Love them, hate them, never heard of them... snow bikes are here to stay. And we are ready to embrace them.
We're jumping into the 2014 season with a couple new additions to the SnoWest fleet. Well, they're familiar faces, just new to the winter side of the garage. In September, Yamaha sent us a 2013 WR450F off-road bike that would later become what you see here... a dedicated turbo snow bike.
We rode the WR450F on dirt (with wheels) several times before the Timbersled conversion was installed. We wanted to get a good feel for the bike's capabilities compared to other 450s, 500s and other bikes that are popular among the snow bike crowd so we could speak to its abilities in snow.
We chose the WR450F over a YZ450F for its electric start and headlight initially, but fell in love with the bike on dirt trails because of its nimble frame, plush suspension and on-rails handling. Needless to say, this just might be our new favorite single track bike. But we really can't wait to get it on snow now.
It rolled into the Intermountain Snowmobile Show in Salt Lake City, UT, on October 24th and underwent a transformation from a stock WR450F to a modified, turbo Mountain Horse complete with Rekluse clutch, Boyesen water pump, ProMoto Billet Adventure pegs and Fastway hand guards (not pictured), and a Boondocker turbo.
Lincoln County Customs's Troy Johnson (who happens to be the Factory Yamaha hillcimb race director) was in charge of the build, and he replaced the stock clutch with the Rekluse Z-Start Pro auto clutch and Rekluse clutch cover.
Next, Troy replaced the factory water pump impeller and cover with the Boyesen Supercooler, which have taller impeller blades and increase water flow and cooling efficiency.
Troy also installed a set of Windham-bend Pro Taper bars, Renthal kevlar grips and hand warmers.
Toyskinz designed and supplied the wrap, which should stand out in a sea of white snow and dark trees for photos. We wrapped the Mountain Horse tunnel sides and top to protect the powder coat finish. The Toyskinz wraps are very durable and will keep the WR450F looking new all season despite our inability to stay out of trees.
Dirt bikes, especially motocross bikes, weren't designed with big enough fuel tanks for backcountry excursions with these track kits and turbos. So we'll be packing a few extra gallons with a Track Rack system from Mountain Addiction (not pictured). The Track Rack mounts to the top of the tunnel, and holes are pre-drilled to fit the rack system.
Timbersled's Allen Mangum (inventor of the Mountain Horse kit) helped Troy install the Mountain Horse track kit, which is actually a fairly easy swap since it comes pre-assembled from Timbersled. All you really need to do is remove the bike's swingarm, rear shock and chain and bolt up the Mountain Horse to the swingarm and shock top mounting holes on the bike. Install the supplied chain, route the track's brake line up to the bike's front brake lever and replace the front tire with the Timbersled ski and spindle components. That's pretty much it.
Fom there, Boondocker's Manny Gonzalez took over with the Boondocker turbo kit installation. This required some modification to the bike's airbox and side panels (to fit the intercooler, exhaust and intake filter).
The Boondocker kit comes with everything needed to complete the installation, including oil feed and returns, hoses and electronics. The Boondocker fuel/boost controller is a simple all-in-one unit that has an easy user interface. It comes preloaded with the fuel map for your specific bike application.
The Boondocker turbo is designed to run between 10-12 psi boost for a claimed 110 horsepower. If you want to see what that much power looks like on a dirt bike wtih a track, watch the video.
We'll be riding this bike and another bike we're building at the Idaho Snowmobile Show all over southeastern Idaho, western Wyoming (near Lincoln County Custom's shop in Alpine) and northern Utah. If you catch us on the snow, say hi. You might catch us on a day we'd let you throw a leg over the bike and experience it for yourself. Of course, you'd have to catch us first.
Stay tuned to snowest.com and facebook.com/SnoWestMagazine for regular updates throughout the season.
To read our first Timbersled Mountain Horse ride report in 2011, go here: http://www.snowest.com/forum/showthread.php?t=255867
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