Walking the floor of the recent ISPO Munich sports show, there were a few things that were almost impossible to miss – the automated polar bear walking the corridors, for instance (see the gallery). Outside of that oversized white teddy bear, and maybe a scantily clad promo girl or two, the Dropboards Carve Motor 50cc spun my head faster than anything. This burly, all-terrain motor board looks more like a go-kart than a skateboard.
The Carve Motor 50cc distinguishes itself in a few ways. Perhaps the most obvious is that hulking outboard engine that makes it look like a power boat out of water. As its name informs, that's a 50cc engine – the same 2.5-hp 50cc two-stroke engine used in some of Dropboard's scooters and minibikes. The motor and drum brake are controlled via a hard-wired hand controller.
Another aspect of the Carve Motor that stands out is its sheer size. That size is partly a factor of the large, knobby tires designed for off-road use, and partly an effect of its carving-inspired construction. In addition to motorized vehicles, Dropboard specializes in carving skateboards – big, long land surfboards designed to get low and flow. The carving board influence can be seen in the board's length and axle shock absorbers.
The combination of 50cc engine, carving construction and off-road tires results in a board with the grunt to push you around town, the maneuverability to slash dirt and hit jumps, and the versatility to roll over bumps, rocks, potholes and other landscape surprises. It is capable of traveling up to 21.7 miles (35 km) per fill-up in as little as an hour (top speed = 21.7 mph/35 km/h) and can carry riders up to 220 pounds (100 kg). It weighs just over 50 pounds (23 kg). The front end retracts more than half a foot (17 cm), allowing for a more compact travel footprint.
Dropboards has been selling the Carve Motor in its home market of Brazil for several years and was at the ISPO show in hopes of broadening its distribution. Toward that end, it opened a European branch in Portugal last year.
The Carve Motor 50cc is available for R$2,990 (US$1,530). For those that prefer a greener skate, Drop also offers an 800-watt electric skateboard for the same price. Its line of non-motorized carving and mountain boards hovers around the R$1,000 (US$510) range.
Update: This story was modified on Feb. 20, 2013 to correct an error regarding pricing information. Prices were mistakenly listed in US$, when they were actually in Brazilian Real. The correct prices and currency conversions have now been added. Our apologies for any confusion and thanks to commenter Adam Valdes for pointing this out.