It’s a situation we’ve probably all experienced before: you’re riding your e-bike and thinking to yourself, “This is nice, but you know what could make this bike even better? Tank tracks!”
Well now there’s an easy way to do it in the form of a conversion kit that takes an e-bike and turns it into something of a snowmobile with the inclusion of a snow track kit.
I’m not saying this is a good idea. In fact, it’s probably a terrible idea for several reasons that we’re going to cover. But none of them make this any less awesome or weird, which means it’s a prime candidate for a spot in this week’s Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column.
I do have to let you know going into this that the product page is very light on details, so I’ve had to suss out some specs here.
I do know that the kit includes a 1,000W motor designed to run on 48V, though they also describe it as 2,000W in some areas. So your mileage may vary… literally.
The kit itself seems to include the rear assembly that consists of a snow track wrapped around a motor and two idler pulleys, all mounted inside a frame that replaces the bike’s rear wheel.
A ski attachment is also included so that riders can replace their front wheel and go full snowmobile.
There doesn’t appear to be a battery included in the kit, though it does look like a controller comes mounted on the rear assembly. That leads me to believe that it’s up to you to supply your own battery, and I’m guessing that trying to jury rig the wires from your RadRover battery into this setup is going to void your Rad warranty.
I guess you could also start with a non-electric bike and just find your own 48V battery, which is likely more advisable, though none of this is what I would classify as advisable.
Then there’s the issue of control. It seems like the whole bike chain thing becomes obsolete in the new setup, meaning your pedals are now freewheeling footrests. For power, I guess you run your throttle back to the new controller, though that’s another reason just to start this build from scratch. And brakes seem to be something of an afterthought. There’s a hydraulic disc brake on the rear motor, but it seems like it’s just going to lock up the track instantly, and you’ll eventually skid to a stop when physics decides your momentum is no longer worth sustaining. It’s kind of like anti-lock brakes except that it’s the opposite: only-lock brakes.
But hey, you can’t beat that orange color! If you’re going to head too far out in the snowy wilderness on a contraption that is likely to get you stranded, you might as well have the decent manners to make it easy for search and rescue to find you. That’s just how I was raised.
I think it’s fair to say that there are some concerns with this kit, most of which come from the design. But one final surprising concern of mine is the price – not that it’s too high, but rather too low. For just $520, this Bad Idea On Ice can be yours!
I feel like any self-respecting DIY electric snowmobile should cost significantly more than this. In fact, we usually see them for 4x-5x this price.
A lobster dinner for $50 sounds like a deal. A lobster dinner for $15 sounds like food poisoning. That’s kind of where I’m sitting with this DIY snowmobile kit.
But hey, I’ll try anything once!
Disclaimer: just in case anyone is still unsure or happens to be new here (welcome!), this part of a tongue-in-cheek weekly column that explores wild, weird, awesome, and sometimes outlandish EVs found on China’s largest shopping site Alibaba. Most of these would be a bad idea to actually try, and all would be a bad idea to actually order. Please don’t risk your money on this stuff – let’s just enjoy looking at it from a safe distance.
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