These days, snowmobiles are starting to look more and more like dirt bikes, or is it vice versa? But the ultimate mating of the two is a snow bike and love it or hate it, the technology to convert a motorcycle made to run on dirt into a snow crushing machine has really caught on.
In the Southern Interior and Lower Mainland regions of B.C., it’s spreading like a wildfire.
With guys like professional freestyle motocrosser Reagan Sieg and pro big mountain snowmobile Geoff Kyle pushing it, there’s no telling where the sport of mountain snow biking will go from here.
For many who try a snow bike, it’s love at first ride. It was for Kyle anyway. In fact, he was so impressed with a Timbersled Mountain Horse snow bike that he decided to start a snow bike tour and rental company for the winter of 2013-2014.
In a recent interview with RidersWest, Kyle gave us some insight into his new venture and what he thinks of this growing sport.
When was your first time on a snow bike and what did you think? That would have been last year with Reagan Sieg. He is the B.C. rep for Timbersled. I had been on it multiple times throughout the year but the first time I had a smile from ear to ear and I knew that I had to get one. I didn’t realize that we’d start up a company but it came about.
Were you a dirt rider before then? I dirt bike a lot in the summertime so it was a no-brainer transition.
When did Sno-Moto Adventures get started? This will be our first season with it. We work with KTM Canada and have their KTM 450 SX bikes, which are their motocross edition bikes.
When did you start doing tours? At the beginning of the season, we were running tours from here in Whistler, and I took it up to Sicamous as well. Our snow has been very low here. Mother Nature hasn’t been co-operating. We’ve been running these snow bikes early season because they aren’t as affected by snow (as the snowmobiles). They don’t have A-arms to bend and they’re very fun to ride in next to no snow and they’re fun to ride in a ton of snow . . . They’re very versatile. It’s incredible.
Are there more dirt bikers than snowmobilers getting into this sport? Well, we’re almost one and the same. In Whistler, in the wintertime, you see all the trucks with snowmobiles and then in the summertime, those same trucks all have dirt bikes in them so it’s the adventure riders.
Is it easier to ride a snow bike or a snowmobile? It is easier for them to ride the snow bike. If you had twins and they were side by side on a snowmobile and a snow bike, the one that jumps on the snow bike will excel much quicker. He would travel over terrain that would be more intermediate terrain for a snowmobiler. The person on a snowmobile has to learn how to tip that machine over and control it in order to carve. A snow bike doesn’t need to do that so tipping it over is easy. If you can ride a mountain bike, you can ride one of these.
Can the snow bikes share the same kind of terrain as snowmobiles or do you tend to look for different features when you’re riding? You now look for different features but you can ride the same terrain as a snowmobile—other than the super-steep hill climbs. In that respect, the snow bike doesn’t have as much horsepower. It only has about 60 horsepower as opposed to a new XM, which has 160. But with the weight of the track, the snowmobile is at least twice as heavy. That being said, the snow bike is much more agile, so you can cruise through trees extremely easy and sidehills are extremely easy . . . I’m so stoked on them. I’m a snowmobiler at heart and will be forever and ever but it’s nice to have a choice.
Do you think the sport will continue to grow? I believe without a doubt in my mind that this will grow very big.
For more information about Sno-Moto Adventures, see Geoff Kyle’s Freeride website.