Mountainskyver lets hikers scoot down from mountain tops
The Mountainskyver TRAIL is a folding downhill scooter that can be packed to the top of a mountain, then assembled and ridden back down
Zipping down the side of a mountain on a downhill mountain bike can be incredibly fun, but getting the bike up there ... well, you can pedal the 40 to 50-pound thing to the top yourself, pay to use a zero-exercise chair lift, or add to your bike's weight with an electric-assist motor. In an approach we've seen before in the form of the Mountain Monk, German gear company ORTOVOX is offering another way to get to the summit and back down again. It's called the Mountainskyver TRAIL, and it's a folding downhill scooter(?) that a hiker carries to the mountaintop in an included custom backpack, then quickly assembles and rides back down.
The TRAIL is clearly intended for gravity-assisted riding only, as it has no drivetrain or seatpost - users ride the thing standing up, letting it coast all the way down.
It does at least have brakes, in the form of 160mm mechanical disks. It also has front and rear suspension, although the single-bridge fork provides just 65 mm of travel, while the rear shock provides only 60 mm, and is elastomer-based. In order to keep it packable, the TRAIL has small wheels, too - a 20-incher in the front, and a 16'er in the rear. Users can upgrade to a 24-inch front wheel, in which case they will move the existing 20-incher to the rear.
The frame is made from 6061 aluminum, with the whole scooter tipping the scales at 8.8 kilograms (19.4 lbs).
Needless to say, the TRAIL won't be replacing downhill mountain bikes any time soon. For starters, its puny wheels won't be able to roll over large rocks or roots, while its short suspension will only soak up the smallest of hits. It could find a place, however, with hikers who simply want to ride it down relatively wide, smooth gravel or dirt trails - and that is no doubt what it's designed for.
The Mountainskyver TRAIL is priced at US$1,200. A lighter, rigid-forked RACE model is also available, along with the even lighter carbon fiber-framed SPEED model. Dealers can be located via the ORTOVOX website.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
No seat? Really weird. . . carrying 20lbs up the hill does not sound too exciting!
$1200!? Is there really that much of a market for this type of thing? You\'d have to have a lot of disposable cash and really hate hiking back down to buy this single purpose item. This product looks horrible.
$1200 for a "bike" without pedals or gears or the ability to do anything but go downhill?
Also, whoever fact checked this needs to work harder, mountain bikes don't weigh 40-50 pounds. That's insane. My mountain bike (which actually has gears and pedals and a full drivetrain) weighs about 24 pounds. And I get exercise when I pedal it up the hills I ride down later.
This scooter is a waste of money.
[The weight figure was for downhill mountain bikes specifically -Ed.]
Another solution to a problem that doesn\'t exist...
Socal - better than pushing 45-50lbs up a hill. My downhill bike weighs nearly 22kgs
Stradic - I think it is more designed for the downhill mountain bike explorer. When Downhilling, people spend a lot of time walking and pushing their bikes up a hill. Unless they can get a chairlift/car/bus ride to the top first, there is no other way, the hills are often too steep and rough to pedal up.
fenriq - Go and look at a few websites for prices on downhill and freeride bikes and their weights. Maybe you should fact check before having a go at someones work. Also a front shock absorber for a decent downhill bike is up to $1700 on its own.
Kingfield - Come and try it one day, finding new trails and new ways down the hill (at speed) is an awesome rush.
The only two problems I can see with the bike is the lack of stability that is provided with a spread foot stance by having one foot forward and one foot backward on a normal pedal setup. That may just be something that I am not used to. The other being the small wheel size and the rocks/logs/ruts and bumps that you have to negotiate and the larger rolling diameter of current downhill bikes aids a lot in smoothing things out.
Otherwise it looks like it would be fun to try.
I\'d rather peddle up on my mt. bike and coast down. Just as much fun and a whole lot cheaper!!
Will, the tink
As there will be jumps, this will hurl the rider off the footholding. Unless the foot holding area is redesigned, it won\'t fulfill the main function.
The foot hold position at sag seems so low you wouldn't be able to lean very much in the turns without clipping them. As mentioned earlier, 20 and 16 inch wheels will not be very safe at speed when the trail is anything but smooth--especially when we assume the intent is to ride trails steep enough to not be climb-able on a conventional mountain bike. On the subject of high speed on long steep descents, 65mm suspension really isn't going to be sufficient. Also, anyone who's spend a decent amount time mountain biking knows that even downhill trails are not always pointing down. There are often sections of flat and climbs where pedals would be useful. Scooting on flat pavement is fine, but on rocky terrain is horribly inefficient--especially on a bouncy suspension. Without pedals also won't let you do any kind of wheelie drop offs, but then again, this probably isn't the targeted ride style anyway.
So who is the target consumer of this absurdly niche product? Some one who is reluctant to pedal up a hill on a bike, but is willing to hike it on their back, provided that the hill is a continuous slope with a fairly smooth hard packed terrain without any sharp turns or terrain features. This person should also have an aversion for high speed descents and a propensity to spend large amount of money on niche equipment. If that's you, than this is your toy.
I would personally like something light that can fold up, single speed Gates carbon drive (also for the staggered feet we're used to), mechanical disc brakes (no pressurized systems for altitude changes) with the 24" wheel with Trials / DH tyre (and the 20" rear) and an innovative coil / oil suspension system with air bleeders and more travel (altitude changes again) which I can carry up Kilimanjaro when I go hike it and RIDE back down, minding other trail users of course. The altitude change will make us "lowlanders" so weak anyways that even a very light bike will become quite a burden at altitude (the peak is a 5895m AMSL). If they can build one like that for me I'll buy it now!:-) But that 80's tech elastomer suspension has to go!
Leon Van Rensburg
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