Kyle Sliger is without a doubt one of the best riders in the U.S.A. if not the world. He has ridden against some of the best and beaten some of the best. Things haven’t always been sunshine and rainbows. It has been a trying and difficult five years for Sliger. Just when he was starting to get into the swing of things, everything was taken away and he was forced to wait four years to compete against his peers. Find out how he handled all this adversity below. – ed.
- Kyle, I think it’s pretty safe to say that you have been waiting for another XDL season since 2012. How does it feel to finally come out and compete against some of the best riders in the world?
Yes, you are correct. I’ve been waiting for quite some time to compete again in the XDL Championship Series. I knew it would eventually be back and I wanted to make sure I was good and ready for when it did. It was quite the battle this year but that just pushes me to learn even more new tricks and get even more prepared for 2018. I have a feeling 2018 XDL will be even more difficult then 2017, so time to start getting busy upgrading some parts on the bike and start some newer technical tricks.
- You looked a little shaky in round one in Atlanta finishing in 6th place. Were you feeling some pressure to do well or just nervous to get the season going?
Yes I was a little nervous the first round. It made me realize I need to practice a run for competition. I honestly just thought I could rip around and still do fine but that wasn’t the case. I’m glad I didn’t do well in Atlanta to be honest as crazy as that sounds. Lol, that was the day I realize I needed to step it up even harder. The whole drive home I just thought about how can I fit all that much more practice time in and what the heck tricks am I going to do. And how can my body even handle it. I literally changed my entire lifestyle just to make sure I learned all these tricks and mastered my run in the time before the next round. I had to change the way I ate, slept and exercise daily. I pretty much suffered for the next three months. I will be honest, I never felt better in my life so I plan to continue this lifestyle and see what else I can do while I’m here.
- You showed up to Sonoma a man possessed. You won almost all the side events and took your first XDL Championship win. How special was that first win for you?
That was one hard weekend for me I’ll say that. I been nonstop practicing day and night for this round 2 and the day I show up there I find out my bro passed away. Actually was hit on his motorcycle by another car and the car ran from the scene. So this was alot to take in with already so much stress from the competition and just got done driving 50 hours across country. The thing that worried me the most is if I go here and not win and also thinking about my brother how the heck can I drive 50 hours back. I pretty much rode the bike with a little bit of anger inside that weekend. I pushed it harder then ever and I couldn’t believe I was pulling it off. The points were within a half point of each other and I could see Korzen was feeling the pressure. He began to be a little shaky that weekend, maybe he felt what I felt in Atlanta. That pressure on him might have gotten me the win that day or maybe it was the hard work and practice I put in, either way I was glad it was over and I’m thankful I had at least something good to think about when ever my bro would come to mind while driving home. Pretty sure he was there that weekend with me.
- After watching several international riders compete during 2017 XDL season, how do you feel about the American riding scene?
Well, I still feel the American riding scene is as good here as anywhere else because of the variety of different styles America has to offer. So every good known rider has a good thing about them or their riding. To me you can learn the tricks but you can’t learn style, I prefer watching riders with good style. America has a few of them, but yes I’m still impressed with the riders outside the country and to see them come over here to ride in America is pretty cool too. I’m always watching the videos they put out, they keep me motivated.
- You have really been pushing the limits of sport bikes over the past couple of years with the shuffle and 360 tricks. Do you think these tricks are going to keep getting bigger within the sport or are they a fad?
The tricks like the 360 are what I believe to be the tricks that will push this sport to the next level. Just like when the back flip was invented in FMX, it changed the game entirely. Riders were quitting because they knew they couldn’t compete with the guys doing it. The 360 is kinda the same deal, once the 360 idea was in my head I knew it was a matter of time and I also knew that was going to be the next big thing in stunt riding. BMX type tricks, like a 360 Rock Walk seemed possible to me so I busted my butt trying to learn that trick. I’m glad I did because I was right and it ended up being the next big level trick. There is a reason there is only a handful of riders doing the 360. It’s the most technical and eye appealing trick on a sport bike in my opinion. But only if it’s been done right.
- You finished the season with a second place finish in the 2017 XDL Championship. You have to be happy about that, right? Or are you looking towards the 2018 season already?
Yes I’m very happy about that. I really was pushing for that first place spot but 2nd isn’t a bad place to be. It does in fact push me even more and I will be learning some new things and trying to get even more prepared for 2018. I have a feeling it is going to be a tough one so I want to be extra prepared. I have to go out and practice a whole new run so I can look a little different in 2018 just trying to pick what tricks to do is the hardest part. Not sure which ones will get more points so hopefully I choose wisely and the plan I come up with works out.
- What’s the Future hold for Kyle Sliger? Any big plans for 2018?
Always working on big plans haha. Just not all get worked on is the problem. Trying to get a new front end set up on my bike and change the gearing a little and amp a few things up that I noticed I needed to do throughout the competition series. Now is the time to do so since competitions are here and the 2018 XDL season is my #1 priority, being ready for that. Currently moving into a new house with a much better setup for me and hopefully can get started on my own personal lot at home to ride in. So big plans for future just need to do one at a time. But I feel 2018 will be a good year. 2017 has been a rough one for me so I’m more then ready to put this year in the past and start planning for the future.
- Before we get out of here is there anyone you would like to thank?
I certainly would like to thank XDL for putting on the competition and putting in the work to make what we call stunt riding a true extreme sport. ICON for supporting me over the years and giving me the opportunity that I always dreamed of. Definitely thank Shinko tires for the support, Stunterx stunt shop for setting my bike up and making it indestructible. Convertibars for making these stunt series bars for me, Racing 905 for their strong support and picking me up when nobody else would. Blindside armor for the strong cage, Damage Control Products for saving my butt in the final round at XDL with a new caliper bracket. Saddlemen seats, American Kargo, Motoheaven, HEL Performance and Kawasaki for the sick bike. There’s many more I could thank on here all day because I’m thankful for everyone that has helped me along the way. It takes a team effort and it’s good to know I have a lot of good hearted people on my team. Thanks to all the fans who watch and keep up with what I do, you guys rock!
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