The Single Track Cat Story

byKen Wiklund

The Problem

The Single Track Cat is a utility terrain motorcycle (UTM) manufactured by Nordic Manufacturing Ltd in Kelowna, BC, Canada. The inspiration for the creation of a UTM was the result of Ken Wiklund being a member of a local trail stewardship group. Though his involvement, Wiklund coordinated many trail days. It soon became apparent that getting people, tools, and supplies to the project location was often more work than the project itself. Wiklund said, “we tried all the usual ways: walking and carrying tools, strapping tools to a mountain bike, towing a bike trailer loaded with tools, and using a 4-wheeled utility terrain vehicle (UTV). Walking took a lot of time, and you are limited in how much you can carry. Adding tools to a bike or towing a trailer added a considerable amount of weight which meant a very slow climb and a limited range. “By the time someone got to the project location, they were half worn out”, Wiklund stated. He went on to say "the UTV works well but you are limited to wide trails which still meant a lot of tool carrying and hiking when working on single track trails."

The Solution

The solution for increased efficiency for trail construction and maintenance was to create a utility motorcycle that had several key features. One was a low seat height which allows for better control through difficult trail sections. The tool deck is also mounted as low as possible to enhance stability. It had to be easy to use so the transmission is an automatic continuously variable speed type with no gear shifting. It needed to have high torque for hauling heavy loads. It needed to be a safe for the operator so both front and rear brake controls are mounted of the handlebar. This allows both feet to be used to steady the UTM and use the brakes at the same time when trail conditions require this.

Long Service Life

The Single Track Cat uses an industry standard engine mounting system, so it is possible to install motors available from numerous engine manufacturers without the need for any significant modifications. There is no design life limit. The design uses widely available standard parts for items such as wheels, tires, front fork, handlebar, seat etc. Long-term and easily available parts supply was part of the design goals.

Safety

Another benefit created by the Single Track Cat is increased safety for trail workers. Wiklund said, “If you’re out in the bush working with a chainsaw and an injury occurs, a band-aid is probably not going to help.” What is needed is a large and comprehensive first aid kit that would otherwise be too bulky or heavy to carry without motorized transportation. If an accident does occur, the affected individual has much better chance of getting to a location more quickly where proper medical care can be provided.

Summary

Wiklund stated. “The goal for creating the Single Track Cat was to provide a means to have higher quality trails at a lower cost.” For organizations that have employees or contractors performing trail work, the increased efficiency resulting from being able to get to the project location quickly with less physical effort required and having more tools and supplies on-hand means more work gets done for the same labor cost. For volunteer-based groups, enabling individuals to get projects done faster with less effort often encourages a higher participation level.