The electric snowped from MoonBikes resembles a toy. Nicolas Muron, the founder and CEO of a French startup, has heard this refrain innumerable times, particularly from snowmobilers. Muron claims that these individuals’ scepticism typically transforms into enthusiasm once they experience the small machine’s immediate acceleration and innate agility.

When MoonBikes invited us to try one at the Boyne Mountain ski resort in northern Michigan, we were doubtful. Boyne is the largest U.S. resort that rents them, with two-hour excursions beginning at $129 per person. Following a mandatory safety briefing and a brief period of orientation, we set out on the snow-covered golf course and surrounding trails. As Muron stated, we transformed from sceptics to advocates.


Entertaining Regardless of Pace

In a memorable scene from Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Luke and Leia are pursuing scout troopers through the Endor forest on speeder motorcycles. Even though the MoonBike’s speeds were significantly slower and the sound of blaster fire was replaced by a subtle whirring from its 10-inch track clawing through soft snowfall, driving the electric snowped felt like the movie had come to life.

Even after travelling for over an hour, the novelty never wore off. Instead, our confidence grew minute by minute, largely due to the MoonBike’s solid footing. While this author has experience driving motorcycles and snowmobiles (including electric models), the learning curve for novices should be minimal. Understanding that cornering requires leaning rather than rotating the handlebars is the greatest challenge, so skiers and snowboarders who are familiar with the concept of “carving” will have an advantage.

The Eco drive mode, which limits power output and maximises regenerative deceleration, is selected by novices desiring a metaphorical set of training wheels. When the thumb-operated accelerator lever is released, the latter rapidly slows the vehicle, even without the use of the handbrake, which automatically cuts power when squeezed. These built-in safety features could prevent unfortunate individuals from colliding head-on into a tree. If not for the MoonBike’s powerful regen and unwavering resilience to remain upright, we might have plucked bark from our skin early on, as well.

Eco mode was still pleasurable, but Normal and Sport modes provide the most excitement. It maximises the direct-drive 6.0-kW electric motor’s output, which peaks at 8 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Thankfully, the accelerator is not overly sensitive, as depressing it quickly propels the MoonBike to its claimed maximum speed of 26 mph. While takeoffs are instantaneous, the increase in speed is not uncontrollable but rather rapid. Still, we believe both novice and experienced motorcyclists will find the EV snowped entertaining.

More Concerning MoonBikes

Although it is marketed as an electric snowbike, we believe the term snowped more accurately describes its light weight (approximately 81 kilogrammes with a single standard battery) and compact dimensions. MoonBikes are approximately seven feet in length and have a saddle height of approximately two feet and six inches. The handlebars are approximately one foot taller and are connected to a pair of front forks with a wide ski at the end. This, coupled with its boxy posterior half, gives it the appearance of a cross between a bicycle, a moped, and a snowmobile.

It is a proficient machine that can be ridden in up to one foot of snow, design aside. The maximum load capacity is 265 pounds, including the passenger. A battery box with a heated pad is readily accessible beneath the seat. The battery is said to require the most maintenance, as it must be stored at 50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to prevent its lifespan from being shortened.

There is a Standard pack with 2.5 kWh (28 pounds) and a Performance pack with 3.2 kWh (35 pounds). According to the manufacturer, the smaller model provides up to 90 minutes of cycling time, while the larger model provides up to two hours. With the addition of a second Standard pack ($1900), the estimated riding duration increases to three hours. The $490 optional 2.2-kW charger is said to recharge the Standard battery in two hours and twenty minutes and the Performance battery in three hours. Without it, charging takes four and a half hours or five hours and forty-five minutes.

Those particulars are only relevant to models purchased for personal use, but it appears that this is the preponderance of cases. The company, which began selling MoonBikes in the United States in 2021, claims that approximately 75% of sales are made directly to consumers. Current prices begin at $8,900, with lease-to-own options beginning at $275 per month.

MoonBikes are not intended to be a substitute for conventional snowmobiles. Their speciality is providing an approachable and environmentally-friendly method to explore icy regions. We believe that anyone who can ride a bicycle can ride a MoonBike, and now we know that snowmobilers will also find it entertaining, once they realise that it is more than just an adorable winter toy.