How We Became the Producers and Distributors of the Top Suspension Upgrades Money Can Buy
The year was 1967. Arnold Heron had just sold his paving company – Pavemaster – and was looking for a better suspension to offer the world. He’d just flown into the patent office in London, England to check out what sort of suspension designs were available. He remembered something that grabbed his attention called “Aeon” and left a big impression in his searching mind.
He planned to stay for the day and return to Canada the following day. After sleeping on this new discovery, he woke up early the next day and went back to the patent office, bought the North American rights to “Aeon”, and flew home.
In 1968, Arnold incorporated his new company under the name ‘Timbren’ – a combination of the names of his two kids: Tim and Brenda. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In the early days of the company, Aeon® hollow rubber springs were used on medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers. To work successfully, the rubber springs needed metal brackets that allowed them to sit between the upper frame and the axle below. These early brackets had a universal design to them so that the installer could make the necessary ride-height adjustments.
Once word was out, those in the trucking industry became hopeful that these rubber “Timbrens” could solve some of the common problems that faced those who worked in the various industries: tractor trailers, tow trucks, dump trucks, car carriers, etc.
Air ride suspensions were already in use on these big rigs. One of the problems with air ride was lack of stability, particularly when the load was top heavy, i.e., above the trucks’ center of gravity. A fully loaded semi had obvious issues with roll & sway. It was soon discovered that the Timbren hollow rubber springs could stabilize the suspension giving the driver more control and increased safety. Additionally, they also prevented broken leaf springs and other costly repairs.
Once the manufacturers and drivers of big rigs had become familiar with Timbren products, Timbren started designing kits for one-ton pickups and cab chassis work trucks. Custom manufacturers started to offer “Timbrens” as an upsell to fleet owners.
It was only a matter of time before half & three-quarter ton pickups had kits designed to fit each vehicle that rolled off the assembly line. By the late 90s and early 2000s, these Timbren kits were given a new handle: “Timbren SES” (suspension enhancement system). It took a few years before the new name caught on, and the industry stopped calling them ‘rubber bumpers’ and Timbren doodads.
Timbren SES products – of which there are well over 400 kits – have remained to this day the bread & butter for the company’s 100 employees.
As Timbren continued to add to its extensive list of SES products, the engineering department began to develop easy-to-install kits for off-road use: Active Off-road Bumpstops. These kits looked like SES kits but had a very different purpose. Unlike SES products, Active Off-road Bumpstops work like shock absorbers, softening the bone-rattling jounce whenever the vehicle bottoms out while navigating the trail’s rough terrain. Ever since Timbren first introduced the Aeon® hollow rubber spring, many have tried to duplicate this proprietary product.
Another successful idea that others have tried to copy is the Axle-Less trailer suspension. Initially introduced at the SEMA show in Las Vegas in 2011, the Axle-Less bagged first prize for best product in the off-road category. This marvelous design is a piece of engineering genius!
Another trailer suspension – a cousin to the Axle-Less – is the Silent Ride suspension. It provides a better alternative to the torsion axle because it rides just like an airbag system but without the expensive price tag.
Part of Timbren’s mission statement is: “Done right, on time, every time. In an effort to stay true to its mission as it continues to experience the growing pains of ongoing success, Timbren is building an extension to their already 60,000 s.f. manufacturing facility. “On time, every time” will never happen if there’s not enough room to build products and have them shipped in a timely manner!
Needless to say, Timbren continues to make every effort to put the customer first.
Neil and Brenda Hodgson, Andrew Hodgson (Neil & Brenda’s son), and Tim and Nadine Heron are family members involved in the running and growing of Timbren Industries.
Neil Hodgson – president and CEO – feels that Timbren is a long way from experiencing market saturation in North America. Additionally, the company is just getting started setting up distribution centers around the globe.
As the automotive industry moves forward toward cleaner emissions and electric engines become more affordable, Timbren will be right there designing cutting edge products that provide exactly what the consumer wants and needs at an affordable price... every time.