Sno- a concept snow bike by Venn

Concept, Mountain Bike 7 4221


A cold February day seems like as good a time as any to share the latest concept from the designers at Venn, an Industrial Design Consultancy based in Turkey.  “Sno” (as you might guess from the name) is a concept for a snow bike with a ski to replace the front wheel and twin treads in the rear to keep the bike on the surface and moving forward.  I don’t know much else about the design, except that the Z-shaped frame features a Slingshot like tensioned cable element. It appears from the renderings that it might accept a front wheel in lieu of the ski, but the rear assembly indicates that this is definitely a dedicated snow only bike.

Going back to 2006, you may remember the KtracK. That was a similar idea that worked as a conversion to a standard mountain bike… and apparently it is still around.  Since the KtraK first appeared nearly a decade ago, fat bikes have become much more popular for snow riding, so I wonder about the market for a human-powered, tread-driven bike like the Sno.  It looks like fun, but seems like it would be difficult to ride uphill (and for pure downhill you might be better off with something like this). I am definitely not a snow bike expert though (as you can tell from this old post), so I would love to hear from those of you who do regularly ride off-road in deep snow. Would you like to try a bike like the Sno (or KtracK), or does a fat bike with 4 ½ inch tires at 15 PSI do the trick?

Update: I vaguely remembered having seen a drawing for a Victorian era ski bike when I wrote the post, but I didn’t see it in Sharp’s book at a quick glance. I did a little research after posting and found J.C. Steven’s, 1892 patent for an “Ice Velocipede”. Pretty interesting…read more on the history of ski bikes here.

sno-by-venn-1 sno-by-venn-2 sno-by-venn-4

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  1. Brian MacLeod February 5, 2015 at 7:36 pm -  Reply

    Fat bikes generally run around 4-8 psi.

    • James Thomas February 6, 2015 at 8:58 am -  Reply

      Thanks. If I can run less than 20 psi with skinny cross tires, it makes sense that a 4+ inch tire could go that low.

  2. abg February 5, 2015 at 10:49 pm -  Reply

    I was going to say this has been done before, but you said it yourself!

    • James Thomas February 6, 2015 at 9:00 am -  Reply

      I just updated the post with an even older (19th century) version. I knew I had seen it somewhere, but it took me a while to find it.

  3. karl February 14, 2015 at 4:34 pm -  Reply

    I call bullshit on the 20psi on skinny <32mm CX tyres. If you ride hard you'll get a pinchflat in no time with that.

    • James Thomas February 16, 2015 at 8:58 am -  Reply

      Only if they are clinchers and the course has rocks and roots. Even with tubulars though, finding the right tire pressure for conditions is key for a cyclocross race. Especially in muddy conditions, I generally want to go as low as I can without flatting (but I leave spare wheels in the pit just in case). It takes a little trial and error, but even at 190 pounds I have run as low as 20 psi before.

  4. Jax Rhapsody February 25, 2015 at 4:19 am -  Reply

    I liked the idea of the ktrak when I first heard of it, it took a few years for me to discover it was still around, during my search for halftrack pictures. I figured out it uses a plastic track with large plastic lugs- something that was a put off, since I was considering buying one of the retrofit kits. Halftracks are a fascination of mine, and I feel something like this(as the one in this article) should be able to be ridden on the street with a rubber track. With the right gearset, I believe this bike could be used offroad, to run trails, and things you genereally wouldn’t need too much highspeed for- like any other halftrack. I would put it on par with a fatbike, atleast where speed is concerned. Both bikes are crawlers.

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