Interview with Brock Hoyer – Leading the Snow Bike Progression
A longtime motocross and arenacross racer, Brock Hoyer, is a natural on anything with a set of bars. Always a snowmobiler, Brock spent his winters riding sleds as cross training for moto. Then the snow bike were developed and that changed everything. He had always been looking for the next best thing to dirt bikes during the winter. As snow bike technology progressed it become more than just an off-season cross training sport. It took over and became his main focus. Here’s our interview with one of the top guys leading the fresh sport of snow biking.
Photos by: Jennifer Hoyer
Interview with Brock Hoyer – Leading the Snow Bike Progression
MS: How did you transition from moto to snow biking?
Hoyer: I needed something else to train on in the winter. It wasn’t reasonable for me to fly to California to train and ride dirt bikes during the winter all the time so I had to find the next best thing. My buddy had one of the first snow bike kits about 5 or 6 years ago. They were harder to ride back then but once I tried it I was hooked. I was so pumped on it I didn’t really even care about the price. I just told them the colour I wanted and ordered a kit as soon as I could, it was a no-brainer. They’ve evolved so much and are a lot easier to ride than in previous years. It hit the point where snow biking kind of took over and became my main focus. The snow bike was the ticket for me.
Were you more of a sled guy in the winter before?
I grew up riding sleds locally during the winter and was an avid sledder. I had a 440 snowcross sled I’d ride at the track to cross-train on, but being a moto guy it just wasn’t quite as fun as riding my dirtbike. Once I discovered the snow bike, that changed everything.
Where do you want to see the sport go? What’s the future?
Right now it’s such a new sport that people judge it and try to knock it down. But once they try a snow bike, they start to see the potential these things have and eventually end up buying them. Other than freeriding, seeing snowcross style racing events, such as having a snowbike class at the major snowcross race circuits, as well as big events like X Games would be a cool step forward.
With major sled brands getting into the snowbike industry, the sport is gaining recognition and credibility. Even outside of the sled industry there’s a huge interest. Red Bull took notice and we shot a snow bike video with Ronnie Renner last season. It was a great experience and helped with exposure for the sport. It would be cool to do another project or big snowbike event with them. In my eyes, the possibilities are endless.
How long have you been racing the snow bike, and how does it stack up to a dirt bike?
This will be my third year racing snow bikes in hillcross and snow bikecross races. I think the racing has a lot of potential. On a track the snow bike can hold its own. Riding the local track on a dirt bike in the summer compared to riding the track on a snow bike in the winter, my snow bike lap times are within a second of my moto times.
It just snowed a foot and you have a free day of no obligations. What machine do you ride, where do you ride, who do you go with? What’s the most fun for you?
My favorite riding zone is Hunters Range. If it snows a foot and it’s a weekday, I’ll head up to the motocross track and do some laps on the naturally-aspirated Yamaha snowbike. When I’m in Vernon I go with my good buddy Reagan Sieg. When I’m at my local moto track in Williams Lake, I go with my friends Craig, Ian, Kory and Kody.
Ripping moto tracks is still the most fun for me but it’s also fun to try to keep progressing the sport and better myself every season. At the end of the day I got into this sport because I enjoy it and continue to do it because I’m passionate about it.
We saw you doing some tricks on the snowbike in your video segments. Do you have any freestyle background?
No, I have no freestyle background. I just throw tricks for fun…and I might have some bigger tricks up my sleeve for this year… 🙂
How does jumping a snow bike compare to jumping a normal dirt bike?
The snowbike is actually very similar feeling to a dirtbike now with all the new technology that Timbersled and Yamaha have to offer. Considering a snowbike is a lot longer in the rear end, it still flies very balanced through the air when jumping. One of the main differences is when you try to scrub a snowbike you have to rely on manhandling the bike, compared to dirtbiking where the gyro of the front tire will naturally bring the bike back around.
What boots do you wear snowbiking?
I wear an FXR snowmobile boot for both sled and snowbike and also wear my Forma Adventure moto boots that are waterproof on the snowbike, so I jump back and forth between them depending on the conditions and what I’m riding.
Do you have a “normal” job outside of action sports?
Yes, I’m self-employed. I’m a service mechanic and work on everything from small engines to excavators.
You’re busy with three sports and it doesn’t seem like you have much of an off-season. What do you do to train for them?
There is no downtime between having three sports—both in summer and winter, and being busy with my kids and work. I am self-employed and work full-time to support my family, so the only training I get is when I’m riding my bikes and sled. I stay very active riding my mountain bike and eat healthy as well. Maybe one day when this snowbike sport takes off I’ll be able to focus on it 100%.
What do you think of that Ronnie Renner guy?
I think Ronnie Renner is a rad dude. It was so awesome to ride with him, he has a good sense of humor and the guy just shreds on snow bikes and dirt bikes. Definitely look up to the guy.
How do you set the suspension up on a snow bike as compared to a dirt bike?
On my dirt bike I run a fairly stiff set up for outdoor races and we have found for winter snow bike riding running a notch above freestyle valving in the fork works well.
Do you run a hand brake or a foot brake on the snowbike?
I currently run a foot brake on my snow bike because it’s an easy switch over from dirt biking. I have tried a hand brake and will never switch to it, it feels weird. People say that they don’t run a foot brake because it ices up. It might a little, but you just stomp on it with your foot and it breaks free. Then you have brakes, no problem. Keep it simple and run what you know.
Thanks for the time, Brock. Any last words?
Yeah, I’d really like to thank all my sponsors: Yamaha Motor Canada, Timblersled, FXR Racing, Spectra Power Sports, LimeNine, Fastway, Seat Concepts, DeVol, Dissent Labs, Atlas Neck Brace, VP Racing Fuel, Go Pro, Forma Boots, Simmons Skis, FMF, Rekluse, Mongoose, Cariboo Steel & Machine, Big O Tires, Hoyer Enterprises & Fox by RMR Suspension.
Since this story has come out, snow biking has continued to progress. It’s now an official X Games event (at which Brock has won gold and silver), and races take place throughout North America. Brock continues to push boundaries at the forefront of the snow bike movement.