Britain’s Environmental Transport Association (ETA) have taken advantage of the early winter snow to demonstrate their caterpillar track-driven snow bike.
The kit is manufactured by Canadian company K-Trak and converts any existing 26in hardtail or full-suspension mountain bike into a snow bike. A single ski replaces the front wheel, while a specially designed rear wheel and rubber track setup enables the rider to retain use of their gears and rear brake.
The ETA used the K-Trak system to build its ‘Bond bike’ concept bike for the recent Cycle Show 2010 in London, primarily to promote the ETA’s cycle insurance policies. However, the organisation’s Yannick Read seized the opportunity provided by the recent snow in Britain to carry out a real-world test of the system.
“It’s really designed for riding downhill, as on the flat it’s quite hard work,” Yannick told BikeRadar.
“But I took it up to the Snow Dome at Milton Keynes, so I could test it on the downhill. I’m not sure I’d trade it in for my snowboard, but it’s definitely a great laugh.”
Read said that while the unit is unlikely to offer a practical substitute for most commuters’ existing bikes, he’s been pleasantly surprised by how simple the system has been to fit and use.
“I’ve managed my daily commute on my mountain bike in relatively deep snow, so I’m not sure there’s a need to replace it with something like this,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure how well it would run downhill with a track on the back, but it does work very well. I came off a few times, but it’s quite straightforward. If you can ride a bike, you can ride this straight away.”
The K-Trak used by the ETA was sourced from a distributor in Italy. The company have a worldwide distribution network, but the system is not currently available on sale in Britain.