The Tigercat 1165 is designed with steep slopes in mind. In northern Scotland, one is tackling just that – and making a great impression at the same time. We spoke to Treetop Forestry to find out more about the harvester that’s turning heads. 

IT’S unlikely there’s ever been the need to send a harvester to the top of Mount Everest, but if there were then one brand would no doubt find itself right at the front of the queue. By the time Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had laced up their boots, it would already be on its way down from the summit.

Adaptability and efficiency in steep terrain have long been at the heart of Tigercat’s USPs. In the forests of northern Scotland, where looking for the tops of hills should often come with a health warning for your neck, a new harvester from the Canadian firm is living up to that reputation.

The 1165 – a 282 hp, 23-tonne behemoth – arrived on these shores in February 2021, joining the fleet of Treetop Forestry. Since then, it has done everything it said it would on the tin – and then some.

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It’s clearfelled and it’s thinned, it’s climbed and it’s climbed, and it’s certainly made a great impression. So much so that Chris Quincey, who handles machinery sales at the Kincardineshire-based firm, says demand is already exceeding expectation.

With the first 1165 due to arrive for customers later this year (this current model is being used by Treetop for its own work), Chris is already expecting many operators to jump at the chance to get inside its cabin.

“It’s drawn a lot of interest,” he said. “People have seen it and been asking us when they can have a go.

“That machine has been in and around Inverness. The next one we will bring in will be more of a demonstration one.

“We like to have the first year with the machine to ourselves so we can get used to it and iron out anything that needs to be.”

Chris added: “That machine was one of the pre-serial machines, which is not quite production but nearly there. It’s the next one up from a prototype, before they go into full production.

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“That was sent over to Sweden to have some testing and some upgrades over there to what we needed. Tigercat has a factory over there for wheeled machinery.

“It was then sent over to us in February 2021 so we could try it out and do some testing with it. We have run it ourselves over the last year.”

During that time, Treetop’s 1165 has handled everything that’s been thrown at it.

Working in the likes of Whitebridge, around three miles from Loch Ness, it’s easily dealt with spruce, pine, and larch; in terrain that might charitably be described as ‘challenging’.

A mid-sized harvester, well suited for thinning, selective cutting and final felling, the 1165 is powered by Tigercat’s Stage V compliant FPT N67 engine and uses the same swing components as the larger 1185 – which Treetop also tested for six months – as well as oscillating and articulating centre section components used on other Tigercat machines.

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“We put it out on site and from the word go it has done everything it said on the box,”

Chris said. “It was put into a clearfell situation to begin with and handled it extremely well. We also wanted to try it with some thinning and again it was great.

“We then had a job where it was required to work on long, steep climbing settings and it was no problem. It went into places other machines wouldn’t have been able to.

“It’s comparable to something like the John Deere 1270g, and the demands of the UK market call for this kind of machine.”

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While it can be fitted with six-wheel drive, Treetop’s has eight. If that wasn’t enough, it also boasts a version of Clark Track’s Gouzer model, offering maximised traction. The addition of wide paddle spikes to the track pad and long shovel spikes to the edges only adds to the grip, which has proven invaluable for the firm’s operators.

In terms of the nitty gritty, Treetop’s 1165 has a Log Max 6000V harvester head – “Log Max are always reliable”, Chris says – and the largest of the crane options, with an 
11 m telescopic crane, allowing for loads of up to 1,100 kg. As standard it also includes features such as Tigercat’s ER boom – which allows the operator to extract and retract the boom on a horizontal plane – and WideRange drive, a variable transmission.

But to understand more of what the 1165 offers, it’s best to turn to Trevor Scott, product manager for Tigercat’s wheeled harvesters.

“The durable carrier includes key features, such as the ER system, continuous 360 degree slew, and superior stability,” he said. “ All booms use the ER system, which provides the same action as a parallel boom, but with a simpler and more durable construction.

“The main boom with the hook at the base end provides unparalleled visibility out the right-hand side of the machine. All boom grease points are conveniently located at the base of the main boom and at the end of the stick boom.

“At the front of the machine are steps and a platform giving access to the cab. The ladder and clamshell cover, with sturdy grab handle, fold up when the machine is in operation for protection and smooth running surfaces.

“Two LED lights at the front illuminate the scene. Close compartments provide ample storage and convenient access.

“Mechanically balanced bogies ensure all the wheels maintain ideal ground contact while travelling for low ground pressure and improved traction.

“The cab has an auto-level feature, with multiple modes, selectable by the operator to control when it engages.”

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One key feature that sets the 1165 apart from others – and makes it ideal for the work of Treetop – is the ability to level the cabin 18 degrees forward and 24 degrees back.

This maintains visibility even in the steepest of surroundings.

“The spacious cab has been designed for operator comfort,” Trevor added. “The large windows provide direct line of sight to where the wheels touch the ground, even when working on slopes and at different levelling angles.

“The curved windshield also provides excellent visibility.

“The front window provides unrivalled strength and protection from impact.”

That’s what Trevor has to say, and we’ve already seen what Chris has to say of the 1165; but what of operators? Sean Connor is one of the lucky employees at Treetop to get his hands on the controls of the machine, and he has loved every minute of it.

“I’ve been using it since November,” Sean, who has worked with Treetop for around two years, said. “I like it. It’s a nice machine, it’s comfy, the visibility is great; you can see everything around you. That’s always a bonus.

“At the moment I am in a second thinning. I’ve done clearfell with it and some other thinnings. It’s shown itself to be very versatile. A lot of that work has been on hills. It does steep ground brilliantly and it really climbs. The set-up and the controls are great.

“You rest your hand on top of them as you control it and you move the levers; you’re really just using your fingers.

“You are sitting there comfy as you work, so you can’t complain. In other machines it is more like joysticks, so you’re sitting with your hands lifted all the time.

“You don’t feel the effect.”

Those hand controls include a mini joystick for steering and it’s the comfort they provide that has most impressed Sean.

“The machine copes with most things and doesn’t really struggle,” he added. “The reach is very good, which, when you’re in the thinnings, is good when you’re stretching over.

When you are stretching out, it sits and doesn’t want to come over.

“It’s a very good machine for anyone working on steep grounds – or level.”

In time, the Tigercat 1165 could become known as the harvester many operators sink their teeth into, thanks to a partnership between the firm and CM Labs. The agreement sees the latter develop and supply Tigercat with a series of state-of-the-art simulators that replicate the functionality and behaviour of the 1165 (the 20-tonne 1075C forwarder will also be added to the system in the future).

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For those lucky enough to try it out, they will no doubt be impressed, not to mention desperate to get their hands on the real thing. And if they do, they might not be so keen to give it up, if Treetop’s operators are anything to go by.

“We have a number of Tigercat machines and this is what you’d expect; a great machine,” Chris said. “We also had the 1185, which was just a little bit too big for the work we needed doing. That’s why we went for the 1165.

“The operators have been loving it. One of them said: ‘If you take it off me, I’ll shoot you. I won’t be a happy man’.”

Visit for more information or to express an interest in the 1165.