop is a ski with a wheel to make it dirt worthy and ultimately making it amphibious,” LeBlanc said.
His wife Kelly is supportive of her husband, calling herself the “cheerleader.”
“I’m the encourager, I love watching him go after his dreams,” she said.
To learn more about the Gnar Bike, please visit the website at www.gnarbike.net or email LeBlanc at gnarbike@yahoo.com.