A few days back I traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to try out a new product that I had only seen once or twice before. Its the Timbersled, which can best be described as a mash-up between a motorized dirt bike and a snowmobile, bringing the best qualities of each of those machines together to create a unique ride.
The concept behind the Timbersled first germinated in the mind of the company’s founder – Allen Mangum – back in 2008. He spent a couple of years designing and testing prototypes before actually bringing the first model to market in 2010, creating the sport of snow biking in the process.
Last year, Timbersled – which is headquartered in Ponderay, Idaho – was purchased by Polaris, which is another company dedicated to a wide variety of motorsports. As a result, this unique snow vehicle is getting more exposure than ever before.
It should be noted that the Timbersled is not a fully-built product right out of the box. It is actually a kit that you buy that converts your existing dirt bike into something that can glide across the snow with surprising agility and ease. There are a number of different Timbersled systems available, but essentially it breaks down to two versions – the short or long track. The short track is a bit more maneuverable, while the long track is better suited for deeper snow. But both are very capable and fun to ride.
I got to spend several hours riding the Timbersled at Beaver Creek Lodge in Utah. At first, it took a bit of orientation to get the feel for how it rides, but after 5 or 10 minutes on the vehicle, it all fell into place. At first it seems like you’re a bit off balance, with the front ski giving the impression it won’t hold on the soft snow. But, after taking a few turns on it, you’ll start to feel much more comfortable, and trust the machine more fully. After that, it’s pure fun.
The Timbersled comes equipped with electric start and fuel injection, which helps to make it easier for beginning riders to get up and moving as quickly as possible. My first Timbersled had a bit of a finicky clutch that made it rough to get on and get moving, but when I switched to a different model, I was off in matter of seconds. From there, it is much like riding a dirt bike, with the right hand operating the breaks, the left hand operating the clutch, and the left foot shifting gears.
I had the chance to test the Timbersled in a wide open meadow that gave me the chance to really open it up and test it out. It’s fast and easy to ride when you have lots of space, but transitioning to a trail required a bit more diligence when maneuvering along a narrow path. Much like snowmobiling, trail riding is where its at however, and it didn’t take long to feel comfortable driving it through trees and in more confined spaces. Some of my more experienced companions were even taking their Timbersleds off jumps, but I wasn’t quite that brave.
Riding a Timbersled was unlike anything I’d ever done before. It has its own unique feel that has to be experienced first hand. Anyone who enjoys riding dirt bikes off road will absolutely love riding one of these vehicles too. If you’re the kind of person who dreads putting your motorcycle away for the winter, the Timbersled will give you a whole new perspective on riding in the snow.
While riding one of these, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to take one to Antarctica and ride it to the South Pole. We’ve seen all kinds of other methods of transportation across the frozen continent, so why not one of these? The possibilities are endless, and it would certainly be a lot of fun.
Check out more at TimberSled.com.
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