Snow bikes gain Okanagan traction
Twitch. Lazy Boy. Candy Bar. Heel Clicker. Canadian Saran. Superman.
Vernon adrenaline junkie Reagan Sieg has mastered all the above aerial tricks in a 15-year professional freestyle moto-cross career.
Now 34 and searching for a way to surf the back-country powder on his bike come winter, Sieg discovered snow bikes last year and can’t get enough of the new machine.
Sieg was so sold on the Timbersled Products Inc. of Idaho that he is now the owner of Okanagan Snow Bikes. He and Chad Edwards of Innerspace Watersports are the dealers in Vernon and Kelowna.
Snow Bikes represent the newest generation of motorcycle to sled conversions. Most motor bikes can be outfitted with a kit to turn it into a powerful snow machine. Sieg uses the Mountain Horse kit and is getting major hits on YouTube for his snow bike adventures in the region.
“We’re getting close to 20,000 views a month,” said Sieg, who also rides a Skidoo on occasion. “I was looking for a new winter toy and I found it. This is a completely different ride from a sled because you’re not fighting the machine. It’s going to steer where you steer it. We’re getting interest everywhere: Japan, Sweden and all over Western Canada. And it’s appealing to the older crowd because it’s such a comfortable ride.”
Sieg is now seeing groups of snow bike riders.
“Once they ride in armpit-deep snow and see the snow bikes do well, people realize it’s not a gimmick. Word is really spreading and people are understanding what they’re all about.”
The conversion kits can be installed and removed easily to make any style of dirt bike a four-season machine. Sieg says he spends less than $30 a day on gas for his snow bike.
Edwards has owned 30-year-old Innerspace for a decade and believes snow bikes will be one of the fastest-growing winter sports. They are already taking orders for next season.
He and Sieg used to snowmobile together, and while still a sled fan, Edwards loves the new feel.
“As soon as I flung my leg over the bike and rode through snow-covered waterfalls as a first-timer, I was sold,” said Edwards. “People ask me what it’s like and I say, ‘It’s more relaxing. It’s like riding a Gold Wing, Harley or your Cruiser on a cloud.’”
Sieg has performed death-defying, moto-cross demos all over the world, including the Calgary Stampede main grandstand. He suffered 80 fractures in both feet in a California stunt gone bad, but worked his butt off in rehab and got right back on his bike.
“The moto industry made me what I am today and now I’m marketing something different and exciting. I put photos on Facebook and it spreads through the industry like wildfire. People wonder ‘Who’s this Canadian who’s hucking these bikes off cliffs?’”
He describes the snow bike as a “sleek race machine that’s meant for the snow. There’s very little drag and they slide through the snow.”
Sieg tries to be an athlete 24-7 and gives big props to his wife, Jackie, for non-stop support. The couple has “dogs, cats and a fish tank” in the family.
He uses pro photographer and sledder Rob Alford of Revelstoke for his photo shoots which can last all day. Sieg and Edwards recently took Alford and fellow superstar Geoff Kyle of Slednecks for an eye-popping snow bike adventure.
In its brochure, Timbersled says the Mountain Horse snow bike provides the same joy as snowmobiling but with its own unique characteristics.
They added: “Snow biking gives you the freedom to fly through the trees, up and down mountains, across powdery meadows, through ravines and ditches, across creeks, or find fresh tracks no matter how torn up your normal riding area is.”
The kits, 48 pounds over a stock bike, are available for most late-model dirt bikes 250cc and larger (450cc recommended).
Edwards said Timbersled is famous for its custom Mountain Tamer geometry for snowmobiles so they simply adopted a similar kit for dirt bikes. U.S. pricing applies.
Innerspace Watersports, which also sells high-end sledding helmets, goggles, clothes and avalanche safety equipment, is simply expanding its recreational base through the snow bikes.