New conversion kit turns mountain bikes into electric snowmobiles
As if mountain bikes weren’t already versatile enough, a new DIY conversion kit known as the Envo can turn a mountain bike into an electric snowmobile.
It’s not like electric snow bikes aren’t already a thing — there are plenty of powerful and well-equipped electric snow bikes out there.
But there’s nothing quite like the track of a snowmobile to really tear it up in the snow.
Now the Envo kit is bringing that technology to a conventional mountain bike with the Canadian company’s latest conversion kit.
The kit consists of a rear snowmobile drive assembly that uses a kevlar/rubber track passing over a 1.2 kW hub motor and tough resin rollers. The assembly replaces the mountain bike’s rear wheel and bolts directly into the bike’s dropouts.
The bike’s existing chain still runs to a sprocket in the rear assembly to power the track. However, a crank sensor detects the rider’s pedaling and also applies power from a 48 V and 17.5 Ah battery to help assist the rider power through the snow. The battery is apparently enough for 10 km (6 mi) of riding, which sounds about right, considering how inefficient snow travel can be. The removable battery can likely be swapped with a fresh pack though to extend the rider’s range.
The kit also includes a handlebar-mounted thumb throttle that activates the motor without the rider needing to pedal.
When riding on hard packed snow, the front mountain bike wheel can be left on the bike.
When riding on looser powder that a bicycle tire would have trouble overcoming, the kit includes a snowboard adapter that can replace the front wheel.
The hybrid beast then becomes part snowboard, part electric bicycle, part snowmobile.
Reaching a top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph), the Envo kit isn’t likely to win any races against real electric snowmobiles such as Taiga’s latest models.
The Envo kit will surely be a lot cheaper than a full electric snowmobile though, priced at between CAD$2,789 (approximately US$2,145) to CAD$3,684 (approximately US$2,833).