Taiga’s Vehicle Dynamics Lead, Matt Schroeder, dives into the details of the innovative (TS3) suspension system following the release of the Taiga Tech video series.
What’s your professional background?
After studying Mechanical Engineering, I worked for one of the top motorsports consulting companies in North America. In that role, I helped develop software to analyze and simulate suspension systems in order to improve efficiency for our clients. It was a rewarding job and it allowed me to develop a lot of unique skills that are valuable to my work at Taiga.
What role does suspension do on a snowmobile?
Suspension for snowmobiles plays a critical role in separating the rest of the vehicle and rider from the intense shocks that come from speed and harsh terrain. This protects the vehicle, enables greater control and performance as well as delivering a smooth ride for the user.
Why is weight so important for snowmobiles?
Snowmobile handling and performance is greatly affected by its weight, in both mass and distribution. That’s why it
’ was paramount that the platform be as lightweight as possible without compromising performance. This is even more important for electric snowmobiles, where you’re trying to maximize efficiency to achieve the greatest range.
What was the process to design the Taiga snowmobile suspension system?
The TS3 platform has been designed and built entirely from the ground up and in-house by Taiga, including the suspension and chassis. The great thing about this is that it allowed us to completely rethink the snowmobile and to make advancements in areas that have lacked innovation in the past. We are leveraging the agility of operating as a much smaller team than traditional snowmobile OEMs in order to be the first to bring electric snowmobiles to the market. The team is always pushing to adopt more efficient approaches to the design process to quickly advance our tech through rapid development cycles. This led us to develop our own proprietary simulation software which can accurately simulate each suspension system individually or together. This software has helped us to design the innovative lightweight and strong suspension system you see on the TS3.
What’s the difference between the Ekko, Nomad and Atlas front suspension?
The wide front suspension with a stance of 1074mm / 42.3in (installed on Nomad and Atlas) is designed for high stability and traction on groomed and light powder surfaces. The narrow front suspension with a stance of 950mm / 37.4in (installed on Ekko) is designed for maximum agility and flotation in deep powder and backcountry riding. In both front ends the steering is designed for absolute control and rider feedback. See more specs
How is the front suspension designed and constructed?
The front suspension features fully aluminum construction which helps to make the outboard assembly as light as possible while also maintaining high stiffness. The system delivers absolute control; wide stance variations give confidence-inspiring stability on trails and groomed surfaces, while narrow stance variations give the much-needed agile maneuverability in deep powder.
How is the rear suspension constructed to reduce weight and maximize efficiency?
The rear suspension features aluminum and carbon fiber construction with a dual coilover setup, minimizing weight and maximizing drive efficiency. The rear suspension of a traditional snowmobile makes approximately 10-15% of the total weight, but by utilizing aluminum and carbon fiber we managed to bring our suspension down to a weight of 18kg (39.6lb). This is a significant improvement that not only reduces the overall vehicle weight but also delivers unparalleled traction over rough surfaces.
We went with large 200mm (7.87”) rear idler wheels and low-friction Vespel Hyfax sliders as this allows for optimal drive efficiency with minimal losses. We also designed the front control arm to give controllable chassis lift under acceleration, while the rear control arm was designed for powder flotation and a rising rate stiffness curve. This means that the suspension can remain plush and compliant under normal conditions but will firm up and absorb large bumps without bottoming out.
Nomad and Atlas suspensions feature coupling blocks to maintain ski pressure under hard acceleration and hillclimb/towing scenarios. On top of this, all models feature full anti-stab protection kits.