Sometimes the stupidest ideas are the best ideas…
Hill climbs are notoriously awesome to watch but risky for those doing them, especially if they’re not surrounded by a sturdy cage. That means hill climbs on a motorcycle require a certain amount of fearlessness combined with stupidity, which is why I truly simultaneously admire and feel sorry for guys who do such things. What makes hill climbs even more amazing in every way is when someone comes up with a crazy way to make them even more dangerous, which is what Grind hard Plumbing Co did in one of its latest videos.
Check out the history of Ford Model T snowmobiles here.
For those who don’t live where they’re common, what you’re looking at is a snow bike kit. That means a regular wheel up front but tracks in the back, which obviously is designed for driving on snowy roads or trails where plows don’t frequent in the winter, if at all.
You’ll note on the tracks are teeth which are almost like siping, like what you’ll find on tires. These obviously are designed to bite into snow and ice, giving the bike traction when tires, even those which have been siped, would slip. There’s just one problem: this hill climb isn’t being done in the snow.
Instead, these guys are testing out this innovative approach at Mountain Mafia Off-Road Park in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Sure, in the wintertime the precarious slope is covered in the white stuff, but during the shooting of the video it instead features hard clay, giving riders on every type of machine plenty of fits. It really makes you wonder just how many bones have been broken on the slope.
The motorcycle in question is a Kawasaki KX 450, which was designed with Motocross competitions in mind. It’s been bored out to 500cc so this thing can really tackle the incline and notorious clay, but is it enough with the Timbersled snow bike kit?
Making things even more interesting is a sport quad also outfitted with a Timbersled snoke bike kit. Both machines in theory would be more stable since the tracks with their mean teeth will really dig into the soil, instead of dumb ol’ tires which just skitter across the surface of the clay uselessly. Plus, the fact the track is long and tires aren’t should theoretically make the motorcycle more stable. After all, it sits upright without using a kickstand with nobody on it, so that has to be an advantage, right?
One thing’s for sure, the tracks throw a lot of dust into the air, along with pebbles. What if someone were to figure out how to outfit these tracks with something more like sand paddles? It looks like messy fun. Will this catch on as a different way to do motorcycle hill climbs in the future? Or is this a one-time novelty made just for a quirky YouTube video? I kind of hope there’s a trend set here, but only time will tell if that’s the case or not.
Just like with any off-road event, part of the trick is choosing the right line. Even with tracks in the rear or with any other setup, you can’t just charge up the hill just however you feel. Sometimes one portion of the slope offers greater stability or traction than other portions, and that can shift as temperatures change and precipitation has affected how the soil interacts with tires or tracks. In other words, the skill of the rider is absolutely part of what makes or breaks a hill climb attempt.
Check out the video to see this setup in action and decide for yourself how effective you think it might be.