Our buddy Alvaro Dal Farra sent us some photos of his KX450f Snow bike. He also put together a nice writeup to explain how to ride bikes like this. Photos from Cristopher Breda and Davide Dal Mas Photo.
“Winter and snow make a forced stop for motocross lovers, who because of the ice and the cold are forced to park their bikes in the garage and wait for warmer seasons. But it will never again be so!
The new kit to transform bikes into snow bikes will be the turning point to continue our passion during the coldest months of the year. The rear track and the front slide are the two parts to be mounted; with few hours of work so we can turn your bike into a real snow beast.
On the first approach the feeling and the driving position are very similar to those of a normal bike, but I immediately noticed the difficulty in steering; the handlebar is very heavy because of the ski mounted in place of the wheel, which maintains the direction thanks to two wide edges that carve the hard and compact snow, ensuring a good grip and allowing us to give directionality to the bike once in traction. The stiffness of the steering bar takes away a little bit the feeling of manoeuvrability in narrow turns and at low speeds.
The rear track instead acts in a stronger and more aggressive way on the ground: it has a larger surface than the wheel, so acceleration and braking change. It also is flat, it does not have a round surface as the tire: it changes the reaction of the bike, especially in turns, when it’s very likely to skid and lose the right traction.
The secret to make the bike turn on groomed snow is to load more weight on the front and to drift the track, so we can turn the bike even in a small space. The easy thing is that, even if we do not load the front a lot, the two edges of the ski still give a good front end stability and make it stationary, unlike in the normal bikes with which, taking the weight in curve a bit back, we risk that the front wheel slides and then we are going to lose the right traction.
Key thing is to keep the bike always in traction and do not “on-off”, because the rear track has a large inertia and the feeling of traction and braking is immediate. If we remove the gas at all, because of the direct drive the track slows down abruptly, and this takes away stability to the bike and makes the rear slide. In the air the bike is a bit unbalanced in the back because of the track weight (approx. 40kg), and if we do not get faster by giving a constant gas we risk to jump soaring.
Everything changes in fresh snow: we need to make the bike float as much as possible by setting the riding, and consequently the weight, rear to lighten the front, which has to stand out from the snow. Turns must be set again with backward weight to avoid to load the front and to make the ski sink in the snow. We have to maintain the speed and ahead of the curve with the body on the rear, on footrests. You have to keep the bike always in tension so that it floats and does not sink.
The riding style of this bike is fast as you do on the sand, where the bike must be very light on the front while maintaining traction in every stage of the riding.
In deep snow and during jumps and landings we must maintain the bike as light as possible on the front, to avoid to remain stuck in the snow: to do this we have to be aggressive with the throttle and ride the bike on the footrests with the body weight rather backward.
These are the feelings that I have tried with the snow kit. It’s definitely to try! I’m sure that if you do it you will be thrilled and you will want to bring your passion also in the snow.”