The Timbersled is based around a rigid swingarm with dual shocks underneath. The setup works exceptionally well for deep powder.
As a newcomer to the market, Sandpoint, Idaho manufacturer Timbersled has advanced snow bike technology in a slightly different direction. With a product dubbed the “Mountain Horse,” it would not be too difficult to guess where this snow bike excels.
While the Mountain Horse technology looks similar to the 2Moto at a glance, the concept and design are considerably different from the Radix. Timbersled started by using the basic platform of a snowmobile and then adapting it to motorcycle use. The most obvious feature is the longer track, again similar to those found on mountain sleds.
Next comes the suspension. Where the 2Moto allows the subframe to move similar to a motorcycle swingarm, the Timbersled uses a rigid subframe. A rod replaces the shock to help brace the track. The track is suspended by two separate shocks allowing it to float within the stationary subframe. This system provides a claimed 13 inches of travel.
Probably the single most unique element of the track system is the 20-degree incline at the front of the track that gives a softer angle of approach. This incline allows the track to naturally to climb on top of the snow instead of digging into it.
The front ski is nearly identical to that of the 2Moto. It does mount in a different manner. Instead of having just one mounting point on the left fork, this uses clamps that attach around the bottom of each fork slider. This gives the ski a more solid mounting platform.
Another of the unusual features is the right hand rear brake. The rear disc brake is mounted on the front of the track assembly. Due to the basic configuration, it will not accommodate the stock motorcycle rear master cylinder. Therefore, it uses an aftermarket Wilwood hand brake system that mounts on the right side of the handlebar, just like a typical front brake.
The rear tunnel provides a large flat area for mounting accessories such as a gas can. It also doubles as a grab handle for lifting the rear track up should it ever become stuck in the snow. I never got stuck, so I never got the chance to try that aspect.
The track is driven from the front instead of the rear so there is considerably less chain involved. The simple transfer case houses the sprocket and chains. An idler sprocket adjusts tension within the case.
Riding the Timbersled Mountain Horse Kit Snow Bike
The Mountain Horse is the ultimate backcountry weapon. The deeper and steeper the terrain, the better it works. I tested the Timbersled on a Kawasaki KX450F. The KX is probably the best platform for a snow bike that I have ridden. The strong power and one kick starting make it a real joy to ride. The Timbersled’s long track and angle of approach make it the clear front-runner for powder riding. The track naturally climbs upward, so it is nearly impossible to get it stuck. It is insane how steep this thing will climb, even with a novice rider like myself at the helm.
The rear suspension system works very differently from the other brands. It provides an excellent sense of “float” on the snow. It always helps keep the track riding high on the snow. The downside is that the long track and fixed subframe do not do nearly as well in rougher packed conditions. The long track tends to throw the bike off course in whoops, as the ski is into the next whoop well before the track clears the previous one. The flatter profile of the track also wants to make the bike rock side to side on rough surfaces. For an inexperienced rider, at trip down a groomed trail is a hair-raising experience on the Timbersled. The bike has to be tilted on one edge all the time and then the ski is very susceptible to catching in small ruts.
The unique right hand rear brake takes a little time to get used to. In some situations it comes in very handy. I did not care for the Wilwood components very much. There is very little feel to the lever and it takes a considerable amount of pressure to actuate. I think a traditional motorcycle style master cylinder would give better performance.
The Mountain Horse certainly shows how much extreme terrain a snow bike can conquer, but it comes at the expense of handling in milder situations.