SnoWest: So Brock, where would you start with giving us advice on snowbike setup?
Brock Hoyer: My number one thing right out of the box is track tension. Keep that track tension loose, almost to the point where it ratchets, and then go a half a turn in. So about where you can fit two fingers between the track and the rail with the back of the bike suspended. These things really like to be a little bit looser. They roll way better and have less restriction when you do that. The suspension will work better. The sliders will glide real easy with less friction.
How frequently are you checking track tension?
Usually after the first ride, let the track break in. Then go through your bike and check everything. Check all the bolts and make sure everything is good. I’m pretty mean to my snowbike, and I’ve never had a bolt fall off. But it’s always good to go over it after the first ride. Check and adjust all the chains and track tension. After the first couple rides, it really doesn’t move much.
What are you doing different on the front suspension?
Forks are huge. I’ve been doing this for six years now. My first snowbike setup I ran stock forks. And it was like going out with a flat tire on a dirt bike on the race track. It pushes, it doesn’t react the right way. You jump off stuff and go over the bars. So proper fork setup is going to be key. You should run the Trio and/or re-valve your forks. The Trio is easy because you can remove it and go right back to dirt in the spring and not have to send your forks back off to get re-valved.
Are you doing valving and stiff springs plus the Trio on your backcountry bike?
Yeah, so I use a moto fork and then I add the Trio and change to a stiffer pressure setup. It’s amazing the suspension that’s in these bikes, in the rear with the track, under the seat with the TSS and the front with the Trio that are making this thing ride the best it can on the trail and snow. It’s all about getting the right psi in the Trio chamber. Now you’ve got the front ride height that feels good but you can now also change the fork ride height. More ski pressure or less ski pressure. Running the forks up higher in the triple clamps gives you a little looser feel, less ski pressure. Running the forks all the way down gives you a little tighter steering and a little taller bike. I’m a shorter guy, so I run them a little bit in. It’s important to take the time to tune, so you find that spot where you’re not getting too much ski feedback. And then you can go right back to the TSS and adjust it to do more of the same thing. So there’s two components that change how this setup rides and handles. You can change the center to center on the TSS by screwing the hiem bolt in or out. Screwing that hiem joint in shortens the shock, now you’re going to get less ski pressure just the same as how you did with raising the fork up in the clamps. Or you can screw it all the way out and get more ski pressure and change your seat height. And we are also playing with TSS shock air pressure at the same time. There’s a lot of factors there.
I run my TSS pretty stiff––I run 400 psi in my bike. I'm doing maximum of what I’m allowed to do for the spec on it. It’s amazing what a half or full turn on that TSS hiem joint will do.
I see lots of guys struggle with their bike setup and they get on mine and are amazed at how well it works. It’s the same bike, just a happier suspension setup. It’s just set where it feels comfortable to ride. Moto bikes don’t have this much adjustment. You can change so much stuff that affects the ride height, the front end height, the track, it’s amazing. It just takes a little bit of understanding and figuring it out to get it to work the way you need.
We get the front set up, Trio, forks, fork height depending on how tall you are and how much ski pressure you want. I’ll run it about an eighth of an inch up so it’s got a bit of push in the trail but in the backcountry it still bites really well. Then run the stock TSS length, then we go to the track with the QS3 Fox coil over shocks in the Timbersled. I usually like to run a little softer in the front track shock so it’s supple and so it takes the hit. But when you transfer and pull and are climbing, it’s stiff on the rear track shock. That keeps it so it doesn't set in as much. That’s what I've found in the backcountry to work the best.