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.
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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.
Source: WiredView gallery - 9 images